We have all heard of the Pashupati seal in Harappa. Scholars are clear that it has nothing to do with Shiva, even though it is still labelled as proto-Shiva in popular books. The Pashupati described in the Veda is the guardian of cattle, animals that have been domesticated, while the Pashupati seal in Harappa, which is 4,000 years old, shows a man, or woman, surrounded by wild animals including a tiger and a rhino.
There are two seals of the horned deity. The popular one is in Delhi and it has the animals. The less popular one in Islamabad does not show the animals. The Islamabad seal shows smoother horns and a tree branch on the headdress. The Delhi one is ithyphallic (erect penis), like the later images of Lakulish, a tantrik form of Shiva, while the Islamabad seal shows a downward pointing triangle suggesting a vagina. So is the image male, female or maybe transgender? There are bangles on both arms. The Shiva we are familiar with is never depicted wearing horns, though some have speculated that this became the crescent moon of later times. The famous three-headed Shiva, the Trimurti of Elephanta caves, is really Panchamukhi or five-faced Shiva, with the fourth head behind and the fifth head on top.
Mohenjodaro, Sindh, Pakistan
How far back?
2020 | Present