Varuna - the god of the Ocean pays homage to Rama


National Museum - New Delhi

National Museum - New Delhi
New Delhi , India

Rama prayed the sea god to allow him and his army the safe passage through his waters to reach Lanka. He waited on the seashore in complete patience. Three days and nights passed but the sea god seemed to pay no heed. 'It seems that this world respects anger not patience', were Rama's words. In anger Rama took up his bow full of flames capable of destroying all that is living in the sea waters and could dry it up and laid it on his bow to release. In a moment the skies darkened, wind roared and oceans, rivers and lakes trembled. Suddenly from the waters arose the figure of the sea god. He appeared before Rama with folded hands and prayed him not to dry the ocean as all the creatures there would die. He disclosed that the only way to cross ocean was to span it, and he had in his army Nala who was born of the Vishwakarma, the famous architect of gods, and was endowed with the ability to float mighty rocks on the sea-waters. Thus, with rocks so floated on the surface of ocean would span it and he and his entire army might cross the ocean without any difficulty. This Malwa painting is divided into two parts. The upper part of the painting depicts Rama aiming his arrow and is ready to release it towards the ocean. Realising that Rama's divine arrows are able to destroy the life of the sea the sea god appeared before Rama with folded hands. The sea god is holding a rosary, wearing a string of white pearls and Kundalas in his ears and his eyes are painted like lotus leaves. He is wearing yellow dhoti and transparent uttariya - the upper garment. The waves rising in the sea are painted like blue stripes against the white background. The expression of astonishment on the faces of Lakshmana, Hanuman, Jamvan and other monkey warriors is painted superbly by the unknown Malwa artist.


  • Title: Varuna - the god of the Ocean pays homage to Rama
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Art Genre: Central India
  • Accession Number: 51.65/57

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