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Paintings > Hindu > Sankatahara Ganapati
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Sankatahara Ganapati

Sankatahara Ganapati

Sankatahara Ganapati

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Miniature Painting On Paper

8.0" x 5.5"
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Sankatahara Ganapati

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Viewed 4053 times since 5th Jul, 2009
This beautiful image of Lord Ganesh, a reminiscent of the 18th century Pahari miniature, combines in his form the Sankatahara Ganapati, Yoga Ganapati and Lambodara Ganapati manifestations of the Great Lord. The Great Lord is seated on a neatly carved terrace with an elegant background behind. His head-dress, consisting of lotuses, is in typical Basohli style. Against a pure white expanse of the terrace the vermilion red of Lord Ganesh acquires exceptional lustre. The four armed Sankatahara Ganapati is the dispeller of sorrow and bestows 'abhaya', the freedom from fear. He usually wears blue and white, the beads and clothes. He has sun-like vermilion hue and the softness of silk and is seated on red lotus flower. His lower right hand is unexceptionally in the 'abhaya' or boon granting 'varada-mudra' and lower right one carries in it either the 'modaka' or a bowl of 'khira' or sweet pudding. The upper hands usually have in them weapons that dispelled evil forces. Such weapons may be 'pash', or noose, 'parasu' or 'mahaparasu', axe or large axe, 'ankusha' or goad, or trident. On his great head Sankatahara Ganapati bears his father's Crescent Moon, that symbolizes scaling time, auspicious moments and the power of mind.

Sankatahara Ganapati is an aspect of Vighnesha, the dispeller of all detriments. In this manifestation Lord Ganesh is the operative Primordial force. When in Yoga, he leads the mind to right path and transcends the self from its material bondage to spiritual sublimation. The Lambodara Ganesh, the Great Lord with big belly, is the Lord of abundance. All galaxies, all known and unknown universes and all their mysteries and riches are contained in his prodigious belly. The artist, rendering this splendid, and obviously votive, image of Ganesh, desired the Great Lord to accomplish his triple objective, that is, to bestow freedom from fear, evil and all which is inauspicious, to lead him beyond worldly bondage and to reveal to him all cosmic mysteries. He hence blended in his form his three manifestations, Sankarahara Ganapati, Yoga Ganapati and Lambodara Ganapati.

Sankatahara Ganapati is not conceived as seated in 'padmashana' posture. He sits on a lotus flower laid on a 'chowki' and keeps his right leg placed on a small 'chowki' or pedestal laid with flowers. On his left leg he has sometimes one of his Shaktis, Riddhi or Siddhi. This 'padmashana-mudra' is obviously the characteristic feature of Yoga Ganapati. Similarly, large protruded belly is characteristic of Ganesh iconography. But in his most forms it is not so large as it is in this manifestation. A perceptibly conceived big belly is a characteristic feature of his Lambodar manifestation. This manifestation of the Great Lord combines in it three aspects- Sankatahara Ganapati who warded off evil and all sorrows, Yoga Ganapati who led the self from material pursuits to spiritual heights and Lambodara Ganapati who revealed to the ignorant self all knowledge and the mysteries of cosmos.

The artist, it seems, wanted to seek in his votive image of the Great Lord redemption from miseries and sorrows of this world, path to salvation and the light of knowledge, which he could achieve only when he invoked such form of his deity which had such triple strength. He, hence, while conceiving his image of Lord Ganesh, who is the first of all worshipped ones- 'agra poojyante devata', combined in his form Sankatahara Ganapati, Yoga Ganapati and Lambodara Ganapati and has thus created his such form which truly and always accomplished all that his devotee desired- 'kuru me deva sarva karyeshu sarvatha'.

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 culture.

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