Whether we are Hindus or not, the elephant is a very respected and revered animal. Known for their memories, strength, power, intelligence and uniqueness, if there is any animal – other than man – that is deserving of deification, the elephant is certainly one. The components of its body alone are thought of as symbolic. How could God have created such a creature to not only live among us men… but to also befriend us?
Hindus have taken our reverence of Elephants to God himself. Through the Elephant God, known as both Ganesha and Ganapati, an elephant can symbolize our highest virtues as we approach enlightment.
His tusk can help us transcend duality. His large head can help us expand our thoughts. His small eyes can remind us to think beyond the five senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. His large ears can remind us to consider others opinions, but then think for ourselves.
Even the ornaments he carries can remind us of a Divine Tool useful for our spiritual evolution. The Mouse, and how every aspect of our mind is getting purified. The Sweets, and how Life becomes sweeter and sweeter as ascend. The Trident, and how we transcend the past, present and future of Time.
In fact, Ganesha represents The Fully Enlightened Being. As we ponder from meditation to meditation… day after day… year after year… Lifetime after Lifetime… we become more and more like our highest ideal. We are not to become éléphants, but to what its aspects symbolize.
Yes, all of our religions and Truly Enlightened Guides teach these same lessons — But, for many Hindus, Gurus and Yogis, one educated glance at The Ganapati Elephant is like reading a thousand pages of a sacred book or listening to countless hours of a spiritual master.
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