Friday, 16 September 2011

Hindu Gods

Hindus view three cosmic activities of the Supreme Being, which are, creation, preservation, and dissolution and recreation. They associate these three cosmic tasks to the three deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Lord Brahma is the creator and represents the creative part of the Supreme Being. Lord Vishnu runs and maintains the universe and thus represents the eternal principle of preservation. Lord Shiva is the destroyer and recreator. These three gods put together form the Hindu Trinity ( Trimurthy).

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are not without connection. They are the same power (the Supreme Being), but have three different aspects. The Supreme Being is called Brahma. Vishnu, Bramha or Shiva when perform the three different cosmic tasks of creation, preservation, and dissolution/recreation. The following are the most important gods for Hinduism.

Lord Ganesh:
This Hindu deity is in a human form but has the head of an elephant. He represents the power of the Supreme Being who removes obstacles and ensures success in human work. Hindus worship Ganesha before beginning any activity. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the first son of Shiva and Parvati. The portrayal of Lord Ganesha as a blend of human and animal parts symbolizes the ideals of perfection as formed by Hindu sages. This form of Ganesha also symbolizes philosophical concepts of profound spiritual significance.

Lord Shiva:
He represents that aspect of the Supreme Being (Brahman of the Upanishads) that dissolves and creates the cyclic process of creation, preservation, dissolution and recreation of the universe.

His cosmic activity is destruction and recreation, thus the words destroyer and destruction have been associated with Lord Shiva. A good balance between the opposing forces of good and evil sustains creation. When balance of this is disturbed then sustenance of life becomes impossible. Lord Shiva then dissolves the universe so that a new creation of the next order can be formed so that the unliberated souls get another opportunity to liberate themselves from bondage from the physical world. Thus, Lord Shiva protects the souls from pain. He protects people from forces such as lust, greed, and anger. He is the granter of boons, and bestows grace.

Lord Brahma:
He is that aspect of the Supreme Reality that brings forth creation. Hindus call him as the creator of the universe. His consort is Saraswati, who is the Goddess of learning and knowledge. Goddess Saraswati helps Lord Brahma by providing him with knowledge that is necessary for the process of creation.

Lord Vishnu:
He represents the aspect of perseverance and sustenance of the Supreme Reality. A human body with four arms generally symbolizes Vishnu. The four arms of his indicate his omnipresence and omnipotence. His two front arms show his activity in the physical world and his two back arms signify his activity in the spiritual world. The right side of his body is the sign of creative activities of the mind and the intellect. The left side signifies the activities of the heart, that is, love, kindness, and compassion.

Goddess Durga:
She represents the power of the Supreme Being who preserves moral order. The Sanskrit word Durga actually means a fort or a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. Durga, is also known as the Divine Mother, who protects humans from evil by destroying evil forces. Durga also has many other names, like Parvati, Ambika, and Kali. She has eighteen arms, in each she carries weapons to destroy evil.

She is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The word ''Lakshmi'' is formed from a Sanskrit word called Laksme, which means "goal." She therefore, signifies the goal of life (worldly or spiritual prosperity). Lakshmi is a female form with four arms and four hands. She wears a red saree with a golden lining and is seen standing on a lotus. She has golden coins and lotuses in her hands.

She is the Goddess of learning, knowledge, and wisdom. Sanskrit word "sara" means "essence" and swa means "self." Thus Saraswati means "the essence of the self". According to Hindu mythology she is the divine consort of Lord Brahma. who is the Creator of the universe. Knowledge is necessary for creation. Goddess Saraswati is generally depicted with four arms. She wears a white sari and is seated on a white lotus. She holds a book and a rosary in two of her hands. Her other two hands are engaged in playing Veena. She has a swan as her vehicle. There is a peacock by her side.

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