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PostSun Dec 12, 2010 4:40 pm » by Thebluecanary


dragonfly1 wrote:
thebluecanary wrote:It was an interesting video. However, I'm pretty sure Siva is not the Hindu equivalent of Satan.

How do you know for sure?
Do you have sources to back up your claim? or are you just saying this out of "sympathy" for the "religion"?

I would like to see a source if you have one. I have a few friends that are Indian and would like to discuss with them.



Did you bother to read the reply where I already explained that the statement "Shiva is the Hindu equivalent of Satan" to be untrue? I bet you did not. Yes, by all means, ask your Indian friends if Shiva is the Hindu equivalent of Satan. I'm sure they will find it quite laughable. "Sympathy" for the religion plays no part in it. Understanding of how the belief system works, however, is pretty important when making blanket statements comparing one ideology to one that is vastly different both culturally and spiritually, as Hinduism is different from Christianity. Unless, of course, one wants to appear as just another uneducated "Christian" seeing demons and Satan everywhere.
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PostMon Dec 13, 2010 5:40 pm » by Constabul


Hindu Deities Pt1
Brahma Image

As the creator of the world whose four heads and four arms represent the four points of the compass, it may be thought that Brahma would have a dominant role within Hinduism. Though he represents one of the three main forms of Brahman, he is very much subordinated to Vishnu, who represents the sustaining aspect of Brahman and Shiva who represents the destructive aspect. In fact, one story tells of Brahma's fifth head being burnt up by Shiva's third eye.

He may be shown holding a vase of water, symbolizing the water from which the universe evolved, a rosary for counting the passage of time, a sacrificial spoon linking him with the Brahmin priests and their traditional role in the offering of sacrifices and the four Vedas, ancient sacred books of the Hindus. He is also at times shown with a disc and an alms bowl. He may be depicted on a lotus throne. He is often bearded, and may wear a black or white garment.

His consort (wife/partner) is Sarasvati, goddess of wisdom and music and his vehicle is a swan or a goose.

As creation is the work of the mind and the intellect, Lord Brahma symbolizes the Universal Mind. From the standpoint of an individual, Brahma symbolizes one's own mind and intellect. Since an individual is naturally gifted with the mind and intellect, he or she may be said to have already realized Brahma. For this reason the worship of Brahma is not very popular among all Hindus. He is, however, worshipped by seekers of knowledge, such as students, teachers, scholars and scientists.


Durga Image

The name 'Durga' means 'Inaccessible' and this may reflect something of the mystery at the heart of this deity. Though loving and kind to those who worship her, as the consort (wife/partner) of Shiva in her warrior form, she symbolizes the violent and destructive qualities of the Mother Goddess (Shakti). These qualities are explained by a story from the Hindu tradition according to which she was born fully grown from flames which issued from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and other lesser deities who created her for the purpose of destroying the buffalo demon, symbol of death.

The weapons which she holds which may include Shiva's trident, Vishnu's discus, a bow and arrow, a sword and shield, and a javelin are for the destruction of evil and the protection of good.

The eight arms with which she is at times shown have been interpreted as representing health, education, wealth, organization, unity, fame, courage and truth. Other images show Durga with ten arms. Her vehicle is a lion or tiger which further emphasizes her violent and aggressive qualities. As a figure of power, she has been likened to a sort of feminine St George.

Durga, also called Divine Mother, protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego. For example, selfishness must be destroyed by detachment, jealousy by desirelessness, prejudice by self-knowledge, and ego by discrimination.


