Sudarshana (With Yoga Narasimha)

It is a remarkable work. Relatively new as most of the Sudarshana Chakras were made in the sixteenth century or later.

It is a double-sided Vigraha with an eight-armed striding Sudarshana on one side and four-armed Yoga Narasimha on the other side.

The Ahirbudhnya-Samhita prescribes worship of Sudarshana Chakra to conquer enemies. The political environment in South Inda after the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire (the sixteenth century) instilled the need to protect the faith against external aggressors.

The Vigaraha is damaged. It is missing the base, two of Sudarshana’s attributes are broken and one of Yoga Narasimha’s chakras is missing.

Yes, in this form Yoga Narasimha holds four chakras, one in each arm. Given that a Chakra itself is a powerful weapon, Yoga Narasimha holding four chakras is quite a statement. Combine that with the eight-armed Vishnu in Alidha pose, striding forward to his right, to ward off evil, this Vigraha is powerful. And it says so.

Even just as a piece of art, showcasing metal casting talent, this Vigraha is outstanding. Among other things to note, on the Sudarshana side, you can see Satkona, two interlocking triangles, as Vishu’s backdrop and not on the Yoga Narasimhas’s side.

The casting is sharp and the engraving, see the prabhavali, is detailed. The features to note include the eight-armed Vishnu in the Alidha pose, Vishnu wearing Padukas, the spokes emanating from the centre, Vishnu’s crown being replaced by flame and the different designs on Yoga Narasimha’s chakras.

Despite the nature of the Vigarha, Vishnu’s face is peaceful but not Narasimha’s face. Quite a contrast, Vishnu is marching to the battlefield with a peaceful face and Yoga Narasimha with an aggressive facial expression.

This Vigraha is about 14 cm across. It is from Tamil Nadu. The two-sided Sudarshana and Yoga Narsimha Vigrahas are dated to the seventeenth century or later.

This website has another Sudarshana and you will find additional information in that blog.

Note: Most of the comments here are based on the book Vishnu’s Flaming Wheel: The Iconography of Sudarshana Chakra by W E Begley. Possibly the best book on this topic.

Note: I shared the image with Dhruva Gorrick, author of the book Narasimha The Lost Temples. And this is what he had to say. ” Wow. Sridhar, this is one of the best. Congratulations on incredible, incredible addition to your collection. Amazing. I am very happy that He came to you because you are such a promoter of collecting and preserving such beautiful iconography. My God, he is incredible. One of the best pieces I have seen. What a fabulous piece”


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