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IDC Archaeology Lecture - Iconology Of Shiva

Bijoy Misra

IDC Archaeology Lecture - Iconology of Shiva

The concept of a “fatherly” man responsible for the creation of the universe is indigenous to the early settlers in the Indian subcontinent.  The person was characterized as disciplined, industrious and knowledgeable.  He was the cause of human welfare as well as the suffering.  He would be upset if men disturbed the nature or abused the animals.  Following the health rules and the proper nutrition, he could live for ever. 

Among the seals of Harappa during Indus Civilization, we have a representation of a man amidst the animals, leading to the impression that there was a time the man was a teacher and was kind to animals.  Known as Pashupati, he lived in the forest among the animals apparently proving the point that an animal’s ferociousness is a function of our approach than an instinct of the animal.  That man can be friendly to the animals and live in harmony with them is an important step in the growth of civilization.

As vedic beliefs spread through India, the indigenous people blocked them thus helping to create the image of an angry Rudra in the Vedas.  Independent in his views, the Rudra was not impressed by the Vedic rituals.  The concept was later discovered through the philosophy of Yoga, where an objective self, the overseer of the senses was conceived.  Called Ishvara, it referred to a cognitive entity realizable through deep meditation. 

All these different concepts were later composed as stone icons that conveyed various forms.  A word “shiva” was used to convey the concept that an embodiment of all skills, talents and health in men was possible and that the icon conveyed the wholesomeness of the concept.  Various stone and anthropomorphic structures have been discovered to depict the “shiva” concept in architecture.  It is a popular concept in modern India.

Dr. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarti, the former Director General of Art Museums in India will present the first Archaeology seminar entitled “Iconology of Shiva” organized by India Discovery Center on Saturday, Aug 11, 2018, 3 PM at Learning Center in Lexington Public Library.  Dr. Chakravarti is an IAS officer in India and completed a PhD degree in art at Harvard University in the early 1990’s.  The lecture is free and everyone is invited.

India Discovery Center a non-profit IRS tax-exempt organization engaged in creating educational material to teach India’s cultural history and traditions to the youth and public abroad.  More information can be obtained by visiting http://www.indiadiscoverycenter.org     

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