Goddess Lakshmi is often depicted with two white elephants pouring water. This form of Goddess Lakshmi is known as Gajalakshmi. In some images four elephants are shown pouring water on Goddess Mahalakshmi. The four elephants are symbols of Kama (desire), the water may be to cool the “passions.” This is a very old bronze Gajalaxmi medallion from Bharhut stupa railing pillar, sand stone, 2nd Century BCE, Indian Museum, Kolkata.
How best to understand the Hindu term of “Brahma” is best written in the Kena Upanishad. It’s beautifully and poetically expressed in the verse below. The meaning is also clearly described. Brahma is the spirit that moves the universe, is neither male nor female but transcends both. Brahma is like a drop of the ocean that bubbles up and separates, then descend down to merges once more with its origin. I hope you enjoy this little piece, also the quote from Rudolf Steiner on masculinity and feminine. He gives another more western and clearly defined view on this principle. (see para. towards the bottom of the page)
Not that which the eye can see, but that whereby the eye can see: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;
Not that which the ear can hear, but that whereby the ear can hear: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;
Not that which speech can illuminate, but that by which speech can be illuminated: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;
Not that which the mind can think, but that whereby the mind can think: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore.
The One Power that illumines everything and every one is indivisible. It is the Ear behind the ears, Mind behind the mind, Speech behind speech, Vital Life behind life. The ears cannot hear it; it is what makes the ears hear. The eyes cannot see it; it is what makes the eyes see. You cannot speak about it; it is what makes you speak. The mind cannot imagine it; it is what makes the mind think. It is different from the known; yet it is not unknown. Those who feel they know Him know Him not. Those who know that anything amenable to the senses is not Brahman. they know it best. When it is known as the innermost witness of all cognitions, whether sensation, perception or thought, then it is known. One who knows thus reaches immortality.
The spirit of the Upanishads is clear: the physical body is a finite creation within which exists the infinite and true soul or self, the Atman. A similar soul exists as the substantial reality in which all has its nature. This infinite, powerful soul is Brahman. The concept of Brahman, while often translated as ‘God,’ differs from the traditional abrahamic concept of God in that Brahman is not an anthropomorphic or human-like deity in the sky looking down upon mankind. Brahman is more of a force or energy, neither male nor female, transcending all universal realities yet existing in all universal things. To better understand the relationship between the Atman and Brahman, it can be said that the Atman is like a drop of water taken from the Ocean, while the vast ocean represents Brahman itself. To get in touch with the infinite Atman and thereby better know Brahman, we must reach awareness of our true selves through meditation and contemplation. We must first know who we truly are beyond our earthly, finite human bodies. This is what the ancient sages meant when they said “know thyself,” and what Jesus meant when he proclaimed “Neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or ‘Lo there!’ for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”
RUDOLF STEINER ON MASCULINITY & FEMININITY
“One could say that the male body now has a female soul, the female body a male soul. This inner one-sidedness of the human being is compensated by fertilization through the spirit, which abolishes the one-sidedness. Both the male with the female body and the female soul with its male body become double-sexed again through fructification by the spirit. Thus, men and women are different outwardly; internally their spiritual one-sidedness is rounded out to a harmonious whole. Internally, spirit and soul are fused into a unit. The spirit’s effect on the male soul in woman is female, rendering it both male and female; the spirit’s effect on the female soul in man is male, making it, too, male and female. The double-sexedness of human beings has retired from the outer world, where it existed in the pre-Lemurian period.
One can see that the higher essence of a human being has nothing to do with man or woman. The inner equality, however, does result from a male soul in woman and from a female soul in man. The union with the spirit finally brings about equality; but the fact that a difference exists before the establishment of the equality involves a secret of human nature. Understanding this secret is of great significance for all mystery science and is the key to important enigmas of life. For the present we are not permitted to lift the veil spread over this secret…
– LOVE & ITS MEANING IN THE WORLD by Rudolf Steiner (ISBN 0880104414)