(Last Updated on : 02/07/2011)
Hindus throughout history have formulated many different names and forms for the Divine or Eternal. Among the various Hindu Gods, Lord Brahma
brings forth the creation and represents the creative principle of the Supreme Being. Lord Vishnu is the representative of the universe and the eternal principle of preservation. Lord Shiva
represents the principle of dissolution and recreation. The Hindu Trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the main worshipped Gods in Hinduism.
Hindus have assigned many names to the Hindu Gods since time immemorial. The practice of giving many names indicates an intimate knowledge of the religion itself. The different deities of Hinduism reflect such an intimate realization of the Divine.
Furthermore, the people of India also worship the god of water and ocean called Lord Varuna. He is the source of water, which sustains life, the water in the rivers, sea and oceans, and even the rains that fall, and at times causes floods. Lord Varuna rides on Makara
, his mount, or a type of holy sea-creature.
The origin of Lord Kartikeya, the symbol of masculine might, has link with the desperation of Gods for the birth of the much-awaited son of Shiva, who could obliterate the ghastly demon, Taraka.
He is the God of Creation, an important parivara or family deity among the Hindus. He is seen with four heads representing four Vedas, which is also called the four `Yugas`. Seated on a lotus, Lord Brahma`s `vahana` is the swan. It is believed that he was born from the naval of Lord Vishnu at the end of one cycle to start a fresh cycle. Myth has it that Lord Shiva
cursed him that he would not be worshipped and it is evident from the fact that there are no temples to worship him.
He is the God of maintenance, protection and sustenance among the Gods of India. He was instrumental in introducing the souls into the cycle of life by Brahma sustaining them. He has ten avatars or incarnations which are Matsya avatar, Kurma avatar
, Varaha avatar
, Narashima avatar or Lion, Vamana avatar
or the Dwarf incarnation, Parashurama avatar. Lord Vishnu`s seventh incarnation is Lord Rama
who is highly worshipped among the Gods of India. The eighth incarnation is Lord Krishna
who is an important god in Hindu religion and the next is the Buddha avatar
. The Kalki avatar
is the final and the tenth incarnation of Vishnu. The last incarnation is still to come with the end of the Kali Yuga
or the present age of decline.
Lord Shiva is the God of destruction and is highly revered among the Gods of India. He is greatly worshipped in the form of `linga` or phallus that is built on a pedestal. Enormous energy of the creator is denoted by the `linga` which absorbs the creator Brahma, Vishnu and Gayatri Devi in its heart.
Lord Ganesha is one of the prime Gods of India who is worshipped at the commencement of any important action or venture, related with business or art. Known as Vigneshwara, he is known to remove all hindrances in the way. He is seen in the form of an elephant head in a human body, with four arms, a huge belly and a snake adorning it.
This God is the name given to describe a deity form of Krishna. He is considered merciful and the oldest and renowned Jagannath deity at Puri
. The famous Rath Yatra or car festival is organized every year to mark Krishna`s home coming in Mathura
. This acquires a huge dimension in Orissa where the wooden cart is pulled by thousands of pilgrims.
He is also known as Anjaneya and is among the most important Gods and Goddesses in the Indian epic Ramayana
. He assisted Rama in recovering Sita from the captivity of Ravana
and was blessed with enormous energy and power by the Gods.
Another most important God of India is Indra who is known as the king of the Gods and the ruler of the heavens. He is a great warrior and he is also regarded as the God of rain and thunder.
Some of the major Goddesses of India
includes Goddess Parvati, Goddess Kali
, Goddess Durga
Goddess Parvati is the most widely worshipped Goddess in India who is the manifestation of Shakti
and is the Female Creative Energy of the Universe. Shakti is also related to Prakriti, the `material-nature` of Ishwara, which unites with Brahma, to give birth to everything around. Shiva, the Purusha or Male Productive Principle of the Universe, is believed to be in conjunction with the Prakriti, expressed in Parvati, which sustains the flow of life.
She is one of the shades of Parvati, and an expression of Shakti or Prakriti. Goddess Durga Universes Kind Mother and she is also Destroyer of Evil. This Goddess holds the Trishul, sometimes the sword, in her different images. One of the hands of this Goddess is displayed in Varadaa-Mudra or in a stance of giving boon to her true devotees. In the state of West Bengal
, she is projected as an idol with ten arms. Each of the arms is carrying the weapons and articles, furnished to her by the other gods, for squelching the demon, Mahishasura
Goddess Saraswati is the conferrer of wisdom and knowledge. The stringed musical instrument, called Veena
, and the book, which she holds in her hands, attests her as the celestial Mistress of all kinds of learning, be it the creative arts (music) and scientific research, talent and skills.
In India several natural objects are also worshipped and some of the natural objects are considered as the forms of Indian Gods and Goddesses. Lord Agni or Fire-god is a Hindu and Vedic Deva. This God is beneficent as well as destructive.
Lord of Wind
Pavan or Vayu, the god of wind or air, in Hinduism is mainly a deity which is worshipped. Similar to Agni, the God forms a part of the five tatvas or elements which are known as the Panchamahabhutas. In Sanskrit language
, the word Vayu is related to the Latin word `Vita`, which means life.