Hinduism is made up of a combination of different religious, cultural, and philosophical practices that find their roots in different parts of India. This religion is brimming with symbolism. Some people actually believe that there is no other religion that employs the art of symbolism in such an effective manner as Hinduism.
While most of the symbols are invariably saturated with spiritual meaning, others are representative of their gods and goddesses, philosophies, teachings, and cultural traditions.
There are two main categories of the Hindu symbols:
i. Murti – These symbols are inclusive of drawings and icons
ii. Mudra – These symbols re inclusive of hand gestures and positions of the body
The Symbolism of gods and goddesses- Why Do Hindus Worship Different Deities?
Deities and rituals are a huge part of Hinduism; they have great religious significance. All the deities found in Hinduism are symbols of the Supreme Being and point to a particular aspect of the creator (Brahman).
The Hindu Trinity is usually represented by three Hindu gods: Brahman who is the creator, Vishnu who is the protector, and Shiva who is the destroyer.
Among all religions found in East Asia and across the globe, Hindus have the most freedom to worship their “idol” of choice who in turn offers their prayers to the creator. Each and every one of the Hindu gods and goddesses controls a specific force in nature that governs a person’s path of spiritual progress.
In order for a person to achieve all-rounded spiritual perfection, he/she needs to gain favor with different deities who help stir up his/her consciousness to help him develop similar attributes as the gods.
Each Hindu deity has many characteristics such as how they dress or what weapons they carry. These characteristics are represented by symbols which are used to identify the different gods and goddesses. For example, Krishna may be identified by the peacock feather worn on the head, or by the flute that he carries which symbolizes divine music.
Symbols in Hinduism
When looked at on the surface, the symbols used in Hinduism may seem absurd. However, when you get to learn their deeper meaning you will discover so much- their hidden meanings are intriguing. There are some Hindu symbols such as the conch and the lotus that are similar to Buddhism symbols.
In this list, we’ll have a look at some of the most common and sacred Hindu symbols and the meaning behind them:
1. Hindu symbol Aum ( Pronounced as Om)
In Hinduism, Om is a sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras. Hindus believe that God first created sound frequencies and the universe arose from them.
The Om sound is considered to be a symbol that represents the essence of the universe; its threefold nature represents several important triads:
• The 3 worlds- earth, atmosphere, and heaven
• The 3 main gods- Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva
• The 3 Vedic scriptures- Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda
Om is to Hindus what the cross is to Christians. This root mantra is spoken at the beginning and end of Hindu prayers and meditations. In written form, Om is used to marking the beginning of a text in an inscription or a manuscript.
The Om symbol consists of three curves, a semi-circle, and a dot. The lower curve is the largest and is a symbol of the waking state of consciousness. Its large size means that this is the most common state of the mind.
The middle curve represents the state between deep sleep and consciousness; also known as the dream state. In this state, one is able to view the world behind closed eyelids.
The upper curve symbolizes the unconscious state. In this state of deep sleep, the person does not get any dream. Overall, the three curves represent the entire physical phenomenon.
The semi-circle in the Om symbol separates the dot from the curves and is a representation of Maya. Maya is believed to prevent us from reaching the highest state of bliss as represented by the upper curve.
The dot on the symbol is used to represent the fourth state of consciousness where a person comes to rest and achieves the ultimate aim of all their spiritual activity. This fourth state is the absolute state that illuminates all the other three states.
Om is the most chanted sound in all of India. In addition to being used in sacred texts, prayers and invocations, the Om sound may also be used as a greeting. In a nutshell, Om is the god in the form of sound- a word of great power. It’s the most important mantra is both Hinduism and Buddhism as well.
2. Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra
This symbol is a complex yet beautiful geometry that has, for the longest time, been used for worship and meditation. The shape is made up of 9 triangles that radiate from a central point and interlock with each other
Of the 9 triangles, 4 are upright and symbolize the masculine side (Shiva) while the other 5 are inverted and symbolize the feminine side (Shakti).
In totality, the Sri Chakra is used as a symbol of the unity between the masculine and the feminine divinity.
The triangles interlock to form a web of 43 smaller triangles with each one of them housing a particular deity that represents a specific aspect of existence.
The Sri Chakra is quite similar to a mandala; what sets it apart is that the Sri Chakra can either be a 3-dimensional object or a 2-dimensional diagram.
When in the 3-dimensional state, the Sri Chakra is a representation of Mt. Meru which is believed to lie at the axis of the universe. This cosmic mountain is the bond of everything in the cosmos and it’s also regarded as a place of a spiritual journey. The Sri Chakra is mostly used in the Sri Kula tradition in Tantrism.
