The deity and the devotee


Academy of Fine Arts and Literature

Academy of Fine Arts and Literature
New Delhi, India

Tantra has innovated hundreds of deity forms, in strange positions and aspects, and sometimes as part of a tantrika practice or realisation as here in this image. The painting portrays the devotee with the awakened ‘Kundalini-shakti’. It leaves as insignificant the early four stages – four ‘chakras’ through which it rises. The Kundalini’s ascent is, however, portrayed with its entering the ‘Vishuddha-chakra’ around the throat region from where it passes across ‘Ajna-chakra’, which the yellow crescent denotes, and merges finally into ‘Sahasrara-padma’, symbolised by an upright red lotus. The lotus magnifies and transforms into a round face of dark hue, the Great Void that is Mahakala, the Timeless Shiva. Strangely innovative is devotee’s body below the waist, the location of ‘Muladhara-chakra’ where Kundalini lies. It transforms identically to the image of Mahakala evincing Tantra’s fundamental assertion that man is the microcosm, and universe, the macrocosm of the Creation and thus man and cosmos are the same.


  • Title: The deity and the devotee
  • Date: 1901/2000
  • Physical Dimensions: Paper, 51 X 83 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Tantra School
  • Type: Painting

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