Stories tell us that Vishnu has a complexion of dark water-filled clouds and reclines atop a thousand headed snake in the Ocean of Milk. In his dream, a lotus grows out of his navel, out of which is born Brahma, who then creates the rest of the universe. (It’s very Inception like). His name comes from a root that means ‘Settling/Pervading’ which gives it the meaning of ‘All pervading or Omnipresent one’. His snake is called Aadhisesha or Ananthasesha, where Sesha means ‘Remainder’, ‘Aadhi’ means beginning and ‘Anantha’ is derived from the root which means ending, hence giving his name the meaning ‘That which exists even when all else ceases to exist’.
I was very inspired by my previous Nataraja drawing to try and represent this in the form of a Bharatanatyam dancer showing the Ananthasayana, except in this case the dancer is a 4 armed Vishnu himself, with one hand representing the snake sheltering him, one hand showing that he is reclining and resting, another hand holding his conch-shell ‘Panchajanya’ which represents the vibration of the universe and the last hand holding his discus ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ which represents either time or divine insight.
In usual depictions of this pose, he also holds a mace ‘Kaumodaki’ representing Justice, and a lotus ‘Padma’ representing the Universe. Since my main focus here was to bring out the Bharatanatyam aspect of the pose and I already had a lotus, I decided to skip them. Also missing in this pose are his consort: Lakshmi and his vehicle: Garuda, both of whom I skipped because I wasn’t sure how to depict them in Bharatanatyam forms (I consider both as characters and not accessories). Perhaps next time?
Something that struck me from a Project Management perspective when I saw this was that while Brahma is creating the Universe, he originates from Vishnu’s dream. Similarly, while it is a Product Manager who provides requirements to the Developers, he has to constantly take inputs from the dream or vision of the Business Stakeholders for his requirements and has to be monitored closely.