The Swastika symbol is widely used in Indian religion specifically Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The term Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit term “svastika” and has two meanings. ‘Sv’ means ‘good’ or ‘higher self, ‘Asti’ means ‘to be’ or ‘being’, and ‘ka’ is a suffix.
The word basically translates to “to be good” or “being with higher self.” This symbol is mostly used as a representation of good fortune and other times it’s also used as a sun symbol.
The figure has right-angled arms which represent the indirect way that Divinity is apprehended by intuition and not by intellect.
The arms are usually right-facing (clockwise) but sometimes may be left-facing in the mirrored form. The anticlockwise Swastika is used as a symbol of magic, night, and the goddess Kali.
The Swastika is in the shape of a cross which has four arms, pointing in all the four directions to describe the four Vedas and to signify the omnipresence eternal nature of the Absolute.
The Swastika symbol may also be used to represent peace, honesty, truth, purity of the soul, and stability. One of the uses of the symbol is to mark the opening of account books, doors, and thresholds.
4. Shiva Linga
This term comes from the combination of two words: “Shiva” and “linga” which translate to auspicious and symbol respectively.
The term is used in reference to the Supreme Being. The Shiva Linga is a symbol of Lord Shiva and represents God Himself in all His three aspects: Creator, Protector, and Destroyer.
It symbolizes the power of fertility and strength. The symbol reminds us of the Omnipotent Lord which is formless.
The symbol is an elongated column that resembles an erect penis, the emblem of the generative power in nature. It symbolizes the cosmic creation which is effected by the male and female powers of nature.
The Shivalinga symbol is also a representation of truth, knowledge, and infinity. Depending on the mobility of the symbol, there are two broad classes of the Shivalangas:
i. Cala – These are made using
stones, metal, crystals, or clay and can be moved from one place to another with ease.
ii. Acala – These are built using hard stone or heavy metal and are usually found in temples, fixed to the ground.
This symbol depicts Lord Shiva in a dancing pose. The beautiful avatar is intended to put a message across that ignorance can only be overcome by knowledge, music, and dance.
The sculpture is carved in stone or cast in bronze. Lord Shiva is also referred to as Nataraja which means “Lord of Dancers” or “The King of Dance.”
In Sanskrit, “Nata” means dance while “Raja” means King. The dance pose that is represented in the avatar is blissful and depicts the Hindu god Shiva on an aureole of flames, balancing on one leg upon Apasmara.
The flames represent the creation and destruction of the cosmos in a never-ending cycle of time. Apasmara, on the other hand, is a demon-dwarf that symbolizes darkness and ignorance.
Shiva’s other leg is a representation of liberation from demons and other evils. His right hand, he holds a double-sided drum that makes the first sounds of creation and in his left hand, he holds a fire that will destroy the universe.
6. Shiva's Nandi
Nandi is Lord Shiva’s mount or Vahana. The Nandi symbol is a huge white bull that has a black tail and kneels at the feet of Lord Shiva. This symbolizes disciplined animality which results in the ideal devotee to Shiva. The symbol is also a representation of Shiva’s strength.
7. Lotus (Padma)
The lotus is the holiest flower in India. It has, over the years, achieved a status that cannot be equaled by any other flower.
It’s used as a symbol both Hinduism and Buddhism and primarily represents untouched beauty and non-attachment. Even though the plant is rooted deep in the mud, the beautiful lotus remains to be clean and continues to float on the water.
This gives clear teaching of how humans should carry themselves throughout their lives, untouched by sin. The lotus flower is also used as a symbol of etiquette and culture, creation, fertility, and perfection of beauty.
Many Hindu deities like Vishnu, Ganesha, and Parvati are depicted holding the lotus in their hands. In the East Asian cultures, you will find the lotus flower symbol on buildings and cars. Again, the lotus is associated with the chakras.
Here we’ll provide you with a basic overview of a series of chakras where the lotus flower holds special significance. These chakras are an important aspect of different types of meditation:
i. Muladhara: The Root Chakra
This chakra is depicted as a red lotus flower that has four petals.
The root chakra is related to instinct, security, survival, and human potentiality. Physically, it governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security.
ii. Swadhisthana: The Sacral Chakra
This chakra is depicted as an orange lotus that has six petals.
The sacral chakra is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the sex hormones during a person’s reproductive cycle.
