God and gods of Hinduism
Who is God... Brahman:
The God of Hinduism and Christianity are different:
- For Christianity God is the Creator, but he is not his creation. For example, he is not an animal or a star, and an animal o a star are not God, though they are manifestations of God, creations of the only One God.
- Hinduism provides a radically different idea. Brahman (the "creator" god) IS his creation. The cosmos is not so much a creation, but more an emanation from him.
- For Hinduism, God is both, immanent and transcendent:
1- Immanent, remaining or operating within a domain of reality, because each person is an emanation of God, is God.
2- Transcendent, being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge, being beyond comprehension, Brahman is entirely impersonal, and entirely impossible to describe, is perfect and beyond complete human understanding.
Varying emphasis on either quality is made by the different philosophies/traditions within Hinduism.
- For Christianity, God is Immanent but not-transcendent:
1- Immanent, because the essence of Christianity is not "to know" about Christ but "to be" another Christ, with Christ in the Christian and the Christian in Christ, in his Mystical Body, in his church... and Christ is God, the Absolute, the real Brahman who became a real human person, not just a hero of an imaginary novel.
2- God is not transcendent, beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge, on the contrary, He is personal, and well known through His own revelations of Himself in the Bible, and most specially through Jesus the Christ, he who sees Jesus sees God Himself, the Absolute, Brahman Himself. (John 14:9).
For Hinduism, all the humans, animals, and gods, and even objects is one divine being. The soul of each person is thus Brahman, the entirety of creation... and every animal or stone or star or planet is God... This is a difficult concept to comprehend, for how can the "small" soul of each person or even a stone can be identical with the "large" God of the cosmos? But it is the comprehension of this very idea that becomes a central goal in the of human life and in the resolution of the human problem for Hinduism....
Please, look at Animism and all primitive religions.
This idea, you and God are one, is the one followed by the Mormons and the New Age with its many sects and cults
The multiplicity that hides the cosmos' unity is called Maya; that is the reality humans perceive with their senses everyday. The overcoming of Maya to perceive true reality (Brahman) thus constitutes an important task in Hinduism... you and God are one...
However, though Brahman IS the creation, Brahman is more than the sum of everything in the universe, says Hinduism.
God and gods of Hinduism: Brahman:
For Hinduism there may be millions of gods!... however, these gods are not God, they can not make stars, nor roses, nor human hearts... they should not be adored.
"Brahman" is called the Absolute, the only one real God.
Though believed by many Hinduism to be a polytheistic religion, the basis of Hinduism is the belief in the unity of everything. This totality is called Brahman, the Absolute, the Supreme Being, the Ultimate Reality, the Divine... also called "Bhagvan", or "Ishvara"... the purpose of life is to realize that we are part of God and by doing so we can leave this plane of existence and rejoin with God.
Everything in the universe is part of Brahman, (including each one of us), but Brahman is more than the sum of everything in the universe.
Hindus believe that each soul is an individual, and yet is also a part of the Divine; is part of "God".
Brahman is not a personal being in the sense that Christians think of God as a personal being. For most Hindus this God is not a person but a force, an energy, a principle... Brahman is entirely impersonal, and entirely impossible to know or to describe. Brahman is a supreme, perfect spirit or force that permeates everything.
Different aspects of Brahman:
There is only one ultimate reality, Brahman. But that ultimate reality shows itself in many forms or functions, and some of those formsor functions are called gods, they are not separate gods but they are valid to worship, according to Hinduism.
The gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, for example, are different epic aspects of Brahman:
For Hindu pantheism, the world is part of God; for Western religions, the world is a creature of God; for Paganism, God is part of the world.
The gods of Hinduism:
The different gods and goddesses of Hinduism represent various functions or aspects or attributes of this One Supreme Divinity, they are not separate gods but they are valid to worship, according to Hinduism.
For example, the goddesses are really the female aspects of God, because the Divine contains both masculine and feminine attributes... some gods are represented with several heads or 8 arms to represent the omni-potency and omni-presence of God... all in all, it is often stated that some Hindu teachers claim 330 million gods and goddesses!
The gods of Hinduism do not exist as a person and they never existed, they are the result of divinization of novels or epics heroes, like the Greek or Roman gods... it is like making a god out of Hamlet or Sherlock Holmes who never existed, only in the mind of the writer... and this is recognized by most Hindu scholars:
1- So are the 33 gods of the Vedas pantheon mythology, including the Cosmic Trinity of Agni (god of fire), Vayu, (god of air), and Surya (god of energy or life).