Ganesha Image

The image of Ganesha is one of the most distinctive ones within Hinduism. The image has an elephant's head and a large human body usually colored pink or yellow. The elephant's head symbolizes the gaining of knowledge through listening (ears) and reflection (large head). The two tusks, one whole and the other broken, reflect the existence of perfection and imperfection in the physical world. There is a wealth of symbolism associated with his 'pot belly'. It has been interpreted as reflecting an ability to digest whatever experiences life brings. Or, to draw on another motif to be found in Hinduism, that in some sense the whole universe is contained inside him. It may also be seen as a sign of well-being and of his role as a provider of earthly riches. Ganesha is shown with one leg on the ground and the other one folded as if he were meditating. This reflects a balance between the practical and spiritual life, a theme which is repeated in the symbolism of some of the objects associated with him.

In his hands he holds such objects as a rope or noose, to trap the things which attract the mind to the world, and a goad or iron hook, to represent the need to control desires. But he is also typically shown with a bowl of sweetmeats representing earthly prosperity and well-being. He may also be shown with an axe or trident, both of which link him with Shiva. Other symbolic objects which may be associated with Ganesha are a shell, water lily, mace and discus.

He is pictured with four arms symbolizing such aspects of Hinduism as the four Vedas (ancient sacred books), the four aims of Hinduism and the four stages of life.

His vehicle is a rat or a mouse as these creatures are known for their ability to gnaw through barriers. The combination of the elephant and the rat or mouse ensures that all obstacles, of whatever size, are removed. The fact that a rat/mouse and food are often shown around or under his feet has also been interpreted as reflecting the idea that desires and wealth are both under his control.

Ganesha is worshipped as the deity who removes barriers and bestows wisdom and good fortune. Many Hindus have an image of Ganesha on their shrines and pray to him before they begin their worship of other deities. He is also worshipped at the beginning of any new venture such as a wedding or the building of a new house. Ganesha is often shown with an open hand, palms upturned, sometimes holding a gift to show him granting favors to his devotees.

As god of wisdom he is invoked at the beginning of books and may be shown holding a tusk as a pen since he is regarded as the writer of the scriptures and hence the patron of schools and of the written word.

In Hindu mythology Ganesha is identified as the son of Shiva and Parvati. The custom of placing an image of Ganesha at doorways recalls the story of his courage in defending his mother. The stories about the loss of his head all tend to agree that it was replaced by that of the first living animal that came along, which was an elephant.


Hanuman Image

Hanuman, whose image is in the form of a monkey, is particularly associated with the Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita.

In the story, Sita, Rama's wife, is kidnapped by the evil, ten-headed demon Ravana who carries her off to his fortress in the island of Lanka. At great risk to his own safety, Hanuman finds Sita and then returns to help Rama build a bridge over to the island to rescue Sita.

During the ensuing battle, Rama's brother Lakshmana was fatally wounded. Hanuman was sent to fetch healing herbs which grew on a particular mountain. Unable to identify the herbs, he uprooted the whole mountain and brought it back to the site of the battle thus saving Lakshmana's life. Images of Hanuman often show him holding the mountain in his hand. As a model for human devotion to God, he is often depicted with paws clasped together in reverence.

He is a symbol of strength and loyalty and represents the concept that animals are also a creation of God.

Hanuman is also regarded as a god in his own right and as the son of the wind god he is able to fly and change shape at will. He is one of the few gods without a consort.

The worship of Hanuman, therefore, symbolizes the worship of the Supreme Lord, for acquiring knowledge, physical and mental strength, truthfulness, sincerity, selflessness, humility, loyalty, and profound devotion to the Lord.


Kali Image

Kali, which means black, represents the terrifying aspect of the Mother Goddess, whose kindly or benign aspect is reflected in the goddess Lakshmi. She is usually depicted naked or wearing a tiger skin, with disheveled hair and eyes rolling with intoxication. She has fang-like teeth, and her lolling tongue dripping with blood hangs from her mouth. Around her neck is a necklace of skulls.

She is usually shown with four arms, two of which hold severed heads while the other two hold a dagger and a sword. A strangling noose also features in some of the images. She dances on the body of her consort Shiva.

