By S. Shankara Narayanan
Published by Dipti Publications, Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry - 1972
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The Tantra celebrates the Ten as the 'Maha vidyas'.
Great Sciences, that hold the creation in their celestial grasp.
What are these maha vidyas ? Why are they distinguished from one another though they all proceed from and lead to the same one Reality? The author explains with his usual lucidity: “ Each is a particular Cosmic function and each leads to a special realisation of the One Reality. The might of Kali, the sound-force of Tara, the beauty and bliss of Sundari, the vast vision of Bhuvaneshwari, the effulgent charm of Bhairavi, the striking force of Chinnamasta, the silent inertness of Dhumavati, the paralysing power of Bhagalamukhi, the expressive play of Matangi and the concord and harmony of Kamalatmika are the various characteristics, the distinct manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness that has made this creation possible. The Tantra says ibat the Supreme can he realised at these various points."
The secrets of chese vidyas are buried deep in Sastras and oral traditions. To Sri Shankaranarayanan we owe gratitude for his intuitive grasp of these fundamentals, deep learning and conscientious scholarship in working out the clues and the facility with which he has been able to link up the dateless past of the mystics with the actual present dominated by empirical Science. He also integrates this Thought of the Tantra with the Doctrine and Practice of Life Divine as presented by Sri Aurobindo in his Epic, SavItrL
The print is subdivided into ten equal parts, each representing one of the ten aspects of Devi, the divine mother. Each image is identified with a Bengali inscription, and the goddesses represented are: Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala.
Printed by: The Calcutta Art Studio biography
The Calcutta Art Studio was established in 1878 by Ananda Prasad Bagchi (1849-1905) along with the help of several artists. Lithography was gaining momentum as a medium for picture production in the 1870s, and this was one of the largest studios operating in Bengal producing popular prints for the mass market. Hand-written captions in English have been added to the Bengali letter-press of the majority of the prints (some letterpress also in Hindi). The majority of the chromolithographs in this album were produced in Calcutta and reflect Bengal devotional cults; the final four prints were published by the Ravi Varma Press from Lonavla, c. 1910.
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