If interpreted in Lord Ganesha-related classical terminology, this image of Lord Ganesha, sublime and translucent, is a blend of Lord Ganesha’s Haridra and Bhakti Ganapati iconographies, both four-armed manifestations. In deviation from either, in upper hands he is carrying an identical pair of elephant goads – more for a symmetrical look, though the normal ones relate to Haridra and Bhakti Ganapati forms. The normal right hand held in the gesture of ‘Abhaya’ – freedom from fear, is a feature of pleasant looking redeemer Bhakti Ganapati who keeps misfortunes away and assures redemption from the bonds of material world. Primarily the giver of good crops, food and abundance and the sustainer of nature bounteous Bhakti Ganapati imparts ‘Abhaya’ from everything untoward.
In context to Ganesha the term ‘bhakti’ has dual contexts. Deeply devoted to his father Lord Shiva, and to his mother, Parvati, ‘bhakti’ – devotion, is Lord Ganesha’s inherent nature. In other context, Bhakti Ganapati inspires ‘bhakti’ in the hearts of all by his simplicity, child-like innocence, great divinity and auspicious nature. Hence, the most sacred of all kinds of offerings that a devoted heart makes a flower is the essence of Bhakti Ganapati iconography. Besides a ‘shveta-padma’ – white lotus like form, this image of Lord Ganesha carries a multi-petalled-multi-colour golden flower over his crown. The ‘laddu’, or ‘modaka’, a ball like shaped sweet, that this image of Lord Ganesha is carrying in his normal left hand is an attribute of Haridra Ganapati. ‘Modaka’, a term consisting of two roots : ‘moda’ and ‘ka’, meaning ‘bliss’ and ‘giver’ respectively, Haridra Ganapati, the courier of ‘modaka’, is the divine instrument of unending bliss. The transparence that defines his body, the rare beauty of ‘antariya’ – lower wear, and the gold’s luster with which the entire image glows, are essentially the characteristics of his Haridra Ganapati manifestation.
Fine features, especially the small but wide open black eyes and beautifully twisted trunk, and a balanced anatomy, define the form of Lord Ganesha. Seated in ‘utkutakasana’ – both legs laid on the pedestal’s top, one, a bit raised, and other, lying flat, beautifully sculpted and elegantly painted with gold and tints of red and yellow, the image is exceptionally ornate, even the tips of tusks, both full and broken, and nails, being dyed in scarlet. He is putting on a few but gorgeously conceived ornaments, the diamonds-studded crown and halo-like conceived back-guard attached to it, the diamonds-studded gold lace on the trunk and a large necklace with a beautiful pendant in special.
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.