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The Body of GodAn Emperor's Palace for Krishna in Eighth Century Kanchipuram$
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D. Dennis Hudson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369229

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369229.001.0001

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 Northern Panels of the Northern Path

 Northern Panels of the Northern Path

Transforming Power

(p.147) 7 Northern Panels of the Northern Path
The Body of God

D. Dennis Hudson

Oxford University Press

The six panels facing north in the middle‐floor sanctum document the different stages of purification of consciousness within the devotee during the predawn “Brahma's hour.” This chapter examines three, which represent Hari's indefatigable churning power (bala). First, the person of four bodies is discussed through the story of Prajapati. The first panel is the story of Gajendra rescued from the jaws of the “Grasper” (graha) by Hari, just as the first step in the devotee's purification is the plea to be rescued from the grasp of ignorance. Next, Rama disciplines Ocean on the way to Lanka; it represents on many levels the disciplining of the devotee's consciousness by the acharya. Next Hari as Ajita churns the Milk Ocean to obtain both poison (swallowed by Shiva) and a pot of amrita (which an asura flies off with), just as the devotee's mind is “churned” by the recitation of mantras.

Keywords:   Brahma's hour, bala, Prajapati, Gajendra, Grasper, Rama, Ocean, Lanka, Ajita, Milk Ocean, Amrita

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