2- So are the gods of the Puranas, including the Hindu Trinity, of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the savior and protector who incarnates 10 times), and Shiva (the destroyer of evil, and the creator of new life)... they never existed as persons and do not exist now, nor their wives and lovers also adored as gods, but who also never existed, only in the mind of the writers.
3- So are the Post-Vedas gods from the novels or epics Ramayana and Mahabharata: Rama is a hero of the Ramayana who never existed, only in the mind of the writer. Khrishna is the hero of the 18th chapter of the Mahabharata who never existed as a person, and does not exist now as a person... and so are the animal or planet deities... of course, a monkey or an elephant are not God!
For Jews, Christians and Muslims to adore other than God is an idolatry... they are "idols", or "devils" says Psalm 96:5... do not adore idols... do not trust your life to devils, it is a prostitution against the real God, against the one who made the sun, and the atoms, and our hands and hearts, says the Bible (Leviticus 20).
1- The 33 "gods of the Vedas", the Devatas:
They are not very popular. Although the Vedas comprise the most sacred literature of Hinduism, the divine pantheon in them is essentially ignored in daily life. Only one god important is Agni, who is both the god of fire, and the sacred fire itself. He continues to be worshipped in the daily rituals of each Hindu home. Every morning, an offering of clarified butter (ghee) and some grain cakes is shared communion-style between Agni (i.e., the fire) and the members of the household
Prajapati is the father of the gods and of the devils (asuras). Indra, the warrior god, with his band of Maruts, defeats the demons of darkness each morning so that the sun could rise. There is also the sky god Dyaus and a few goddesses, such as Aditi and Ushas.
2- The post-Vedas gods:
The theology of the Puranas mainly centers round the Trinity,--Brahma, Vishnu and Siva,--as also the incarnations of Vishnu and the Saktis of the Trinity,--Lakshmi, Sarasvati and Durga,--and the two sons of Siva.
They are very popular, mostly the "Trimurti", Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, with some similarities to the Christian "Holy Trinity":
1- Lord Brahma: The creator god, with some similarities to God the Father of the Christians,... There are very few shines dedicated to him, in fact only one temple in all India. God the Father has also few temples dedicated to Him in Christianity. .
Lord Brahma, the creator God of the Trimurti (Trinity). Painted as 4 males or 4 females, as shown in the picture, with 4 heads and 4 arms, symbols of his omni-presence and omni-potency, Each hand is holding a sacrificial tool (sruva), the Vedas (knowledge), a water pot (kamandalu) and a rosary respectively and appears seated on a lotus (a symbol of glorious existence).
His vehicle is a swan (hans) which is known for its judgment between good and bad.
Lord Brahma's consort is Goddess Saraswati, she is the Goddess of Learning.
2- Lord Vishnu, is the savior and protector of mankind, with some similarities to God the Son for the Christians, he incarnates, like Jesus, but 10 times!, the last one, as Kalki, is still to come.... Vishnu is very popular, and shown as one of his 9 incarnations ("avatars"), as fish, tortoise, a boar... the last 4 incarnations were Rama, Balaram, Buddha and Krishna - (Incarnations) Avatars of Vishhnu
The 2 wives of Vishnu are Lakshmi, goddess of fortune, and Prithvi, the Earth Goddess, both very popular.
Lord Krishna - Krishna-2 : The last Avatar (Incarnation) of Vishnu. He is the central hero of the 18th chapter of the epic novel Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita
There are three main stages in Krishna's worldly life.
1- Krishna is born in a prison in the epic, where his royal parents are being held by a rival king. His father works out a scheme to enable the baby Krishna to escape to a nearby village and replace him with another child. Krishna grows up as a mischievous boy within this village of cowherds, playing tricks on his family and friends.
2- As a youth in the epic, Krishna woos all the gopis (female cowherds) in the village with his good looks, charms, and attentions. Although Radha is his favorite, he dallies with the other gopis as well.
