Indian and Himalayan Art
Akrura's Mystic Vision of Krishna/Vishnu and Balarama/Adishesha
Artist/maker unknown, India
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper
Currently not on view
1994-148-483Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994
LabelKansa knew that Krishna was hidden at Vrindavan and sent many demons to kill him. With superhuman power, Krishna destroyed each in turn. As Krishna approached manhood, Kansa dispatched the nobleman Akrura to trick him into coming to Mathura for a tournament. Although Akrura warned Krishna of the trick, the god decided it was time to confront Kansa. Here Krishna, his brother Balarama, several gopas (cowherders), and Akrura stop along the road to Mathura. Akrura speaks with Krishna (upper left), asking the brothers to rest in the chariot (upper right) while he performs a ritual bath in the river. Each time Akrura immerses himself, he experiences a mystic vision of Krishna and Balarama. First he sees the divine brothers sitting together underwater (lower right), although he knows they are actually seated in the chariot on the bank. In his final vision (lower left), he perceives their eternal form, four-armed Vishnu (Krishna) resting on Adishesha, the endless serpent (Balarama).