Hindu Gods & Goddesses
 
 
Introduction
   


A human being cannot conceptualize anything without some sort of a mental image. A Hindu tries to attribute all good qualities to the image of God and worships them . While worshipping he wants to concentrate his mind ,therefore he created images of God . Thus the concept of image worship came into existence. In Hindu religion we come across many images of Gods and Goddesses which are worshipped by different people on various occasions.

The ancient rishis discovered that there are many ways of conceiving the Supreme reality and numerous means of approaching it. According to the Hindu view , the Supreme reality can be viewed from two aspects: Transcendent (impersonal) and Immanent(personal).In its transcendent aspect , the Supreme Reality is called Nirgun Brahman that is Brahman without attributes.

It is not an object of prayer but of meditation and knowledge.It is unborn , self existent,all pervading,the ground and the essence of all things and beings in the universe.In its immanent aspect, the Supreme Reality is called Saguna Brahman, that is Brahman with attributes.

Saguna Brahman is the personal God , the creator ,the preserver, the controller of the universe.In Hinduism the immanent aspect of Brahman is worshipped in both male and female forms.In the male form he is called by various Sanskrit names,such as Ishvara, Praneshwara,Maheshvara and Pitrusha .

In the female form ,God is called as Divine Mother,Durga,and Kali.Here we can say that the concept of God in Hinduism is the same as the concept of God in Christianity. The only notable difference is that God in Hinduism is not the creator of the individual soul. The atman is divine and eternal.In Christianity, the God is the creator of the individual soul.

Hindu Deities: Hindus believe in the existence of one and only one Supreme being but they worship Him in various forms known as deities or Gods.The Hindu worship of many deities is not polytheism, but monotheistic polytheism.The monotheistic Hindu pantheon is an affirmation that the

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Supreme Being can be known in many ways and worshipped in many forms.

The tradition of worshipping many gods or deities is based upon the following logic: Hinduism recognizes the diversity of the human mind and the potential for a different level of spiritual development in each individual.Hinduism does not therefore, thrust everyone into the pigeonhole of a single creed.

The Mahabharata declares "Just as the rain water that falls from the sky eventually reaches the ocean, so also all the worship offered to Him ,by whatever name you wish , or in whatever form you like ,ultimately goes to the one , ultimate infinite, Supreme Reality."

The thought behind this is as follows: God is the creator of the innumerable forms in this universe , so He should be able to assume any form to please his devotees .In addition to this ,the Supreme Being cannot be said to have only one name because that would imply putting limitations on His infinite power.

Therefore, the Hindus worship various names and forms of the Supreme God All names are equal because they are various manifestations of one Supreme Being .It is like the same person wearing different outfits suitable to various roles he performs everyday.

When a person chooses to worship one form of the Supreme Being the chosen deity is called Ishta devata or Ishta devi. It becomes the object of the devotees love, admiration and spiritual longings. The concept of 330 million deities is believed to emphasise the thought that as per the fundamental doctrine of the Hinduism,God lives in the hearts of all beings.

What is worship?Some of the forces are beyond the knowledge of man and he is unable to conceive or reach them.So he must have started adoring them with humility which became worship later.It implies the act of veneration which is applied to the whole range of religious behaviour .

Indeed the sense of adoration and worship springs from the feeling of dependence upon other powers, from the awe caused in man's mind by the perception of supernatural agents,which influence his or others welfare.Thus worship is a devotion that is called bhakti.

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