Eighteen Days - Sri Panca Tattva's Mayapur Lila

"Prsri0rs Cargo"

and form into his work

From his study of tl're scriptures and his involvement with the sketching and clay models, Bharata Maharaja had a strong idea o[ how the deities would look. He worked strictly uncler the direction of Jananivasa Prabhu, the head pnjAfi ^t M6yapur. Jananivasa Prabhu's instructions were basically related to the mood ancl inclividual characteristics o[ each personality oI the Paflca-tattva. "We didn't just have the deities carved according to some [ormula or computer-generatecl calcula- tion," Bharata Maharaja says. 'Jananivasa put the personality and mood into each individual deityl he captured the expressions that you see on each [ace." Jananivasa would relay his direction to Bharata Maharaja, who woulcl then produce a clay rnodel of the parricular part o[ the body discussedi then the artists would copy it ancl produce the final cast. In this way, the deities developed indiviclually, piece by piece. Sitting behincl the closed doors o[ the altar in the PaRca-tattva temple, aclding the tinishing touches to the cleity forms, Bharata Maharaja admits that western con- cepts influencing the shape and form of the cleities was unavoidable. "Difflerent cukures have dif[erenr conceptions o[ beauty," he explains. "ln African tribal tradi- tions, for example, a long neck is consiclered beautiful. ln South India, their con- cept of beauty is diflferent from a Bengali viewpoint. So in this way, through the involvement of South Indian sthapatis ancl western devotees, we have procluced these deities." Bharata Maharaja srniles as he looks Lrp at the [ina] outcorne: "The ultimate result is uniquely beautiful." Yet from the start. Bharata Mahardja tried to persuade others to take over, consid- ering hinrself unqualil'ied to cornplete the task. "From the time that I first became involved in the making of the cleities, I kept suggesting other people who were bet- ter qualifiecl than me," said Bharata. "There were so many I thought would be bet- ter, like Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhu in Vrndavana; Bharaclrija, Locana... I tried to get out ol it because I thought others were qualified." Another factor influencing his reluctance was Milan Bagh's previous experience: even though he was a first


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