Madhubani Painting of Lord Krishna on Betel Leaf
Every image has a story, and if doesn’t, then it is not an image. And when a painter paints something, she is very clear about the story she wants to convey. And this is precisely the case with this Madhubani painting of Lord Krishna on Betel leaf.
Betel leaves are considered very auspicious in most of the India’s native culture and are offered as mouth freshener to the god. It is more so in Mithila culture, which is spread over Madhubani, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi and nearby area of present day Bihar and Janakpur and nearby area of present day Nepal. Natives of this culture consider Betel leaves, Makhaana( kind of fruit which grows in sweet water ponds), Curd and Fish very auspicious and use it in almost every offering to the god. Please remember that Mithila is seat of Goddess Kali worship, so fish, which has a meaning in Tantra, also finds prominent place in offerings to the Goddess. Exceptions of offering of fish are made while worshipping divine bodies other than Goddess Kali. But Betel leaf, curd and Makhaana finds place in every auspicious activity.
Meaning and Relevance
Betel leaves has many medicinal values. It helps in relieving pain due to cuts, bruises, rashes, inflammation (Internal as well as external), indigestion, constipation etc. It alleviates gastric pain, eases constipation, improves digestion, increases appetite, promotes oral hygiene, releases cough, and eases bronchitis. It is complete medicinal package.
In Sanatan Dharma, every image of God has a meaning and purpose for its devotees. Lord Vishnu, through his ten incarnations and ten images gives ten different purposes to his devotees. Lord Krishna, one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, also has a meaning and purpose for his devotees. He, despite being separated from his biological parents on this planet earth, had a very happy and protected childhood. His life story with his foster mother Yashoda has been mother-son relationship benchmark since then. Every expecting mother in India is given a picture of Mother Yashoda and Lord Krishna during the period of pregnancy to aspire for same mother-child relationship. Lord Krishna’s teenage days were filled with lots of happiness, love, chivalry with his friends and Gopikas (Daughters of Cow herd owners). His romantic relationship with Radha and friendship with Sudama are giving relationship goal since then. When he grew to become an adult, his mentorship and friendship to Hastinapur Prince Arjuna became a folk lore. Last but not the least, his coming out in his own real form during Mahabharata war and giving ‘Gyan’ of ‘Karma’ and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to Arjuna, is known as ‘Gita’ and one of the most precious book around the world with millions of copies sold every year. It is guiding light for more than a billion people on this planet. His life symbolizes full of happiness, love and continuous growth towards better. He never saw any pain in his life.
Now let’s club last two paragraphs and again look at the painting. What do you see now? Are you still seeing Lord Krishna adorning Betel leaf? I think probably not. You are now seeing the image of health, happiness, love and continuous growth towards better. Isn’t it so?
Let me wish you health, happiness, love and progress towards better future.