Madan-Bhasma (Shiva Turns to Ashes)
Not on view
Like the uncolored version of this print entitled “The Oriental Cupid in Flames” this work emphasizes Shiva’s role as a forest dwelling renunciate. Moreover, it references his retreat to the forest in sorrow following the death of his wife Sati. As the world was in danger of unraveling without Shiva’s guidance, the gods chose Parvati to attend him. Kama, the god of love and desire, fired an arrow at Shiva in an attempt to make him notice Parvati (seen kneeling to the right). This angered Shiva who was deep in meditation and he opened his third eye and reduced Kama to ashes— the dramatic moment illustrated here. Ultimately, Shiva realizes that Parvati is an incarnation of Sati and order is restored, and in this sense Kama succeeds.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.