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Expressions of the divine eye


IT TAKES two lives to render a Durga idol ready for veneration. Once, it is by a process called Bodhon where the purohit infuses pran (life) by his mantras.

The artist, who paints the eyes of the `devi', comes first.

Painting of Durga's eyes is quite a ceremony in itself. It commences on Mahalaya - exactly eight days before Puja begins on Shasthi.


Deft strokes, a masterly degree of precision and devotion create the quintessential divine eye - strikingly beautiful - that speaks in mystic silence about the life leased to the mud idol by its creator, the artist.

What is apparent from the eyes of the mother goddess are myriad expressions - anger/power (shakti), intelligence (vidya), compassion (daya) and all other emotions goddess Durga is representative of.

At times benign, sometimes ferocious, one moment kind and merciless, the other - the dichotomy is unmistakable.

It is something else, and calls for another skill to put expressions in the eyes of a mud idol. The artist never fails at the act.

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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