Avatar of Shiva: Virabhadra the Ferocious

Like many of the Hindu deities, Hindu God Shiva is said to have many Avatars.  One such Avatar is that of Virabhadra.  Virabhadra is said to have been born when Shiva grabbed a lock of his own hair and threw it upon the ground.  He was a powerful being created by Shivas wrath when we wanted to destroy Dakshas Yagna, or fire sacrifice.

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Legend has it that Dashkas youngest daughter Sati set her sights on Shiva at a young age.  When she was at an age to marry, Dashka invited all the gods and princes together to find a suttor for her, leaving out Shiva.  Furious that he did not invite the one she loved, Sati threw her wreath into the air calling upon Shiva.  Shiva appeared with the wreath around his neck, forcing Dashka to allow her to marry her.  Disapproving of the match however, Dashka again omitted Shivas attendance to a great fire sacrifice.  Sati, out of fury, confronted her father.  She condemned his actions and fell dead at her father’s feet.

When Shiva heard of this, he became enraged.  Out of anger, her tore out a lock of his hair that with glowing with his furious energy.  At this moment Virabhadra was born. His tall menacing body had a thousand arms, 3 burning eyes, and fiery hair.  He was draped in skulls and carried unfathomable weapon.  Shiva instructed him to destroy the fire sacrifice of Daksha and sever Daksha’s head.  Vuraghadra is a said to be a tremendous warrior causing other gods to flee the battle field whenever he appears.  No gods are a match to his fury and strength in battle.

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Assassination Attempts on the Great Gautama Buddha

It is little known that during Gautama Buddha’s life on earth, he was not completely free of dissenters and discord.  Despite his serene and patient practice, Gautama was not without threat.  Just as every great spiritual or powerful leader in earth’s history, he faced jealous followers wanting to take his place in the world.    It is said that Gautama’s cousin, a monk by the name of Devadatta, was the worst of them all, attempting to take Gautama’s life on multiple occasions.  Legend has it, out of jealousy, Devadatta tried to undermine the Buddha and declared that he be given the chance to lead the sangha.  When this proved unsuccessful he tried to kill the great teacher to claim his following for himself.

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His first attempt involved hiring a group of archers to shoot at Buddha during his meditations, but as they approached the Buddha, they became overcome and began laying down their bows.  Instead of shooting, the archers now devoted themselves to him instead.  As one might imagine, this only served to anger Devadatta more.  In his next attempt Devadatta himself rolled a great boulder down a hill directly in Gautama’s path.  Luckily, the boulder split in two along the way with one half only grazing the divine Buddha’s foot.  Again diminished, Devadatta let loose a violent elephant to trample Buddha and everyone around him.  As all his murderous plots proved unsuccessful, Devadatta began to form breakaway following, attempting to recruit the Buddha’s followers for himself.  Although he managed to claim a handful, they all eventually made their way back to the Awakened one.

It is hard to believe that the great Awakened One could be met with disdain by any.  But just as every great spiritual leader, there were those who threatened to undermine his teachings.

New Shipment of Thai Brass Buddha Statues from Bangkok

In an age of diluted markets in which lean manufacturing processes aim to flood the economy with low priced products, one-of-a-kind, Thai Buddha statues, like those of native Thai artisans, lay unseen to most of the world.  Lotus Sculpture gives local Thai artisans new life, sharing their priceless creative masterpieces with the world.

Upon first traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 1995 Kyle Tortora recognized the need for these beautiful hand-made Thai Buddha statues to be shared on a global scale.

It became increasingly clear that unless traveling across Thailand in person, purchase of these unrivaled Buddha sculptures was nearly impossible to the outside world.  Lotus Sculpture was started to bridge the gap between local Asian artists and western tastes for these stunning works of Buddhist statuary.

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Kyle regularly travels to Southeast Asia to visit with local artisans and hand-pick Buddha statues to buy directly, sometimes a year in advance of production.  By buying directly from local Thai artisans, Lotus Sculpture is able to bypass any middle man and give struggling artisans the financial support they need to expand their businesses. Since making his dream a reality by founding Lotus Sculpture in 2002, Tortora has personally watched small two person workshops grow to employ over 35 artisans.

