• This forum contains old posts that have been closed. New threads and replies may not be made here. Please navigate to the relevant forum to create a new thread or post a reply.
  • Welcome to Tamil Brahmins forums.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our Free Brahmin Community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Seeker's Questions

Status
Not open for further replies.

saidevo

Well-known member
Portraits and Idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses

There is a consistency in facial and other physical features of our Gods and Goddesses in their portraits. When and how did the earliest portraits originate? Who were the first artists? Did our rishis give any specifications?

This amazing consistency is not just for identifying our personal gods. It helps a Hindu to concentrate on the god during a puja at home, and during meditation on a form.

How much of such consistency do we find in the god-forms of idols and statues? For example, the pratima-s of our gods are much different between the south and north Indian temples, but the portraits generally look the same.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Portraits and Idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses

There is a consistency in facial and other physical features of our Gods and Goddesses in their portraits. When and how did the earliest portraits originate? Who were the first artists? Did our rishis give any specifications?

This amazing consistency is not just for identifying our personal gods. It helps a Hindu to concentrate on the god during a puja at home, and during meditation on a form.

How much of such consistency do we find in the god-forms of idols and statues? For example, the pratima-s of our gods are much different between the south and north Indian temples, but the portraits generally look the same.

Most goddesses potraits we have now in our prayer rooms have been the brainchild of Ravi Varma.

If you have noticed idols of Lord Buddha from China or Japan you cant help notice oriental features but the same idol from India will be more Indian like.

If you notice ISKCON art you will notice western type of art influence.

Coming to Idols i have notice that in north idols tend to be marble and colorful where else in south its not colorful and some other type of stone is used.

Many say that the mind cant dream what it has not seen in real life.But we all know that even the blind king had the cosmic vision from Lord Krishna so that goes to proof that we only need to rely on the visual cortex of the brain and not necessary through the external visual apparatus.

The ancient rishis would have surely thru their Jnaana Dhrsthi realized the various facets of Saguna Brahman and their mental images paint the canvases of our mind even till today.
 

DrBarani

New member
The genesis of idol worshipping... apparently it began well over 5000 years. The earliest form of idols were the "snake stones" usually located at the periphery of villages and roads and under special trees where snakes lived. Subsequently some brave souls who fought some big snakes with trishul type hunting weapon... became a hero of the community. You can guess the rest.

The rishes might have given shape to "Avatars" that they presented to different communities. IMHO!
 

biswa

New member
It would be nice if they were really consistent but they do generally correspond to standard Indian notions of beauty i.e. sharp noses, big eyes, oval faces, fair skin. The gods look somewhat different from region to region though except perhaps Ganesh. I also do know that many NIs do not identify with the SI gods at all, unless perhaps they are in deep trouble and need to be bailed out.

It is said that man created God in his own image (or was it the other way around)? :)
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
Deities, whether a picture or sculpture, are necessarily conceived in the human mind of its creator and the divinity is infused by chanting of "manthras" from the scriptures.Thus these deities are divine only in a qualified sense. The consistency in the figures is in the mind of believer, and not possible in the figures of God. Ofcourse "Shilpa Sastras" guide the artists on the basics to be adopted for making the figures.

Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.
 

vikrama

Active member
The cause of the fame of many temples is the beauty of the images there. For example, Durga at Patteswaram and Vedaranyam, Murugan at ENkaN and Ettukudi, Dakshinamurthy at Alangudi. Such images are considered powerful and boon-showering.

Ganapati Sthapati says, in his book, ‘Who created God?’, that god has no option other than entering into the image when it is made strictly according to Shilpa Shastra. By looking at such an image quite often, it settles in our mind. When we become able to recall that image in all its fullness even in the absence of the physical object we are said to have attained Siddhi in the worship.

As the saying goes (यद्भावं तद्भवति) the qualities of whatever god we are absorbed in, get into us. In this connection I am reminded of Bharathi’s saying that the serene majesty of Ganapati silences our minds.

எனக்கு வேண்டும் வரங்களை இசைப்பேன் கேளாய் கணபதி
மனதிற் கவலையில்லாமல் மதியில் இருளே தோன்றாமல்
நினைக்கும் போது உன் மவுன நிலை வந்திட நீ அருள் செய்வாய்
கனக்கும் செல்வம் நூறு வயது இவையும் தர நீ கடவாயே.
 

amala

Well-known member
It would be nice if they were really consistent but they do generally correspond to standard Indian notions of beauty i.e. sharp noses, big eyes, oval faces, fair skin. The gods look somewhat different from region to region though except perhaps Ganesh. I also do know that many NIs do not identify with the SI gods at all, unless perhaps they are in deep trouble and need to be bailed out.

