Lest it dragged away the viewing eye, the middle part of arch that Lord Ganesha pervades with his image has been conceived, barring a few design-motifs, largely as plain. Its arched apex is, however, one of its most beautiful parts in the statue. It consists of strange foliage; a stump of a tree with space for a bird – a blend of peacock and parrot, to perch, and a hole for its offspring to hide, highly stylised plant forms having banana bud like flower-pattern but mangos-like fruits, and leaves, like some plant of divine origin. Finer than any calligraphic contours are its curves ringing in full circles, and thicker than any, its leaves. On its top perches another bird, the same blend of two species : parrot and peacock.
The image of Lord Ganesha that enshrines the central part of the arch, that is, the ‘shikhara’ above and the plinth below, symbolically the sanctum, is four-armed. The elephant-faced god is carrying a pair of goads in his upper hands, broken tusk in the normal right and a ‘laddu’ in the normal left. This form is essentially the Ekadanta manifestation of Lord Ganesha. Ekadanta Ganapati, is invariably a four-armed form carrying as a rule his broken tusk in his normal right hand and is pot-bellied, as here in this wood-carving. The belly is contained by an ‘udara-patta’ – belly-band. The cheerful mood of Lord Ekadanta manifests in many things, as here in the movement of his left foot revealing the beauty of dance, and in extending his trunk to the ‘laddu’ in his hand.
Under Ganapati cult Ekadanta form of Lord Ganesha is one of his main and initial eight classical manifestations enumerated in early texts like the Mudgala Purana. Mudgala Purana is primarily devoted to Ganesha-cult. As contend these texts, these eight manifestations of Lord Ganesha prevail over eight human weaknesses, namely, ‘moda’ – arrogance, ‘abhimana’ – pride, ‘matsarya’ – jealousy, ‘moha’ – infatuation, ‘lobha’ – greed, ‘krodha’ – anger, ‘kama’ – lust, and ‘mamata’ – possessiveness as also ego. It is said that Ganapati as Ekadanta prevails primarily over ‘moda’, the arrogance and thereby over other weaknesses. Arrogance breeds non-acceptance of the world, one is destined to live in, and hence it becomes main instrument of breeding disharmony – the root of most of the ills in life. Ekadanta Ganapati vanquishes this arrogance and makes life harmonious.
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.