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Krishna Avatar Shadow Puppets show

· Shadow Puppet Avatars - Janmastami 2018. ·

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These puppets were designed to accompany the verses of the 'Sri Dasavatara stotra' Prayers by Jayadeva Goswami glorifying the incarnations of Lord Krishna on this planet.
The puppets were created by Kalindi Head, as was the sound track and with a crew of little helpers, the puppet show was performed for the satisfaction of Sri Krishna on Janmashtami, 2018.

It’s so special to offer Krsna our heartfelt and lovingly prepared offerings for His enjoyment! My dear friend and clever artist, teacher, and busy mother, Kalindi, put together this amazing presentation for a whole slew of children to be busily occupied in!
They had at least 5 practices and I had not seen a single thing before THE NIGHT! It was such an incredible performance, and honestly I had thought that maybe the puppet show (I knew they were practicing, at least) could be a fairly tame one to like a pre-recorded long storytape soundtrack, but WOW was I wrong! I was hollering for more when it finished! (No really, if you watch my version I’m cheering them on..). . . We all were!
When I asked Kalindi if she would like to share some photos and details about the puppet show creation with everyone to inspire and enthuse you, she was actually really happy and excited to, which makes me so happy! She’s prepared this great brief “how-to” and commentary for you, and I just know you will be as delighted as I am.

These puppets were designed to accompany the verses of the ‘Sri Dasavatara stotra’ Prayers by Jayadeva Goswami glorifying the incarnations of Lord Krishna on this planet.

