The lustrous brass kamandalu that you see in this painting sums up the Indian yogic idea of asceticism. It is big enough to hold a scarcely sufficient meal’s worth of food at a time. From the tanned and lined hand from which it dangles, the sadhu to whose service it belongs seems to be a veteran yogi of the lower reaches of the Himalayas. The distinctive saffron of his robes contrasts sharply with the green grass reflected on the body of the kamandalu, an unusual subject for an oil painting.
It is in the kamandalu that he accepts all his bhiksha, irrespective of the state or the taste palette of the offering in question. Everything - textures and tastes - blends therein, a reinstatement of the third of the basic tenets of asceticism. The kamandalu is practically his lifeline, the only remaining link between him and life as we know it. Any day now, he would no longer need even the humble kamandalu.
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