The classic paintings of Indian gods and goddesses are filled with symbolism. Every item depicted has meaning and serves a purpose in telling a story. For example, a snake is wrapped around Shiva’s neck. It symbolizes the cycle of time, the kundalini shakti and release from the bondage of nature. Shiva also holds a trident, which represents the threefold aspect of creation, preservation, and destruction. Durga holds a sword, which cuts the knot of illusion. It shows that we can free ourselves from error and ignorance. In one hand, Ganesh holds a goad that offers encouragement to follow the path of righteousness. In another hand, Ganesh holds a Modhak, a sweet that represents knowledge and wisdom. The rat shown with Ganesh symbolizes the crafty intellect, which is dominated by Ganesh’s wisdom.