Table of Content IntroductionWhy are Gods and Goddesses Important in Hinduism?Insights Explaining Idol WorshipA vast pantheon of gods and goddessesConclusion
Table of Content
Why are Gods and Goddesses Important in Hinduism?
Insights Explaining Idol Worship
A vast pantheon of gods and goddesses
“kleśo ‘dhikataras teshām
avyaktāhi gatir duhkham
Severe is the path of those whose minds are set on the
Unmanifest, for the goal of the Unmanifest is painful to reach by the embodied
– Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 12, V. 5
this verse, Bhagwan says that it is very difficult for an embodied being like
you and me to worship him in his unmanifest form. The realized person, the sthitaprajna
sees Divinity or God in every being, human or animal, the animate or the
inanimate. But for ordinary people like you and me, it is easier to focus our
thoughts and devotion on something visible, be it a stone, wood or clay. The
shape and size of the statue does not matter. Even a picture if you look at it
day after day with love and devotion, you will build an unseen bond with the
object of your devotion and that regular Abhyasa (practice) will finally make
you aware of The Divinity within you.
Hinduism, gods and goddesses hold a significant place of reverence and
devotion. They are seen as divine beings that embody various aspects of the
ultimate reality, and are worshiped in various forms and names. The ultimate
goal of Hinduism is to achieve union with the divine, and belief in gods is
seen as a means of connecting with the divine. By worshiping the various gods
and goddesses, Hindus are able to cultivate a deeper sense of devotion and
surrender to the divine. While the gods are highly revered in Hinduism, they
are not considered to be the ultimate reality. Instead, they are seen as
manifestations of the divine, and ultimately, all gods are believed to be one
and the same. In Hinduism, the ultimate goal of life is to attain spiritual
liberation, or moksha, by realizing the oneness of the individual soul, or
Atman, with the universal soul, or Brahman.
recognizes a vast pantheon of gods and goddesses, each with their unique
characteristics and roles. Some of the most prominent deities include Brahma,
the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. In addition to
these major gods, there are many other deities, including minor gods,
goddesses, and regional deities, that are also worshiped by Hindus.
various stories and myths associated with the gods and goddesses in Hinduism
offer guidance on how to lead a virtuous and fulfilling life. By following the
examples set by the gods and goddesses, Hindus are able to cultivate a sense of
morality and ethics. The various gods and goddesses in Hinduism are seen as
protectors and guides who can offer comfort and solace during difficult times.
By offering prayers and making offerings to the gods and goddesses, Hindus are
able to find comfort and support in times of need.
Brass Craft Krishna Arjuna Chariot with 4 Horses
idol or an image is a living embodiment (arca) of God. It is not a lifeless
form. Life is poured into every image or idol when it is reverentially
worshipped with devotion. Devotion has such power. According to our Puranas,
with devotion you can awaken the divine power which is hidden in any object. By
overcoming the duality of the subject and the object or the knower and the
known you can experience oneness with the divinity who is present in all
things. Idol worship (murthi puja) or image worship in Hinduism refers to the
worship of the names and forms (murti) of God, any divinity or reverential
person such as a guru or a saint. The practice is unique to Hinduism. Image
worship is also practiced in Buddhism and Jainism. Buddhists worship Buddha,
Bodhisattvas and several deities. Jains worship the Thirthankaras and other
Jinas. However, both religions do not believe in creator God. Hence, image
worship of God is found only in Hinduism.
श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता (काशिनीव्याख्ययालङ्कता) : Srimad Bhagavad Gita (Kashini Vyakhyayalakta)
to Hinduism, the whole creation is a form of God. Every aspect and form in it
reflect his glory because God is hidden in each of them. The whole creation is
sacred because it is suffused with the presence of God. Hence, every aspect of
it is worthy of worship. When you say, "God is this or that," you are
limiting him. When you say, "God should be worshipped in this or that
manner only," you are again defining and limiting your methods of worship.
