Why is Durga a god

The main Indian gods

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Indian mythology is largely based on the ideas of the Hinduism. There are a multitude of gods there, whose colorful and imaginative depiction may seem a bit unusual to the western observer. Plus there are a lot of Incarnations and various forms of these godsthat can easily lead to confusion. Then there are the women of the gods, who change character and appearance depending on their mood, as well as servants, mounts and children with elephant heads.

So it's no wonder that the gods of India raise many questions. Answers to why there are so many gods and goddesses in Hinduism and what their various shapes are all about can be found in this article about them Indian mythology and its deities.

The main Indian gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Shivaand the divine principle “Brahman

The main gods of Indian mythology are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Together they form a trinity or trinity of the divine (also: Trimurti). The Trimurti symbolizes and represents the origin of all divine effects Brahman. Brahman is a formless and impersonal concept of a god, the origin of the universe and of being. Brahman is the highest concept of God in Hinduism.

The Trimurti, which is represented by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, symbolizes becoming and passing. Brahma stands for creation and is considered to be the one who created the universe. Vishnu is the divine form of conservation and Shiva - the third main god of Hinduism - embodies the principle of destruction and a new beginning.

Brahma is hardly worshiped these days because he has already done his job as god. Far more followers are dedicated to the "Vishnuism"Or the"Shaivism“That means either Vishnu or Shiva is in the center.

Vishnu, the sustainer, is known for his many incarnations. He incarnates as an avatar, that is, as a descent into this world in order to maintain the cosmic order. Among his 10 main incarnations are for example Rama, Krishna or finally Buddha.

Pictures and statues usually show Krishna with blue skin and a flute in his hands.

The various forms of the respective deities are typical of Indian mythology. The birth of Krishna, which is celebrated annually by its followers, is of particular importance in Indian culture. The best-known Vishnuit faith movement is therefore the Hare Krishna movement, which was founded in the 1970s and is also widespread in the West.

in the Shaivism the avatar idea is not very popular, but it also manifests Shiva in different ways. The most famous characters include "Nataraja", The lord of the dance or"Mahayogi“, The Lord of Yoga. In addition, Shiva has a feminine power that Shakti and from which another great trend arises: Shaktism. Yoga often plays a central role in Shaivism. If you practice yoga, you may have seen a statue of Shiva in the studio or the mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" belongs.

In Indian representations, the trident often appears as an attribute of Shiva.

The main Indian goddesses: Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati

The women of the three gods mentioned above also play an important role in Indian mythology:

Sarasvati is the goddess of wisdom, language and literature and wife of Brahma. It stands for learning and science, but also for creative things such as dance or singing. Hindu mythology depicts her as Brahma's daughter, creation and wife - she is often shown in the middle of a lake, as a symbol for the beginning of creation.

Lakshmiis the goddess of happiness and beauty and wife of Vishnu. It also represents love, fertility, health and prosperity. She is said to have a tense relationship with Sarasvati, which is often interpreted as an irreconcilable conflict between wealth and wisdom.

Parvati is the idealization of the feminine beauty and wife of Shiva. The goddess symbolizes motherliness, gentleness and caring and, together with Shiva and the elephant son Ganesha, represents the image of an ideal Hindu family.

Statues of Parvati and Shiva in Rishikesh, India

Ganesha, represented by an elephant head, is also known as the god of luck. For many Hindus, but also in the West, the elephant man is the favorite among the Indian gods. "Gana" means "good spirits" in Hindu and "Isha" means "Lord". Consequently, Ganesha is the Lord of good spirits, he gives hope and removes obstacles. He should also stand for truth and wisdom.

Ganesha has 4 arms. They represent the mind, intellect, ego and consciousness.

How many gods are there?

How many Indian gods there are is not entirely clear. A Veda passage (Veda = collection of religious texts in Hinduism) mentions 3306 in number. This number is more likely to designate the properties or powers of the gods, which can ultimately all be traced back to Brahman.

Why are there so many gods and goddesses in Hinduism?

The Hindu gods have a wide variety of forms and convey various concepts. They have different needs and abilities and in their aspects they complement and condition one another. In Hinduism it is believed that all gods carry the world soul (Brahman) within them, but represent or act out particular properties particularly strongly. Together these properties complement each other like a puzzle and come together to form a whole, the Brahman.

The most important Indian gods at a glance

In addition to those just mentioned, there are many other gods who play an important role in Indian mythology. Here is a list:

  • Brahma, the Creator
  • Vishnu the keeper
  • Rama, Avatar of Vishnu
  • Krishna, Avatar of Vishnu
  • Shiva the destroyer
  • Hanuman, the monkey king
  • Sarasvati, goddess of wisdom
  • Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity
  • Parvati, the mother goddess
  • Durga, a side of Parvati
  • Kali, goddess of death
  • Ganesha with the elephant head
  • Subramanya, son of Shiva
  • Skanda, the god of war
  • The Garuda mount
  • Indra, the king of heaven
  • Surya, the sun god

Hanuman, the monkey king

September 16, 2020