Unique Interpretation of The Sculpture of Lion Over Elephant
Everytime I pay a visit to the Sun temple at Konark, I find something new….where every piece of rock speaks a story of its own / past glory. There are two sculptures found in front of the Natyamandira ( Dancing hall), where you will see a model of Lion on an Elephant which has secured a man on its trunk .. I looked for its possible interpretations…One source of interpretation speaks something like this.
Elephant connotes abundance and Lion means pride in addition to control ….. Assuming that if a man doesn’t have command over his pride and abundance then he gets squashed under their massive weight. So while getting into the Konark Sun Temple , a person should leave behind his/her pride, influence and abundance in order to be the receiver of divine bliss and peace.
Another source of interpretation speaks something like this.
An elephant is always considered as a sacred symbol in Buddhism ( The mother of Lord Buddha had dreamt of an elephant coming out of her womb just in the penultimate night of giving birth to Lord Buddha) . But Lion is considered as equally sacred in Hinduism ( lion being the Bahan or carrier or vehicle of Goddess Durga). Eastern Ganga dynasty rulers were followers of Hinduism and to portray the dominance of Hinduism over Buddhism , the said sculpture has been made so…..
Anyway the image of the said sculpture is submitted here for discussion.
Dr. Manoj Mishra
Of course the sculpture could also be interpreted as the Elephants protecting the Man from the lion? Or maybe even the lion trying to free the man from the elephant? 🤔