The casting techniques used to create Thai Brass Buddhist statues are a true art form that have been passed on for generations within local families.   Not only does Lotus Sculpture get to partake in giving an artistic platform to these irreplaceable works of Buddhist art, it is able to bring global enterprise to those without the resources to do so themselves.

In a world where quantity often reins champion over quality, it is the aim of Lotus Sculpture to give life to an industry that has often struggled.  With the arrival of its newest shipment of over a 200 Thai brass Buddha statues directly from Bangkok, Lotus Sculpture once again champions local Thai artists without the opportunity to share their creative visions on a mass scale.

Watch for all the newly arrived Thai Brass Buddha statues as they are added daily in our New Arrivals Section

 

 

The End of Diwali & Its Significance

We at Lotus Sculpture hope you all had a wonderful Hindu Festival of Lights!  Many non-Hindus around the world have come to know of the religious holiday, but fail to truly understand what it entails or symbolizes for the greater Hindu community.  Diwali is not just a religious holiday, but a spiritual and social holiday as well.  According to the Hindu calendar, Diwali marks the beginning of a new year.  It is a time to be re-acquainted with one’s inner spirituality and set goals and ambitions for the year ahead.  The festival itself honors the Hindu Gods in many ways with both rituals and prayers.

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The most revered of the deities during are Hindu Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and God Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles.  It is not hard to see why these are the most important Hindu deities during the festival, as believers wish for prosperity in their lives both financially and spiritually in the coming year as well as help from Lord Ganesh in guiding their path to defeat those obstacles that may have hindered them in the previous year.

It is also a time to honor the return of Lord Ram.  The legend behind the return of Lord Ram from Sri Lanka is one of the most beloved within Hindu mythology.  Legend has it that the evil King of Sri Lanka, Ravana, kidnapped Lord Ram’s wife, Sita.  Ram and his followers proceeded to spend years building a bridge between Sri Lanka and India in order to defeat Ravana and save his beloved wife.  Once the bridge lay complete, Lord Ram was successful in his plans of defeat and rescue.  When Ram returned to India, people welcomed them back by lighting small clay pots and decorating their homes in homage.  These lamps are said to symbolize the triumph of good over evil, just as Lord Ram did over Ravana.  The themes behind this story now define the celebration behind the Diwali Festival to date.

Today, the festival is marked by vast displays of fireworks, devote worship, social gatherings, prayer, and cleaning up one’s life both physically and spiritually.  It is a time of joyous celebration of life itself.  The holiday itself should not be considered only an exclusive holiday for Hindus, as they invite people of all faiths to embrace the meaning behind the festival, shedding stresses, worries, and make goals for the coming year.  If you were not able to participate this last week, join Hindus around the world in celebrating the Festival of Lights next year!

Diwali Festival of Lights Day 3: Lakshmi Puja

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The 3rd day of the Diwali Festival of Lights is the most important day of the festival for Northern and Western Indians and is traditionally known as Lakshmi Puja.  As the 15th day of the Hindu month Ashvin, this day is the new moon day of Amavasya.  Although it is Amavasya, or the dark night, it is regarded as a day of supreme auspiciousness and followers propitiate Lakshmi.   On this day Hindus devote much of their time to performing Lakshmi Puja, worshipping the Hindu Goddess of Wealth. Although Hindus perform Lakshmi Puja throughout Diwali, today is especially devoted to her.  Devotees light oil lamps throughout the day and focus on cleaning their homes inside and out.  It is believed that Lakshmi visits the most cleanly homes first, bestowing on them prosperity in the coming year.  She does not visit those who do not bother to live a cleanly lifestyle, deeming them unworthy of fortune.  The beating of drums and ringing of bells can be heard flowing from homes and temples as they pour out noise to summon the great Goddess.  It is a day of great joy and celebration.  Hindus believe that as Lakshmi visits earth she bestows upon them divine wisdom as she showers upon man blessings of plenty and wealth.