Early Giithaa sculptures

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 13 18:06:24 EST 1999

In my original post, I asked whether the pAsurams on
Allikkeni contain Giithaa or Vaarthai. Can you
please give me what Alvar is saying in Allikkeni pasurams?

I owe you a list of Murray Rajam's nAlAyiram publications.
Will do that and pass them on to you. My Rajam prints are in
India now.

N. Ganesan
Krishna is depicted as a handsome man teaching
the Gita and offering solace ("mA sucaH") to his
devotees at the ancient temple of Tiruvallikkeni,
the middle of Chennai (Madras).  This temple is
at least as old as the early Alvars (6th century?),
as Pey Alvar refers to the shrine as "allikkENi"
in one of his verses.

The apotheosis of the Gita is not new, at least
among philosophers.  It has long been one
of the prasthAna-trayi (three fundamental texts)
of Vedanta, and enjoys a prestigious place among
smRiti texts.  It is quoted in the same breath
as the Upanishads by all Vedantic philosophers.

I agree that the average middle-class Indian's
obsession with the Gita (particularly in translation)
is a phenomenon of this century.


> 20th century Indian homes are filled with the
> pictures/handicrafts of Krishna and Arjuna on
> a chariot drawn by horses? How old is this
> art motif?
> Is it created aftr Giithaa's rise to the position
> of the Hindu equivalent of Bible and Koran?
> Or, does this have an earlier representation?
> How old is this in Indian art?
> For Krishna in the South, usually he is
> Baalakrishna with butter or Kaaliyamardana, etc.,

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