Mahabalipuram - Finished and Unfinished Arjuna Penance - Startling differences
  • Hi Friends,
    While writing about these two bas reliefs, I found some differences which could
    be of interest. I did overlook those in past, but these were quite prominent
    when working on details.
    1. Shiva and ascetic's positions are interchanged - in unfinished relief, Shiva
    is more near to central fissure
    2. Vishnu shrine missing in unfinished relief

    I thought about few explanations:
    1. This unfinished relief was started to correct some mistake of the first
    relief? In that case making Shiva near to the river hence depicting Ganga's
    2. This was executed in some Pallava king whose affinity to Shiva was greater,
    may be Parameshvaravarman I or Rajasimha?
    3. The work was started but left unfinished, as most of other monuments in
    Mahabalipuram, suggesting that the work was perhaps on in Rajasimha's time but
    later on no royal patronage was given hence everything stopped.
    4. Was this a test relief to get confidence for main one? in that case why the
    positions were interchanged and a shrine was added?

    I do not have any reference book where this relief is discussed in details.
    Would be grateful if someone can suggest me some reference.
  • Dear saurabh

    Google or search inside poetryinstone for " a testing panel" . But
    post this dr balusamy has brought out a defn book ( the same link for
    the talk in tamil that I posted) which gives lot of evidences to the
    scene depicted as the ajuna penance : ref from vanaparva where the
    pandavas got to himalays in exile. He has identified all the 153
    creatures on the panel, incl the cunning cat n 13 mice story ( this
    was apparently narrated by duryodana to his spies to tell krishna
    about arjuna's false penance)

    He also identifies the season and time : early spring and mid day for
    this panel!!
  • Duryodhana's conversation with Uluka - Udyoga Parva.
  • Hi vj,
    very unfortunate that the talk is in Tamil, someone in this group should take up
    this task of translation so that people like me can also be benefited by these
    researches. I am going through Vanaparva of Mahabharata in detail now, its a big
    chapter hence will take some 2-3 days. I have reached till Nala-Damayanti story
    however till now I have not seen much resemblances with the panel. Let me see if
    I can also get some matching details in the book and the panel, however as I am
    not actually a scholar, of course I am dumb enough :), so will take some time.
    Meanwhile if I can get the English copy of the research of Dr Balusamy then it
    will surely help me.
    I went through the 'a testing panel' article, good to know that sometimes I also
    find those difference which experts have seen before, doing improvement it seems
    :). I will be visiting Mahabalipuram on last week of September, will again have
    a detailed look on the monuments.
  • Dear Saurabh
    I'd certainly like English translations, too. But lots of work.

    You work on 'Vana Parva'? I worked a little to track the really
    obscure tirthas but didn't get very far, using Bhardwaj's book from
    the '80s. Have you thought about any locations of lost ones?
  • Hi Kathie,
    I have reached the 'Teerth Yatra' section of vana parva. I remember some books
    already published on the identification of these teertha places, will revert
    back if I get any clue about the book or the places.

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