The word Hinduism
was introduced in the 19th century
to define the aggregate beliefs of
the Arya, immigrants who left Central
Asia in 1500 BC, and animist religions
of native populations in India.
Cosmic law rules the good order of
the world, be aware and respect cosmic
law. Lead the life of a good Hindu,
observe rules, perform all rites,
accept the caste of birth. Caste system
supplies code of conduct and rites
done. Encompasses all parts of life;
rites but also who to take drink from,
associate with, marry, etc.
Hinduism. Dharma religious law
and moral code by which people can
earn enlightenment. Karma is
the life balance of action and reaction;
individuals responsible for decisions
and consequences. Leading good Hindu
life will bring rebirth into a
better life. Samsara is cycle of reincarnations
determined by karma. Moksha is liberation
from samsara; individual unites with
universal timelessness, ultimate serenity,
nirvana. Path to moksha is good Hindu
Each deity has
different names, as well as different
symbols, attributes, tasks and powers
according to what god it represents.
Each deity has a vehicle, an animal
usually which serves master. Primary
Hindu gods are Brahma, Vishnu and
the creator of the universe. Attributes
are the rosary, the receptacle of
holy water, the ladle and the book.
Mount is a goose or swan. Brahma usually
represented with four heads, allows
him to watch over world. Very few
statues of Brahma since creation is
is Brahma's consort and is goddess
of knowledge, learning and music.
She is often portrayed with four arms,
plying the veena (seven stringed musical
instrument) with two hands as well
as holding a rosary and a book. Sits
on a lotus riding a peacock or a swan.
Often a crescent moon on forehead.
Worshipped by Buddhists as a form
of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva
the preserver of life and the world.
Attributes are the conchshell, the
disc, the lotus and the mace. Mount
is Garuda, a mythical half-man
and half-bird. He often appears in
some of the following forms:
which means "he who guides development
in all fields" or universal knowledge.
nineth reincarnation of Vishnu.
who rescued wife Sita who had been
taken by Ravan, demon-king of Ceylon.
personification of manhood who bewitched
'gopis' (milkmaids and shepherdesses)
with whom he frolicked. Forms of Rama
and Krishna more popular in India.
destroyer and regenerator. Attributes
are the trident, the tambourine, the
tiger skin, the club, and the lingam.
Mount is Nandi the bull.
master and protector of animals, especially
of cattle, who is the friend of life.
the form of Shiva eager to destroy
everything, including evil. Usually
a black statue, with necklace of human
the monkey god. Symbolizes faithfulness
and willingness to help. Associated
with successful military undertakings
and assisted Rama in fight against
demon-king Ravan who kept Ram's wife
Sita imprisoned for 12 years.
(Ganapati) one of the most popular
gods in Nepal. Infallible,
charitable and has power to decide
fate of any human enterprise. Universal
power. Shiva and Parvati's son. Shiva
was away, Parvati bore a son while
he was gone. Ordered son not to let
anyone in. Shiva came home, young
guardsman barred him from entering
so he chopped off the guard's head
with sword. Parvati terrorized, Shiva
promised to bring him back to life
by beheading the first living creature
he found in the forest. Saw elephant
first, so cut off its head, rushed
back and put it on Ganesh's head.
Ganesh always dressed in red,
four arms and body covered with layers
of sandalwood paste. Only one tusk,
mount is a shrew, sometimes mistaken
for rat or mouse. Consequently all
three are sacred.
Shiva's consort. In benevolent forms,
Devi, Uma, Shakti or Annapurna as
the "dispenser of abundance."
As wreaking havoc, forms of Kali,
Durga or Bhagavati.