The Supposed Maya Origin of the Elaphocephalous Deity Ganesha.*
[Extract from the Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay Vol. VIII. No. 7 – Ed. S. D.]
The attention of orientalists has been recently drawn to the study of the origin of the worship of the Hindu elaphocephalous deity Ganesha and of the ceremonies performed in Western India in connexion therewith, in a paper read before the Anthropological Society of Bombay, on the 30th August 1905, and published at pp. 479 – 491 of its Journal, Vol. VII, No. 7. In this paper, the author Mr. Ranganath Sadasiva Jayakar has tried to prove (and, I think, he has succeeded in doing so) that the cult of the deity Ganesha has been known to the Hindu since a long time anterior to the period of the red action of the Vedas, which is computed by competent Vedic scholars to have ranged from B. C. 2000 to B. C. 1400. He has further shown therein that, in the Vedas, there are two Suktas, viz., the Brahmanaspati and the Vinyak Sukta, that one of the hymns of the Rigveda opens with the words (i.e. Ganpati is the pati or master of host or things which exist) and that, in the Rigveda, the name of Ganpati or Ganesha is not so prominent as that of Brahmanaspati, the two being identical. In fact, the whole trend of the author's argument therein is to the effect that the cult of Ganesha originated in India in the pre-Vedic times.
But, as if by way of counterblast to the aforementioned argument about the Indian origin of Ganesha worship, a startling theory was propounded about thirteen years ago to the effect that the cult of the elaphocephalous deity Ganesha originated among the Mayas § [§ Squires, who has more than any other traveller, studied the different races in America, has proposed the term Nahuatls for the people of Mexico and Central America. The southern branch of the Nahuatls was known as the Aztecs who occupied Mexico and were subjected by the Spaniards. The Mayas were another branch of the Nahuatls, who occupied Yucatan and were very nearly affiliated to the Aztecs of Mexico.] of Yucatan in Central America and that it was introduced into India from thence. The author of this theory is the eminent American explorer and archaeologist, Dr. Augustus Ie Plougeon, who spent some twelve years of his life in exploring the wondrous antiquarian remains of Yucatan in Central America, and in deciphering the inscriptions carved on the walls of those ancient buildings. A popular and fascinating account of these researches of Dr. Plougeon and of his accomplished wife, Madame Ie Plougeon, who shared with him the hardships and perils of that long period of exploration in the wild and obscure recesses of Yucatan was published by his friend, Mr. D. R. O'Sullivan, H.B.M., Vice-consul at Pemba, under the title of "A fairy tale of Central American Travel" in the Review of Reviews (English) for September, 1895, pp. 271-281. In the course of his paper, Mr. O'Sullivan has set forth, inter alia, Dr. Plougeon's conclusions (based on his discovery and decipherment of the Yucatan; that the legend about Cain and Abel (given in the book of Genesis) had its birth place in the latter country: that the Sphinx was a monument erected by his sorrowing spouse to the memory of her slain lord Abel; that the ancient Egyptian mysteries were transplanted wholesale from Yucatan; and that the Greek alphabet is simply a Yucatanese version of the destruction of the lost Atlantis.
