Heramba Ganapati is revered as the 'protector of the poor' and as one who bestows bliss. He has been conceived as five-faced obviously each one taking care of one of the four directions and the fifth one that of the worlds below and above. He has been endowed with white complexion, one tusk broken, a garland on his person and a noose, rosary, axe, hammer or mace, fruit and 'modaka' in his various hands. He is usually eight handed. Gestures of protection and blessing define his demeanour and one, or sometimes two of his hands bestow 'abhaya', that is, freedom from fear.
This metal cast image of Lord Ganesh slightly deviates from this established tradition. Lion has been omitted here and instead Lord's usual mouse has been re-summoned, though the deity does not ride it. It on the other hand rides his right foot. It seems the lion- riding Heramba Ganapati could not be a convenient position for an isolated icon like this, though the same could suit a canvas, a rock or wall-face or a fixed sculpture. 'Modaka', axe, mace and 'abhaya' are the same but other attributes have been replaced with trident, snake, bow, lotus and conch. Another snake has been used to serve as sash around his waist. Instead of a garland consisting of flowers he is putting on his breast a studded gold necklace.
Despite his five faces he has just one couple of ears. In four of his five trunks he is seen holding the auspicious pot symbolizing variedly rain, ocean, Ganges, earth and riches. His crown consists of the flame and vine motifs symbolizing energy, fertility and crop. A circular cross-lined diagram in the center of four of his five trunks is suggestive of his cosmic control as 'Ganapati', the lord of 'ganas'. In all his eight hands he is wearing gold bangles. The trident mark on all his five foreheads suggests that he is a deity of Shaivite pantheon.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain. Prof. Jain specializes in the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture.
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