An ancient statue at Kudumiyanmalai temple, raises the eyebrows of all visitors. Is it Shiva or Vishnu? What is that ball tied to his leg? A shocking ancient secret gets revealed.
Hey guys, who is this deity carved in this ancient temple? Look carefully, is he Shiva or is he Vishnu?
It is a combination of Shiva and Vishnu in one statue. And if you put a line exactly in the center of the carving, we can see the stunning depiction, because the sculptor has carved everything related to Shiva on the left side, and everything about Vishnu on the other side. And these two gods are polar opposites, right? Shiva is simple, he has bundled his hair at the top. Vishnu however is sophisticated, he is wearing a long, ornate crown or a helmet. Even for tying his hair, Shiva doesn’t buy a hairclip, he uses a snake to tie his hair, but Vishnu’s helmet is adorned with precious stones. The forehead is a very tricky situation, and the sculptor has handled it masterfully. This is Shiva’s third eye, sometimes even called the awakened pineal gland, but you can only see one half of the third eye. What is the other half showing?
On the right side, you can see this strange mark. It is actually a half of Urdhva Pundra. What is Urdhva Pundra? It is a sign, people put on the forehead, worn by Vishnu and his followers. This is called Naamam in Tamil, and is still in practice by devotees of Vishnu.
The nose, you can see someone has cut off his nose, this is a deliberate act of destruction, you can see many statues of this 1300-year-old temple, their noses were cut off to make them look bad. We don’t know what valuable detail would have been carved on the nose. And some of you may say, Praveen, this is ridiculous, what information can be carved in a nose, it is just a few centimeters long.
In my defence, look at the lips. If you focus only one the left side, you will see that Shiva has a somewhat serious face, he is known for his solemn demeanor. But, if you hide the left, and look at the right side, you will realize that Vishnu is smiling joyfully, because he is a happy-go-lucky person. Again, the lips, just a few centimeters long, but it can give us valuable information. If you speak to a plastic surgeon or a cosmetic surgeon, he will tell you the difference between the face of a supermodel and an ugly face is just millimeters. And this is exactly what the sculptor has done here, the sculptor was the cosmetic surgeon here, right? Just by extending the lips a little bit longer, he has shown Vishnu’s cheerful attitude, while Shiva’s lips are shorter, showing a serious face.
And why are Shiva and Vishnu shown this way? I have photoshopped this, by mirroring the images on one side, this is roughly how a full-size Vishnu would have looked. And this is how a full-size Shiva statue would have looked. There seems to be some very deep subliminal information hidden in ancient Indian carvings.