The book enlightens us about various gods, Y goddesses of India such as Ganesha, Brahama, Vishnu, Shiva,. Rama, Krishna, Narasimha, Male deities, Female Deities and Animal Deities, Their course and career has been narrated along with their physical description.
It attempts to explain the peculiar attributes of certain gods and the reasons behind it without indulging in philosophical discourses.
The Hindu population spread throughout the vast land of India has a common basis of religious faith, which furnishes a good evidence of the original unity of the Aryan inhabitants of this country during pre-historical days, Hinduisms is like a big fig-tree growing from a single stem and then sending out numerous branches destined to strike roots to the ground and themselves becoming big trees in their own right. Thus a simple pantheistic doctrine has spread out into a vast polytheistic system with innumerable gods and goddesses and voluminous mythological literature.
Popular Hinduism believes in one Universal Being-Brahm or Omkar, that adopts so many appearances-each one having distinctive character or displaying in part one or more attribute of the almighty, and this provides the basis of polytheism and the pantheon on gods Hindu religious system. Agni Indra and Surya constitute the Vedic triad of gods. There are frequent allusions in Vedas to thirty-three gods, which again is multiple of three. Although Trimurti is not names as such in the Vedic hymns, yet Veda is the basic source of this Triad of godly personification. Vedic poet-seers had the tendency to group all the forces and energies of nature under three heads and the proliferation of the number of gods into thirty-three was the assertion that each of the leading personifications was capable of eleven transformations. The trinity of Brahma Vishnu and Shiva holding the biggest sway in Hindu mythology today has its seed and also root i9n the Vedas.
In the well-known hymn of the Rig Veda elucidating the mystery of creation, we perceive the first enunciation in the world’s religious literature, the idea that the creator willed to create the universe through the agency of a female principle, This ;idea is expressed in the marriage of heaven and earth. The Sankhya Philosophy also expresses this idea where the union of Purush and Prakriti is mentioned. It gathered so great a strength that now every principal deity of Hindu mythology has a female companion, who shares the worship paid to the male god, e.g., sita and Rama , Parvati and Shiva, Radha and Krishna, Lakshmi and Vishnu.
As mention earlier today Hindu religion is a huge structure which has spread over to an immense surface by continuous additions and accretions. All creeds and cults have found in it a refuge and home. It has even accepted Budha as an incarnation of Vshnu. Universal tolerance and receptivity is the hallmark of Hinduism. The preference of one group to the worship of god Shiva may be termed Shaivism, while the tilt, in favour of god Vishnu may be called Vaishnavism but these are never considered as opposite or incompatible creeds. Both accept and acquiesce to a certain extent, each other’ views while laying an exaggerated veneration to one distinct deity like Rama Krishna, Shiva, Ganesha. Other gods are put together a devotee’s pay equal homage to all.
Incarnation of God on earth is an important facet of Hindu faith. The View holds that God descends from His abode to earth in order to eradicate evil and sins, whenever they start prevailing upon virtue they start prevailing upon virtue and good deeds. Vishnu is the only member of the Trimurti who is able to take human form in flesh and blood for the salvation of the world in times of peril and calamity. Certainly there are references of various gods adopting human or animal form in Puranas, but the term Avataras (reincarnation) in its proper connotation is considered to be the descent of Lord Vishnu on earth. For example, there is form of Shiva called Virabhadra (according to few he is Shiva’s son) he is depicted as fierce with a thousand heads, eyes and feet. There are also eight Bhairavas who are all various forms of Shiva. Still they are not called Avatara.
The doctrine of Bhakti (personal devotion and surrender), which though existent in small measure earlier, found a more enhanced role in epic age. Vaishnavas enjoin their followers complete devotion to Rama or Krishna, Shaivites ask for full surrender to Shiva while Shaktas call for the same attitude towards Durga and Ganpatyas claim to same supreme status for Ganesha.
The practice of idol worship, paying homage to gods, goddesses and minor deities is today an inseparable part of Hindu religious system.
There is not even one country in the world which can claim to have so many temples and shrines dedicated to gods and goddesses under different forms, images, symbols and names. The temples of the first category found in the greatest number are those of the principal gods, namely Shiva and Parvati, seen in almost all temples. In the South, the shrines of the other son of shiva, named Karttikeya are commonly found, Secondly the shrines dedicated to monkey-god Hanuman and to the terrible form of the Parvati, namely Durga are found all over India. In some cities like Varanasi besides the important shrines, a few temples of Navgrahas (the nine planets), symbolized as nine gods, are also found. They are generally being conciliated before marriage ceremony and few other auspicious family functions.
Though carved images of some gods like Indra, Varuna, Kuvera, Kama, Parsuram, Yama and Varaha are scattered in the land here and there, shrines dedicated exclusively to them are seldom found. Same is the case with animal gods like Garuda, Sheshanaga and the cow Annapurna.
Idols in temples of towns and cities are not the only images worshipped by Hindus. In the smallest of villages and the most neglected localities, at the top of hills, on raised plateaus and below stately trees one can see, if not an unfinished or dilapidated temple, but at least rough idols or simple blocks of some local god or deity consecrated by putting sindoor ( red paint ) over it.
Out of hundred of Hindu gods and goddesses a few have been
included here. Their Course and career has been narrated along
with their physical description. This book attempts to explain
the peculiar attributes of certain gods and the reasons behind
it without indulging in philosophical discourses. The treatment
is neither exhaustive nor scholarly. It is meant satisfy a layman’s
curiosity concerning chief deities, whom one comes across most
frequently while visiting places in this ancient land, known
as Bharatavasha, Aryavarta, Jambudvipa, Hindustan or India.
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