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Durable Link to this BlogSaturday, April 26, 2008

Some Hindu Religious Symbols

Hindu Religion:

Some Hindu Religious Symbols

Siva is worshipped in an image or in the form of a linga, which, whatever be its original significance, does not call up in the minds of the worshippers of Siva any phallic association at all. To them, the linga is just a non-anthropomorphic, aniconic form of symbol of the supreme Spirit, which, though manifest in forms, transcends them all. The Tantric devotee takes the linga as a symbol of the divine male-female creative power. Salagrama-sila(stone) is another non-anthropomorphic symbol associated with Visnu, who is often worshipped in the four-handed image, holding conch, wheel mace and lotus, or in His divine Incarnations as Rama, Krisna, etc. The followers of Tantra, and even other, sometimes worship the Deity in the yantraor geometrical diagrams representing the mystical body of the divine Being. Sometimes a pata or two-dimensional painting or picture (the ‘icon’ of the Greek church) serves as the symbol, instead of the three-dimensional image in which the Deity is invoked. In many types of mystical worship, a ghata(pot) full of water is used, either solely or in addition to other forms, to represent the formless, all-pervading Spirit. Agnior fire may also take the place of other forms. The lighted fire is regarded as the body of God and is worshipped by offering oblations into it.

In refined types of worship, a mantra like Om or some divine Name serves as the symbol. A mantra literally means ‘a sound symbol which, when repeated and reflected on, frees the soul from bondage.’ (" Mananat Trayate iti Mantrah")

The holy Names are the sound manifestations of the divine power which is awakened through japa or the repetition of the word, and the meditation on its meaning. Says Sri Chaitanya: ‘Various are Thy names, O Lord, and in each Thou hast infused Thy full power.’ The many names of the Deity represent His various aspects which can be realized through japa. The practice of using a multiplicity of names for the same God comes down from the Vedic times.

When we study the life of a Christ, Caitanya or a Ramakrishna we find that to all of them God was the highest Reality. The Divine was the central object in their lives and everything else was subordinate to it. You many take up any symbol and any kind of relationship with God-you may look upon Him as your father, mother, child, friend or lover-but always make Him your nearest and dearest. The intensity of love as expressed in the following well-known stanza is most important.

O Supreme Lord, Thou art my father and mother; Thou art my relative and friend; Thou art my knowledge and wealth; Thou art my all in all.

From: Swami Yatiswarananda’s Meditation and Spiritual Life- Pp 383 to 385.

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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