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Paintings > Hindu > Yogi Ganesh
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Yogi Ganesh

Yogi Ganesh

Yogi Ganesh

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Viewed 5360 times since 12th Jan, 2011
This lovable form of Lord Ganesh with normal two arms, a far more humanized form of the elephant-faced god than his forms usually are, represents him as turning beads as does a ‘yogi’ during meditation. The ‘tri-punda’ marks on his forehead and arms, sandal-paste line on his trunk, a prominent yajnopavit and laces of Rudraksha-beads on his breast, arms and wrists, further strengthen his ‘yogi’ identity. With an arm-rest supporting his right arm, as have ‘yogis’ under their arms when engaged in meditation or penance, Lord Ganesh has a posture slightly leaning on his right. Carried in his right hand he is turning Rudraksha beads, which being associated with his father Lord Shiva denotes Shiva’s presence. Maybe, the artist, while painting the figure of Lord Ganesh as leaning on his right had in mind that with the weight and volume of Shiva’s presence that he had in the form of Rudraksha-beads the right side of Lord Ganesh was bound to bend.

The figure of Lord Ganesh has been rendered in soft brown-pinkish tint, the colour of yogis’ ensembles, as if he has transformed his entire being, the body and the soul, into a yogi’s form. As a matter of fact, the yoga-cult defines the very ambience that the painting portrays. The artist has discovered the image of Lord Ganesh against a gentle pale-pinkish background, almost the tint of his own body, except that it has been variously shaded for distinguishing areas for portraying the figure, and those, framing the canvas-space: the lighter around the image, and deeper, towards the border. Elegantly clad in a pinkish sheet of unstitched textile – a ‘dhoti’, the quiescent Lord Ganesh, fully absorbed within him, is seated on the ground with no couch, chowki or even a carpet under him.

The two-armed images of Lord Ganesh are rare, and far rarer are his forms sans some kind of arms, which as Commander of ‘ganas’ and as universal protector and remover of detriments were his person’s essentiality. Alike, as much significant is the absence of his crown which in the iconography of Lord Ganesh is also his helmet: an essential component of his armament, as also of his ensemble. In the painting a yogi-like prominent knot of hair alternates his crown. In Shiva’s iconography such ‘jata’ – coiffure, being designated as ‘jata-mukuta’, is itself given the status of crown : the coiffure-crown. Most of his postures, even when he is portrayed as battling against evil forces, reveal as great ease as this image but such informal, intimate moments, as he seems to have in this painting, are very rare, or perhaps singular. Not in proper ‘lalitasana’ posture, as it is defined in the tradition of divine iconography, Lord Ganesh is seated in a posture that reveals as great aesthetic beauty as reveals in ‘lalitasana’. With his right leg laid horizontally, and the left, squatting with an upwards thrust, affording the left hand a height to lay, the figure of Lord Ganesh, sprawling on the ground, reveals absolute comfort and ease, and all effortlessly.

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.


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