Statues of Yore

Koneswaram-5775-01

By V.Varathasuntharam

Pilgrims at the Swamy Rock overwhelmed by piety and curiosity endeavour to view the size, shape and  the sculpture of the unearthed statues of yore in order to ascertain the period to which they belonged, the country of their origin, their architecture , the legends behind them and their religious significance.

At a glance, we see that Lord Siva and His consort Mathumaai are seated on two separate cushions. Siva in a seated pose measuring 1’8 1/2 x 10; has four arms. Siva holding an axe in his right hand signifies the destruction of the wickedness in man, while the deer in his left hand refers to the impermanence of life and the deception that are overcome by him. The lower left hand is in the Kataka pose whereas, the lower hand on the right offers us protection saying ‘why fear when I am here.?’

It is said that lord Siva is three eyed, the third eye being the eye of wisdom that looks beyond what is reached by mortal beings.

The ear ring on the right ear of Siva is known as Kalal (foy;) a man‘s ring, while the ear ring on his left ear is called Thodu (NjhL ) the traditional ear ring of a woman.

They Thodu and kalal represent the Arthanareeswara Vadivam(mh;j;j ehhP];tuh;) which means that Siva’s right represents the man while his left denotes the woman – the half male and the female concept is that both male and female hormones are inherent in each person. This is confirmed by the concept is of animus and anima.

There is a pottu between the two eyes of Siva. He wears a necklace of berries around his neck. The thread, he wears runs over the left shoulder and under the right arm. There is a bracelet around the stomach. The Madumai Amman 1; 4; x8’, weighing 50 lbs is seated on a cushion. The standing Parvathy, 1; 8’x7’ weighing 30 lbs, has a necklace thali (jhyp) tied with a gold thread.

The Ganapathy bronze 8’x10’1/2 weighs 65 lbs. An expert opinion of this statue runs as follows; “Trincomalee  Ganesh is the most outstanding bronze casting of this type of available today. The gold content is certain to arrest the world wide attention of Hindu art in metal owing to the superb technique adopted in casting the sixty five pound weight of gold and copper in one piece .It is the work of consummate skill on the part of the sculptor who performed the casting.’

Trisulam –The three –pronged weapon1;7’’ x8’’weight blbs and of the pallava style of the tenth century signifies the destruction of the ego with its threefold desires of body, mind and intellect.

Annam –Hamsa is the figure of a bird, 30cm high and is a temple lamp top. This bird is a vehicle of Siva’s consort. It is a bird that runs a little distance on the earth before it takes off  and this symbolizes that man can lead a good life on earth and then take a flight to divinity.

According to experts on the subject, all the finds belonged to Koneswaram and had remained buried for centuries. They had been concealed undermeath the earth by the devotees to save them from the vandalism of the Portuguese rulers who destroyed the temple.

 

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