Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, and Ganesha, the son of Parvati, both representing separate sectarian lineages, are worshipped together since ages when it relates to achieving a goal related to sustaining life or making it more accomplished, beautiful and absolute. Goddess Lakshmi is the primary source enabling Vishnu in sustaining Creation; however, at least for such errand she is not worshipped with Lord Vishnu. On the contrary Lakshmi wields her utmost influence and effects greater accomplishment when worshipped with Ganesha. Alike, the god of auspiciousness the blessings of Ganesha find a direction in accomplishing a goal when conjoined with Shri or Lakshmi. This unity of Lakshmi, who is often contended to have alternated the mother earth or the earth-goddess, and Ganesha, who assimilates into his being the entire manifest-unmanifest nature, seems to have grown over a period of time and is the most natural. Lakshmi stands in motherly relation to Ganesha, and as in the Ganesha-mantra her image precedes his by being installed on his right, not on left – the place of a consort, the theological or worship tradition has developed an independent iconographic form of Ganesha with two consorts, Riddhi and Siddhi, sometimes considered as Lakshmi’s transforms. This form of Ganesha is classed as ‘Lakshmi-Ganesha’ or Lakshmi-Ganapati’.
This image of the elephant god, a queer form with great volume of belly the legs so positioned as are unable to uphold its weight and bulk, represents the four-armed Ganesha in his Lambodara manifestation. Most befitting an associate to Lakshmi, the giver of abundance and prosperity, Lambodara is believed to contain all the universes within it and oceans of knowledge besides all stores of riches. The lotus-seated Lambodara blesses his devotees with natural wisdom, great common sense, ability to face all kinds of situations and with all that nature, which the lotus he is seated on symbolises, has in its treasure. The snake, symbol of timeless life-tenure, forms the band around his belly suggesting timelessness of his boons. Lord Ganesha carries in his four hands goad, noose, broken tusk and laddu, the broken tusk symbolising ultimate sacrifice, laddu, abundance, goad, his power to keep the mind to the right track, and noose, to drag the erring ones back to the right path.
Excellently cast with rare aesthetic quality, perfect anatomical modeling, great symmetry, delightful angles and perspectives and an ornament’s fineness and precision, the statue of goddess Lakshmi assures her devotees of the grant of all her boons. The anatomy of her figure, especially her well developed breasts full of milk, has been modeled to reveal in her form the ultimate motherhood giving away whatever desired without reservation : a divine will to feed and sustain. Besides the normal right hand symbolising assurance, and the left, held in ‘varad’ – fulfillment of all desired, her other two hands have been cast carrying lotuses in them further emphasizing abundance and accomplishment. Holding lotuses in her hands, and seated on another, which are composed of the same elements as the cosmos, the earth, water, fire, air and space, the goddess has been represented as holding and sustaining the cosmos, her essential role. Amazing in the minuteness of details, the statue breathes rare sacredness and vibrates with rhythm.
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.