It is said that man created God in his own image (or was it the other way around)? :)

I just got to view this thread today.

I cannot agree more with the 1st line. The pictures of our deities I have in my puja room at home all look like fair skinned "aryan" beauties/hunks. Nothing at all like the average Indian person.

But one thing about what you wrote baffles me. What do you mean by NIs don't identify with SI gods at all? I thought most of the deities were the same except for Murugan (Karthik). No surprises there as he is known as God of the Tamil country anyway. But apart from him what do you mean?
 

N.R.Ranganathan

Well-known member
In North India, Lord Shiva is depicted with moustache, but in the South
we worship Him in Linga form only. Lord Shiva in Ardhanareeswarar form is
worshipped in some temples, Tiruchengode for example , but not many
temples have Lord Ardhanareeswara.

If you closely observe , there is a difference between Lord Ganapathy
in Western India and in the South.

In the south we have srichakra or meru installed before the Goddess
( in Tiruvanaikkovil, Akhilandeswari has it as earrings ). You can see
this in Mookaambiga and Kamakshi temples. In Mangadu, there is a big
Meru. There may be srichakra in the North Indian temples, but I have
not seen.
 
N

nachi naga

Guest
I just got to view this thread today.

I cannot agree more with the 1st line. The pictures of our deities I have in my puja room at home all look like fair skinned "aryan" beauties/hunks. Nothing at all like the average Indian person.

But one thing about what you wrote baffles me. What do you mean by NIs don't identify with SI gods at all? I thought most of the deities were the same except for Murugan (Karthik). No surprises there as he is known as God of the Tamil country anyway. But apart from him what do you mean?

you are comparing present time humans with past living beings who were gajanu-bhavas...

i had during grace light meditation a wonderful vision and a narration for few minutes...never have i seen such a portrait nor sculpture and nor even knew such a verse existed from a certain chapter from a certain holy scripture....meditation is a powerful tool and i thank our ancient rishis and present gurus for teaching this techniques..i find dr.pillai so satisfying guru for meditation.
 

amala

Well-known member
Thank you for the clarification Ranganathan mama. So apart from slight changes nothing as major as Biswagaru is implying that NIs don't identify at all with SI gods.
Biswagaru??
 

biswa

New member
Thank you for the clarification Ranganathan mama. So apart from slight changes nothing as major as Biswagaru is implying that NIs don't identify at all with SI gods.
Biswagaru??

Yes, Amaladevi, I think I would stand by that statement. :)

If you stop a random person on a Delhi street and asked who Andaal is, I would bet you 100 to 1 that he/she would draw a blank. Similarly, I would estimate about 85 to 1 if you asked about Ayappa, 90 to 1 about Govindaraja and perhaps 50 to 1 if you asked about Lord Venkateshwara himself.

Of course it goes both ways. If you asked somebody in Madurai about Ajmer Sharif, or somebody in Hubli about Kamakhya Devi, they probably wouldn't fare much better either.
 
Last edited:

amala

Well-known member
Ahh now i get it. Splitting hairs on semantics aren't you? It doesn't matter what they are called the fact remains that they are the same. Aandal is none other than Lakshmi, Vekateshwara is Vishnu. Ok agreed about Ayappa Swami.Apart from Kerala and some TN, Ayappa is a virtual unknown. Dargah Sharif is Muslim and thus not counted :). I'm guessing Kamakhya Devi is what in TN they would call as "Amman" (Tamil name for Parvati, Durga, Bhairavi etc).

Basically its the same gods. Just different names. Like Puran Poli in Maharashtra is boli in TN. Does that mean its different? Chakri in Gujarat is murukku in the south.

In the immortal words of William Shakespeare:

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

Romeo and Juliet.
 

biswa

New member
The food analogy is good, but as they say in Brit Land, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Unfortunately, gods cannot be eaten by humans, so we argue on. There are no vedas, puranas etc which mention Andaal, Venkateshwara, Govindaraja and Kamakhya. These seem to be indigenous deities which were coopted into the Aryan Hindu pantheon with a 1 to 1 assignment to the Vedic deities. For complete proof see the thread "Aryan Invasion Confusion". :p

BTW, FWIW, Kamakhya is the patron goddess of witches and witchcraft in Kamrup (Assam)!
 

amala

Well-known member
Yes all these are probabaly tribal gods brought into the Hindu pantheon. The original Vedic gods were Vayu, Varuna, Agni, Indra and not sure if I'm missing some.

