Maharaja Surat Singh of Bikaner Confers with Guru Narayanaji
Artist/maker unknown, India
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Court life was often filled with treachery and violence, as this painting of Maharaja Surat Singh and his guru Narayanaji quietly suggests. The maharaja had good reason to seek spiritual guidance in a hushed, private setting of closed shutters and doors. Surat Singh gained the throne by having his mother poison his brother and later he strangled his dead brother's infant son with his own hands. A European observer at Surat Singh's court reported that the maharaja surrounded himself with priests to make up for his past sins.