Oil on Canvas, 1997
45 x 60 cm
Collection of Prakash Ratna Tuladhar
Ardhanārīśvara is a distinctive and amalgamated divine entity within the Hindu religion, symbolizing the convergence of Lord Śiva and Goddess Pārvatī (Śaktī) into a singular androgynous manifestation. The etymology of the name “Ardhanārīśvara” can be traced back to its Sanskṛit origins, where it is composed of two constituent words. The first component, “Ardha,” signifies the concept of being half, while the second component, “Nārī,” refers to the female gender. Lastly, the term is completed by the addition of “Īśvara,” which denotes the notion of a supreme lord or deity. Consequently, Ardhanārīśvara is frequently denoted as the deity embodying both masculine and feminine aspects, hence is commonly known as the “Lord who possesses a dual nature, encompassing both male and female characteristics.”
In this portrayal, the deity’s right half embodies Śiva, commonly shown with disheveled hair, a third eye, and occasionally grasping a trident. The left portion of the figure represents Pārvatī, characterized by feminine qualities and frequently depicted holding a lotus flower. The underlying concept of this depiction aims to represent the interconnectedness and fundamental harmony between the masculine and feminine elements of the divine.
The concept of Ardhanārīśvara holds profound philosophical implications. This concept embodies the notion that the ultimate truth is beyond gender categorizations and incorporates both masculine and feminine energy. The concept of the oneness of opposites underscores the notion of equilibrium and concordance that exists in the universe and inside each person.