Vishvarupa - Paintings on the Cosmic Form of Krishna-Vasudeva
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Vishvarupa is popularly known as the cosmic form that Krishna revealed to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra in India in the Mahabharata, circa 500 BC. This was captured in verse in two chapters of the Bhagavad Gita. The concept of Vishvarupa is rooted in the Indian philosophical traditions since the Vedic times and represents a holistic inter-dependence in the manifested universe at all levels. Vishvarupa explores the relationship of man with the Cosmic Being - the microcosm and the macrocosm.

Simple but effective visual representations of this thought are found in Indian arts and culture through the millenia. Herein Krishna is present in a Brahmin, a mongrel dog, a tree and a stone in equal measure. While this book attempts to showcase for the first time a careful selection of Vishvarupa paintings between the 17th and 20th centuries to stimulate further study, it also reveals the beauty and genius of the Indian painting tradition for the lay reader.

About the Author:

Neena Ranjan is a civil servant, who spent long periods in the departments of art and culture and also industry and commerce in the Government of India and the State Government. She joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1969 and retired as Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India in 2006. Since then, she is the Honorary Mentor of the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.

She post-graduated from Calcutta University, and later from Harvard University. Her academic interests are in art, art history and philosophy. She took up Vishvarupa a subject for PhD work in 1993. This book is a result of extensive efforts to collect Vishvarupa paintings from different sources over the years.

As the national coordinator for a United Nations project for seven years, she initiated the Cultural Informatics Lab, and undertook interactive multimedia documentation of India's cultural resources on electronic formats at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi under the guidance of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan. Many well researched DVDs and an excellent website were produced. The Lab continues its good work.

Her hobbies include painting in water colours, travel and Indian classical music. She lives with her husband in New Delhi. Her two sons live in the United States. This is her first book.