Yes I am aware that Kamakhya is a tantric goddess (defo sounds nicer than saying witchcraft)
 
OP
OP
S

saidevo

Well-known member
namaste everyone.

My intention in the OP was that there are rich descriptions of our God forms in the Vedas and ItihAsa-PurANas, and in such secular texts as the plays of kavis like KALidAsa, so were there any historically first portraits of our Gods, which tradition our present-day artists follow.

• Mention of painter RAjA Ravi Varma by smt.ReNu, as a pioneer of our God images is a case in point.

• Similarly, tracing the forms of our Alaya mUrtis to the Agama shAstras, as mentioned by sarvashrI Brahmanyan and Vikrama is a historic fact with scriptural sanction.

• That the forms of pratimAs and mUrtis differ between the North and South could be due to the varied culture in these regions. We should also remember that hundreds of temples in the North were destroyed by the Muslims when they ruled the regions (as detailed in the Voice of Dharma book Hindu Temples, What Happened to Them).

• Further, as Amala has mentioned, the forms might differ but the concepts of the Gods were the same in most cases throughout India, since they have their origin in the ItihAsa-PurANas.

• Amala, that the "pictures of our deities ... all look like fair skinned 'aryan' beauties/hunks (!?)" and unlike the average Indian person, could be because we only give the best to our Gods, be it a portrait form, a flower or leaf or the nivedanam used in our pujas. Besides, we have our shrI KRShNa who has the gray skin colour of the average Indian person, and the village Gods who look like the general populace.

Just as the Vedas and ItihAsa-PurANas unite our faiths all over this holy land of BhAratam, bhakti and karma unite our deities and devotees across our diverse cultures.
 
OP
OP
S

saidevo

Well-known member
Seeker's Questions: The World Before Closed Eyes

When I close my eyes, initially I see the afterimages of what my eyes were seeing. Then it becomes darker and I see cloudy patterns that form, expand (or contract) and then disappear, one followed by another, much like the waves formed on a still water surface when a stone is dropped.

The 'world' that my closed eyes look at is usually violet in color, and the clouds that form and disappear, are indigo in color. Like the surface and internal colors of the jambu fruit. Or the chemical compound potassium permanganate.

As my mind gets more and more still, I can see real-world shapes--of houses, humans, anything I am familiar with--that quickly form and pass into other shapes. I am physically conscious (and not sleeping) while I watch these images. After sometime, I find that the slightest thought currents disturb the shapes, but I guess that with sufficient practice I might be able to control and create shapes by thought.

Technically, I have simply closed my eyes, so my eyes should be looking at the inner side of my eyelids. I read somewhere that these shapes and images are random reflections of residual light particles inside the eyelids, but I am not prepared to buy this theory, because I see a whole world before my closed eyes, which to some extent I can control.

Since I have not yet started sleeping, I know that these 'waves' are not the alpha or beta waves of REM or deep sleep. Those waves come only after I fall asleep.

What are the shapes and images that I see? Of what stuff they are made? Can this thing be explained in a purely physical and convincing way by Science? If they are spiritual, is the scenary from the astral world?
 

renuka

Well-known member
Seeker's Questions: The World Before Closed Eyes

When I close my eyes, initially I see the afterimages of what my eyes were seeing. Then it becomes darker and I see cloudy patterns that form, expand (or contract) and then disappear, one followed by another, much like the waves formed on a still water surface when a stone is dropped.

The 'world' that my closed eyes look at is usually violet in color, and the clouds that form and disappear, are indigo in color. Like the surface and internal colors of the jambu fruit. Or the chemical compound potassium permanganate.

As my mind gets more and more still, I can see real-world shapes--of houses, humans, anything I am familiar with--that quickly form and pass into other shapes. I am physically conscious (and not sleeping) while I watch these images. After sometime, I find that the slightest thought currents disturb the shapes, but I guess that with sufficient practice I might be able to control and create shapes by thought.

Technically, I have simply closed my eyes, so my eyes should be looking at the inner side of my eyelids. I read somewhere that these shapes and images are random reflections of residual light particles inside the eyelids, but I am not prepared to buy this theory, because I see a whole world before my closed eyes, which to some extent I can control.

