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Hindu Deities

Just as a single force in space can be mathematically conceived as Ganpatyar Temple having various spatial components, the Supreme Being or God, the personal form of the Ultimate Reality, is conceived by Hindus as having various aspects. A Hindu deity (god or goddess; note small g) represents a particular aspect of the Supreme Being. For example, Saraswati represents the learning and knowledge aspect of the Supreme Being. Thus, if a Hindu wants to pray for acquiring knowledge and understanding, he prays to Saraswati. Just as sunlight cannot have a separate and independent existence from the sun itself, a Hindu deity does not have a separate and independent existence from the Supreme Being. Thus, Hindu worship of deities is monotheistic polytheism and not simple polytheism. 

Hindus declare that there is only one Supreme Being and He is the God of all religions. There is no "other God." Thus the Biblical Commandment "Thou shalt have no other God before me," really means, "Thou shalt not deny the Ultimate Reality or worship any power other than the Ultimate Reality." 

Hindus view cosmic activity of the Supreme Being as comprised of three tasks: creation, preservation, and dissolution and recreation. Hindus associate these three cosmic tasks with the three deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Lord Brahma brings forth the creation and represents the creative principle of the Supreme Being. Lord Vishnu maintains the universe and represents the eternal principle of preservation. Lord Shiva represents the principle of dissolution and recreation. These three deities together form the Hindu Trinity. 

One must clearly understand that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are not three independent deities. They represent the same power (the Supreme Being), but in three different aspects. Just as a man may be called a doctor, father or husband based upon the tasks he performs, the Supreme Being is called Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva when conceived as performing the three different cosmic tasks of creation, preservation, and dissolution/recreation. "The oneness of the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva is brought out by the mystic symbol AUM where 'A' represents Vishnu, 'U' Shiva and 'M' Brahma." 

Hindu religion is often labeled as a religion of 330 million gods. This misunderstanding arises when people fail to grasp the symbolism of the Hindu pantheon. According to the Hindu scriptures, living beings are not apart from God, since He lives in each and every one of them in the form of atman (BG 10.39). Thus each living being is a unique manifestation of God. In ancient times it was believed that there were 330 million living beings. This gave rise to the idea of 330 million deities or gods. Actually, this vast number of gods could not have been possibly worshipped, since 330 million names could not have been designed for them. The number 330 million was simply used to give a symbolic expression to the fundamental Hindu doctrine that God lives in the hearts of all living beings.

- Bansi Pandit

Featured Collections

Lord Brahma
Lord Brahma symbolizes the aspect of the Supreme Reality that brings forth the creation. For this very reason, Hindus call Lord Brahma the Creator of the universe. He is the first member of the Hindu Trinity that also includes Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. 
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Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga represents the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness in the creation. The Sanskrit word Durga means a fort or a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. 
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The Hindu deity in a human form but with the head of an elephant - represents the power of the Supreme Being that removes obstacles and ensures success in human endeavors.   >>>
Hanuman
Hanuman, the great monkey hero, also called Maruti, assists Rama in his battle with Ravana to rescue Sita, who had been kidnapped by Ravana. Hanuman symbolizes the qualities of an ideal devotee of God. 
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Goddess Lakshmi
Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. The word ''Lakshmi'' is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksme, meaning "goal." Lakshmi, therefore, represents the goal of life, which includes worldly as well as spiritual prosperity.
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Radha and Krishna
Lord Krishna is the eighth and the most popular incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was born in approximately 3200 BCE in Vrindavan, where he was brought up by the cowherd family of Yashoda and Nanda.  
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Goddess Saraswati
Saraswati is the Goddess of leaming, knowledge, and wisdom. The Sanskrit word sara means "essence" and swa means "self." Thus Saraswati means "the essence of the self." 
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Sita, Rama, Lakshmana
Lord Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The worship of Lord Rama is very popular among all Hindus, as is evident by the numerous temples dedicated to him in India.  
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Sharda Mata Temple at Gushi, Kupwara
It is situated on the bank of Kishanganga (now in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) famous throughout the country before partition. This is considered as a "Siddha Peetha" like Sharika Chakreshwar temple at Hari Parbat.  >>>
Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva represents the aspect of the Supreme Being (Brahman of the Upanishads) that continuously dissolves to recreate in the cyclic process of creation, preservation, dissolution and recreation of the universe.
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Mata Tripori Sondari Devi
Goddess Tripore Sondari is the main Shakti without which Shiv is "Shuni". The detailed description of this Goddess has been given in "Sunderlahri". 
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Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu represents the aspect of the Supreme Reality that preserves and sustains the universe. Although there are variations in images and pictures of Lord Vishnu, He is generally symbolized by a human body with four arms. 
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Shiva Bhagwati - (Akingam, Anantnag) >>>

 

Mata Shakti  >>>

Related Links

Bansi Pandit
Bansi Pandit is a nuclear engineer by profession.  He has been a student of Vedanta and has been associated with the Vivekananda Vedanta Society since his college years.  In 1981, he joined the Self-Realization Fellowship (founded in the United States by Parmahansa Yogănanda) .  >>>
Hindu Dharma
by Bansi Pandit
Hindu Dharma explains the symbolism of the Hindu deities and includes nine beautiful color pictures of the popular Hindu deities. These pictures can be used for daily puja (worship) in the home shrines by the devotees. 
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