Sunday, May 13, 2018

Shiva slaying Andhaka - carvings at Elephanta Caves

A post shared by Madhavi Nadig (@m_nadig) on

What a difference there is from reading about the caves, the sculptures and the destruction in a high school history text to seeing it with one's own eyes!

The combination of history and mythology is so captivating. Why do the writers of history text books present only uninteresting, dull facts and dates to students?! The beauty of the caves is scarred by sabotaging colonists, still it shines through.

The sculpture reveals the full mythical story of the battle between Shiva and Andhaka. During the battle, each drop of Andhaka's blood that falls to the ground spawns another form of Andhaka. In this depiction Shiva pierces Andhaka's heart with his trident, collecting Andhaka's blood in a bowl while Kali drinks the blood, effectively preventing the emergence of more Andhakas. The asura's fault was that he unknowingly lusted after his own mother, Parvati. After being defeated, Andhaka realizes his mistake and submits to Shiva. Shiva forgives him and makes him the head of his ganas.