Gods in Hinduism

Written by schooltiger on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 5:30 AM

Ganesha

All Tantric and spiritual worship in the Hindu tradition begins with the invocation of Ganesha (or Ganesh), the elephant-headed god. Ganesha became the Lord (Isha) of all existing beings (Gana) after winning a contest from his brother Kartikay. When given the task to race around the universe, Ganesha did not start the race like Kartikay did, but simply walked around Shiva and Parvati, both his father and mother as the source of all existence.Ganesha rides a rat that represents the subjugated demon of vanity and impertinence. The conch represents the sound that creates Akash. The laddu (sweet) represents Sattva. The snakes represent control over the poisons of the passions and refer to Shiva, father of Ganesha.The hatchet cuts away the bondage of desires. The mudra grants fearlessness. The broken tusk is the one with which Ganesha wrote the Mahabaratha.

Brahma

A god often identified, with Vishnu and Shiva, as one of the three supreme gods in Hinduism. In the late Vedic period he was called Prajapati, the primeval man whose sacrifice permitted the original act of creation. He is regarded as the creator and is periodically reborn in a lotus that grows from the navel of the sleeping Vishnu. His consort Sarasvati is the patroness of art, music, and letters, and the traditional inventor of the Sanskrit language. The kalpa or "day of Brahma", equal to 4,320,000,000 earthly years, is a basic unit in Hindu chronology.

Vishnu

One of the greatest gods of Hinduism, also called Narayana. By his worshipers Vishnu is regarded as the supreme God, of whom other gods are secondary manifestations. The early epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana show considerable Vaishnavite influence. The later Puranas fully elaborate the myths of Vishnu and his avatara (incarnations): Matsya (the fish), Kurma (the tortoise), Varaha (the boar), Narasimha (the man-lion), Vamana (the dwarf), Parashurama (Rama with the ax), Rama, Krishna, Buddha, and Kalkin (who is yet to appear). Vishnu is generally depicted as dark blue in color, crowned, and bearing in his four hands his emblems—the conch, discus, mace, and lotus. His mount is the eagle Garuda, and his consort is Lakshmi, or Shri, the goddess of wealth.

Shiva

One of the greatest gods of Hinduism, also called Mahadeva. The "horned god" and phallic worship of the Indus valley civilization may have been a prototype of Shiva worship or Shaivism. Shiva is identified with the fierce Vedic god Rudra and, in his terrible aspect, is the god of destruction and cosmic dissolution. He is commonly worshiped in the form of the lingam, or symbolic phallus. His other main forms are the great yogi, or ascetic, and Nataraja, Lord of the Cosmic Dance. As a yogi he is depicted as seated deep in meditation in the Himalayas, holding a trident, a snake coiled around his neck, his body smeared with ashes, and his hair long and matted. As Nataraja, he is shown four-armed, bearing various emblems, and dancing on one foot on a prostrate demon. Shiva's mount is the bull Nandi, and his consort is the goddess Uma, Parvati, Durga, or Kali.


Durga

Durga is an incarnation of Devi or the Mother Goddess, a unified symbol of all divine forces. For Shaivas Durga is the wife of Shiva. For Vaishnavas and Shaktas Durga is another form of Uma or Parvati.The Hindu Goddess Durga manifested when evil forces threathened the very existance of the Gods. To destroy these demons, all gods offered their radiance to her creation and each formed part of Durga's body. Durga also obtained very powerful weapons, such as the chakra from Vishnu and a trident from Shiva. The name "Durga" in Sanskrit means "invincible". The syllable "du" is synonymous with the 4 devils of poverty, sufferings, famine and evil habits. The "r" refers to diseases and the "ga" is the destroyer of sins, injustice, irreligion, cruelty and laziness.

Lakshmi

Lakshmi was the daughter of the sage Bhrigu and took refuge in the ocean of milk when the gods were sent into exile. Lakshmi was reborn during the Churning of the Ocean. As soon as the gods saw Lakshmi, they all fell in love with her beauty. Shiva claimed Lakshmi as his wife, but since he had already taken the Moon, her hand was given to Vishnu, whom Lakshmi herself preferred. Lakshmi is the goddess of light, beauty, good fortune and wealth. Being the consort of Vishnu, the preserving principle, Lakshmi also signifies love and grace. Lakshmi often expresses her devotion to Vishnu by massaging his feet as he lies on the coils of the snake Shesha. While Lakshmi is generally worshipped to achieve success, she does not reside long with anyone who is lazy or desires her only as wealth.

Saraswathi

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and all the creative arts. Saraswati is called the Mother of the Veda's and the repository of Brahma's creative intelligence. Saraswati is also called Vak Devi, the goddess of speech. Dressed in white, Saraswati holds a mala and a palmleaf scroll, indicating knowledge. Saraswati usually rides a swan and sometimes a peacock, while playing music on a veena.


Kali


Important goddess in popular Hinduism and Tantra. Known also as Durga and as Chandi, Kali is associated with disease, death, and destruction. As Parvati she is the consort of Shiva. Although often represented as a terrifying figure, garlanded with skulls and bearing a bloody sword in one of her many arms, she is worshiped lovingly by many as the Divine Mother. Her cult, popular among many lower castes in India, especially in Bengal, frequently includes animal sacrifice. Kali was patroness of the Thugs.


Shakti


In Hinduism, name given to the female consorts of male deities. The Shakti personifies the dynamic, manifesting energy that creates the universe, while the male god represents the static, unmanifest aspect of the divine reality. The idea of Shakti is prominent in Tantra where the Kundalini energy is regarded as a goddess, and the theme of male-female polarity is developed. The term Shakti is often used to refer to the spiritual partner or consort of a spiritual master, a relationship often without the emotional and sexual components of ordinary marriage.

3 Responses to "Gods in Hinduism"

Comment by Krishna
May 5, 2009 at 12:03 AM #

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of material fulfillment and contentment. She is described as restless, whimsical yet maternal, with her arms raised to bless and to grant her blessings.

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August 16, 2009 at 10:04 PM #

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Comment by 4 Freedoms Energy Sex in Conscious Relationship
April 26, 2010 at 6:49 AM #

Thanks for this post it's very informative. I enjoy reading this and knowing Hindu gods and goddesses. I added an excerpt of this article to our blog tantra-sex.blogspot.com


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