Though her hands are blood stained, one is often raised in a gesture of protection or assurance in the midst of destruction. Kali reflects the Indian tradition of bringing together seemingly contradictory aspects of life and some see a link with the ancient worship of the Great Goddess as an Earth Mother whose power was shown both in the fertility of the earth and in the receiving of the bodies of dead.

Kali represents the realities of life and death. Kali, the devourer of time (kala) stands for the frightening, painful side of life which all who desire to progress spiritually must face and overcome.


Krishna Image

Krishna, 'one who attracts or draws' people, or 'one who drains away' sins is the eighth and most important avatar of Vishnu, embodying joy, freedom and love. He also often appears as a god in his own right. In the Bhagavad Gita he is the divine instructor of Arjuna and the supreme Deity. In later tradition he is Krishna the cowherd, who, from being a wonderful and mischievous child, grows into a youth loved by the gopis, the cowherd girls.

His involvement with the gopis in amorous dance becomes the model of passionate union with God. Some images show him in dance mode, playing his irresistible flute to summon the gopis. He is also shown in images of power, e.g. destroying the evil snake, Kaliya, who has poisoned the life-giving waters of one of India's sacred rivers.

He is typically depicted with blue-black skin, wearing a yellow loin cloth and a crown of peacock feather.


Lakshmana Image

(here shown at left, behind throne.)

Lakshmana was a half brother to Rama whose story is told in the Ramayana, one of the most popular stories in the Hindu tradition.

Lakshmana accompanied Rama and Sita in their exile and shared their struggles. In the great battle with ten-headed demon Ravana, Lakshmana was fatally wounded but was restored to health when Hanuman, the god-king of the monkeys, brought to the battle field the mountain on which grew special healing herbs.

Lakshmana symbolizes the ideal of sacrifice. He leaves his young wife behind in the palace and chooses to accompany his brother (Rama) in exile. He sacrifices the amenities of his personal life to serve his elder brother.


Lakshmi Image

Lakshmi, one of the forms of the Mother Goddess, is the goddess of fortune and wealth and the consort of Vishnu. She is commonly called "Shri" a title given to many gods and saints but especially to Lakshmi. She is associated with the festival of Divali as the bringer of blessings for the new year.

As goddess of good fortune she is depicted with four arms. Two of her hands hold lotus flowers and a third pours out wealth in the form of gold coins. Her fourth hand is held out in the gesture of blessing. But she is also the goddess of beauty and as such is shown as a young and beautiful goddess decorated with jewels and with only two arms.

She is often depicted seated on a lotus being showered by two elephants who are pouring pots of water over her head. The lotus is a symbol of fertility and purity as it grows with both power and beauty form the mud. In India with its lack of a constant dependable supply of water, water is a symbol of plenty.

Lakshmi's vehicle is a white owl.


(here with Shiva and their son, Ganesha.)

Parvati, Image
Daughter of the Himalayas, represents the gentler qualities of the Mother Goddess. Her docile obedience to her husband, Shiva, is seen as a model of the worshipper's relationship to God. It should be noted, however, that behind Parvati lies the power of the Mother Goddess which is seen by many Hindus to be greater than that of the deities themselves.


Radha Image

Radha was Krishna's favorite gopi or cow girl. The Hindu tradition is rich in poetry about the love of Krishna and Radha which is valued both as an expression of human love but also as being symbolic of the love of the soul for God.
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PostMon Dec 13, 2010 5:40 pm » by Constabul


Hindu Deities Pt2

Shiva Image

Is one of the three main forms of Brahman, the Supreme Spirit or Power of the universe. In this role Shiva represents the power of destruction. But as the old has to be destroyed to give rise to the new, he is also seen by his followers as the lord of creation. Perhaps the greatest of the Hindu deities, he is given a range of titles which include Maha-deva (great god), Maha-yogi (great ascetic), Nata-raja (lord of the Dance). Shiva has over 100 names, including Shankar and Shambhu. He is also known as the 'Blue-throated'. This title arises from a story in the Hindu scriptures which recounts how he drank the poison which would otherwise have destroyed the world. His name means 'auspicious' or 'kindly' and this should be kept in mind in any interpretation of the symbols associated with him. Shiva is the destroyer of our illusion and ignorance that stands in the way of our perfect union and enlightenment.