It is also said that when a devotee worships an idol, he also worships the
deity who is present in him as his hidden Self. All the prayers that you offer
to the idols are also simultaneously addressed to the hidden deity. You are the
priest in the worship of the deity, while your hidden Self is the silent priest
or the Brahman, who makes sure that your prayers reach their destination with
augmented power. When a devout Hindu folds his hands in front of a deity to
pray or offer his respects, his hands point not only to the deity in front of
him but also the deity that lives in him. Thus, thus symbolically in idol
worship one not only worships the concrete form of God (murtam) but also the
subtle, invisible and formless Self (amurtam) in the body.
Representing the divine : In Hinduism, the ultimate
reality is often described as being beyond human comprehension, and hence,
difficult to understand. The gods and goddesses are seen as embodiments of the
divine, and are worshipped as a means to connect with the divine. They are seen
as intermediaries who can help humans to better understand and experience the
Personalizing the divine : The various gods and goddesses in
Hinduism are depicted as having distinct personalities, traits, and attributes.
They are seen as having specific roles and responsibilities, such as creation,
protection, or destruction. By worshipping them, Hindus are able to personalize
their relationship with the divine, and develop a deeper connection with the
various aspects of the ultimate reality.
Providing guidance and
Many of the stories and myths associated with the gods and goddesses in
Hinduism provide guidance and inspiration to devotees. They offer examples of
how to lead a virtuous and fulfilling life, and how to overcome challenges and
obstacles. They also offer hope and reassurance, as they are seen as protectors
and guides who can offer guidance and support during difficult times.
Reflecting cultural values : The various gods and goddesses in
Hinduism reflect the cultural values and beliefs of the people who worship
them. For example, the goddess Saraswati is associated with knowledge and
wisdom, and is worshipped by students and scholars. The god Ganesh is
associated with wisdom and success, and is worshipped before the start of new
ventures. The god Shiva is associated with renunciation and detachment, and is
worshipped by ascetics and seekers of enlightenment.
Encouraging devotion : Worship of the gods and
goddesses in Hinduism is seen as an important form of devotion, and is
considered a means of purifying the mind and heart. It is believed that by
offering prayers, making offerings, and performing rituals, devotees can
cultivate a deeper sense of devotion and surrender to the divine.
Celebrating festivals : Many of the festivals in
Hinduism are associated with the worship of specific gods and goddesses. For
example, the festival of Diwali is associated with the goddess Lakshmi, who is
worshipped for prosperity and good fortune. The festival of Navratri is
associated with the goddess Durga, who is worshipped for strength and courage.
By celebrating these festivals, Hindus are able to connect with the divine and
celebrate their cultural heritage.
35" Large Lord Ganesha, Devi Lakshmi and Devi Saraswati (Set of Three Statues)
Easiest way to install faith and
devotion : To intellectuals who are well informed in spiritual
knowledge, the abstract concept of God may be engaging, but to an ordinary
individual the idea is complex and difficult to comprehend. On the other
hand, an ordinary individual like you and me will find a concrete image or
idea of God that we can easily grasp far more appealing. For example the
image of Ganesha or the idea of Krishna we hear from many stories. An idol
will represent God and his many qualities thus making it easier for us to
believe in His existence and to devote ourselves to Him rather than
attempting to worship the unmanifest or the formless.
A way of acknowledging the
omnipresence of God : From a sub-atomic particle to the great
stars, God is manifested in all His creations. We believe that God is ‘Omnipresent’. If God is everywhere, then
surely He is in that idol. In idol worship, a devotee gives as much love
and respect to his/her idol believing that God resides in it.
Idol worship helps devotees to become
deeply religious : Once an idol is installed in the house or in a puja
mandir (place of worship in a house), the very house becomes a place of
God’s residence, a very sacred place, a temple by itself. The idol reminds
household members of the divine presence and of their religious duties and
responsibilities. It inspires devout men to keep their houses pure and not
to indulge in sacrilegious acts.
Aid to concentration : More than any abstract concept, an image or a symbol
is the best aid to concentrate and control one’s mind and attention. By
focusing the mind on an image, the mind can be tamed and stabilized. Today
science has been able to proof that images subdued in the subconscious
plays a significant role in shaping one’s life and destiny. The ancient
Hindus were aware of the potentiality of the mind and therefore did not
object to the worship of idols. They knew it was the best way to lead the
fickle human mind towards God.
