I couldn’t ignore the fact that the elephant mandala is a very popular decoration item today. People use it in different shapes and colors to decorate their houses, their clothes, their shoes, their phone cases, tapestries etc. It just looks so beautiful everywhere, so why wouldn’t you just put it everywhere?
People are very attracted to mandala patterns, especially when they are filled with a rainbow of colors and when they take the elephant shape. It is in our nature: unconsciously, we love colorful images and sophisticated patterns, and we are very receptive when our visual field is stimulated. An image is a very influential “weapon”. It can change a mood, a feeling or even a life!
That’s why today I’ve decided to have a more closely look to the elephant mandala image and see what’s the symbolism of it.
The Cultural Symbolism Of The Elephant
Throughout its history of 50 millions years, the elephant had important roles in many cultures. It was often found in antique writings, engraved plates and statues. In many antique stories it is found as a very important messenger of dreams.
Its solid stature symbolizes power and bravery, its big head and its large and open ears represent intelligence, wisdom, and the quality of listening with patience.
On the other side, there is a big contrast between its big and strong body and its small and gentle eyes. It inspires kindness and warmth, but courage and strength.
Elephants are often resembled with humans because of their softness, peacefulness and wisdom. Its huge body, its benevolent eyes, its charming calm and composure surround people with a feeling of safeness, kindness and respect.
The elephant is the symbol of courage, strength, stature, wisdom, honor, longevity, patience, kindness and peace. So next time you see an elephant, remember that, and maybe you will be able to create a sort of connection with that animal.
What great qualities that it has, isn’t it?
The Religious Symbolism Of The Elephant
The elephant is a religious symbol in Buddhism and it seems to have the same qualities as they are known all around the world, but here, it is seen as a very powerful connection tool between human and the spiritual world.
In religious mandala artworks, the elephant represent prosperity, good luck, rain bringing for rich harvests, fertility, strength of spirit, mental and physical fortitude. The elephant mandala masterpiece connects the human with god, through meditation, so people and the world receive what they need to balance the natural course of nature.
The Story Of Buddha And The White Elephant
Given that the elephant is such a powerful symbol, Buddhists believe it is a deity and many sacred texts tell that Buddha itself used to reincarnate in an elephant many times, until he arrived to the last life of the cycle and lived as a white elephant.
It is known that Buddhists believe they have a cycle of lives which ends when one arrives to the enlightenment. After that, the human becomes a deity or one with the universe. He doesn’t need to be a physical form anymore, because he accomplished his mission on earth.
This mission is reaching such a high level of wisdom, that there is no more need of the body’s physical functions. The human becomes a light and it takes part to the wholeness which is made of all humans that have come to enlightenment from the beginning of the world, until now.
If one just can’t reach such a level of wisdom through meditation and prayers, he will have an endless cycle of lives on earth. Also, Buddhists believe that human can reincarnate into animals and plants as well, depending on the level they have reached or on the punishments they deserve to execute in consequence of their last life’s actions.
I know this has nothing to do with the elephant mandala or with the white elephant, but I just wanted to make it more clearer for the ones that don’n know the religious beliefs of Buddhism. It is a very interesting and deep ideology, so if you want to know more about it, just feel free to leave a comment and I will be so happy to make a post only about this.
Now, coming back to the white elephant, it is known that it represents the last life of Buddha on earth. The white elephant is a mythical animal, but Buddhists believe it used to live many hundreds of years ago and it was so rare, that people were considering it a deity.
With meditation, practice and patience, it is believed that one can control his own thoughts and can reach the mindfulness and the enlightenment which is exactly what the white elephant symbol stands for. It is the last stage of enlightenment.
What Is The Elephant Mandala
Now that we know what is the cultural and religious elephant symbolism, we can easily intuit what the elephant mandala stands for. Basically, the elephant awesome qualities and the mandala combine to give birth to a very strong new symbol which is used by Buddhists in rituals and prayers for very positive purposes.
It brings peace, harmony, wisdom, strength and kindness into human lives, but also it is a great delight for our eyes and mind.
In practice, it is an elephant drawing filled with different patterns of flowers, leaves and geometrical shapes (same as a simple mandala), most of the time colored, but also black and white.
We can find it in different forms as:
- Big elephant head with a mandala behind, both filled with different patterns
- Mandala with a little elephant head or the whole elephant on center
- Mandala with many little elephants as patterns and other shapes
- Elephant head filled with patterns
- Whole elephant filled with patterns
Where you can buy elephant mandala items
You can find elephant mandala items on Amazon and Ebay, but if you want to choose from a wider range of products in this category, I hardly recommend you to have a look on Etsy. They have very beautiful and high quality elephant mandala items.
Here are some of my favorite elephant mandala items:
Let’s see the beauty!
Today, the elephant mandala is used as well by Buddhists in ways I’ve mentioned before, but most of all it became a symbol of beauty and fashion. I think it is important to know what is its meaning and not only for the elephant mandala, but for every aspect of our lives.
Let’s enjoy the beautiful things that life gives us, but let’s also discover the beauty that is hidden in the essence of things. This way, we can learn to appreciate more what we have around us and what we are. Everything is always more beautiful than what it seems to be! Let’s find this beauty and let’s share it!
I hope you enjoyed my post and I will be so happy to see your opinions about elephant mandalas or anything that make you comfortable to talk about. Feel free to leave a comment below and I will be so glad to connect with you! Blessings!