Among the other bold speculations of Dr. Plougeon, of which an extremely interesting account has been given in the aforementioned paper, is the theory, referred to above, that the cult of the elaphocephalous deity did not originate in India but that it had its inception among the Mayas of Yucatan, and was introduced by them into India, and that King Can deified, who was figured as a human being with the head of a mastodon, was the antitype of the Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesha. This bold conclusion is sought to be supported with the arguments that, (1) because the deity Ganesha is painted red, which is the peculiar colour of the American race, and (2) as the practice of children being carried by their mothers astride their hips, and (3) the custom of importing the figure of a hand dipped in a red liquid prevail both in Yucatan and India, the introduction into India of the cult of the elaphocephalous deity by Maya colonists from Yucatan, becomes all the more plausible. Dr. Plougeon's reasoning will be best set forth in his own words as contained in the following extract from the aforesaid paper :-
"Dr. Ie Plougeon's researches also give a clue to the probable origin of elephant-worship in India. The Hindus, as is well known, represent Ganesha, the god of wisdom, as a human body, coloured red, and surmounted with the head of an elephant. This is the most popular of all their images, and it is sculptured or painted over the door of every house as a protection against evil. The legends, purporting to account for this form of worship, are so numerous and so contradictory that it may safely be assumed that the true origin is not known. Turning to Yucatan, we find in the Troano MS, that the "Master of the Land," King Can deified, is therein depicted under the guise of a human form with the head of a mastodon. Presumably the Mayas adopted that animal as the symbol of their great ruler, from the fact of its being the largest and strongest creature with which they were acquainted, and as such would naturally be for them symbolical of strength and power. On the façade of the building at Chichin-Itza, called by the natives "Kuna" (the house of Gods), - the same building to which Stevens gives the name of Iglesia – there is a sculptured tableau representing the worship of that great pachyderm, the head of which with the trunk constitutes the principal decoration of the temples and palaces which were built by members of the family of King Can. Here, then, is another most curious "coincidence". May not the truth be, as Dr. Ie Plougeon suggests, that the worship of the elephant was introduced into India by colonists from Mayax, where the worship of the mastodon was so general? The fact of the body of Ganesha being invariably painted red, which is the characteristic colour of the American race, lends additional probability to this view. Certain characteristic customs, moreover, which obtain in India, such for example, as the habit of mothers carrying the child astride on the hip, and of worshippers impressing upon the walls of the temples the imprint of the hand dipped in a red liquid, serve to strengthen the theory of a Mayan immigration, since the red imprint of a human hand is commonly met with on the walls of the temples in Yucatan, and the women of that country still carry their children astride on the hips."
In refutation of the aforesaid theory, it may be asserted that the customs, from the simultaneous prevalence whereof in Yucatan and India, the inference about a Mayan immigration into the latter country has been drawn, are of so insignificant a character that it is not safe to rely on them at all. Firstly, the practice of depicting the symbol of the outstretched hand, in red colour, on temples and houses, is not confined to Yucatan and India only, but it prevails in other countries also. Mr. S. M. Edwardes, I. C. S, in his very interesting Presidential Address, delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, on the 26th February 1907, referred to this custom and, after describing the various forms in which it is practised in India, observed as follows : - *
[Vide the Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. VIII. Pp. 24-25]
"But India is not the only country that acknowledges and reveres the Mystic Hand. The aborigines of Australia place it on their caves and shelters, coloured white to ward off death by incantations, and red to protect against the evil eye; and they even preserve the several hand of a dead chieftain as a tribal protective charm. It appears on the Alhambra Palace in Spain, a relic perchance of Moslem sovereignty during the days of the Khalifs: Carved out of red coral, it hangs round the necks of the children of Italy: it was an oft-repeated image upon the ex-voto of ancient Carthage, and is figured at the present day upon houses in Morocco and Palestine, to ward off evil from the dwellers therein. Among the Semitic races, it appears to have typified to have Divine might. The celebrated pyramid of Borsippa was called "The temple of the right hand; one of the names of Babylon was "the city of the celestial hand;" while the hand emerging from a pyramidal base, stamped on a Chaldean cylinder, has served as the prototype of our modern Hand of Justice. And if we turn to Christian countries and Christian symbolism we again find the Hand, emerging from a cloud or encircling a cross, used as a simulacrum of Providence in its highest conception. Remark also how the mystic power of the Hand gives rise in succeeding ages to the mudras of Hinduism, the indigitamenta of ancient Rome, the imposition of hands in the Christian Scriptures: let use recall the primitive red hand of Ireland; and we shall realize that even in this one small matter of the symbolic Hand there is a link, albeit perhaps a broken one, between peoples of widely differing nationality."
This being so, are we justified in arguing that, because the custom of depicting the red imprint of a human hand, which prevails in Yucatan is also in vogue in such far off lands as Australia, Spain, Carthage, Morocco, Palestine and other countries, a band of Maya colonists must have emigrated from Yucatan and introduced the aforementioned custom into the latter regions? My answer to this query is an emphatic No! It is my humble opinion that it would be foolish on our part if we argue in this strain, because there is not extant any evidence at all from which it can be proved that there was ever any communication between the inhabitants of the former and those of the latter countries during any period of time of which we have got record.
