Here is my twenty first entry for BettyLouise’s, IdahoBlueBird50 Mysteries Blog, Animal of the Day (AOTD) challenge. Here is the link to BettyLouise’s blog https://idahobluebird50.com/2019/10/06/aotd-english-crocker-october-6-2019/
Makara appears as the vahana (vehicle) of the river goddess Ganga and of the sea god Varuna. Makara are considered guardians of gateways and thresholds, protecting throne rooms as well as entryways to temples; it is the most commonly recurring creature in Hindu and Buddhist temple iconography, and also frequently appears as a Gargoyle or as a spout attached to a natural spring.
Ganga is also personified as a goddess and worshipped as Goddess Ganga. She holds an important place in the Hindu pantheon. Ganga is represented as a fair-complexioned woman, wearing a white crown and sitting on a crocodile. She holds a water lily in her right hand and a lute in her left. When shown with four hands she carries a water-pot, a lily, a rosary and has one hand in a protective mode. The Rig Veda mentions Ganga but more of her is said in the Puranas.
Ganga is depicted four-armed and mounted on a crocodile or enthroned surrounded by crocodiles. In one of iconography in Maha Virat-rupa she holds jar of amrita, rosary, lotus or shivalinga and varada mudra. She may be depicted in other ways holding only a kalash (or 2 replacing lotus) and lotus, while other 2 hands in varada and abhaya mudra. Another one shows her holding kalasha, trident, shivalinga and varada mudra.
In Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Ganga is often depicted with her divine vehicle, the Makara – an animal with the head of a crocodile and tail of a dolphin. The crocodile has meaningful symbolisms. The crocodile represents our reptilian brain telling us that we use our intellect to outgrow fear in facing problems. The Goddess not only faces her fear, but she uses it as a vehicle to move her forward on her path to greater growth, strength, and beauty. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth. This vahana is symbolic of outgrowing and fracturing self-concepts, behaviors, situations to move closer to her highest form and to the highest truth. It is like shaking things up to remove the pieces that no longer serve a higher purpose and integrating new things that do.