Basic Hindu Gods
Lord Brahma is the supreme Hindu god of creation, creator of the cosmos and part of the divine trinity – Trimurti, along with god and god Shiva.
Brahma is derived from the flower “tamarasa” (a type of lotus). He is depicted as a deity with four heads and four arms. Each of the heads of the god has given rise to one of the Indian castes, and in each of his four hands Brahma holds one of the Vedas.
Brahma is the creator of the whole universe. He bestows riches and grace on people and determines their destinies. At the moment of each person’s birth, Brahma writes his fate on his forehead in his own handwriting. This fate is absolute and irreversible.
The sign of Brahma is the water lily. His daughter Saraswati is also his wife.
Vishnu is the god who preserves life. He is depicted with four hands. In most cases, he is with his wife Lakshmi. Both are on the lotus or on the wings of the Garuda bird. According to legend, he appeared on earth to restore the balance between good and evil. Vishnu is the patron and guardian of all that exists. Even other gods often resort to his services to protect themselves from imminent danger. As a guardian, he appears in various forms – avatars: Matya – fish, Varaha – boar, Kurma – turtle, Narasihma – monster – half man, half lion, Vamana – brahman – dwarf, Parashurama – Rama with the ax, Rama – the glorified Rama.
Avatar Kalki has not been realized yet, but his appearance is expected in the future. It will end the age of sin and vice.
Shiva is the third deity of the Hindu triad. His role is a destroyer – of worldly vanity, ignorance, evil and villains, hatred and disease. He endows with wisdom and longevity, embodies self-denial and compassion. Shiva is an example of great patience and endurance. He holds in his throat a poison that, according to legend, he drank so that it could not poison all life on earth.
They depict Shiva with braided hair and a third eye, which symbolizes wisdom. This is the eye that sees beyond the obvious. His serpent necklace reflects Shiva’s dominion over death. Shiva wears a drum, which symbolizes the world arranged by God, and has a crescent on his head. In his hands he holds a trident with which he can destroy everything in his path.
Cult of Animals
Hindus venerate almost all animals as sacred. This fact is related to the basic Hindu principle of non-violence “ahimsa“, which is the main reason why most Hindus are vegetarians. Human life depends on natural forces – the sun, water, air, fire, creation, destruction. And because they are abstract, they personify them in human and animal forms. This makes it easier for the average person to understand them.
The cow is paramount among the revered animals. A reborn form of the great goddess of fertility, she has always represented fertility and abundance. The cow embodies abundance, purity and holiness. Because the cow produces milk, Hindus venerate it as a symbol of motherhood. The killing of a cow in India was considered the equivalent of killing a priest. It was punishable by death. In later times, the cow became a symbol of the earth, ie. of Mother India. Respect for bulls has to do with their association with the great white Nandi, ridden by Shiva in battles with demons.
The cult of the snake has existed in India for more than five thousand years. Many majestic temples have been erected in her honor. According to the ancient Indians’ ideas about the origin of the world, the entire universe is located on the numerous heads of the snake Shesha, floating in the World Ocean. Another great serpent, Ananta, envelops the earth with its dark blue body. The destroyer Shiva carries with him the mighty snake Vasuki.
The snake is believed to represent eternal movement and is the protector of the home. Indians often put a snake sign on the front door. Finding old snake skin is considered great luck. The Indian woman’s inability to conceive is explained by an insult to a snake in a previous life.
For Indians, the deliberate or accidental killing of a snake is considered a grave sin. The killed snake is burned, before that the body is covered with a silk cloth and special mourning mantras are uttered.
The great respect which the ape enjoys among the Indians is probably due to its resemblance to man, both outwardly and in a number of its habits.
The famous epic Ramayana tells of Rama’s exploits, in which he is invariably aided by a large ape army led by the ape Hanuman. Hanuman is revered as a symbol of physical strength, endurance and devotion. He had extraordinary strength, he could take the form of any object, clear the clouds, move heavy objects. Hanuman was extremely devoted to his comrade Rama and helped him a lot in carrying out his exploits.
There are many temples dedicated to Hanuman throughout India, but every other temple must have an altar or image of Hanuman, the god of power. Only gifts from nature are given as a gift to this deity. In the forests where the monkeys live, Hanuman worshipers bring them boiled rice, fruit and all kinds of treats every day. Such an act is considered an extremely worthy deed.