Images in stone and wood prove Hinduism true

July 17, 2012 • 8:36 am

Two days ago we learned about an image of the Virgin Mary in a tree trunk in Brooklyn: obvious proof of Christianity.  But that was Saturday. Since then, two readers have sent me images of the Hindu god Ganesha (an elephant-headed deity) from nature.  (Ganesh is my favorite Hindu god, and I have a collection of his images I’ve bought in India.) It’s two to one now, and that means that Hinduism wins!*

The first, pointed out by reader Billy in a comment yesterday, is an apparition of the deity in some rocks near Madrid, a formation called “El Elefantito” (The Little Elephant):

If that isn’t proof of an elephant God, I don’t know what is. It’s a gazillion times better than yesterday’s image of Mary.

The second Proof of Hinduism was provided by Richard, who sent me the following email and photo:

Your post on the “Virgin Mary” tree (knothole?) gives me the opportunity to share this with you, and perhaps the opportunity (if you so desire, of course) to share your thoughts on face/image recognition and spalted wood fungus.

I was cutting down the remains of an old tree (birch perhaps? not sure) on my property and noticed the wonderful markings appearing on the exposed cross-sections. Nope, no BVM, holy trinity or Jesus likenesses, but two images that appeared as elephants, one Indian and one African. As an aside, I’m not sure what this means. If I had been a practicing Hindu, whould this be a significant find?

Here’s his photo:

For those of you who lack sufficient religious conviction to see the elephants, here’s Richard’s highlighting (click to enlarge):



*This reminds me of an old Jewish joke:

It seems that four rabbis had a series of theological arguments, and three were always in accord against the fourth. One day, the odd rabbi out, after the usual “3 to 1, majority rules” statement that signified that he had lost again, decided to appeal to a higher authority. “Oh, G-d!” he cried. “I know in my heart that I am right and they are wrong! Please give me a sign to prove it to them!”

It was a beautiful, sunny day. As soon as the rabbi finished his prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the four. It rumbled once and dissolved. “A sign from G-d! See, I’m right, I knew it!” But the other three disagreed, pointing out that storm clouds form on hot days.

So the Rabbi prayed again: “Oh, G-d, I need a bigger sign to show that I am right and they are wrong. So please, G-d, a bigger sign!” This time four storm clouds appeared, rushed toward each other to form one big cloud, and a bolt of lightning slammed into a tree on a nearby hill.”I told you I was right!” cried the rabbi, but his friends insisted that nothing had happened that could not be explained by natural causes.

The rabbi is getting ready to ask for a “very big” sign, but just as he says “Oh G-d…” the sky turns pitch black, the earth shakes, and a deep, booming voice intones, “HEEEEEEEE’S RIIIIIIIGHT!”

The rabbi puts his hands on his hips, turns to the other three, and says, “Well?”

“So,” shrugged one of the other rabbis, “now it’s 3 to 2!”

55 thoughts on “Images in stone and wood prove Hinduism true

    1. I’m sure that there is a moderately entertaining true story about why or how the extreme-right-wing and ultra-extreme-right-wing factions of American political organisation bothered to choose animals as mascots, let alone those particular two animals (one has a donkey, doesn’t it?). But I’d be much more amused to hear the untrue and insulting stories than the dull true story.

    1. Is there a road coming out of Elephant Butt, and if so, what is it paved with?
      OIC, the elephant is a Christian, so the road is paved with Christian soil. (Ka-boom-tish!)
      Or did all of the aboriginal Americans get converted to Christianity?

      1. David Mitchell is well worth the effort of watching whenever he appears on the quiz show circuit. I don’t see the other guy much though – probably the script writer. But Mitchell is excellent and very, very quick on the urine-extraction.
        I wonder if he’s ever been on one of the politician-roasting programmes. I would predict a vigorous public flaying of the politician(s).

    1. It’s almost impossible to visit Mount Rushmore and not “see” a whole range of other persons and characters in the surrounding rocks. Something about the sculpture and the surrounding formation practically imposes pareidolia on you.

      My favorites were Richard Nixon and Elmer Fudd.

  1. The great thing about this is that if a Hindu seriously took that rock as evidence of Ganesh, and if a Christian seriously took that wood carving as evidence of Mary (which many have obviously done), their argument would run around and around in circles because neither would have anything upon which to verify their claims. And therein lies one of the many problems with religion… it’s got nothing to go on.

  2. I love that joke.

    But the punchline I originally read was that it didn’t matter what signs God made. Either it’s in the Law or it isn’t, and it doesn’t matter what outside evidence you want to present.

  3. Ganisha FTW: he carves his image out of tons of rock, obviously using Directed Erosion. Best the Christian God can do is essentially carve his initials in a tree trunk.

