This brilliant standing image of the four-armed Elephant headed Ganesh, carrying goad, trident, noose and mace and wearing an impenetrable helmet on his head, represents him in his Yuddha Ganapati form. Interestingly, the soft, simple, benign Lord invariably carried one or the other instrument of war and manifested in forms that related to war or battle Vijaya Ganapati, Ugra Ganapati, Sankalpa Ganapati
., but he is not known to have ever resorted to arms against any power, good or bad. Annoyed by the moon's mockery of him, he once hurled on it one of his tusks. The Ganesh-related myths record just this sole act of his violence.
Hence, a warrior-like form, equipped with deadly weapons, appears to contradict deity's total personality and concept. It is not, however, so. All wars, at least such as Ganesh-like divinities undertake, are not fought in the battlefield. Ganesh symbolises the war that endlessly goes on within good conscience waging against evil, and spirit against its material bondage. Goad, noose, mace and trident are faculties of the intrinsic being. Goad is the instrument that keeps the conscience alert and forward moving. Noose keeps all faculties collected, as also drags evil to right path, but in case it continues to persist, mace crushes it or trident pierces. Helmet, designed with a crown-like forepart and spiral apex, depicts the crowning glory of mind and its spiral rise. In analogy, while meditating on Yuddha Ganapati form, mind is able to collect all its faculties and confront evil more effectively.
The posture of Ganapati reveals determination, an aspect of Yuddha Ganapati. Yuddha war or battle, is perceived as involving a lot of activity, but the Yuddha Ganapati form does not involve any. It is actually the form to meditate on and realise in the mind. It is hence devoid of all acts. Only the right foot has a little forward thrust denoting right direction. In Indian tradition, left denotes dissolution, decay and transition and the right, right path. In 'tandava', Shiva raised his left leg, as it aimed at dissolving the cosmos. When performing the 'bhanwara' ritual circumambulating the ritual fire, during a marriage ceremony in India, the bride lifts her left leg first, while the groom, his right. The bride dissolves former ties, and the groom is imperated to take her and himself to right path. Ganesh, when he is invoked in the form showing forward move, keeps the devotee to the right path. Hence, Yuddha Ganapati icons are modelled with a forward thrust.
This 33 inch tall brass image, anodised to impart silver look, and jewellery, crown, loincloth, and lotus petals, that of gold, has the moon's soothing softness and sun's glow. The square base with straight vertical rise is plain except for lotus motifs carved on the base-plate. On its left, stands mouse, the vehicle of Ganesh. The deity figure stands on a seat comprising a large size full blooming lotus. The lotus, comprising a perfect circle and hence symbolising the earth, suggests that Ganapati pervades the entire creation with his auspicious presence. Most attractive feature of the image is its brilliant jewellery including crown, and his body complexion. Each piece of jewellery appears to have come direct from a jeweller's shop. He has, around his waist, Nagabandha, serpent belt, large unfurled ears, thoughtful eyes, and a beautiful floral motif on his trunk. In its aesthetic beauty the image is unparalleled.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes
on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief
curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New
Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and
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