Author: S K GuptaPublisher: Abhinav PublicationsYear: 1983Language: EnglishPages: 103ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170171660
The present monograph seeks to record the place and development of elephant symbol in the mythology and the art of India over a period of 5000 years. It is amazing as to how strikingly a unity in diversity in most Indian religions is displayed through this symbol. Elephant form has been used as a common denominator in the folk as well as the religious cults but having different impacts.The wide spectrum of Indian culture contains various colours of different intensity. Different kinds of people, races, languages, religions and traditions made Indian culture vital and colourful. The elephant rotates with every colour of the spectrum. How the animal impressed the people through the ages is sought to be explained by the author along with all the myths and stories associated with it. As a divine member elephant was supposed to have come into existence out of the sea on the occasion of churning of the ocean (Samudramanthana) as Airavata the milk white elephant. On the folk level a cult developed around it. Jataka stories refer to elephant pillars and statues and tradition of performing Hastisutra and Hastimangala-elephant 1estival. Besides as a folk divinity it also penetrated in Buddhist and Jain mythologies.It is the inner vitality of Indian culture which has been the result of intimate connection between nature and human inspiration. That is why, Indian religion, art and literature are rooted in the natural environment. Ganesa the elephant god is the best example of the oneness of nature and human factor as reflected in the realm of art and literature. Ganesa is only one of the aspects of the multidimensional personality of the elephant which embodies the various hues and colours of the Indian cultural tradition.Thus, Dr. Gupta herein offers a detailed statement regarding the historical development of elephant symbol in Indian myths and art. This must be counted as a unique effort in understanding the symbolism of Indian culture through elephant symbol.
Foreword Preface Abbreviations List of Figures List of Plates Airavata-The Ocean-Born Elephant Hastimangala-The Elephant Festival Elephant-Symbol of Fertility Elephant as Devotee of Visnu White Elephant as Gautama the Buddha Bodhisattva as Elephant The Elephant Ganesa-The Elephant-Headed God Elephant in History ReferencesBibliography Index Illustrations (Plates)