Somanathapura Keshava Temple: Maha Vishnu seated on Adishesha

Maha Vishnu seated on Adishesha - A relief carved on the outer wall of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Maha Vishnu seated on Adishesha

Maha Vishnu seated on Adishesha
Seated majestically on a cushion formed by Adishesha, a seven-headed mythical serpent, is Maha Vishnu, a form of Vishnu represented as a supreme being. This beautifully carved sculpture is mounted on the outer wall surrounding the south garbhagriha (inner sanctum) of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India.

As you can see, Adishesha has created a beautiful throne for Maha Vishnu by stacking up his soft coils to form its cushion and raising his seven-headed hood as its canopy.

It appears that Maha Vishnu is in a relaxed mood, which the sculptor has captured perfectly, indicated by his pleasant facial expression and informal way of sitting. As you can see, one of his left hands gently rests on the knee of his elevated left leg with its foot placed above the coils, while one of his right hands, which firmly rests on the coils, supports the weight of his body that is leaning slightly to his right.

Adishesha is known by many names, including Shesha, Sheshanaga, and Ananta. Hidden in these names are two interesting mathematical concepts, remainder and infinity. In Sanskrit, shesha means one that remains (i.e., remainder), and ananta means endless (i.e., infinity). In other words, Shesha will prevail even after the end of the universe, and Ananta will exist for eternity.

Related Images
Maha Vishnu seated on Adishesha – A beautiful sculpture carved in the mukhamantapha (veranda) of Cave – 3 of Badami caves
Maha Vishnu reclining on Adishesha – An intricately carved relief on the outer wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
Buddha seated on Adishesha – A statue depicting Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu situated on the top level of the Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Related Pages
Hoysala Temples:
Somanathapura Keshava Temple
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Badami Chalukya Temples:
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole
Vijayanagara Temples:
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
Angkor Wat Temples:
Angkor Wat Temple, Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs, Banteay Srei Temple in Cambodia

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