Elephant: 7 definitions
Elephant means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
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Ayurveda (science of life)Source: Asian Agri-History: Paśu Āyurvēda (Veterinary Medicine) in Garuḍapurāṇa
Elephant is a largest land animal living in Asia and Africa. In ancient India the elephant (in Sanskrit: gaja or hasti) is an important tool for Army as well as civil work of a King and also for temple rituals. Elephants are considered as vajra in war and also for different types of work. Only one elephant can win over six thousands horses. Hence one has to keep up the fitness of the elephants always. [...] Ancient Indian literature is flooded with information on animal care, health management, and treatment of disease. The Gaja-āyurvēda or Hasti-āyurvēda is mentioned in Veda, Pūraṇa, Brāhmaṇa epics. [...] The drugs, treatments enumerated in connection with diseases of horses may also be employed in the diseases of elephants. But the dosage is four times of that of a horse.—(Cf. Garuḍapurāṇa and the roga-sāmaka-kaṣāya).
Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.
Purana and Itihasa (epic history)Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana
Elephants were traditionally trained, as one of the “sixty four kinds of Art”, according to the Kamasutra of Vatsyayana.—Cf. the Sanskrit Vainayikīna, which refers to “knowledge of proper behavior or the training of elephants and other domestic animal.”.—Indian tradition, basically includes sixty four Art forms are acknowledged. The history of Indian Art covers approximately five thousand years which pre sents a rich and almost continuous record. The references of sixty four kinds of Kala (कला, kalā) are found in the Bhagavatapurana, Shaiva-Tantras, Kamasutra of Vatsyayana etc.
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (natya)
1) The Elephant is denoted by the Sanskrit term Gaja, whereas Gajadantahasta refers to one of the thirteen Combined-hand Gestures (in Indian Dramas) (known as saṃyuktahastas), according to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, an ancient Sanskrit text which (being encyclopedic in nature) deals with a variety of cultural topics such as arts, architecture, music, grammar and astronomy.—The word gajadanta denotes the danta i.e., tusk of gaja i.e., elephant. In the gajadanta posture, both hands in sarpaśīrṣa position are bent towards each other along with the elbows and shoulders and this posture is used to show carrying the mountain.
2) The Gait of the Elephant is denoted by the Sanskrit term Gajagati, and represents one of the various Gatis (“way of walking”) (in Indian Dramas), according to the Abhinayadarpaṇa.—Accordingly, gaits (gatis) are explained along with some particular hand gestures. It shows that footsteps are to be followed by some hand postures. The gait of gaja i.e., elephant is always noticed as slow gait. The Abhinayadarpaṇa suggests holding patāka hands in this gait.
Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).
Shilpashastra (iconography)Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (shilpa)
Elephants are associated with the Winter Season, which follows specific guidelines of ancient Indian Painting (citra), according to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, an ancient Sanskrit text which (being encyclopedic in nature) deals with a variety of cultural topics such as arts, architecture, music, grammar and astronomy.—The Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa gives some instructions to make the picture of every season beautiful and natural. The winter season (śiśira) should be depicted through the picture having pleased crows and elephants and a person shivering in cold. According to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa the picture should contain horizon filled with snow. [...] Thus, the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa addresses various elements of nature, such as elephants in the winter season, since painting has much connection with time, mood and activity.
Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.
Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): (Tibetan Buddhism)
Elephants (in Sanskrit: Gaja) can be controlled by one having the Siddhi (power) of Speech, according to verse 14.24bd-27 of the Laghuśaṃvara, an ancient Buddhist Yoginī Tantra.—Accordingly: “The Sādhaka [who has] the Siddhi of speech can certainly attract a king or queen by [merely] thinking [it]. [...] And he can stop a river, a cart, a machine [like a water-wheel,] the ocean, elephants (gaja) and horses, clouds, a man or bird merely by means of his speech. He achieves everything which he desires by his speech”.Source: academia.edu: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala
The Elephant is associated with the Yoginī (female deity) named Gajī, being situated in the Medinīcakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava-tantra: one of the last Tibetan Tantric scriptures belonging to the Buddhist Saṃvara tradition consisting of 51 chapters.—Accordingly, the medinīcakra refers to one of the three divisions of the dharma-puṭa (‘dharma layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs [viz., Gajī] and Vīras are yellow in color; the shapes of their faces are in accordance with their names [e.g., Elephant]; they have four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.
Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.
India history and geographySource: Singhi Jain Series: Ratnaprabha-suri’s Kuvalayamala-katha (history)
Elephants were commonly depicted on the Saṃsāracakra paintings (representing scenes of animal life), in ancient India, as mentioned in the Kathās (narrative poems) such as Uddyotanasūri in his 8th-century Kuvalayamālā (a Prakrit Campū, similar to Kāvya poetry).—Page 185.21 f.: Here follows a description of a printed scroll illustrating the Jaina conception of saṃsāracakra. [...] The saṃsāra-cakra illustrated the three worlds of hell, human world and the world of gods. [For example:] Scenes of bird and animal life, e.g., fight between lion and elephant (as depicted in the Kailāsa temple at Ellora).
The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
See also (Relevant definitions)
Starts with (+4): Elephant bamboo, Elephant climber, Elephant creeper, Elephant ear, Elephant foot, Elephant garlic, Elephant goad, Elephant grass, Elephant hip, Elephant rider, Elephant tree, Elephant trunk, Elephant tusk tree, Elephant-apple, Elephant-ear-plant, Elephant-yam, Elephanta, Elephantopus mollis, Elephantopus plurisetus, Elephantopus spicatus.
Ends with: Herbe a elephant.
Search found 353 books and stories containing Elephant; (plurals include: Elephants). You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Elephantology and its Ancient Sanskrit Sources (by Geetha N.)
Matangalila and Hastyayurveda (study) (by Chandrima Das)
Elephants in Epigraphic Records (Introduction) < [Chapter 2]
Concluding Remarks < [Chapter 5]
Elephants in the Kingdom and as a Royal Asset < [Chapter 5]
Kautilya Arthashastra (by R. Shamasastry)
Chapter 31 - The Superintendent of Elephants < [Book 2 - The duties of Government Superintendents]
Chapter 2 - Division of Land < [Book 2 - The duties of Government Superintendents]
Chapter 32 - The Training of Elephants < [Book 2 - The duties of Government Superintendents]
Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study) (by A. Yamuna Devi)
Fauna (5): Domesticated Animals (a): Elephants < [Chapter 5 - Aspects of Nature]
Politics and Administration (3): Saṃsphoṭa (War) < [Chapter 3 - Social Aspects]
Fauna (10): Miscellaneous information relating to Fauna < [Chapter 5 - Aspects of Nature]
Mahabharata (English) (by Kisari Mohan Ganguli)
Section 12 < [Karna Parva]
Section XXIV < [Dronabhisheka Parva]
Section 22 < [Karna Parva]
The Agni Purana (by N. Gangadharan)
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