Secondly, the practice of women carrying children astride the hips is not confined to any particular race of people. On the contrary, it is prevalent among many races of people and in many lands. Is it therefore, consistent with reason to argue that, because the practice of carrying the children astride the hips, which is in vogue in Yucatan, is also prevalent among the womenfolk of other lands, the same must have been introduced thither by Maya colonists? There is no proof what ever of any intercourse having existed, at any time of which we have record, between the womenfolk of Yucatan and those of the latter countries. Consequently, this argument, too, of Dr. Augustus Ie Plougeon in support of his theory of the Maya origin of the elaphocephalous deity Ganesh also falls to the ground.
Thirdly, Dr. Augustus Ie Plougeon argues that because the characteristic colour of the American people is red, and because the elaphocephalous deity Ganesha is also invariably painted red ergo the Mayas of Yucatan in Central America must have introduced the cult of the said divinity into India. But we find that red is the characteristic colour of British heraldry, as it is the chief colour of the very valiant and courageous nation of Spain. A writer in the Globe (of London), discussing the interesting subject of the symbolism of colour, says: - "Red has always been the badge of courage. In heraldry, it has the added significance of magnanimity. Therefore have not Britons done well to make it their own, for do they not pride themselves on never hitting a man who is down? Moreover, it is the chief colour of that very valiant and very courteous nation of Spain. Christian symbolism call red the bloodshed for the faith, and employs it on the day sacred to martyrs. Red is the colour of magic, and the pointed caps of the Good People have never varied from the hue which lies under the influence of the ruby planet Mars.* [* Quoted in the Hindu, Patriot (daily) of Friday, the 21st April 1899.] Are we, there fore, warranted in coming to the conclusion that, because red is the peculiar colour of the American race, and because red is also the characteristic colour of British heraldry and the chief colour of the Spaniards, the Mayas of Yucatan must have emigrated to England and introduced the red colour into the latter country? There is ample historical evidence to prove that, in remote antiquity, maritime and commercial intercourse existed between the ancient Britons and those "Pedlars of the Ancient World" – the Phoenicians, the Ancient Romans and many other nations and races of by gone ages. But for aught we know, there is not a title of evidence to show that any communication ever existed between the Mayas of Yucatan on the one hand, and the ancient Britons on the other. Nor has the search-light of modern research been able to discover in English culture and civilizations the least trace whatever of Mayan or Aztec influence. Thus, the third argument of Dr. Augustus Ie Plougeon also fails.
On the other hand, there is extant evidence of a somewhat satisfactory character which shows that, before the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World, there existed communications between the people of Central America and the East Asia, and most likely through East Asia with India. Now there is extraordinary coincidence between the chronological and astronomical systems of the Nahuatls or ancient Mexicans and the Eastern Asiatics. The system of reckoning cycles of years in vogue among the ancient Mexicans, bears a striking resemblance to that found in use in different parts of Asia. But both the aforesaid systems are so artificial I their construction and so troublesome in practice that it is very unlikely that they were evolved independently in the two continents. Moreover, the ancient Mexicans correctly oriented the sides of their pyramidal temples towards the different quarters of the heavens, and had also ancient myths and traditions of the four ages or four epochs of destruction of the world, and the dispersion of mankind after a great flood of waters. From these striking resemblances, the celebrated German savant, Buron von Humboldt, sought to prove that the ancient Mexicans originally came from Asia, as will appear from his following arguments: - "I inferred the probability of the western nations of the new continent having had communications with the east of Asia long before the arrival of the Spaniards from a comparison of the Mexican and Tibeto-Japanese calendars, - from the correct orientation of the steps of the pyramidal elevations towards the different quarters of the heavens, and from the ancient myths and traditions of the four ages of four epochs of destruction of the world, and the dispersion of mankind after a great flood of waters.* [* Humboldts "Aspects of nature" Vol. ii, p. 174]
But another scholar the late Mr. Thomas Belt, F. G. S., the author of that charming book of travels and natural history observations entitled: "The naturalist in Nicaragua," who has studied the aforesaid question, is of opinion that the extraordinary coincidence between the chronological and astronomical systems of the Nahuatls or ancient Mexicans and of the Eastern Asiatics might have been brought about by some of the latter having been stranded on the shores of America – a fact, which he says, is very probable, considering that there is perfectly reliable evidence extant of a Japanese ship with its crew having been stranded on the coast of California. The evidence referred to above is contained in Kotzebue's narrative of his voyage round the world and is as follows:- "Looking over Adam's diary, I found the following notice – Brig Forester, March 24, 1815, at sea, upon the coast of California, latitude 32° 45´ N. longitude 135° 3´ W. We saw this morning, at a short distance, a ship, the confused state of whose sails showed that they wanted assistance. We bent our course towards her, and made out the distressed vessel to the Japanese, which had lost both mast and helm. Only three dying Japanese, the captain and two sailors, were found in the vessel. We took these unfortunate people on board our brig, and after four months nursing, they entirely recovered. We learned from these people that they had sailed from the harbour of Osaka, in Japan, bound for another seaport, but were overtaken by a storm, in which they lost the helm and mast. Till that day their ship had been drifting about, a mere butt for the winds and waves, during seventeen months; and of 35 men only three remained, all the other having died of hunger.'"
