Watercolor on Canvas, 2004
26 x 34 cm
The appellation “Rudrāyaṇī” originates from the designation “Rudra,” which is among the epithets ascribed to Lord Shiva. Rudra symbolizes the formidable and vengeful facet of Śiva, which is linked to his capacity for causing destruction and facilitating profound change. The term “Rudrāyaṇī” pertains to the feminine manifestation of Rudra, highlighting her association with the Śivaic component. In many religious contexts, she is often referred to as Maheśvarī as well. The term “Maheśvarī” is etymologically derived from “Maheśvara,” an alternative appellation for the deity Lord Śiva. The term “Maheśvara” can be translated as “Great Lord” or “Supreme Lord,” highlighting the profound cosmic and transcendental attributes associated with the deity Śiva. Within this particular framework, the term “Maheśvarī” is employed to signify the function of Goddess Rudrāyaṇī as the consort or divine counterpart of Lord Shiva in his formidable manifestation.
The genesis of Goddess Rudrāyaṇī is frequently linked to the divine forces emanating from Lord Śiva. The emergence of the individual in question is attributed to the manifestation arising from the intense emotional state and vigorous vitality associated with the third eye of the deity Śiva, symbolizing his fervent and annihilative nature. The individual in question exemplifies the capacity for profound change, the eradication of adverse elements, and the resolute nature associated with the divine feminine.
Symbolic weapons, including a Triśūla (trident), a Damaru (drum), Kapāla Pātra (skull cup), a Kheṭaka (shield), and a Khaḍga (double-edged sword) are frequently featured in images of the powerful Hindu goddess Rudrāyaṇī. Her depiction in art and mythology is that of a fierce and active goddess, one who is always prepared to vanquish evil and shield her followers. Her worship entails calling upon her power to help one rise above adversity and tap one’s own reserves of bravery.
Udaya Charan Shrestha has adeptly depicted the formidable essence of goddess Rudrāyaṇī through the portrayal of two distinct manifestations. The artist finalized a painting in the year 2004 and subsequently produced another artwork in 2012. The distinction between the two paintings is nuanced yet evident. The initial artwork exhibits a profusion of fiery elements, which serves as a distinctive hallmark of the artist’s style. The mobility exhibited by the flames in the background creates the illusion that the entire scenic backdrop is engulfed in flames due to the radiant aura emitted by the goddess. In contrast, the subsequent artwork by Shrestha exhibits a reduction in the prominence of flames, while effectively conveying the divine essence of the deity. The positioning of Bhairava in the background is executed with great finesse, effectively highlighting the interconnectedness of the two deities as consorts. The artist’s portrayal of the 2012 painting incorporates heightened realism in the depiction of the goddess, reflecting their inclination towards neo-traditional artistic tendencies. The subsequent artwork exhibits enhanced depth, proportions, and highlights.