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This statue represents the elephant god in his Vijay Ganapati manifestation. Vijay Ganapati is one of the thirty-two forms of Lord Ganesh enumerated in early Puranic texts, particularly the eighth century Mudgala Purana. These thirty-two forms personify thirty-two concerns that Lord Ganesh is believed to have for the created beings. Human mind is contended to have thirty-two aspects, which Lord Ganesh influences in his thirty-two manifestations. It is said that in most of his manifestations Lord Ganesh carries goad and noose, with one, that is, goad, he drags this human mind to the right path and with the other, the noose, he holds it to this right path.
In his Vijay Ganapati form Lord Ganesh has been conceived as four-armed, red complexioned and riding his vehicle mouse. He carries in his four hands broken tusk, elephant goad, noose and a delicious golden mango. This image has been cast with these same attributes except the delicious mango which in this statue a basket of ‘laddus’ replaces. This image carries in the upper right hand a weapon which seems to be a blend of goad and axe, in the upper left, a stylized noose, in lower right, broken tusk, and in lower left, the basket of ‘laddus’. Lord Ganesh is worshipped primarily as Vighnesha – remover of obstacles, and as the god of auspicious and obstacle-free beginning. Hence, whatever his various manifestations these forms are classed broadly under either of these two categories. Vijay Ganapati, the conqueror and the blissful Lord of victories, bestows success and every achievement, which he effects by not allowing obstacles to impede his devotee's path.
The Ganapati image has been cast with the same details, anatomical proportions, divine aura and classicism as early Chola bronzes. Vijay Ganapati’s antiquity is suggested also otherwise. Vijay Ganapati is one of the highly venerated ‘Shodasha Ganapati Murtis’ – sixteen Ganapati images enshrining the sixteen Ganapati cells at Shri Shankara Mandapam at Rameshvaram. Vijay Ganapati enshrines the fourteenth of these cells. Except that the Vijay Ganapati image at Shankara Mandapam carries in his normal, or lower, left hand a ripe mango, which the Puranic literature describes as ‘golden’ mango, in most other things and in attributes in other three hands, this image is exactly identical to the Vijay Ganapati image amongst ‘Shodasha Ganapatis’.
Riding his mount mouse, not a tiny icon as it manifests in most image-forms, Lord Ganesh has been conceived as seated with his both legs suspending downwards, a form of ‘utkuta akasana’, one of the variants of ‘lalitasana’, revealing complete ease and great beauty of form. The image of Ganapati, with bronze-like lustre radiating from his entire form, abounds in exceptional beauty and divine aura. Puranas attribute to Vijay Ganapati red body colour for arriving at it the artist has anodized this brass-cast copper-like, a tint close to red. In plasticity, modeling, precision, minuteness of details, that is, in creating every desired effect, the artifact is simply unparalleled. Vijay Ganapati is single-tusked which combines with this form also the attributes of Ekadanta Ganapati, especially his readiness for sacrificing even a body part for accomplishing his devotee's prayer. The image has been cast with finest and characteristic details of ornaments and costume. A celestial calm, absolute composure and benignity define his face. The image has been conceived with large ears, tender limbs and thoughtful eyes.
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.