Padmavathi (Jain faith)

This is Padmavathi from the Jain faith and she is one of the most worshipped goddesses. Here Padmavati is shown with four hands. She is holding Pasha (noose) and Ankusha (goad) and a fruit (?) in her hands, clockwise starting from upper right hand.  Her lower right hand is in Varada mudra (boon bestowing). In addition to the attributes, Padmavati is identified by a canopy of a hooded snake upon her crown and the swan, below her left leg.

The attributes vary widely and what is shown above is the most common attributes for her. Padmavathi could also have a snake as her ‘vahana’ and sometimes both Swan and snake. The multi-headed cobra protecting her is one of the distinguishing features. The cobra could be 1 or 3 or 5 hooded. The other example of Padmavathi with me shows her protected by a three-hooded cobra.

Here Padmavathi is sitting in Lalithasana on an inverted lotus. The features that stand out are her ear-rings and the provision made for nose-ring. See the closeup, for the hole, left nostril, provided for the nose ring.

Padmavati is the Sasanadevata, protective deity of Parasvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankara of Jains. Sasanadevatas normally have their Thirthankara shown along with them, but not in this case.

There are inscriptions on all four side, one of the typical characteristics of Jain sculptures.

Padmavathi is linked to Manasa (the Hindu snake goddess), Gauri (consort of Siva) and Tara (Buddhist Goddess). Manasa, snake goddesses, is also known as Padmavati.

Just to make it more interesting, Padmavati is the name of Lakshmi, seated in lotus posture as she emerged from the ocean churned by Gods and Asuras for the sake of ambrosia. Padmavathi is also the consort of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati.

This bronze is about 15 cm in height and is good condition. This is from Western India and based on the inscription this may be dated to early nineteenth century ( Saka era 1724 and Common Era 1802) .

For this blog, I depended heavily on Jaina Rupa Mandana by  Umakanth P Shah (1987). A superb book.


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