An effective prayer : Communicating
with God : Idol worship helps us to focus the energies from our
prayer into a strong current flowing in one particular direction. Besides,
the supposed physical proximity to God intensifies the emotional fervour
and charges the prayer with love and devotion.
are many reasons why a devout Hindu worships idols. To simply explain it, idol
worship is the best method of communication with God for many Hindus. Religion
is a matter of faith. There is no one right way to attain God. The paths to God
are many and many are the ways one can reach Him.
10" Trimurti From Elephanta (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha) In Brass | Handmade | Made In India
recognizes a vast pantheon of gods and goddesses, each with their unique
characteristics and roles. Some of the major gods in Hinduism are:
Brahma : Brahma is the creator of the
universe and is often depicted with four heads, each facing a different
direction. He is also known as the "Grandfather" of all living
Vishnu : Vishnu is the preserver of the
universe and is often depicted with blue skin and four arms. He is believed to
have ten avatars or incarnations, including Lord Rama and Lord Krishna.
Shiva : Shiva is the destroyer of the
universe and is often depicted with a third eye on his forehead and a serpent
around his neck. He is also known as the Lord of Yoga and is associated with
asceticism and meditation.
Devi : Devi, also known as Shakti or
the Divine Mother, is the embodiment of feminine energy and is often worshiped
as the supreme goddess. She is believed to have many forms and names, including
Durga, Kali, and Lakshmi.
Ganesha : Ganesha is the elephant-headed
god and is considered the remover of obstacles. He is often worshiped at the
beginning of important ceremonies and rituals.
Hanuman : Hanuman is a monkey god and is
known for his strength, loyalty, and devotion. He is often worshiped for
protection and strength.
are just a few of the major gods in Hinduism. There are many other deities,
including minor gods, goddesses, and regional deities, that are also worshiped
by Hindus. Hinduism recognizes a vast pantheon of gods and goddesses, and it is
difficult to give an exact number as the Hindu tradition has a diverse range of
deities with many local and regional variations. The number of gods and
goddesses in Hinduism is estimated to be in the millions, including minor gods
and goddesses. It's important to note that Hinduism's view of the divine is not
limited to a particular number of gods and goddesses. Many Hindus see the
divine as one, manifesting in many forms, with each deity representing a
different aspect of the ultimate reality.
Key TakeawaysIdol worship is a common practice in Hinduism, with devotees worshipping deities in the form of statues, images, and other representations.The purpose of idol worship is not to worship the physical object itself but to use it as a means to connect with the divine energy it represents.Each deity in Hinduism has a unique form, symbolism, and mythology associated with it, with devotees choosing to worship the deity that resonates with their beliefs and aspirations.The rituals and traditions of idol worship serve to reinforce the values of devotion, gratitude, and humility in the lives of devotees.The use of colors, flowers, and other offerings in idol worship symbolizes the beauty and abundance of nature and the importance of honoring and respecting it.The practice of idol worship is rooted in the belief that divine energy is present in all things and can be accessed through various means, including meditation, prayer, and rituals.Gods are believed to have the power to bestow blessings and fulfill prayers.Worshiping gods is a means of expressing gratitude and seeking forgiveness.
Idol worship is a common practice in Hinduism, with devotees worshipping deities in the form of statues, images, and other representations.
The purpose of idol worship is not to worship the physical object itself but to use it as a means to connect with the divine energy it represents.
Each deity in Hinduism has a unique form, symbolism, and mythology associated with it, with devotees choosing to worship the deity that resonates with their beliefs and aspirations.
The rituals and traditions of idol worship serve to reinforce the values of devotion, gratitude, and humility in the lives of devotees.
The use of colors, flowers, and other offerings in idol worship symbolizes the beauty and abundance of nature and the importance of honoring and respecting it.
The practice of idol worship is rooted in the belief that divine energy is present in all things and can be accessed through various means, including meditation, prayer, and rituals.
Gods are believed to have the power to bestow blessings and fulfill prayers.
Worshiping gods is a means of expressing gratitude and seeking forgiveness.
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