Shiva's consort (wife or partner) may take several forms and these reflect the different aspects of his character and qualities. Parvati reflects the gentle aspects whereas Durga and, even more so, the mysterious goddess Kali, reflect the fiercer elements. Ganesha, the god depicted with an elephant's head and a human body, is one of Shiva and Parvati's sons.

His most characteristic weapon is the trident, a reminder of his role in the whole process of creation, preservation and destruction. It may also reflect the three qualities of goodness, passion and darkness which are in all things in different proportions.

Another typical feature of images of Shiva is his third eye which represents both spiritual insight and the ability to burn up anything which may hinder such insight.

The three horizontal lines on his forehead have been interpreted as representing the three sources of light - fire, sun and moon; or his ability to see the past, present and future. The three lines may also, as with the trident, represent the three qualities of goodness, passion and darkness.

Shiva is also typically depicted with snakes around his neck or across his body. The snake may represent the evolutionary power within the human body, the spiritual power which may de developed through yoga and also Shiva's power to deal with death. Rosaries show his mastery of the spiritual sciences.

He is frequently depicted sitting on a tiger skin, the symbol of the cruel forces of nature, over which he is lord. Shiva's vehicle is Nandin a white bull which represents strength and fertility. As the bull is ridden by Shiva, it shows the god's control over these powers. In this image he sits in meditative pose reflecting peace and perfect inner harmony.

Lord Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger. Lord Shiva annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees.


Rama Image

Rama which means 'one who permeates and who is present in everything and everyone' is the seventh avatar of Vishnu.

The Ramayana, which is one of the most popular stories in the Hindu tradition, tells of Rama's exploits. As a young prince he performs heroic acts and in due course wins the beautiful Sita as his wife after succeeding in bending a great war bow. Cheated of his rightful role as successor to his father the king, he goes off into exile. Sita and his brother Lakshmana insist in going with him. One day Sita is kidnapped by the ten-headed demon Ravana and carried off to his stronghold in the island of Lanka. Helped by Hanuman, the god-king of the monkeys, Rama eventually defeats Ravana and his army in battle and rescues Sita. They then return to their kingdom where Rama is given his rightful place as king.

Rama is the model of reason, right action and commendable virtues. He is often depicted with a tall conical cap which symbolizes his royal status.

Rama represents an ideal man, as conceived by the Hindu mind. In the story of Ramayana, Rama's personality depicts him as the perfect son, devoted brother, true husband, trusted friend, ideal king, and a noble adversary.

Sita and Rama are the model wife and husband in the Hindu tradition.


Sita Image

The story of Sita is told in the Ramayana, one of the most popular stories in the Hindu tradition.

Sita is won in marriage by the young prince Rama after he succeeds in bending a great war bow. Sita accompanies Rama into exile after he has been cheated of his rightful role as successor to his father the king. One day Sita is kidnapped by the ten-headed demon Ravana and carried off to his stronghold in the island of Lanka. Helped by Hanuman, the god-king of the monkeys, Rama eventually defeats Ravana and his army in battle and rescues Sita. They then return to their kingdom where Rama is given his rightful place as king.

Sita and Rama are the model wife and husband in the Hindu tradition.

Sita is also regarded as an avatar of the goddess Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu. When Vishnu took on human form as Rama, Lakshmi took on human form as Sita.

Sita symbolizes an ideal daughter, wife, mother, and queen. Whereas Rama symbolizes standards of perfection that can be conceived in all the facets of a man's life, Mother Sita represents all that is great and noble in womanhood. She is revered as an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, the divine consort of Lord Vishnu.



