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HINDU DEITIES


Form of God or Goddess

Characteristics
Creator
Sustainer
Destroyer
Knowledge
Prosperity
Shakti / Family
Form of Vishnu
Vishnu - Protection
Ideal King, Man
Love, Destruction of Evil
Perfection
Knowledge, Remove Obstacles
Devotion, Courage
Purity,  Pusterity
Vedas

 

The Hindu trinity is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They are respectively the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. They are also aligned as the transcendent Godhead, Shiva, the cosmic lord, Vishnu and the cosmic mind, Brahma. In this regard they are called Sat-Tat-Aum, the Being, the Thatness or immanence and the Word or holy spirit. This is much like the Christian trinity of God as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Also the ICM Library Hindu Trinity. The trinity represents the Divine in its threefold nature and function. Each aspect of the trinity contains and includes the others.

Each God in the trinity has his consort. To Brahma is Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge. For Vishnu is Lakshmi, the Goddess of love, beauty and delight. For Shiva is Kali (Parvati) , the Goddess of power, destruction and transformation. These are the three main forms of the Goddess, as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three main forms of the God. The three Goddesses are often worshipped in their own right as well as along with their spouses.

 


A Little More Concerning Hindu Deities.

GOD

"If God is our father, why cannot God be our Mother! If we are the children of our heavenly Father, why cannot we be the children of our heavenly Mother!" This rhetorical question is the basis of why Hindus recognize and accept both male and female aspects of Nature and worship the Supreme Reality in the form of Mother, Father, Friend, Master, Guru, and Savior. Thus Lord Krishna declares in the Bhagawad Gita:

"I am the Father of this Universe. I am the Mother of this universe, and the Creator- of all. I am the Highest to be known, the Purifier, the holy OM, and the three Vedas." (BG 9.17)

The worship of God in the form of Mother- is a unique Feature of Hinduism. Through the ages, the doctrine of the Motherhood of God has established a firm root in Hinduism. Today Hindus worship the Divine Mother in many popular forms such as Durga, Kali, Lakshrni, Saraswati, Ambika, and Uma.

By worshipping God as the Divine Mother, a Hindu can more easily attribute Mothe rly traits to the Lord, such as tenderness and forgivingness. The natural love between a Mother and her child is the best expression of the Lord's unconditio nal love for- us as children of God. In the most representative Hindu view, the universe is the manifestation of the creative power (shakti) of Brahman, whose essence is absolute existence, consciousness, and bliss (or in Sanskrit, sat-chit-ananda). Since all created forms proceed from the womb of the mother, the cr eative power shakti) of God is recognized by Hindus as the female principle or t he motherly aspect of nature. In this sense we are all children of the Divine Mo ther. We are contained by Her before our - manifestation and nourished by Her th roughout our existence.

To a Hindu, the motherly aspect of God in nature is full of beauty, gentleness, kindness, and tenderness. When we look upon all the glorious and beautiful things ill nature and experience a feeling of tenderness within us, we feel the motherly instinct of God. The worship of God in the form of Mother is a unique contribution of the Hindu child. When a devotee worships God as Divine Mother, he or- she appeals to Her tenderness and unconditional love. Such love unites the de votee with God, like a child with its mother. Just as a child feels safe and secure in the lap of its mother, a devotee feels safe and secure in the presence of the Divine Mother. Pararnaharnsa Sri Ramakrishna, one of the greatest Indian s ages of modern times, worshipped the Divine Mother Kali during his entire life. He established a personal relationship with Her and was always conscious of Her presence by his side.

In Hinduism, Divine Mother is the first manifestation of Divine Energy. Thus with the name of Divine Mother comes the idea of energy, omnipotence, omnipresence, love, intelligence, and wisdom. Just as a child believes its mother to be all-powerful, and capable of doing anything for the child, a devotee believes the Divine Mother to be all merciful, all-powerful and eternally guiding and protecting him with her invisible arms.

The worship of God as Mother- has had a significant impact on Hinduism. The position of women in the Hindu religion is dignified because each woman is considered a manifestation of the Divine Mother. Hindus view man and woman as the two wings of the same bird. Thus, a man is considered incomplete without a woman, since "it is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing" - Swami Vivekananda. Through the worship of God in the form of Mother, Hinduism offers a unique rev erence to womanhood.

 

SAGUNA BRAHMAN

The personal aspect of the Ultimate Reality is known as Saguna Brahman, that is Brahman with attributes. Saguna Brahman is the creator, sustainer and controller of the universe. Saguna Brahman cannot be limited by one form and is therefore worshipped by Hindus in both male and female forms. As the male aspect, Saguna Brahman is called by various Sanskrit names, such as Ishvara, Parameshvara, Paramãtma, Maheshvara, and Purusha. These Sanskrit names represent more or less the same concept as the word God in other religions.

As the female aspect, Hindus refer to Saguna Brahman by various names, such as Divine Mother, Durgã and Kãlî. Hindus further worship the male and female aspects of Saguna Brahman in many forms, called deities.

 

NIRGUNA BRAHMAN

Hindu view of the Ultimate Reality is expressed in the following revelation of the Rig Veda, the oldest Hindu scripture:

"Ekam sat vipraha, bahudha vadanti."

"Truth is one, the wise call It by various names."

This doctrine recognizes that the Ultimate Reality possesses infinite potential, power and intelligence, and therefore cannot be limited by a single name or form. Thus, Hindus view the Ultimate Reality as having two aspects: impersonal and personal (see Figure 1). The impersonal aspect of the Ultimate Reality is called Nirguna Brahman in Hindu scriptures. Nirguna Brahman has no attributes and, as such, is not an object of prayer, but of meditation and knowledge. This aspect of the Ultimate Reality is beyond conception, beyond reasoning and beyond thought.

Integral Yoga; "Truth is One, Paths are Many."


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