The image of the ‘Sankata-mochana’ Hanuman has been installed over a rectangular pedestal conceived with conventionalized lotus design. The monkey god has his right hand held in the posture granting ‘abhaya’ – protection from fear, and in the left he is holding his favourite attribute and all-time companion mace. Except the monkey-like cast face : projected jaw and the mouth along, and proportionately projecting nose, the beard and the monkey-like moustache, the deity’s figure has been cast with an absolutely humanized anatomy. He has normal two arms, as also the rest of the features conceived as those of a man : alert thoughtful eyes, triple arched eyebrows, broad forehead with Vaishnava ‘tilaka’ mark, ears and a ‘tri-bali’ neck, a neck with three folds, a standard of modeling a neck under Indian aesthetic tradition. His thickly conceived hair has been beautifully dressed and laid over both shoulders and the back adding appropriate volume for aligning the crowned head with the shoulders.
The monkey-god’s costume and ornaments are also conceived on the human lines. His usual loincloth apart, like any humanized god : Lord Vishnu, Indra or any, his figure carries in addition a lavish and richly conceived textile, not a band but a large length, tied around the waist with its ends artistically knotted and collected in front manipulating beautifully the space in the parting of the legs, and as richly conceived a sash with such length as trailed down the ground besides elegantly carried over both arms. A rich gold border defines both lengths of textiles. He is putting on a gorgeous crown with a circular back and towering face, beautiful ‘kundalas’, necklaces, armlets and anklets. The statue represents the monkey god as one with a strong physique with invincible might that overpowered even the mightiest of demons, and in his grown up years as he was when he emerged on the scene in the Ramayana.
The most humble Hanuman always claimed his place in Rama’s feet, as his mere servant. He always owed every grain of his strength to his Master : the perpetual source of whatever he had, though on a number of critical occasions this servant came forward even to rescue the Master himself. Though more widely worshipped than any other divinity, not even his Master Rama, mainly as one capable of redeeming a devotee from any crisis and lauded also for his unfathomable knowledge, immeasurable virtues and unparalleled might, and for exceptionally humble, kind and compassionate nature, the tradition does not attribute to him any set of rituals, or ‘mantras’ – sacred hymns except some medieval verses like Hanuman Chaleesa – a poem with forty verses dedicated to Hanuman believed to have been composed by Tulsidasa. Alike, a deity in pure devotional line, Hanuman neither propounded a philosophy nor dogma, nor seems to have promoted the cult of rigorous penance. He assured protection even when simply commemorated, and his presence, or his name, dispelled every evil, purified the ambiance, a house or a premises, and led to success in life’s every walk.
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.