The Adventures in Calutta 2001 - Pilrimage
to Path Bari:
- Just some history:
I had wanted to get some of those neat eyes for my Silas but simply was unable to find any when I was in India. Moreover, I didn't want to order through the mail in case the size and shape were not correct. In the end I just painted them myself and I am pleased with the results. Giriraja seems to have some more visible "personality" now, and Kurmadeva looks very content - no doubt from having his back scratched.
While in India this fall, I had a young goldsmith make some tilaks, mouth, etc. for my silas. He did a very nice job and took great care in getting them just right. Now they are looking very attractive wearing them. I also rearranged the alter a bit and I am including a photo of it as well. The Gaura Nitai deities are 18" tall and were custom made for in Bankura, W.B. These are the deities' "Christmas" outfits.
Giriraj with new gold tilak, mouth and eyebrows
al decked out with Their new gold tilaks and mouths
Giriraj April 2003 with new gold crown and flute
This Sila was donated to my family and I by the head pujari of the Uddhava Kund-bihari mandira while we were performing parikrama on Goverdhan puja.
We had been admiring the beautiful Silas on the altar when we asked if it were possible that we could also worship one. Panditji asked a few questions to test our sincerity and qualifications. He then directed us to choose one from the pile of Them in the temple courtyard. We brought this one to him and he observed that both Radha and Krishna were present within this unique, rain-cloud colored Sila. After giving instructions for worshipping Him, he also added one condition; that if He made it known that He was unhappy, that we bring Him back to Goverdhan, "Otherwise He will hold me responsible and I will have to suffer." Of course, we try our best to keep our promise to worship Him properly, lest the kind pujari will have to suffer.
On the bottom of my worshipable deity, Giriraja,is a tiny snake. I am unsure of the significance, but perhaps he represents Ananta Sesha. Giriraja is only 2" tall, so you can imagine how small is the snake. He is maybe 3/8" in length and is only a raised a hair above the surface of the base of Giriraja. He is clearly visible to the eye, but isn't easy to photograph. I hope that you can all see him clearly; he is on our left towards the top, crawling like a side-winder. Giriraja has other markings, but I will just share this one with you for now. To learn how to take such a photo of your Sila, read the article on Tips for Taking Photos of Silas. I used all the applicable tips for taking this photo, right down to the crumpled-up tin foil. Why tin foil? Read the article and find out!
This is Varahadeva. He is only 7/8 inch tall and has a sloping face with a flat "snout" at the bottom.
The curved line running across the bottom of Varahadeva is sometimes said to represent the presence of the Lord's consort - in this case Bhu devi. Just next to it is a little foot print, maybe 1/4 inch long. I see this a Brighu muni's footprint. There are even little toe marks and two little lines running through the middle, which seems to archeologically prove that Brighu wears Birkenstocks. This picture is taken with the sila placed on His side, the snout is kind of visable at the far right.
This Sila has two peices. In the middle is a chakra,the two peices of which fit together. He is also decorated with a flower garland, bow, pestle,and conch.According to shastra He is known as Rupinarayana.
Although the full chakra on Rupinarayan is not visable, it has a good amount of pyrite - fool's gold - on it, which indicates that Laxmidevi has decided to reside with her husband here.
Here's the opposite side of the chakra showing more pyrite.
This Kurma Sila (below) was kindly given to me by Jaya Tirtha Charana Prabhu. Kurmadeva arrived at my home in Georgia on the day after my 35th birthday. He is the best present I have ever received, period. Unfortunately, He missed the nice bhoga that was offered on my Birthday, but then again we can understand His late appearance considering that He came all the way from Tatopani, Nepal via New Zealand. Of course, turtles are not known for being traveling too quickly. Of course, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He can do whatever He likes, but in the form of Lord Kurma He enjoys having His back scratched by Mount Mandara and He seems to be in a leisurely mood.
I have yet to locate any eyes for Him so I am decorating daily Him as you see here. I was late for work when I snapped these photos so I forgot to take a bird's eye view and just snapped a quick worm's eye view (pun intended - the vajrakita is a type of worm - ha ha) and the details that follow. He is circular if looking from above and has an elevated Eastern side, as some Kurma Silas do. He is approximately I and 1/2 inches in diameter, making Him the largest of my little Silas. There also seems to be a chakra under His "shell", but we cannot see it well as it is hidden beneath. This is where Srila Jayadeva Goswami mentions that Kurma has a chakra due to the pivoting of the mountain held upon His transcendental back.
This detail is from Kurmadeva's back. At first I figured that it was a golden sun, but there seems to be a small depression in the very center so I see it to be a tortoise shell with a chakra in the center. Of course, these things are highly subjective and another bhakta may see something else. Either way, He appears to be a Kurma Sila. When I mentioned it to Jaya Tirtha Charana Prabhu, he said that he'd had the same thought but didn't mention it to avoid influencing me. I think that he was just testing me.
This little depression is found on Kurma's bottom side. I see
a turtle, what about you? This is a very prominent marking, although only
about two millimeters in length. My Varahadeva Sila has some little hoofprints
that actually make this one look large, a bit too small to photograph effectively....sorry.
The Altar housed in a nice solid wood cabinet
Adventures in Calutta 2001 - Pilrimage
to Path Bari:
- Just some history:
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