Just researching some of the obscure terms for elephants in MN 27. There’s a passage talking about the signs that elephants leave in the jungle. One of these has always bothered me a little.
The word is kāḷārikā, an obscure term that has so far been interpreted as “having prominent teeth”. But the passage describes how elephants leave traces in the leaves high up, and I don’t see how teeth figure in to this. It’s especially odd in that the tusks are not mentioned until the next passage, but surely marks by tusks will be seen higher up than those by teeth.
The Sanskrit dictionaries give a similar term karālakara in the sense of “long trunk”, and surely that’s what this must mean. I’m not sure how the derivation works exactly, but presumably it’s related to kara in the sense of “hand, trunk”.
Anyway, this is really just an excuse to put some photos of elephants munching leaves.
And for real live action, check this; no teeth required!