Though in his every manifest form Ganapati is the Lord of auspices, Tryakshara Ganapati, perhaps with the sacred syllable AUM : the Supreme Being’s graphic and phonetic manifestation, added to it, is more auspicious than any of his other forms and stands for greater good. With his auspiciousness Tryakshara Ganapati pervades the entire cosmos. Tryakshara Ganapati is a simpler form than many but its symbolic thrust is far wider. In this form one of the legs of Lord Ganesh is set on the earth while the other, stretches from left to right; and, his torso has an upward rise. Thus with his form extending into all four directions the auspicious Lord casts his spell from the earth to the sky and all over the earth from horizon to horizon. Tradition acclaims that the presence of Ganesh in his Tryakshara Ganapati manifestation bestows with endless blessings showering from all sides.
In this image all aspects of Tryakshara Ganapati have been further widened. Lord Ganesh is seated on a lotus which rises on a large stem from below symbolic of ocean. Thus, auspices that Lord Ganesh bestows reach farther below the earth. His figure is four-armed carrying in them the same attributes as texts prescribe : elephant goad, noose, broken tusk and mango glistening like gold, the trunk is sturdy and straight except its tip turning to right, not usual left, for giving it AUM like curve and to hold an auspicious attribute looking like a coconut or a mango, and the ears, with earlobes lying folded on his shoulders, are as large as texts prescribed. Besides the form of trunk, the sacred syllable AUM manifests in his body’s other parts as also in the curves of foliage comprising Prabhavali.
Elevated over a beautifully conceived and carved lotus the figure of Tryakshara Ganapati reveals rare beauty of form. The figure of Lord Ganesh, from head to feet, has been elaborately ornamented. He is wearing an elegant crown inlaid with multi-coloured precious stones. Of all ornaments that he is wearing the double laced belly band and large size band with colourfully inlaid ‘phalis’ lying down to his thighs are rare and excellent. The sole costume that he is putting on is his ‘antariya’ with pleats defined by beaded laces. The awe-inspiring but auspicious Kirtti-mukha, besides multiplying auspiciousness, yields from its mouth-opening some beautifully colourful flowers not usually seen in sculptures of this sort. Interestingly, close to the feet of Lord Ganesh on the pedestal’s top a mouse, too tiny to discern, has been carved flanking the deity image on either side. Strange to his iconography, just below these mice, the figures of two massive ‘ganas’ with robust moustaches and sturdy body-structures attend on him. Their figures have been carved in the bottom compartment of the Prabhavali.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.