Hindu God Dattatreya, Synthesis of Shiva, Vishnu & Brahma

HIndu God Dattatreya statue

View this statue of the Hindu God Dattatreya

Dattatreya or Datta is considered by Hindus to be god who is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity, the three main Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The word Datta means “Given”, Datta is called so because the divine trinity has “given” themselves in the form of a son to the sage couple Atri and Anasuya. He is the son of Atri, hence the name “Atreya.”

Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of the Lord Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas. Although Dattatreya was at first a “Lord of Yoga” exhibiting distinctly Tantric traits, he was adapted and assimilated into the more devotional Vaishnavite cults; while still worshiped by millions of Hindus, he is approached as a benevolent god and a teacher of the highest essence of Indian thought.

In sculpture Dattatreya statues have some distinct characteristics. He always has three faces, one for Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Vishnu faces forward with Shiva on the left of Vishnu and Brahma on the right. He has six hands where he holds a drum (damru), discus (chakra), conch shell (sank), japa mala, water vessel (kamandala) and a trident (trishul). All these attributes of the Lord have their esoteric meanings. The trident is used for killing the ego, and the drum is used to awaken those souls who are still sleeping in the slumber of ignorance. Lord Datta’s conch shell is used to make the sacred sound OM. Lord Dattatreya is also holding a rotating discus -chakra. It is a round circle with no beginning and no end. Like the universe, it too is constantly moving, always in a flux. He uses this chakra to destroy all kinds of karmic bonds of His devotees. His right hand holds a rosary -japa mala. With this the Lord counts His devotees, liberating them by merely thinking of their name. In another hand the Lord is carrying the water pot -kamandala. This holds the nectar of pure wisdom. With this He revives the souls thirsty for knowledge, liberating them from the endless cycle of life and death.

Bronze Hindu God Dattatreya statue

View this Bronze Hindu God Dattatreya statue with 4 dogs and Kamadhenu the gift giving cow

Accompanying Dattatreya are 4 dogs and a cow. The four dogs surrounding Datta represent the four Vedas. The dogs are both wild and tame and symbols of fidelity and devotion. The cow is Kamadhenu the gift giving cow. She grants all wishes and desires. She is the cow of plenty, which emerged from SAMUDRAMANTHAN (the churning of the ocean) and and was claimed by Indra as his property. She is the mother of all cows.

Lord Krishna & Kaliya the Serpent

Brass Krishna statue

View all our Krishna statues

The 8th Avatar of Lord Vishnu, Krishna came to know that a very large and poisonous serpent had made its home in a lagoon on the Yamuna River.  The serpents’ name was Kaliya.  Because the serpent was so poisonous that it killed all the fish in the river and even the trees and grass surrounding the lake were wilting from the effects of the poison.  When birds flew over the area, they immediately dropped dead and fell into the lake, due to the highly poisonous vapors emanating from the water.

In that time, there were many frightful demons who had all kinds of mystic powers.  The Hindu God Krishna had specifically appeared to rid the world of all these disturbing elements.  Krishna came to this place with His cowherd boyfriends and decided to confront Kaliya, the king of the snakes.  He climbed the large Kadamba tree and from there, jumped into the poisonous waters of the Yamuna.

Brass  Krishna statue dancing on Kaliya the serpent

View our Brass Krishna statue dancing on Kaliya the serpent

Lord Krishna then began splashing about and making very loud noises just to disturb Kaliya serpent. Sure enough, Kaliya came up to the surface to see who was disturbing his domain. The huge black serpent; Kaliya (Kaliya means black) possessed over one hundred hoods, each decorated with a precious gem.  When he breathed, fire emanated from his nostrils.  He suddenly seized Krishna in his powerful coils, and bound the Lord as tightly as possible.  Unfortunately this serpent did not realize that within its coils was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, playing as a child and enjoying His earthly pastimes in the transcendental land of Vrindavana.  Without warning, Krishna, the Supreme Mystic, started to expand His body, and Kaliya, who began to feel the incredible pressure, was forced to release the Lord from his deadly coils. Krishna then jumped on to the hoods of the great serpent and started to dance, stamping His foot down on the heads of the snake demon, Kaliya.  This is the representation often seen in the Kaliya Krishna statues found in Hindu homes and temples.

