Dhundhi Ganapati carries in one of his hands a small pot, often a ‘purna-ghata’ with a coconut covering its mouth, as seems to carry this resplendent brass-image, believed to contain precious gems symbolic of the treasury of awakenings. Apart, in one of his other hands Dhundhi Ganapati carries a rosary of Rudraksha-beads; obviously for commemorating. This image of Lord Ganesha does not carry any rosary. However, his both upper hands are in the posture of ‘mantra-japa’ – commemorating sacred hymns. This ‘mantra-japa’ is a more pronounced attribute of Yoga Ganapati, though while in regular Yoga Ganapati iconography only one of the four hands is engaged in ‘mantra-japa’, in this form of Lord Ganesha the ‘mantra-japa’ is the ‘mudra’ – posture of two hands.
However, in wider perspective this statue seems to represent the elephant god in his ‘Tryakshara’ manifestation : the Lord of ‘three letters’ – A U M. As prescribed, Tryakshara Ganapati is a four-armed image, has large floppy willowing basket type ears, and is golden hued. Tryakshara Ganapati images are usually in informal postures as is this image without a crown, meagre ornaments and no such thing as a lotus-like formal seat. These images are often rendered in ‘utkut akasana’ as is this image, but sometimes also in ‘lalitasana’. Tryakshara Ganapati has, as has his most other forms, a trunk turned to left : the form of trunk known in the tradition as ‘edampuri’; however, the trunk in this statue slightly deviates from this line. It has been cast as straight, only its knotted tip being turned to left. Similarly, Tryakshara Ganapati images have the tusk that he had removed, the broken one, invariable on his right side, being removed by the right hand; in this statue it has been removed from the left side. The right side tusk is in its place.
The image has, besides AUM inscribed on its trunk, the sacred syllable further repeated symbolically on the forepart of the face in the form of a trident-like looking figure, almost a vertically turned AUM, used for multiplying the divine power of the sacred syllable. Tryakshara Ganapati is the Patron of the sacred syllable AUM, of its form, sound and every aspect that the holy syllable manifests. He imparts to it his auspices and vice verse AUM multiplies Lord Ganapati’s, many times. Cast in brass with a little percentage of copper blended for subduing its extra brilliance, this image attains golden hue, the body colour of Tryakshara Ganapati. A delightful anatomy, with large floppy ears giving the figure extra breadth, and the head without a crown that elevates the figure’s length perspective misbalancing the figural geometry, the image reveals rare symmetrical proportions. He has semi-open eyes as meditating on something and a childlike innocence on the face. His loincloth is quite interesting. It looks like a heavy gown as folded under the legs while seating, though the body’s upper part does not have any.
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.