Relying on the aforesaid evidence, Mr. Belt argues thus: -
"Is it not likely that in ancient times such accidents may have occurred again and again and that information of the astronomical and chronological systems of Eastern Asia may thus have been brought to the Nahuatls, who, from the case with which they embraced the religion of the Spaniards, are shown to have been open to receive foreign ideas?
"The three arguments on which Humboldt principally relied to prove that a communication had existed between the east of Asia and the Mexicans, may be explained without adopting his theory that the Nahuatls had travelled round from the old world. The remarkable resemblance of the Mexican and Tibeto Japanese calendars might result from the accidental stranding of a Japanese or Chinese vessel on their shores bringing to them some man learned in the astronomy of the Old world. The correct orientation of the sides of their pyramidal temples was but the result of their great astronomical knowledge and of the worship of the sun. And the resemblance of their traditions of four epochs of destruction and of the dispersion of mankind after a great flood of waters arose from the fact that the great catastrophes that befell the human race at the melting of the ice of the glacial period were universal over the world." * [* For a fuller discussion of this subject, vide "the Naturalist in Nicaragua" by Thomas Belt, F. G. S and Edition, London: Edwards Bagnpus, 888, pp 370 373]
Weighing the Evidence adduced in support of the theory of the emigration of the Nahuatls or ancient Mexicans from Eastern Asia, against that brought forward to prove the hypothesis of the accidental stranding, on the shores of Central America, of a Japanese or Chinese vessel which brought to their country some man learned in all the wisdom and lore of Eastern Asia, I am humbly of opinion that the evidence preponderates in favour of the latter theory which appears to be a more plausible one. This being so, we may conclude that some learned man from Eastern Asia communicated to the ancient inhabitants of Mexico, and, for the matter of that, of Central America the knowledge of astronomy and kindred subjects.
Now Yucatan is adjacent to Mexico. If it be possible for a learned man from East Asia to have communicated to the ancient inhabitants of Mexico the knowledge of all the wisdom and lore of Eastern Asia, is it not possible for the same man to have communicated knowledge of the religious ideas of Eastern Asia to the ancient people of Yucatan which is so closely adjacent to Mexico? I humbly think that such an event is possible.
Now it may be asked: "Is there any evidence extant from which it can be shown that Hindu religion and civilization had ever been transplanted to Eastern Asia?" In reply to this query, it may be stated that there is ample testimony, and that of a very convincing character to prove that, at an early period of history, the culture of the Hindus flourished in all its vigour in East Asia and that Hindu missionaries propagated in the Far East the doctrines of Hindu religion. The discovery of extensive Hindu architectural remains and Sanskrit inscriptions have shown that the Hindus had established a powerful kingdom in Cambodia in the Far East. It is mentioned as Champa in the classical writings of the Hindus and is also alluded to by the Chinese annalists and the celebrated Venetian traveller of the Middle Ages – Marco Polo. The French Orientalists, M. M. Barth and Bergaigne, have deciphered the aforesaid inscriptions in Sanskrit; and their researches into these epigraphic records have shown that, as early as the seventh century A. D. the whole religious and philosophical systems of classical India, and all its rhetoric and literary habits were naturalised in far off Cambodia on the outskirts of China that Saivas, Vaishnavas, and Buddhists lived side by side and in some sort of promiscuity that the Ramayana and Mahabharat were considered sacred on the borderlands of distant Laos; and that Kind Somasarman presented a temple with copiers of the two aforementioned epic poems and of the puranas and had them recited every day.* [* For a fuller account of this subject, see the late Mr. E. Rehatsek's excellent article on Hindu Civilization in the Far East which appeared in Vol. I, pages 505-532 of the Bombay Anthropological Society's Journal; as also a Review of M. Barth's Inscriptions Sanskrites Du Cambodge in the Indian Antiquary Vol. XVII for 1888, pp 31-32.]
