“Vrindadevi reveals the secrets of Bhakti”, by Mumbiram, Watercolor, 1990, Pune
In the yard of an Indian home the holy Basil or Tulasi plant is found enshrined in a typical construction called Tulasi-Vrindavan. This Tulasi-Vrindavan appears in many renderings by Mumbiram.
Tulasi is also called Vrinda. She is personified as the presiding deity of Vraja, Land of Krishna. Vrindavan means the forest of Tulasi plants. Vrinda is assisting in bringing together Krishna and his beloved Radha. Vrinda is considered the mother of Krishna Bhakti or loving attachment to Krishna.
In this painting we see the personified Vrinda has descended from the Tulasi-Vrindavan. She is instructing the little child that is trying to stand with her support. Vrinda’s face has exquisitely delicate features that can be described at great length. She is as dark as they get. Her shapely ears can be appreciated only by standing in front of the original painting. A close look also reveals that her shapely neckline is adorned with a simple necklace of dark purple garnets. A matching small garnet adorns her ear. Her dark hands with long fingers are in captivating gestures (mudra in Sanskrit) that reveal confidential secrets about Love of Krishna. The child of lighter complexion is intently gazing at her. His innocent little hands express total love and trust. Her bottle-green velvet blouse and his adorable cap are out of the same material. A parrot-green sari with a broad red border neatly wraps around her bosom. Such colours are the favourite choice of proud newly married brides. The night sky is breaking out in dark purple. The large sliver of moon says it is the third of the waxing fortnight. Devotional secrets are revealed at such odd dramatic hours.
This masterpiece of a Rasa Classic says volumes about Mumbiram’s reverential feelings towards his dark beautiful muses.
This painting is in the proud personal collection of the artist.