cutting out the silhouette shadow puppets and drawing them before hand kid in shirt and black cardboard
Each puppet was carefully drawn onto black card with white pencil. Then cut out.  A knife was used to stencil out all the intricate details.  Some puppets had moving parts, so the limbs were drawn separately and reattached with a paper fastener.  Bamboo sticks were stuck to the main body as a holding stick, using masking tape, with each moving limb attached to a separate stick with a loop of wire and tape.
The shadow puppets are cut out of card stock and taped onto long sticks, with moveable joints
The most difficult part of producing these puppets is trying to make the longer parts, such as arms and weapons, steady.  This was done by taping on kebab sticks with tape and using clear sticky tape over all the stenciled out sections to protect from tearing.
The screen was made out of a white sheet, wooden poles and ropes attached for support.
shadow pupet presentation for theatre night janmastami silhouette art real scenes
When performing the show, there were between 2 to 4 people behind the screen at one time.  Some puppets need 2 people to work them as it is important to have one person hold the support stick while parts are moving.
The most difficult part of producing these puppets is trying to make the longer parts, such as arms and weapons, steady.  This was done by taping on kebab sticks with tape and using clear sticky tape over all the stenciled out sections to protect from tearing.
The most enjoyable puppet to work was Lord Matsya with his huge flapping tale and Lord Kalki, which had 3 people working him, as he could trot and stand on his hind legs.
Sri Dasavatara-stotra (from Gita-govinda) by Jayadeva Gosvami
(1)Silhouette Matsya shadow puppet incarnation of sri Krsna in shape of a fish
pralaya-payodhi-jale dhritavan asi vedam
vihita-vahitra-caritram akhedam
kesava dhrita-mina-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of a fish! All glories to You!
You easily acted as a boat in the form of a giant fish just to give protection to the Vedas, which had
become immersed in the turbulent sea of devastation.
(2) Kurma turtle shadow puppet incarnation sri krishna silhouette art theatre inspiration
kshitir iha vipulatare tishthati tava prishthe
dharani-dharana-kina-cakra-garishthe
kesava dhrita-kurma-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of a tortoise! All glories to You!
In this incarnation as a divine tortoise the great Mandara Mountain rests upon Your gigantic back as a pivot
for churning the ocean of milk. From holding up the huge mountain a large scarlike depression is put in
Your back, which has become most glorious.
(3)boar incarnation Varaha silhouette shadow puppet
vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrita-sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of a boar! All glories to You!
The earth, which had become immersed in the Garbhodaka Ocean at the bottom of the universe, sits fixed
upon the tip of Your tusk like a spot upon the moon.
(4)Narasringhadev incarnation of Vishnu Shadow puppet silhouette krsna art show
tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-sringam
dalita-hiranyakasipu-tanu-bhringam
kesava dhrita-narahari-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of half-man, half-lion! All
glories to You! Just as one can easily crush a wasp between one’s fingernails, so in the same way the body of
the wasplike demon Hiranyakasipu has been ripped apart by the wonderful pointed nails on Your beautiful
lotus hands.
(5)Vamana incarnation of Vishnu shadow puppet silhouette placing foot on Bali Maharaj head
chalayasi vikramane balim adbhuta-vamana
pada-nakha-nira-janita-jana-pavana
kesava dhrita-vamana-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of a dwarf-brahmana! All
glories to You! O wonderful dwarf, by Your massive steps You deceive King Bali, and by the Ganges water that
has emanated from the nails of Your lotus feet, You deliver all living beings within this world.
(6)parasharam silhouette shadow puppet incarnation
kshatriya-rudhira-maye jagad-apagata-papam
snapayasi payasi samita-bhava-tapam
kesava dhrita-bhrigupati-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Bhrigupati [Parasurama]!
All glories to You! At Kurukshetra You bathe the earth in the rivers of blood from the bodies of the
demoniac kshatriyas that You have slain. The sins of the world are washed away by You, and because of You
people are relieved from the blazing fire of material existence.
(7)Sri Rama shadow puppet slays Ravana silhouette ramayana inccarnation
vitarasi dikshu rane dik-pati-kamaniyam
dasa-mukha-mauli-balim ramaniyam
kesava dhrita-rama-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Ramacandra! All glories to
You! In the battle of Lanka You destroy the ten-headed demon Ravana and distribute his heads as a
delightful offering to the presiding deities of the ten directions, headed by Indra. This action was long desired
by all of them, who were much harassed by this monster.
(8)Balaram shadow puppet silhouette
vahasi vapushi visade vasanam jaladabham
hala-hati-bhiti-milita-yamunabham
kesava dhrita-haladhara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
0 Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Balarama, the wielder of
the plow! All glories to You! On Your brilliant white body You wear garments the color of a fresh blue rain
cloud. These garments are colored like the beautiful dark hue of the River Yamuna, who feels great fear due to
the striking of Your plowshare.
(9) buddha bodhi tree silhouette shadow puppet hindu art incarnation
nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam
sadaya-hridaya darsita-pasu-ghatam
kesava dhrita-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories to You!
O Buddha of compassionate heart, you decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules
of Vedic sacrifice.
(10)kalki on horse rearing ready to slay demons shadow puppet silhouette
mleccha-nivaha-nidhane kalayasi karavalam
dhumaketum iva kim api karalam
kesava dhrita-kalki-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Kalki! All glories to You!
You appear like a comet and carry a terrifying sword for bringing about the annihilation of the wicked
barbarian men at the end of the Kali-yuga.
(11)silhouette krsna shadow puppet
sri-jayedeva-kaver idam uditam udaram
srinu sukha-dam subha-dam bhava-saram
kesava dhrita-dasa-vidha-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed these ten different forms of
incarnation! All glories to You! O readers, please hear this hymn of the poet Jayadeva, which is most excellent,
an awarder of happiness, a bestower of auspiciousness, and is the best thing in this dark world.
(12)krsna and cow shadow puppet
vedan uddharate jaganti vahate bhu-golam udbibhrate
daityam darayate balim chalayate kshatra-kshayam kurvate
paulastyam jayate halam kalayate karunyam atanvate
mlecchan murchayate dasakriti-krite krishnaya tubhyam namah
O Lord Krishna, I offer my obeisances unto You, who appear in the forms of these ten incarnations. In the
form of Matsya You rescue the Vedas, and as Kurma You bear the Mandara Mountain on Your back. As
Varaha You lift the earth with Your tusk, and in the form of Narasimha You tear open the chest of the
daitya Hiranyakasipu. In the form of Vamana You trick the daitya king Bali by asking him for only three steps
of land, and then You take away the whole universe from him by expanding Your steps. As Parasurama You
slay all of the wicked kshatriyas, and as Ramacandra You conquer the rakshasa king Ravana. In the form of
Balarama You carry a plow with which You subdue the wicked and draw toward You the River Yamuna. As
Lord Buddha You show compassion toward all the living beings suffering in this world, and at the end of the
Kali-yuga You appear as Kalki to bewilder the mlecchas [degraded low-class men].

Thank you so much Kalindi for sharing this amazing creation with us all!

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