lotus 108

Rama Offering His Eye to Durga. India. 1859.  

The image in this lithograph represents the Lotus Legend in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. The hero, Rama, needs the blessing of the goddess Durga (shown in the background) for his forthcoming battle with the evil demon Ravana, who also venerates her. But it is the wrong season for invoking Durga and she tests his devotion by secretly removing one of the 108 lotus blossoms which her puja (act of worship) normally requires. Improvising, Rama prepares to substitute the missing blossom with one of his own eyes. Overcome by this evidence of his commitment, the goddess stops him in time and assures him of victory.