Viśvarūpa (Visvarupa) : A Cosmic Form of Lord Visnu

See Also Gīta Govinda

(Poems, showing various emotional situations of Radha and Krishna in love)





Viśvarūpa (Visvarupa) is the cosmic vision of Krishna revealed to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita before the Mahabharata war. Elements of this vision are traceable to very ancient Indian concepts of integration and disintegration such as Prajapati and Purusa. The word Viśvarūpa consists of two components, visva-and-rupa. Visva means “the universe” and rupa means “form, the shape of anything”. Viśvarūpa as a concept means “all forms”, “universal form”. “He Who Has The Form of the Universe”. These meanings ofViśvarūpa exist in the Rgveda and other literature of later periods. This project is aimed at offering an interactive content exploration system to support the study of Indian art by offering a database of selected images of Viśvarūpa Krishna.

T.S. MAXWELL is Professor and Director of the Department of Oriental Art History, University of Bonn. He studied at the Universities of London and Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. He was formerly Assistant Director of the Ashmolean Museum and lecturer at the Indian Institute, Oxford University. His books, Viśvarūpa, Eastern Approaches – Essays on Asian Art and Archaeology,and The Gods of Asia – Image, Text, and Meaning, were published by Oxford University Press. Professor Maxwell is Director of the SEACHART Research Programme in South East Asia, and of the CHENAB-SUTLEJ Research Project in the Western Himalayas.


North Indian Images of Viśvarūpa Viṣṇu

5th – 13th Centuries CE

The Archaeological Reports of Professor T. S. Maxwell

Book on Viśvarūpa by Prof. T. S. Maxwell 

Published by Oxford University Press,

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Image Collection

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