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Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Maharana Sangram Singh II visiting Gosain Nilakanthji after a tiger hunt
approx. 1725
India; Udaipur, Rajasthan state, Former kingdom of Mewar
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Felton Bequest, 1980, AS97-1980

Many rulers, both Hindu and Muslim, maintained close ties with spiritual teachers. This relationship was expressed through endowment of land and property, making regular visits to ashrams and monasteries, or seeking advice in matters of state and personal affairs.

Religious devotion was essential to proper kingship, and in the case of the kingdom of Mewar, its ruling family supported the monastery of Savina Khera Math (seen in the painting on the right). In recognition of the royal support that enabled perpetuation of yogic lineages, the monastery’s abbots and yogis came to court for all important religious rituals. One such event is documented in this painting.