This brass image of Ganapati, small in size but immeasurable in its magnificence and grandeur, defines his Vira Ganapati – the ‘valiant warrior’ form, one of his initial thirty-four classical forms which early texts, the eighth century Maudgalya Purana in special, have identified or conceived. Though exceptionally beautiful and endowed with divine aura, Vira Ganapati, primarily a votive form conceived as standing and in readiness to proceed to a target, is broadly a fierce form having a commanding posture. In plasticity, precision, minuteness of details, especially in designing his ‘antariya’ – the lower wear, and ornaments and crown, and in creating desired effect, especially the majestic bearing, the artefact is simply unparalleled. With sixteen arms stretched on both sides the image acquires circular form and is thus suggestive of cosmic dimensions which Lord Ganesha pervades.
The initial thirty-four forms of Lord Ganesha that early texts discovered personify thirty-four concerns that Lord Ganesha is believed to have for created beings. Some texts contend that his thirty-four forms correspond to thirty-four aspects of human mind which Lord Ganesha influences. Basically the remover of obstacles and harbinger of good and auspices, each of these forms of Ganesha falls under one of these two classes. Vira Ganapati is, however, a form which is both, the remover of obstacles and the harbinger of good for the blissful Lord, the valiant warrior Ganesha, fights out obstacles and effects good, prosperity and success. In his form as Vira Ganapati Lord Ganesha is both, the protector and the promoter of his devotees and all.
The iconographic form of Vira Ganapati is relatively simple and straight not inclined to have rhythmic curves of dance, the usual mode of his anatomy, or any kind dramatization of form. In his Vira Ganapati form Lord Ganesha is conceived as standing in straight posture with an awe-striking disposition and demeanour of his face. Even his trunk is relatively straight curving only around its lower end. His images as Vira Ganapati are endowed with sixteen arms carrying in them a goad, disc, bow, arrow, sword, shield, spear, mace, battle-axe, trident, noose, flag, parrot, hammer, dagger and stick, besides the ‘poorna-ghata’ – fully accomplished ritual pot, which he carries in his trunk. He has one of his tusks broken and has a pot-belly of larger size such as he has in his Lambodara form. This image of the great Lord has been rendered in exact adherence to the classical norms defining the form of Vira Ganapati. The essential attributes of Vira Ganapati, his single tusk stands for his single-mindedness and his capacity to make any sacrifice, and his large pot belly, for the oceanic knowledge that he contains.
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.