Since I have not yet started sleeping, I know that these 'waves' are not the alpha or beta waves of REM or deep sleep. Those waves come only after I fall asleep.

What are the shapes and images that I see? Of what stuff they are made? Can this thing be explained in a purely physical and convincing way by Science? If they are spiritual, is the scenary from the astral world?

If you observe closely when our eyes are closed we are actually seeing with the visual cortex.
I also dont buy the random reflections of residual light particles inside the eyelids theory.

I feel its our mind that is seeing here and have you ever tried this with eyes wide open.Its actually possible to be able to "see" with your visual cortex with your eyes just observing some other image that is falling in the visual field.
Its not an overlap of images but rather two different images.

I will give you a simple example..see during exams before sometimes when I want to remember what I studied, with my eyes open I just look at a wall and try to visualize the page of the book that I read and just copy what I see in that image.
At that time the image we see is projected by the visual cortex from our memory but our two eyes can still see the examiner and other students in the hall.I am sure all of us had done this in sometime or the other during exams.

The visualized image is alway somewhat projected from the centre of our forehead cos if you draw a line perpendicular to our centre of forehead we will reach the optic chiasma.

But the mind can only "see" what it has felt before through the senses.
So I dont really know if the images we see with our eyes closed is a scene we had seen before or something new.
May be its the Chitta portion of the Antahkarana that is playing in the mind.
Some portion of images we had seen before in a different life or in a different Loka (Astral Plane)
 
Last edited:

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Saidevo,

I think we can find the answer in Pancikarana Varttikam for what you asked with regards to closed eyes vision.


The sense of vision belongs to to the body.That which is seen,characterized by form pertains to the sphere of elements and the Sun is the corresponding deity in the sphere of the Gods.
 

N.R.Ranganathan

Well-known member
The first ones are your impressions just formed before you have closed
your eyes.

What you see after a while, but still awake, are the collective impressions
stored in chitta, the storage part of your antakharana. If the impressions
are new, either these are the product of your mind or those stored long
time ago or in previous births. I assume there is no dream stage.
 
OP
OP
S

saidevo

Well-known member
namaste everyone.

In seeking answer to this question, I think we need to attempt to reconcile the scientific with the spiritual, which is why such questions are interesting contemplations.

I agree with the spiritual explanations given by smt.ReNukA and shrI RanganAthan, but then the images being remembrances from previous births seems a little far-fetched to me.

I am sure that looking at volatile matter forming images that change with our thoughts is a common experience for all of us. In our waking state, the brain is active and the mind works in the background, but when we close our eyes to sleep, their roles are reversed.

smt.ReNukA, some points about your scientific reasoning need to be clarified:

01. What exactly is the action of 'seeing'? Obviously, it involves the lenses of the eyes as the instrument of visual perception, the retina for capturing the images and the brain to direct the eyes and process the images, right?

02. In that case then, the retina is the 'field of vision' or screen for the input through the eyes, right? The brain processes the images falling on this field.

I understand your explanation of two images falling at the same time: one the physical image projected by the eye lenses, and the other a virtual image projected by the visual cortex from memory.

Now the question is, does this virtual image too fall on the retina of the eye, so another part of the brain can 'see' and process it? If not, what/where is the screen or field of vision for this virtual image?

03. In a computer system, all the textual/audio/visual inputs are stored in the form of bits and pixels in the hard disk, which are played back by the processing software on the screen. Seems the brain is doing the same thing for the virtual images we 'see', but then where are they projected: on the retina, or on the inner surface the eyelids?

04. One thing we need to remember is that although it is the visual cortex that is 'seeing', as we lapse into dreamy sleep (or even earlier), our eyes move behind their closed eyelids, as if they are participating in some vision. Since the eyes only face the inner surface of the eyelids, is it not possible that the field of vision could be that surface?

05. As for the spiritual implications, we might perhaps say the following:

• that our physical brain only acts as a receiver and transmitter and that manas--mind, as the subtler brain behind is located in our manomaya-kosha--mental body.

• that all our past impressions are actually stored in the chitta, to which some parts of the physical brain map as memory.

• the buddhi--wisdom and mana-sAkShi--conscience, part of the mind is located in the kAraNa sharIra--causal body, from where the brain receives its flashes of inspiration, caution, etc.