This stamping of Krishna, felt to Kaliya serpent like Indra’s thunderbolt striking a mountain. The Lord jumped from one hood to another, and Kaliya felt helpless and bewildered; in anger he spat fire from his many mouths but the Lord was so dexterous that His dancing movements caused the-snake to become dizzy.  After so many kicks from the Lord, Kaliya started to vomit blood before becoming almost unconscious. At that time, the many wives of the Kaliya serpent appeared and begged the Lord with folded hands to spare their husband.  Krishna decided to banish Kaliya to the great ocean never to return again.  Thereafter, the giant snake along with his wives, departed forever, and the transcendental Lord re-joined His cowherd boyfriends on the bank of the Yamuna, to continue their wonderful pastimes in the land of Vrindavana.

Create Your Own Clay Ganesh Statue for Ganesh Chathuri

“Wishing you happiness as big as Ganesh’s appetite
Life as long as his trunk
Trouble as small as his mouse
And moments as sweet as his laddus”

Ganesh made of clay

Clay Ganesh for Ganesh Chathuri

The celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesh is right around the corner, to be held on September 19, 2012. Preparations are underway for the Ganesh festival and many devotees are opting to make their own, eco-friendly, clay Ganesh statues at home. Ganesh Chathuri, a day filled with public celebrations and home worship, lasts for ten days, and ends with a Ganesh idol immersion. The water immersion ceremony during Chathuri is called Ganesh Visarjana (Sanskrit for ‘departure’). Clay images of Ganesh are ceremoniously dissolved in the ocean or other bodies of water, signifying Ganesh’s withdrawal into all-pervasive consciousness. Hindus believe that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth this day, and worshiping him will bring prosperity, good fortune, and fulfillment of desires.

To start a new tradition, with family or friends, create your own clay idol at home. The Ganesh statue does not have to be perfect, just be proud of your idol, enjoy the process and have faith.

“Let all the peace, all the light, all the goodness which the Deity inspires, become part of the parcel of your being.”

Materials Needed:
1. Modeling clay – ready-to-use, moist clay found at any craft store
2. Rolling pin
3. Base for your statue – wooden board is preferred, as it doesn’t stick
4. Exacto knife or sharp-pointed pencil
5. Aluminum foil
6. Paints, glitter, white thread for the poonal or Jandhyam (optional)

Instructions:
1. Separate your clay into sections to represent Ganesh’s body, head, legs, arms, ears and trunk
2. Roll out the largest section of clay into a thin sheet and use it to cover a ball of aluminum foil. This will represent Ganesh’s body and bulbous belly.
3. Roll smaller balls of clay to make his head, ears and trunk. Attach his head to the body – using a lot of water to paste and shape.
4. Make two clay horseshoe-shapes. Use for his legs – cross legs at base of Ganesh for lotus posture. Use another horseshoe-shape to use as arms and attach to body at shoulder level. Form the arms so they adjust at elbows with right angles; the right hand palm turned up.
5. For the ears, make two flat coin-like structures and attach to head.
6. Roll out clay for his trunk and keep it in proportion of his body. The trunk should be wider at top, and narrows down to curve halfway down to his waist. Smooth and add the ‘three patte’ lines on the trunk and forehead with a knife or pencil.
7. To finish, knead, smooth and shape the entire clay idol. Use a Ganesh sculpture or image as a reference guide.
8. Wait until Ganesh is completely dried and paint, use glitter, beads or various accessories.

Please feel free to email photos of your home-made Ganesh clay sculptures to info@lotussculpture.com. Lotus Sculpture would love to share your creations or helpful hints.

Thailand; Passion for Buddha Statues

“I just love making Buddhas.”
~Jeuw~

Chaing Saen Buddha Statue

Large Thai Brass Buddha with Jeuw

I love meeting people with true passion. Passion for anything; painting, traveling, their children. Six years ago I was very fortunate to meet someone passionate about making Thai Buddha statues and his name is Jeuw.

In my first 4 years of traveling through Thailand I spent every waking hour of every day I was there looking for good honest people who make great Buddha statues for my budding business, Lotus Sculpture. Every year I was disappointed and had to settle for doing business with a factory who made quality, yet uninspired Buddha statues.

