A Representative Anthology of Contemporary Oriya Poetry
Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry
A Note on the Art-work — The
artwork is Navagunjara, a traditional portrayal by Oriya artists. In a rendition
of the Mahabharata by the fifteenth century great Oriya poet Sarala Das, several
episodes are added beyond those found elsewhere in India. In this telling of the
tale, Vishnu himself proceeds to a hill where Arjuna is doing penance in a
forest. Here, Vishnu reveals himself to Arjuna in the nava-gunjara form, a
vigorous animal standing on three legs, those of the elephant, tiger, and horse.
The fourth limb is not an animal leg, but an upraised human arm, the hand of
which is holding a lotus flower. Besides these four creatures, Vishnu-nava-gunjara
also has the head of a rooster, the neck of a peacock, the hump of a bull, and
the waist of a lion. A snake comprises the tail. When Arjuna saw this creature,
he immediately recognized it as the virat-rupa of Vishnu-Krishna.