Jagannath-Subhadra-Baalabhadra is a Hindu trinity of regional importance. Lord Jagannath, the parabrahman according to Odia Hinduism, is worshipped along with His brother the Lord Baalabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra. The statement dark complexion of Jagannath likens Him to both Lord Krishna and Lord Bhairava (an abstract depiction of either), depending on the devotional tradition. In the watercolour that you see on this page, He is at the very right of the viewer. Baalabhadra is to the left, while Subhadra stands between Her brothers.
The shringar is of particular importance in this iconography. Twin garlands of jasmine interspersed with roses around the neck of each figure. Subhadra is in a saree of pink and green silk. The colours of Jagannath’s and Baalabhadra’s dhotis are of similar texture; they are, however, superimposed with a tigerskin loincloth with weapons wedged into them (a nod to the Tantric tradition in which Lord Jagannath holds considerable importance). On Subhadra’s head is a gold crown of multiple spires, while at the zenith of Her brothers’ is a white, thousand-petalled lotus (‘padma’) each (symbolic of the sahasraara chakra, the uppermost nerve plexus of the human body according to hathayogic anatomy).
There is more Tantric symbolism in this composition. The miniscule Adinath and Parvati figures in the foreground, on either side of Jagannath. The inky black skies of the background. Finally, the composure of gravity and subtle wrath on each countenance.
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