Watercolor on Canvas
Size – Half imperial

In the midst of the mist he has created,
I cloaked thee self, I couldn’t see!
Tied I, strings, of mother, father & the mated,
With beauty of death, he set me free!

Shouted I, in agony, as I belonged nowhere,
Cried I, in pain, in search of self…
Found myself, I, Not here, not there,
Then realized, I’m just a part of the play!

Shiva’s the lock, Shiva’s the key,
of birth, death, and existence
– @authorsarwa

Prasuna Murali Tirumala’s ‘JangamDevara’ is the portrait of one of the many traveling monks of the Hindu Shaivite Jangam community predominantly found in South India. Believed to be born from blood split from Shiva’s thigh and considered walking lingas, Jangam Devaras are revered and bestowed with donations and gifts in the hope of reciprocal blessings as they spread peace to families observing obituary rituals.

The painting captures the soul of one who is human, considered divine, and is a constant bridge between them both. The face tells a personal story – an amalgamation of all the stories it has seen. Every hair in the beard is a story, and every wrinkle an emotion that was expressed or contained. The eyes that gave hope to many, are now hollowing out from the strain and belie the tired, forced smile. Is there hope for him or has he poured it all out for the salvation (moksha) of others and is now flickering towards the end, as the fleeting human life flows towards the eternal divine? The divine that is so exquisitely represented by the tilak on his forehead. The symbolic usage of colour schemes draws us in – the dark shirt for death; the white beard for experience and wisdom; the constant theme of saffron, the choice colour of Hindu ascetics, flowing through devara’s clothing, beads and the stick that clangs the well-used metal plate for ringing in peace. The portrait pushes the boundaries of realism that can be achieved through the medium of watercolours.

Hailing from Gudur, Andhra Pradesh in India, Prasuna, a chemistry graduate now lives in Secunderabad, Telangana.

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