6 years ago while meandering through an amulet market in Bangkok I stumbled upon a great little shop full of beautiful Buddha statues that had both a sense of peace and radiated energy. They were not typical of the Buddhas sold anywhere else in the market. I was giddy from the start. Did I just find the people that I have been looking for the past 4 years? I stayed and enjoyed the day with the mother and wife of the owner who was away at the workshop. I made plans to come back the next day to meet the owner, Jeuw, and to go to see where he makes his Buddhas. When I met Jeuw I was outright ecstatic! He was young and passionate. In the hour and half drive to the outskirts of Bangkok to see his workshop I could feel that he was just as excited as I was. He was telling me about himself in his broken English and I was doing the same in my broken Thai.  One thing I remember from our first meeting was that he was not trying to sell me anything. He was continually pointing out the Buddha statues that he loved and that he was proud of making. “No one else has this style. I am the only one making this Buddha.” he kept saying. And he was right. No one else has his quality and style in making Buddhas. Jeuw’s father started the workshop 25 years ago and Jeuw just took over the day to day operations of the workshop. He was very happy to have their first and only foreign customer!

Besides the beautiful proportions and style of the Buddha statues Jeuw is a master of patina. He can make any statue have the most beautiful antique patina. I noticed this immediately that the color of his Buddhas was so authentic and stunning to look at. Even in his smaller Buddhas there is care given to the color of the piece. For this reason many known “Antique” shops in Bangkok purchase his Buddha statues. They sell his newly made sculpture as antiques to foreign tourists. I have seen many shops selling antiques in Bangkok that are not antique at all.

Enjoying dinner of the Khoa Praya river in Bangkok

Enjoying dinner of the Khoa Praya river in Bangkok

Six years later our relationship has grown immensely. Each year he shows me other styles he is making and Buddhas he had in mind for the future. Each night after our business is done we go out to a dinner on the Khoa Praya river in Bangkok and just talk Buddhas and life. One thing he reinforced to me was the passion he carries with him about Buddhas. “I just love making Buddhas.” He told me to start on my personal collection of Thai Buddha statues which I have done. He told me that there is no one else in Thailand who makes Buddhas like him. The younger generation has no interest in making Buddha statues and he feels that when he gets older there will not be anyone else who will carry on with his passion for the sculptures. I do hope he is wrong.

Lotus Sculpture has been blessed to have such a good person with Love for his Art and Lord Buddha supplying us with all our Thai Buddha statues. I’m looking forward to the next shipment of statues which should be arriving October, 2012.

Click here to view all Jeuw’s Thai Buddha statues.

Purushottam Month: Dedicated to Lord Vishnu

“Lord Vishnu said that the merit acquired in this month through good deeds, charity and austerities is equal to such acts performed in all the 12 months of the year.”

 

Lord Vishnu Statue

Bronze Lord Vishnu Statue

The Hindu calendar is a lunar calendar, based on the cycles of the moon. A lunar month is approximately 29.5 days long, compared to a solar calendar, which is a 30 to 31 day cycle. An extra month, or AdhikMahina, is added to the Hindu calendar every 2.5 years to match a solar calendar. In 2012, Purushottam month will be held on August 18 – September 16.

This extra month is dedicated to Hindu God Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of the World and Upholder of the Dharma (moral order). It is believed that worshipping Lord Vishnu and to the Krishna Avatar of Vishnu is highly meritorious and praiseworthy at this time. Lord Vishnu is known chiefly through his incarnations, particularly Rama, Krishna and Buddha. His preserving, restoring, and protecting powers have been manifested in the world in a series of ten earthly avatars, which either help prevent a great evil or to affect good upon the earth. Lord Vishnu ensures peace and order on earth and preaches love, honesty and a staunch belief in principles of morality.

Lord Krishna was the 8th Avatar of Lord Vishnu and popularized as the youthful hero in the Bhagavad Gita. In the epic poem, Krishna persuades Prince Arjuna on the eve of the great battle of Kurukshetra to fight by instructing him in spiritual wisdom and the means of attaining union with God. Lord Krishna promoted religion, philosophy, love and art forms, such as literature, painting, and sculpture.

There is a particular Hindu God assigned to every month in a traditional calendar year. Initially, the extra lunar month carried a stigma and was not assigned to a particular Hindu God. Lord Vishnu took pity on this occasion and assigned it to him and especially to Lord Krishna. Lord Vishnu said that the merit acquired in this month through good deeds, charity and austerities is equal to such acts performed in all the 12 months of the year. Purushottam has since acquired greater significance than any other lunar cycle.