thomaslaw wrote:Hi Dhamma friends,
Recently I visited the site of Kapilavastu in Tilaurakot (Nepal). In the site there are many elephant images next to the very old Hindu shrine. The Hindu shrine worships three small standing stones. The elephant images are not Ganesha deity; they are just elephants as such, big and small. I presume they must be relevant to the Kapilavastu site and to the Hindu shrine. But, why are so many elephant images being worshiped there? Also, what do the three stones in the Hindu shrine symbolise?
In Hinduism elephant is a religious symbol and is respected due to various reasons, for example, due to connection with Ganesha
, and also elephant being the mount of Indra
in Buddhism). Not only elephant, but cow, ox, monkey, lion etc. also have respectful status in Hinduism. You will see idols of elephant, lion, and other animals in many Hindu temples.
But I don't think Hindus in general actually worship elephants like they worship Deva
s. It depends upon area. Like in Nepal, there is tendency among people to "worship" any standing stone.