Smith Poster Archive - Kamadhenu

Smith poster of KamadhenuKamadhenu
Artist: H.R. Raja
Publisher: S.S. Brijbasi & Sons, Bombay and Delhi
12 3/4" X 9 1/8"
H. Daniel Smith Poster Archive, Department of Special Collections, Syracuse University Library, no 0724

Kamadhenu, the "cow of wishes or desires," has a bovine body, a female head, polychromatic wings like a tropical bird, and a peacock's tail. Her milk is streaming over a Shiva linga, only to be channeled by the yoni to become a sacrificial oblation in the sacred fire. Various brahmins in the foreground pour ghee (clarified butter), another common offering, into the fire. The spiritual significance of the cow is readily apparent in the use of milk, butter, and ghee in Hindu ritual ceremonies. Shiva and Pravati look on from above, surrounded by waves of light, making gestures of blessing, protection and assurance. Note the swastikas in the foreground. The word "Svastika" in Sanskrit means "having a good mark" (su-astika) or, in other words, an auspicious mark. It is an old solar symbol and is found widely on temples in India and throughout Asia.