is not a Deity of the vedic pantheon. In one of the seals discovered in
archaeological excavations at Mohanjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley,
there is the find of a figure of a ram with a human face and trunk and
tusks of an elephant.
Thattiriya Aranyaka refers to a Deity called
Dentin (one with tusk) who is said to possess a twisted trunk (Vakrathunda).
It is not clear whether this Deity had the full form of the elephant or
not. Probably this figure was a mixed figure in the pattern of the earlier
figure found in the Indus Valley excavations, viz., the ram with the human
face and with the trunk and tusks of the elephant. These figures may be
the present day Ganesha figures in their embryonic stage. Significantly
enough, only the trunk and tusks of the elephant appear to have been taken
out for depiction, perhaps for the reason, that even in that distant past
they had a special significance as at the present days. To comprehend
the full significance of these trunk and tusks we have to study the significance
of the elephant an animal existing side by side with human beings from
the very prehistoric days.
The elephant may have been a totem animal
during the prehistoric period. Totemism is supposed to be the earliest
appearance of organised religion when the totem animals were worshipped.
Some times totem animals were humanised and given great importance. There
is a picture in extent, of a piece of sculpture preserved in Paris museum
which was excavated from Western Persia. This sculpture is said to be
belonging to a period between 1200 B.C. and 1000 B.C. according to L.
Vanden Berghe quoted by Fr. H. Heras.
The sculpture contains the figure of a man dressed in old Persian attire
with the head of an elephant with its trunk turned inward towards its
mouth brandishing a sword in one hand while the other hand holds the tail
of a serpent crawling towards his feet. If the date ascribed to this find
is correct it affords proof that this totem figure was humanised during
the period immediately following the Vedic era when Vedas were still being
transmitted by word of mouth. Humanising the totem is a step forward in
metaphysics and philosophy also for it is the starting point of man creating
God heads after his own image or according to his own mental ability and