Panca Tattva: The Supreme Lord In Five Features

TA0003 Top Excerpt

TA0003 | Panca Tattva: The Supreme Lord In Five Features (1983)

This painting by Muralidhara Dasa is particularly famous because it’s a standard in most books printed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, and appears in most temples on altars, hanging on walls, and in kitchens.  The surprising thing about this painting is when you see it in full as it was painted. There’s a large part at the top that you don’t normally get to see.

Most prints are done standard sizes (e.g. 8″x10″ or even 20″x24″), but because of aspect ration, this overly-tall painting usually gets cropped, and the top of the altar in the painting usually disappears.

It’s especially charming because in among the lovely marble and curtain details is a round portrait mounted high in the temple’s cupola. And this little reproduction is a copy of another relatively well-known BBT painting called ‘Radha Worshiping Krishna‘ (catalog number TA0012).

The painting itself depicts Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who reinvigorated the Krishna consciousness movement in India in the 1500s. Here He is surrounded by His principal associates, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Gadadhara, and Srivas. When shown like this, all five personalities in these traditional poses, it is often called Pancha Tattva (there are several spellings for this phrase) which translates to ‘Five aspects of God’ or ‘Five Aspects of Absolute Truth’.

TA0003 Pancha Tattva

The full size painting is often cropped at the top to leave out the smaller detail of the Radha-Krishna painting in the cupola.

This image has been remastered and is available as a variety of print size. Temples can special order large-format prints of this painting on canvas or poster stock. For any special requests, email us at contact@krishna.com and reference the catalog number (This is the number that starts TA…).

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Krishna Reveals His Two-Armed Form To Arjuna

TA0050 Krishna and Arjuna

TA0050 | Krishna Reveals His Two-Armed Form To Arjuna (1979)

This painting by Ramadasa Abhirama dasa shows the moment Krishna reveals his divine form to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It is often printed in editions of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Srila Prabhupada.TA0050 Excerpt

I had never paid much attention to the background because Krishna and Arjuna, as well as the towering form of Vishnu seemed to dominate the painting. As a child I was also intrigued by how the chariot underneath Them looked so much like gold. It seemed like magic that anyone could paint it so beautifully.

But as I zoomed in to the image in Photoshop, I started to finally notice all of the faces in the cloudy background. Not all faces are happy either. Some seem to be languishing in misery. I can’t help examine every curve and shadow of the clouds, looking for even more faces.

There’s a striking contrast here between the solid, immobile chariot in the foreground, and the streaming, boiling clouds in the background. And layered between these are the two personalities, ready for battle but lost in a deeply spiritual conversation. Arjuna is pleading with Krishna, and Krishna is calmly explaining the whole universe and everything in existence to His friend as if a huge army wasn’t standing by, ready to fight.

TA0050 Krishna and Arjuna, Full Image

View this image in the Krishna.com Gallery to send as an epostcard or order prints.

This image has been remastered and is available as a variety of print size. Temples can special order large-format prints of this painting on canvas or poster stock. For any special requests, email us at contact@krishna.com and reference the catalog number (This is the number that starts TA…).

This painting is printed (plate 121) in the display book, Krishna Art, in a slightly cropped size.