• since the ahaMkAra--I-maker, is present in the dreamy state too, it is not a product of the physical brain but of the subtler mind.

• since the astral plane is the substratum for the physical, the world behind closed eyes expands into it, enabling us to actually travel in the astral world in some of our dreams.

I read somewhere that by trying to become aware of the exact moments of falling asleep from the state of brooding with closed eyes and of waking up after sleep, we can become increasingly aware of the fourth state of turIya and try to learn to control our dreams by directing our consciousness and have lucid dreams.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Sai Devo,

I will answer this part first.

You wrote:
Now the question is, does this virtual image too fall on the retina of the eye, so another part of the brain can 'see' and process it? If not, what/where is the screen or field of vision for this virtual image?

Retina is like a Film roll and it receives input from outside through cornea,refracted by the lens of the eye and falls on the retina which in turn generates visual signals which is then transmitted along optic nerve,optic chiasma,optic tract,lateral geniculate body,optic radiation,visual cortex and visual association cortex and finally image is seen.

Retina receives input externally and it has light sensitive photoreceptor cells that get stimulated with input.
Without light these cells dont get stimulated and hence we cant see in 100% darkness.

I might want to touch upon Retinal Implants here which are inserted in the eye of the blind individual and it converts light into electrical impulse and conveyed directly into the optic nerve.
So a Retina is not 100% needed to "see" as long anything can convert light impulses into electrical impulses we should be able to see.(but i dont really know how clear cos lots of this new types of implants are still going on massive trials even though many have benefited by this).

Ok coming to your Question...Does the virtual image also fall on the Retina?
I assume the virtual image is coming from the memory and memory is stored data and hence doesn't require to go through the external visual pathway.

Before that the Retina is not the screen for our vision.The image that falls on the Retina is inverted and later corrected by the Visual cortex and therefore we dont see things up side down.Therefore the visual cortex is the screen which all images are seen.

So technically the Virtual Image also falls in the Visual Cortex but I think what we would like to know is its pathway for forming this image.
That I have to say I have no answers yet for an internal pathway of Virtual Images that dont need external stimuli.

Thats where I brought in the Chitta portion of the Antahkarana to try to decipher this.
The Visual Cortex need electrical impulses to "see"
So does the Chitta produce electrical impulses to the Visual Cortex?
We have to remember that Antahkarana is contained in the Manomaya kosha and the Pranamaya Kosha is inbetween the Manomaya Kosha and the Annamaya Kosha(gross body which contains the brain too).

Prana has been explained by Paramahansa Yogananda as negatively charged(electrons) and he has coined the word Lifetrons for this cos he said Prana is electrons suffused with inherent intelligence and not merely blind electrons.

We all know that when we have unidirectional flow of electrons,electrical current is produced(Physics).

So I wonder if the stored data in Chitta is able to generate an unidirectional flow of pranic electrons in the Pranamaya Kosha which in turn generates electrical impulses which in turn stimulate the Visual Cortex via a series of Action Potentials.

These are only my speculations something for a long time I have been trying to gather data but only able to get from religious text that Prana is the bridging agent of the Mind and Gross body but mechanism of action and pathway is not mapped or may be I havent found the text yet.


P.S just to add..in those with Pituitary Brain tumor the Tumor presses on the Optic Chiasma this sends electrical impulses to the Visual Cortex which produces Flashes of Lights in the Visual Field of the patient.
Retina is not involved in this.
 
Last edited:

Yamaka

New member
"It is said that man created God in his own image (or was it the other way around)? :)"

Biswa:

Believe me, not the other way around -

"Man Created God in his Own Image, period".... if you care for TRUTH.

It's man's EGO that created his GODs and also the HOLY GHOST!

Take care.
 
OP
OP
S

saidevo

Well-known member
namaste Yamaka.

With the continuing advancement in the technology of AI and Robotics, it would be perhaps more accurate to say that Man created (or is trying to create) a robot in his image. and God makes man find Him in his own image.

Can a robot ever create a man, with whatever advancement of technology? I strongly doubt.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top
Thank you for visiting TamilBrahmins.com

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.

We depend on advertising to keep our content free for you. Please consider whitelisting us in your ad blocker so that we can continue to provide the content you have come here to enjoy.

Alternatively, consider upgrading your account to enjoy an ad-free experience along with numerous other benefits. To upgrade your account, please visit the account upgrades page

You can also donate financially if you can. Please Click Here on how you can do that.

I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks