Animal Diaries Archive
27 October 2006
Surrounding our elephant exhibit is a number of artistic and intricate carvings and sculptures that our resident Zoo artists Cameron and Peter have created. Perhaps the most spectacular is our giant Ganesh god, which is an elephant-headed, human-bodied statue that guards our elephant exhibit.
In the Hindu religion of India, Ganesh is the God of wisdom, remover of obstacles and ensures success in human endeavours. The Hindu religion has observed the elephant’s individual behaviours and unique characteristics as a model for worship and a role model for life. For many centuries, many believers and non-believers have admired elephantine features but few have really understood their symbolic significance. An elephant is noted for its intelligence and Ganesh’s head symbolises wisdom, understanding and sharpness of intellect. The two tusks represent two aspects of the human personality, wisdom and emotion. The left tusk is broken to suggest the idea that one must conquer emotions with wisdom to attain perfection. When moving through a jungle, elephants clear the path for others to follow. When invoking Ganesh, the Hindu belief is that he will remove all life’s obstacles as like any elephant, he has cleared a path to follow.
So next time you visit our elephant-headed god Ganesh we encourage you to bring him a fresh flower to aid in removing your obstacles and the ones associated with preserving the elephant species.