Ravana Image

Ravana is the ten-headed demon who features in the Ramayana, one of the most popular stories in the Hindu tradition. Ravana kidnaps the beautiful Sita, wife of Rama, and carries her off to his stronghold in the island of Lanka. Helped by Hanuman, the god-king of the monkeys, Rama eventually defeats Ravana and his army in battle and rescues Sita.


Sarasvati Image

Sarasvati is the consort of Brahma and is the goddess of wisdom and the arts and as such is widely revered. She particularly attracts the worship of students.

She is usually depicted as very fair-skinned, beautiful and elegant and dressed in a white garment. Objects associated with Sarasvati are the vina (an Indian stringed musical instrument), a flute, a manuscript and a book.

Sanskrit, the ancient sacred language of Hinduism, is said to have been created by her.

Her vehicle is usually shown as a peacock but she may also be seen with a swan or a goose, the vehicles associated with her consort, Brahma.

Sarasvati is the Goddess of learning, knowledge, and wisdom. She is worshipped by all persons interested in knowledge, especially students, teachers, scholars, and scientists.


Trimurti Image

The three main forms or manifestations of Brahman, the Supreme Spirit or Power of the universe. Brahma represents the creative aspects of Brahman, Vishnu the sustaining aspects and Shiva the destructive aspects.

Brahma
As the creator of the world whose four heads and four arms represent the four points of the compass, it may be thought that Brahma would have a dominant role within Hinduism. But though he represents one of the three main forms of Brahman, he is very much subordinated to Vishnu, who represents the sustaining aspect of Brahman and Shiva who represents the destructive aspect. In fact, one story tells of Brahma's fifth head being burnt up by Shiva's third eye. He may be shown holding a vase of water, symbolising the water from which the universe evolved, a rosary for counting the passage of time, a sacrificial spoon linking him with the Brahmin priests and their traditional role in the offering of sacrifices and the four Vedas, ancient sacred books of the Hindus. He is also at times shown with a disc and an alms bowl. He may be depicted on a lotus throne. He is often bearded, and may wear a black or white garment.

His consort (wife/partner) is Sarasvati, goddess of wisdom and music and his vehicle is a swan or a goose.

See the separate entries for Shiva and Vishnu.


Vishnu Image

Vishnu is one of the three main forms or manifestations of Brahman, the Supreme Spirit or Power of the universe, and represents the sustaining power of Brahman. It is thought that the name Vishnu means either to 'pervade' or 'to take different forms'. These two ideas are brought together in the doctrine of avatars associated with Vishnu. An avatar is a 'descent' or 'incarnation' of a deity. It is believed that Vishnu pervades the universe by descending to earth in different forms when the forces of evil threaten to overcome the forces of good. The most important avatars are Krishna and Rama.

Vishnu's consort (partner or wife) is Lakshmi. Lakshmi, one of the forms of the Mother Goddess, is the goddess of fortune and wealth.

Vishnu may be depicted with two or four arms. When shown with four arms, these represent his power over both the four points of the compass and the four stages of life through which the 'twice born' Hindu man was thought to travel. Images of Vishnu combine compassion and strength.

The four symbols most commonly associated with Vishnu are the conch shell which represents water and the first sound of creation, the lotus which symbolizes the unfolding universe, the mace which is interpreted as the power of knowledge conquering time and finally the discus which is associated with the conquering of evil and ignorance.

Vishnu may be recognized by the U shaped symbol on his forehead.

His vehicle is Garuda, depicted either as a crowned eagle or as a bird with a man's head. He is a powerful opponent of evil.

The hood of snakes' heads which shelter him represents the endless cycles of creation and reflects one of the central stories of creation in the Hindu tradition. Three hands hold three of the standard symbols, conch shell, discus and lotus and the fourth is held in the traditional hand gesture symbolizing protection.

When a sincere devotee of the Lord controls his desires, the Lord fulfills the devotee's genuine desires and helps him on his path.
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