Dynasty : Early Chola, South India
Period : Late Medieval 800 CE
Material : Stone
Location : National Museum
Current Location : National Museum
Ayynar or Sastha is a Hindu deity particularly praised in South India and Sri Lanka. According to the Brahmanda Purana, Shasta is Harihara suta or son of Siva and Narayana (Vishnu). Mahishasura’s sister Mahishi secured a boon from Lord Brahma to avenge her brother’s death by Durga. The boon was that no being except the son of Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara). In due course of her time, she went to Devaloka and began harassing the Devas who in turn implored Lord Vishnu to intervene. Lord Vishnu hence assumed the persona of Mohini and a child was born with the union of Mohini and Lord Shiva. Thus, Ayyanar was born. He is also known by name Hariharaputra. Headless image of Ayynar carved in the round, shown seated on a pedestal in Maharajlila pose with the right leg tucked in front and the left doubled and raised. His right forearm is broken; the left is dangling along the side. He is adorned with necklaces, spiral armlets, three bangles on each wrist, triple cord yajnopavita having a double-bell clasp, udarabandha and anklets. The lower garment above the knees is fastened at the waist.