We have further historical evidence to show that several Indian Princes ruled in Upper Burma and Siam. As far back as 105 A. D, an Indian king named Samuda reigned in Upper Burma; whereas in 322 A. D, a prince of Cambodia in north-west India established a kingdom in Siam. † [† A History of Assam. By E. A. Gait, I. C. S. Calcutta: Thacker Spink & Co. 1900, p. 14]
In some remote period of antiquity, the Hindus established their supremacy in Java also, where they appear to have disseminated the tenets of their religion most successfully, as is testified to by the numerous remains of great temples and beautifully carved sculptures of Hindu deities which exist there even at the present day. The Hindu religion flourished there till about 1478 A. D. when it was supplanted by Islam. The ruins of the great temple at Borobodo and those at Bramhanam and Gunong Pran still attest to the civilized world to what pitch of greatness the Hindu religion had attained at not a very remote period of history. The Hindu goddess Durga, called in Java, Lora Jonggrang (the exalted Virgin) was the favourite deity of the old Javanese; and her image (a bas relief representing her being figured in Wallace's The Malay Archipelago) is often found in the ruined temples which abound in the eastern part of the island. Various other deities of the Hindu pantheon were also worshipped there; and their images too exist there even at the present day – facts which can be ascertained by any one visiting the Archaeological Galleries of the Indian Museum at Calcutta, wherein various sculptured figures of Hindu gods brought from Java are exhibited in the ground floor halls to the right of the entrance vestibule.
Among these are two images of the elaphocephalous deity Ganesha, in an excellent state of preservation, to which the attention of the visitor is particularly drawn and which have been described as follows: -* [* Catalogue and Handbook of the Archaeological collections in the Indian Museum. By J. Anderson, M. D. Part II, Calcutta: Printed by order of the Trustee, 1883, pp. 359 9. 361-2.]
(1) "A fine figure of Bitara Gana or Ganesa seated on a lotus throne. The figure has a richly foliated coronal mukula with a human skull in front of it. Two long ringlets hang down on each shoulder, and the Brahman's thread is over the left shoulder. Only one hand of the four arms remains, and it holds a rosary. There are the usual ornaments on the arms and round the neck, but the waist is girt with ornamented belt or sabuk, which holds up the richly figures sarong or jarit that reaches down to the chubby feet of the statue. A Ganesa similar to this has been figured by Sir Stamford Raffles." § [§ Raffles History of Java (1817) Vo. II, p. 13]
(2) "A figure of Ganesa. The figure, as in the previous one, is seated cross-legged, with the soles of the club feet opposed. He has four arms, and, in his right upper hand is a rosary, and in the other right hand a lotus flower, while his up raised left hand holds an axe, and the lower left hand a bowl in which he inserts his trunk. The head-dress is much the same as in Ja. 12, and, like it, bears a human skull in front. There is a nimbus behind the head sculptured on the plain back slab. The ears are thrown outwards as in the previous figure of Ganesa, and the ornaments are much the same as in it. Figures similar to it are figured by Sir Stamford Raffles." * [* Catalogue and Handbook of the Archaeological collections in the Indian Museum. By J. Anderson, M.D. Part II, Calcutta; Printed by order of the Trustees. 1883, pp. 358-; 361-2.]
