Her wrath is unforgiving. High above Her head She raises the cudgel, Her torso thrust out from the determination of Her stance. As She seizes the adharmee by his tongue, She looks down on Him with unspeakable ferocity pouring forth from Her eyes. She is the Mahavidya Bagalamukhi, a potent primeval force reputed to rein in (‘valga’, from the the first half of Her name is derived) by means of the mouth (‘mukha’).
Like all Mahavidyas, Devi Bagalamukhi has numerous names and is formed of as much beauty as valour. The lustrous complexion of Her fair body contrasts sharply with the dull, almost lifeless roopa (form) of the adharmee in the throes of defeat at Her feet. The ample lengths of Her luxuriant tresses are discernible through the gossamer green dupatta all the way down to Her knees.
There is no one in the Hindu pantheon who may equal Bagalamukhi in terms of strength and passion. Through a gentle palette of pale carmine and muted greens and white and other natural pastels, the artisan has put together a composition that is firm, downright powerful, in terms of the statement it makes. This is what makes any Hindu Devi composition, especially a Mother Bagalamukhi one, a fine addition to a devotee’s home.
Devi assumes various forms, fierce at times and benevolent at others. Even in iconographic depictions where she's killing a demon, her form assumes a pacific of countenance (saumya-vadana). Devi's actions are not motivated by anger, greed or selfishness. When she kills a demon, she does so because his actions warrant pain for his body in this world.
The first thing that strikes about this work is its intensity. The drawing conveys the calm monumentality of the transcendent feminine reality that underlies the universe. Devi's form rendered here appears to throb with energy, the drawing and delineation of the feature having been pressed into service towards the attainment of that end. Her eyes are angry, the gaze firm and the face radiant. She appears human; her third eye is the only indication of her cosmic being. She pulls out the demon's tongue and clubs it to death. Devi is adorned with a stone-encrusted crown, beneath which her hair parts into two to fall on either side. She wears many stringed necklaces, bracelets, earrings and anklets.
Here when she stands thus in all her glory against a richly done up, deep background, made up of small hills and a temple. The flaring flag atop the temple signifies the imminent vistory of the goddess. Devi in this painting appears like a vision, a veritable shakti, embodiment of divine energy.
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