    1. Ganesha is also officially credited as the scribe of the great Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata. The story goes that the “author”, Ved Vyas, needed a scribe to write down this gigantic epic* he was composing, and could find no one better than Ganesha. Ganesha agreed but stipulated that if ever he had to wait for Ved Vyas to compose a verse, he would immediately give up the job. Ved Vyas acceded, but on the condition that Ganesha would not write down a verse until he (Ganesha) had fully understood its meaning.
      And so, the dictation started: after every few verses, Ved Vyas would throw in a rather difficult one, so that Ganesha took some time to understand it, in which time Ved Vyas would compose enough verses to keep Ganesha busy for a while. The rest, as they say, is quite literally an epic.

      * The Mahabharata is about as gigantic an epic as there can be. It is roughly ten times the size of the Illiad and Oddyssey combined, contains the Gita (often referred to as the “Hindu bible”) as an aside dialogue, includes a detailed summary of the other great Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana (perhaps to convince doubtful readers about which one to buy), and packs the audacity to say the following of itself in its very first chapter:

      Whatever is here, is found elsewhere.
      But what is not here, is nowhere.

      Mahabharata, Adi Parva (Teh Book of the Beginning), translated by University of Chicago Sanskritist J. A. B. van Buitenen.

      1. अहंनास्मि,

        While your attempts to sell the epics seem to be well intentioned, you should add caveats that the epics are considered as prescriptive by many Hindus and the said prescriptions include such admirable lessons as “throw the wife in the jungle because a king has to assuage public rumours of the wife not being ‘chaste’ thereby preserving the family ‘honour'” and “kill the shudra because he is doing something that is contrary to his dharma“.

        1. Nope, I am not trying to “sell” the epics. That a small minority thinks that some off the things mentioned in the epics are “precsriptive” (even when they are sometimes criticized right within the epics) seems to be a rather weird argument to make against them.

          I can say from personal experience that in India, the epics are not the problem. Other more abominable religious texts (such as parts of the Manu Samhita) are.

        2. Though yes, it does pain me that attempts to take the epics as literal history by frothing-at-the mouth right-wingers have caused a lot of misery in India: the Babri mosque crisis for example. It is somewhat like people saying ant-Semitism is ok, because hey, Shakespeare did it.

  4. It must be that El Elefantito is the petrified remains of one of the two (or is it eight) elephants that Noah put on the ark. Those ark hunting expeditions to Mt. Ararat should swing over to Madrid. The ark may be below the elephant. They just have to move all the rocks.
    A Spanish shovel-ready project if there ever was one.

  5. You know, if you worshiped a vaguely shaped amorphous blob, you’d probably get WAY more “natural sightings” of your god’s visage.

    “That blobby cloud is proof of the Blob God! That puddle is exactly like the Blob God! That glob of mayo on a sandwich demonstrates the Blob God’s presence! That splat of BBQ sauce on my shirt shows Blob God’s hand is upon me!”

    I guess that’s kinda the same thing as just worshiping the sun or moon or nature, though… “nature, therefore god(s)” is a pretty common thing in most religions.

  6. Reminds me of the one about the three Jews who were out playing golf. One of them hits his ball right toward the water trap, but raises his club, and the water parts, allowing the ball to roll unimpeded onto the green. The second guy says “nice job, Moses” and takes his shot, which also heads right to the water trap. As it skips along the surface and onto the green, Moses turns to him and says, “good shot, Jesus”. The third guy steps up, and sure enough, his shot sends the ball right to the middle of the water trap, where it is swallowed by a fish. Just then, an eagle dives into the water, grabs the fish, and flies over the green. The fish releases the ball, and it falls right into the hole. Jesus turns to the hole-in-one fellow and says, “Dad, quit showing off!”

  7. I like this joke. I’m quite sure that it has its origins in a story much loved by Talmudic scholars concerning an argument between one rabbi and a group of other rabbis in which the dissenter to the majority opinion invoked various supernatural devices to attempt to prove his point but to no avail. According to the text he made a river run backwards, made the walls of the room in which they were debating begin to lean inwards and then made a carob tree uproot itself and “walk” 100 paces. Finally, he invoked a “bat kol” (a heavenly or divine voice) which essentially said “HEEEEEEEE’S RIIIIIIIGHT!”

  8. Well you should see another such Hindu miracle of Lord Venkateswara, a very popular deity in South India

  9. Richard was clearly so focused on seeing the elephant in the tree stump that he completely missed the beautiful fluffy chicken (its head, wattles, and prominent eye are just beneath the elephant’s trunk).

    1. Yes, I see it now. How could I have missed it?
      All hail Fluffy Chicken!
      But there’s also a bonus image of Ceiling Cat!
      Located in the upper left portion, to the slightly-lower-left of the African Elie. An elongated head and neck, oblongish form. Looks a little as though Kliban might have drawn it.