Similarly, India exercised a powerful religious influence over Japan in the past. Mr. J. N. Farquhar, M.A. a gentleman well-known in Calcutta for his evangelistic labours in connection with the Theistic Mission, went to Japan sometime ago. In the course of his sojourn there, he found there many images of Buddhist deities which are extremely Hindu in appearance. He writes that a large number of deities of the Hindu pantheon have found their way to the Land of the Rising Sun, that, in some of the shrines there, he actually came across the images of Indra and Brahma and that Yama, the Hindu god of death, is one of those deities whose carved representations are commonly found in Japanese temples. The cult of the Tantras as also the doctrines of Pantheism and Avatars also appear to have exercised a potent sway over the Japanese mind. Shintoism, the state of religion of Japan, is only the doctrine of Avatars adapted to the spiritual requirements of the Japanese. Architecture and sculpture were also introduced into Japan from India. The Japanese shrines and the images installed therein display, in a striking way, the influence of Indian art and thought, so much so that Mr. Farquhar says that "no one who knows India can walk through Japan today without being strikingly impressed with the many Indian features which still remain visible after so many centuries." Another noteworthy fact is that, just as in India all the sacred hymns and formula of the Hindus are composed in Sanskrit – their sacred language, the rituals in the Buddhist temples of Japan are, in the same way, still chanted in the Sanskrit language. The religious books of the Japanese are written in Sanskrit language but in Chinese characters. During the last half century or there about, a goodly number of ancient Sanskrit MSS, and inscriptions have been discovered in Japan. All these facts prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Sanskrit, the sacred language of the Hindus, was studied extensively in the Land of the Rising Sun in the remote periods of antiquity, and that, by means of this medium, the Japanese must have acquired an intimate knowledge of the religious system and lore of the ancient Hindus. To put the whole matter in a nutshell, it may be stated that India is the fountain head, the Jons et origo of Japanese culture. It is with a good deal of truth that Mr. Farquhar says that the same good offices, which India performed towards Japan, she also did, in varying measure , for China, Mongolia, Tibet, Annam, Siam, Jana, Burma, not to mention Ceylon. "All peoples of the East", he adds, "learned from Hindustan; all were proud to acknowledge her supremacy and to drink from the following fountain. For a thousand years, counting from Asoka, India continued to give out the riches of her storehouse to the nations of the East; but after 750 years after Christ, this spontaneity gradually ceased. But though India no longer continued to give forth as before, yet the influence of Buddhism in the East was neither short lived nor superficial. It moulded the life and character of these peoples to an extraordinary degree; and the results have lasted down to our days." * [* Vide an article entitled: "India's Influence upon Japan in the Past" in The Maha-Bodhi and the United Buddhist
World (published from Colombo, Ceylon, for June 1908, pp. 85-87)]
World (published from Colombo, Ceylon, for June 1908, pp. 85-87)]
By the evidence adduced in the preceding paragraphs, it has been proved to the very hilt that the religious and philosophical systems and lore, the whole body of religious customs and rituals, nay, the whole culture of the ancient Hindus had been transplanted into the countries of the Far East, where the same flourished in all their strength and vigour till a late period of history. This being so, is it not possible for a man, learned in all the religious lore of the ancient Hindus, to have been stranded on the shores of Central America in some remote period of antiquity, and to have communicated to the ancient inhabitants of Yucatan the knowledge of the various gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, including that of the elaphocephalous deity Ganesha? If we rely on the late Mr. Belt's arguments supra which are based on a substratum of fact, we think we are justified in concluding that this is possible, and that, at least, the theory about the knowledge of the Hindu elaphocephalous deity Ganesha having been communicated from India to the ancient inhabitants of Yucatan, is a more plausible one than the counter-hypothesis, propounded by Dr. Augustus le Plougeon, of a body of Maya colonists having emigrated from Yucatan to India and introduced into the latter country the cult of the mastodon-headed King Can which ultimately took the shape of the elephant headed deity Ganesha.
The next results of the forgoing discussion may be stated as follows:- (1) The theory of the cult of mastodon-headed King Can having been introduced from Yucatan in Central America to India by a body of Maya colonists is not borne out even by a single fact. (2) On the contrary, there is reliable evidence to show that the Japanese have occasionally been stranded on the shores of America. (3) It is possible that some learned man from the Far East of Asia might, in the same way as the aforementioned Japanese were, have been stranded on the shores of Central America and disseminated among the ancient inhabitants of the latter country, a knowledge of the culture of Far Eastern Asia. (4) There is overwhelming evidence to show that the ancient Hindus had transplanted their religion into some of the countries of Far-Eastern Asia, not excepting Japan where images of several Hindu deities exist even at the present day. (5) It is possible that some Eastern Asiatic, learned in all the religious lore of the ancient Hindus, might, in the same way as the aforementioned Japanese were, have been stranded on the shores of Central America and propagated in Yucatan the cult of the Hindu elaphocephalous deity Ganesha which took the shape there of the mastodon-headed King Can.