3- As an adult in the epic, Krishna regains his kingdom in northern India by killing King Kamsa, an act seen as the restoration of dharma. In the story of the Mahabharata., he then helps Arjuna (by serving as his chariot driver), and his brothers (the Pandava brothers) in a war to regain their rightful kingdom. On the night before a major battle, Krishna and Arjuna have a long discussion about the nature of dharma and the cosmos, which is preserved within the Mahabharata as the Bhagavad Gita. At the end of the discussion, Krishna reveals himself to Arjuna as Vishnu. The exploits of Krishna are told and rehearsed in the Vishnu temples and in the annual festival of the Ras Lila. -
Lord Rama: The other major avatar of Vishnu is Rama, the central figure of another novel, the epic Ramayana. Lord Rama is one of the most commonly adored gods of Hindus.
In keeping with the actions in the story, Rama (i.e., Vishnu) bears the attributes of trust, faithfulness, and strength. Along with Sita, his faithful wife, Vishnu as Rama continues to be worshipped in temples and in the annual festival of the Ram Lila.
Lord Hanuman, the monkey-god, is the guardian spirit of the villages, the one who saved Sita, the wife of Rama in the Ramayana epic.
3- Lord Shiva, with some similarities to the Christian Holy Spirit , is the destroyer of evil, and the creator of new life, and sustainer of life, the cosmic lord.\
The main symbol of Shiva is the Lingam and Yoni because of his re-creating fertility... It is one of the most common objects of worship, weather in the temple or in the household cult: The erect male organ, the lingam, rising from the female counterpart, the Yoni, as the base. The god Shiva is often shown with a big lingam. Lingam and Yoni images by Google - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingam
This symbol is placed as the central image in a Shaivite temple and often made from a valuable material, such as silver. It is usually two to three feet tall, and constitutes a focus of worship for his followers,
Shiva`with his`wife, Parvatie and his son Ganesha, the elephant-god.
Shiva's wives are the symbols of feminine powers of God, called Shakti. Although there are numerous female figures associated with Shiva, five stand out: Parvati, Umma, Durga, Kali, and Shakti:
- Parvati, the wife of Shiva, is the goddess of love and romance. She is young, beautiful and full of life. As such, she represents union with Shiva, a representation that has distinct sexual overtones. Indeed, they are often depicted in the act of act of intercourse, the combination of their male and female (sakti) energies sustaining the universe. Parvati is also the mother of Janet. Although Shiva initially tried to kill Ganesha, he ultimately adopted him and the three of them are a favorite family.
- Umma is the wife who represents motherhood. She is seen as kind, caring, nurturing, and displaying other features of motherhood.
- Durga represents the attribute of justice. She rides a tiger and carries the weapons of battle. In this character, she is unafraid to kill to reestablish justice. Durga-Parvati
- Kali is wild, terrible, and unpredictable, and is usually associated with death. She is usually depicted naked, wearing a necklace of human heads and a skirt of human arms. Blood drips from her sword. Death is thus connected with her activities. In fact, she is sometimes depicted dancing upon the prone form of Shiva, symbolizing the strength of wild and unpredictable power. The city of Calcutta (=Kali Ghat) is named after her. (For a picture of Kali, go here or here.)
- Shakti, the Grand-mother, is very popular, the goddess of the Tantric sect that worships erotic sexuality.
- Two sons of Shiva:.
- The first, Lord Ganesha has the head of an elephant and is the god of overcoming obstacles, which links him to good luck and prosperity, and the one who recorded the Mahabharata epic.
- The second, Lord Skanda, becomes the divine warrior and thus the god of war.
4- Other gods:
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 as mentioned above... The three Goddesses are often worshipped in their own right as well as along with their spouses.
Hindus see divinity in all living creatures. Animal deities therefore, occupy an important place in Hindu dharma. Animals, for example, are very common as form of transport for various gods and goddesses.
Animals also appear as independent divine creatures... already mentioned are Lord Ganesha, the elephant son of Shiva, and Hanuman, the monkey-god, saved Sita, the wife of Rama, in tne Ramayana epic... a fish, a tortoise, a cow, a boar...
Of course, all of these gods are not God, no one can make a star or an atom. and nobody sould adre or trust an imaginary "god".
Planet gods, the Navagraha:
There are nine deities also referred to as Nava (Nine) Grahas (Planets). These grahas are supposed to have a significant impact on the lives of an individual. The Hindu science of study of these planets is called the Vedic Astrology.
Classical Vedic astrology uses the seven visible planets; the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, along with the two lunar nodes, the north and south nodes, Rahu and Ketu.
Personification of nature, like river and ocean gods, love and wealth gods, hosts of celestial beings...
Lord Kartikeya or Subramania