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This very traditional Pichwai is a complete depiction of how Srinathji (Krishna) is revered and celebrated in Pushti Bhakti Marg of Sri Vallabhacharya.
The Pichwai painting depicts Srinathji in his temple, flanked on either side by adoring Gopis, the cowherd women of Vraja, in Vrindavan. Real gold paint derived out of 24 carat gold has been used in the painting.
Beneath the panel are two scenes from Vrindavan depicting Krishna accompanied by his elder brother Balarama, playing pranks on Gopis. Another scene depicts Krishna as the deity of Govardhana. The fact that Krishna himself is present with Balarama before the deity illustrates Krishna’s potency to manifest differently and simultaneously.
The entire Pichwai is surrounded with twenty six small, separately painted panels out of which twenty-four show Srinathji being worshiped in a different attire by priests. The temple of Srinathji is in constant celebrations and one month is divided into two seasons, fifteen each of waning and waxing moon. Therefore a total of twenty four seasons are derived from twelve months in a year.
In each season Srinathji is dressed differently and worshipped accordingly. The fully dressed up and adorned form of Srinathji is also called Jhanki.
The word Srinath is a combination of two words ‘Sri’ and ‘Nath’. Sri means Lakshmi (consort of Lord Vishnu or Krishna) and Nath means Master. So ‘Srinath’ is a name of Krishna which means Master or Husband of Lakshmi. The suffix ‘Ji’ is commonly used at the end of names in North India, Rajasthan in particular, to ascribe respect to the person being referred to.
Pichwai paintings only have Srinathji for their theme and the scenes painted are mostly from Srinathji’s loving sports in Vrindavan with Gopis and cowherds.
Pichwai art emerged when the cloth-sheet serving as a background behind the statue of Srinathji was beautified with Rajasthani style paintings created by devotee-artists. In-fact the word Pichwai is a derivative of the Hindi word ‘Peeche’ which means Behind.
The painters, in their dedication to Srinathji went on creating new background cloth-sheets painted with various themes for different occasions. The discarded sheets were preserved and thus started a whole genre of Rajasthani art called Pichwai and alongside emerged a team of devoted artists who would dedicate their art in service of Srinathji and keep painting for generations that continues till date. Many of these artists are still ardent devotees themselves and lead a very simple life.
Srinathji’s temple is located in Nathdwara, a small town in Rajasthan. The elaborate set of customs and procedures of offering loving service to Srinathji were founded by Vallabhcharya, an ardent devotee of Srinathji, great Sanskrit scholar and a philosopher. He founded the ‘Pushti Marg’ of devotional service to Lord Krishna wherein the Supreme Being is conceived of not as all-powerful, hard to access Brahman of the Vedas but a small, loving child in want of his devotee’s loving service. Srinathji is therefore pampered with choicest of delicacies, rich garments by doting devotees throughout the day with elaborate rituals and procedures.
Created in traditional Nathdwara style painting, this Pichwai is the clean, fine work Pichwai paintings are famous for.
This fantastic painting is created entirely by hand and by traditional artists of Nathdwara, Rajasthan.