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Symbols Surrounding Lord Brahma

Hindu God Lord Brahma symboliism
Bronze Meditating Lord Brahma Statue

When one comes across statues of the Hindu God Brahma, the God of Creation, he is dripping in symbolism.   Brahma is unique in that he has four faces and four hands.  He often carries a book and prayer beads.  In all Hindu sculpture the things the gods carry; weapons, books, bowls, the amount of faces and arms the god has, how they wear their clothes, the crown or jewelry they wear each have symbolic meaning going back centuries to the origins of Hinduism.  Lord Brahma the creator is no different.  Here we will outline some basic symbols of Brahma.

Brahma’s Four Hands:  Brahmas four hands symbolize each of the four Vedas: Rk, Sama, Yajuh, and Atharva.  The Vedas are a body of ancient Sanskrit texts originating in India.

Brahma’s Four Faces:  Brahma has four faces that point in the four main directions north, south, east, and west.  In a more figurative sense they represent the more virtuous qualities of the mind, intellect, ego, and self-confidence.

Book:  Brahma often holds with one of his hands a book which symbolizes knowledge in the world.

Swan:  Brahma is often seen riding a swan, his sacred vehicle for which he travels upon.  The swan is a supposed to symbolize grace.  The kind of grace fitting of the great Creator.

Crown:  Brahma wears a crown which symbolizes his supreme authority over the world as the God of Creation.

Lotus Flower:  Brahma is often depicted with a lotus flower.  The lotus flower represents nature and the all-encompassing energy of creation.  The lotus is more commonly associated with the Hindu Goddess of wealth Lakshmi.

Gold: Brahma’s golden face and adornments represent his most active role in the creation of the universe:

Prayer Beads:  Prayer beads symbolize all the substances that go into the creating the universe.

Avatars of Hindu God Vishnu

Yoga Narasimha, avatar of hindu god vishnu
Bronze Narasimha statue, 4th avatar of Lord Vishnu

When most people think of Avatars they think of the recent Blockbuster hit by James Cameron.  But the original concept of Avatars stems from the Hindu Religion and is most widely associated with Hindu God Vishnu.  Within Hinduism, Avatars are thought to be descendants of Hindu deity’s, deliberately placed upon earth.  The reason Hindu God Vishnu, the Preserver, is most closely associated with this concept is because he is thought to have many, each with a specific aim or purpose in existence.

 

Within the Bhagavad Gita there is a passage that describes the purpose of these destined Avatars of Vishnu as bringing about dharma back to the social order of the world:

 

 

 “Whenever righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases I send myself forth.  For the protection of the good and for the destruction of evil, and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being age after age.”

 

Another reason for the close association with Vishnu and his Avatars is because his descendants are thought to be integral to his teachings.  Other deities do not have such close ties to their descendants.

Although there are thought to be countless descendants of Vishnu in some respects, there are 10 main avatars that are often referred to as Dasavatara.  Krishna and Rama are the most widely known of Vishnu’s 10 avatars.

The other 8 are as follows:

1)      Matsya- fish avatar

2)      Kurma- tortoise avatar

3)      Varaha- boar avatar

4)      Narasimha- half man-half lion avatar

5)      Vamana -dwarf avatar

6)      Parashurama- sage avatar

7)      Gautama Buddha

8)      Kaliki- who has yet to come

Hindu God Shiva: Destroyer & Creator

Hindu God Shiva as Lord of Dance Nataraja
Shiva destroys and creates the world anew as the Lord of Dance, Nataraja!

When many first hear of the Hindu God of Destruction, Shiva, they automatically think of something evil or alarming.  They think him something to be feared.    Yet, his powers are constructive, not just destructive.   He brings about necessary and beneficial transformation.   It can be said that the world is in a constant state of flux.   Just as life is given at birth, so too must it eventually cease to exist.   In that same regard, the world is constantly evolving and partaking in birth, deaths, and rebirths.

Hindus believe that Hindu God Shiva is responsible for the destruction of the universe in order that he may then re-create it into a more perfect form.  They believe that even now he infiltrates the world in order to shed illusion and destroy the worlds many imperfections.  Not only is he the Destroyer, he can also be thought of as a god of change or formation, causing a constant cycle of destruction and creation in order to bring about necessary good.

There is no doubt that the world as we know it houses many flaws.    In order to bring about real change, Hindus look to Shiva to re-create the world in a better image.  Worshipers look to him for guidance in ridding their troubles.  They may pray upon a Shiva statue so that he may bring about renewal in the world.  Many worship Shiva as their primary God.   Join Hindu’s around the world in worshiping Hindu God Shiva for both his destructive and constructive qualities.

Bring a Shiva or other Hindu statues into your home or place of worship from Lotus Sculpture.

The Hindu God Ayyappan, Son of Shiva & Vishnu

Hindu God Ayyappan
View the Bronze 15 inch Statue of the Hindu God Ayyappan

The legend and history are intermingled in the genesis of the Hindu God Ayyappan. It is believed that Ayyappan was born as progeny of the union of the Hindu God Vishnu and the Hindu God Shiva. Vishnu appeared as Mohini, the beautiful enchantress – the alluring damsel appearing at the time of the churning of the Ocean Of Milk to entice the asuras and divide the nectar (Arnrith) among the Devas themselves. Shiva succumbed to the beauty of Mohini and Ayyappan was born out of this union. Hence his other name Harihara Putra (HARI-Shiva, HARA-Vishnu, PUTRA-Son). Ayyappan is regarded as the third son of Shiva, the other two being Ganesha and Murugan.

Ayyappan, the Celibate God of Kerala, is host to every religious trend and practice the Hindu faith ever manifested in its entire history. His temple is unique in India, in that there is no distinction of caste or religion in determining who can enter it. Non-Hindus are equally welcome.

Yama the Hindu God of Death

Yama, Hindu God of Death with Buffalo
Yama the Hindu God of Death with his vehicle, the Buffalo. Click to view statues of all the Hindu Gods.

Yama is the much-feared Hindu god of death who lives in his gloomy palace Kalichi situated somewhere in the nether regions or the Hindu Patala. He is the regent of the Southern quarter of the compass. Yama has a number of attendants to assist him in his many tasks.  In his palace he keeps a register called the “Book of Destiny” in which each person’s span of life is recorded.  This is maintained by one of the god’s attendants and the servant is predictably as gloomy of countenance as his master.  When a person’s span of life is over Yama sends some of his more robust attendants up to earth to haul the person down to his palace.  Yama is depicted as a man with dark green skin, wearing blood-red robes and with coppery eyes staring out of his grisly face.  He rides his buffalo when he is traveling and he takes his mace and noose everywhere just in case there is an emergency and someone has to be cut off in the midst of his or her life.

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