  10. And speaking of Hinduism and Giant’s Causeways, the Indian government’s proposal to dredge a shipping canal through the Palk Staits between India and Sr Lanka has been opposed by the BJP and other Hindu fundamentalist groups on the ground that the chain of limestone shoals stretching between the two is actually a remnant of the bridge built for the god Rama by the monkey army to enable him to reach Sri Lanka and rescue his wife Sita, as described in the “Ramayana”.

    The version of the old Jewish story I heard had the rabbis telling God “You already gave us the Law on Mount Sinai that disputes are settled by the majority, so why listen to voices from Heaven?”

    One of the rabbis later bumped into the Archangel Gabriel and asked him what was God’s reaction that day.

    Gabriel said “God laughed and laughed, and said ‘My children have won against Me, my children have beaten Me'”.

    1. And speaking of Hinduism and Giant’s Causeways, the Indian government’s proposal to dredge a shipping canal through the Palk Staits between India and Sr Lanka has been opposed by the BJP and other Hindu fundamentalist groups on the ground that the chain of limestone shoals stretching between the two is actually a remnant of the bridge built for the god Rama by the monkey army to enable him to reach Sri Lanka and rescue his wife Sita, as described in the “Ramayana”.

      Though it is true that the Indian media emphasized this foolish objection a lot, the sad story is that the more serious objections got lost in the ensuing noise. There were serious environmental and economic objections against the project.

      1. अहंनास्मि,

        Did you just make a what-about argument to divert attention away from the fact that scores of people believe in the nonsense of Ramayana taking place literally and hence consider the “bridge” as sacred?

        1. Also, tounge-in-cheek, my point was that it was only about a few “scores of people” who would probably have taken their religious convictions to the conclusion and opposed the project on those grounds. As is usual though, plenty of Indian politicians still saw a vote bank opportunity here, and blew the whole issue out of proportion (perhaps, who knows, with an ulterior motive of keeping the economic and environmental arguments out of the public eye).

      2. अहंनास्मि,

        Did you just make a what-about argument to divert attention from the fact that scores of people believe in the nonsense of Ramayana taking place literally and hence consider dredging the “bridge” as “hurting” their sentiments?

  11. First proof that catholicism is true, than proof that hinduism is true. Clearly, the gods must be crazy.

  12. I wish I had a picture of it; There right next to the freeway, formed so elegantly above the drive-in sign, a tree. Not an ordinary tree, but one that clearly and without question, displayed the head of a deity. The deity, Snoopy.

    Here’s a challenge to readers here. Take pictures of things that “appear” to represent something else. An exercise that should illustrate the ludicrous nature of these Au-natural gods.

  13. India has a long tradition of worshipping natural formations which look like deities. There are many temples dedicated to this. The “phenomenon” is called Swayambhu (self-becoming)

    Concerning Ganesha, there are a series of such swayambhu temples (8 of them) in Maharashtra state in India called Ashta-vinayaka

    The forms of “ganesha” and “shiva-lingas” formed in nature are common, the latter being a 3D bell-curve, and their common occurance is more important to people than their uniqueness, demonstrating the “order in chaos” concept in nature.

    1. …their common occurance is more important to people than their uniqueness, demonstrating the “order in chaos” concept in nature

      Having grown up as a Hindu, I will say that what is more important to people are the irrational beliefs – that there exists some power which manifests itself in India as ganeshas or shiva-lingas and that by praying and offering sacrifices to these manifestations, good will happen to them and their families. That is why you will find long queues of these people outside temples built around these manifestations.

      1. I agree as well.
        I don’t consider myself a Hindu, because the vast and contradictory literature makes it easy to cherry-pick whatever you want and justify it, without any quality-control. Most people can easily “prove” or “disprove” their beliefs as “scientific” even more easily than one-book religions, and this includes many scientists and scholars in India.
        I just posted the trivia as many of my family members are great ‘bhaktas’ of these

  14. I keep squinting and squinting, but I can’t see an elephant, let alone two.

    I would make a terrible religious person.

  15. Strange but after reading this I went out into my back yard which is surrounded by a very old brick wall and guess what I saw baby jesus engraved in the wall.I never knew he had come to the southcoast in england.
    I will put this in the local paper and see how much I can make from admittance fees.

  16. At least, in Hinduism, some of the stories are fun to read and not like reading the Bible, which is like watching the hour hand move. However, I get the point.

  17. In the less than relevant and hardly canonical theology, if you’re fond of Ganesh, you might find it entertaining to making your way through Ursula Vernon’s epic webcomic Digger. The deity has a bit part… though his statute has a much larger role.

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