Wednesday 16 September 2015

Story of Lord Ganesha – Madhubani Style

Lord Ganesha (கணேசப் பெருமான்), the elephant headed God, is a very popular among Hindus. He is also known as ‘Vigneshwar’ (விக்னேஸ்வரன்), one who removes the obstacles in the lives of his devotees and ‘Ganapathy’ (கணபதி), leader of celestial beings or ‘Ganas’ (கணங்கள்). In this painting, I tried to illustrate the story of Lord Ganesha, using ink on paper. I have adopted line work of Madhubani style, while the forms are inspired by temple sculptures. I have used fine lines to create clothing and jewellery. Madhubani motifs such as Sun, Moon, flowers and birds are used in the panels. I have also used motifs from temple sculptures in this composition. The forms are more stylized than in traditional Madhubani paintings as my primary inspiration comes from temple sculptures. I have avoided using colour to make the intrinsic line work to stand out.

Mythological story of Lord Ganesha is given below and the same is depicted in the painting.

Story of Lord Ganesha – Madhubani Style - Ink on Paper - 20" x 14"
Left – Top Panel: When God Shiva (சிவபெருமான்) was away, his wife Goddess Parvati (பார்வதி தேவி) created a child and declared the boy, Ganesha to be her own son.

Left – Middle Panel: One day, Goddess Parvati asked Ganesha to guard the door, while she was bathing. When God Shiva arrived, Ganesha refused to let him in. Infuriated, God Shiva ordered his army to fight the child, but the army was defeated by the boy. Then God Shiva decided to fight the child, whose head was severed by divine fury.

Left – Lower Panel: Goddess Parvati was enraged and upset on learning the fate of her son; and hence, God Shiva ordered ‘Nandi’ (நந்தி தேவர்), his celestial bull to bring the head of the first creature that he came across. Nandhi brought the head of an elephant.

Right – Top Panel: God Shiva placed the elephant’s head on the child’s body and brought him back to life. He also declared Ganesha to be his own son and made him the first among Gods to be worshiped.

Right – Middle Panel: Once both Lord Ganesha and his brother, Lord Skanda (முருகப் பெருமான்) wanted a divine fruit. Lord Shiva told them to go around the world thrice, and declared that the winner would get the fruit. Lord Ganesha won the contest by going around his parents thrice, as the God and Goddess indeed constitute the world!

Right – Lower Panel: Lord Ganesha transcribed the epic ‘Mahabarata’ (மகாபாரதம்), as sage ‘Vyasa’ (வியாச முனிவர்) dictated it. He broke one of his tusks and used it for writing. Hence, Lord Ganesha is always depicted with one broken tusk.

Centre Panel: Dancing Ganesha or ‘Nardhana Ganapathy’ (நர்த்தன கணபதி) is depicted in an elegant dancing pose with eight arms, surrounded by musicians and his vehicle or ‘vahana’ (வாஹனம்), the mouse (மூஞ்சுறு).

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