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Śrī Nāthjī


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Kṛṣṇa

Mughal Empire

Aurangzeb (1618—1707) Mogul emperor of Hindustan 1658–1707

 

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The name given to the image of Kṛṣṇa, installed in the havelī of the same name, at Nāthdvāra in Rajasthan, where it is worshipped by the Puṣṭimārga Vallabhasampradāya. It is thought to portray the youthful god as Govardhanadhara, i.e. with his left-arm upraised in the act of lifting Govardhana. According to the Vallabha hagiographical literature, the arm of the image began to appear out of a crack in Govardhana hill (near Braj) at the beginning of the 15th century, but only made a complete appearance with the birth of Vallabha (c.1479), who subsequently declared it to be a svarūpa (‘own form’) of Kṛṣṇa (i.e. an actual, embodied form of the deity). During a period of persecution by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Vallabha's successor's fled with the image, eventually housing it in Braj in 1671. (According to some accounts, it had been looked after by Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas until this point.) The image itself is carved into a rectangular block of black stone, set into a cavity. In reproductions it is invariably shown wearing one of 25 different costumes, typically with an elaborate turban, and with lotus stalks protruding from under its right armpit.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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