This chakra is generally believed to physically govern reproduction, mentally govern creativity, emotionally govern joy, and spiritually govern enthusiasm.
iii. Manipura: The Solar Plexus Chakra
This chakra is depicted as a yellow lotus with ten petals.
The solar plexus chakra is associated with the metabolic and digestive systems that convert food matter into energy for the body.
Physically, the Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually it governs all matters of growth.
iv. Anahata: The Heart Chakra
This chakra is depicted as a green lotus with twelve petals. The heart chakra is located in the chest area and is related to the thymus which is the site of maturation of the T cells. T cells are responsible for fighting diseases. Physically this chakra governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.
vi. Ajna: The Brow Chakra
This chakra is depicted as an indigo lotus with two petals. The brow chakra is associated with the pineal gland which produces the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep. Mentally, this chakra governs visual consciousness, emotionally it governs clarity on an intuitive level.
vii. Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra
This chakra is depicted as a violet lotus with one thousand petals. The crown chakra is described as having a total of 1,000 petals which are arranged in 20 different layers with each one of them having 50 petals.
The Sahasrara is a symbol of detachment from the illusion which is important in helping us to achieve a higher level of consciousness.
8. The Veena
This is a stringed musical instrument found in India that represents arts and learning. The Veena is also used as a symbol of the Hindu goddess Saraswati and the sage Narada.
9. The Conch Shell
The conch is also used as a Buddhist symbol but has a different interpretation. In Hinduism, the conch is a major article of prayer; the horn-trumpet is used to make announcements.
It is used as an attribute of Vishnu (the God of Preservation) who is said to hold a special shell as one of his main emblems.
In East Asian Cultures, the warriors blew the conch to announce battle. In India today, the conch is mainly blown as a part of religious practices such as worship.
In addition, this symbol is used to represent the sound that was used to create the universe.
10. Multiple arms and heads
Can control many things simultaneously. The idea of multiple heads, arms, and other body parts is used to portray the illusion of “multiple conventions” in religious iconography.
The deities are depicted standing behind each other with their arms in different positions. The visual effect created shows kinetic energy indicating the ability to be in different places and exist at all these places at once.
This symbol represents the divine omnipresence which means that the Supreme Being is able to control many things simultaneously.
The word Vahana means carrier, conveys. The Vahana is a creature from Hindu mythology, used as the vehicle of a goddess, that is, their carier that moves them from one place to another. The most famous Havanas are Nandi, Shiva’s bull. Garuda, the eagle of Vishnu, the rat of Ganesha, the peacock of Skanda, the owl of Lakshmi and the lion of Parvati.
Most of Havanas are part of Hindu worship, which means they receive offerings and prayers similar to the Hindu gods. Pictures of Vahanas can be seen on posters and emblems to identify the Believer’s affiliation.
Vishnu is one of the gods that make up the Hindu Triad. He is a protector and a preserver. The Rig Vedic Vishnu is depicted as the sun in its three main stages – rising, zenith and setting.
In these three stages Vishnu cruises through the three divisions of the universe – the earth, the atmosphere, and the sky. Vishnu is believed to have taken these three steps for the protection, preservation, and benefit of mortals. The zenith is appropriately called Vishnu’s place.
13. The Tilaka
You will often find the tilaka symbol on the foreheads of devoted Hindus. This symbol comes in different forms and designs depending on the religious ceremony or the custom taking place.
It’s, however, quite different from the bindi that is worn by the women. A U-shaped tilaka is a symbol of a Hindu’s devotion to Lord Vishnu while a horizontal one (Tripundra) is used by Shivites as a symbol of their devotion to Lord Shiva. The Tripundra has 3 horizontal lines that represent the three godly forces: creation, sustenance, and destruction.
This is one of the most common Hindu symbols. A bindi is a small dot, often in red, that is worn by women on the forehead. The dot is made using sandalwood paste, turmeric, or vermilion and is applied in the area between the eyebrows.
The area where the bindi is placed is considered to be the 6th chakra, Ajna, which is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi may sometimes be worn by either gender to offer protection from demons or other bad things. It is also used to show religious affiliation or ethnic affiliation.
Other names that are used to refer to a bindi are:
Bindis come in a variety of colors, designs, material, shapes, and sizes; some fancy ones are decorated using sequin, glass, or rhinestone.
15. The Rudraksha Tree and Seed
This tree is mainly found in Nepal, Southeast Asia and in the Himalayas. It has blues seeds that symbolize Shiva’s tear that he shed upon seeing how much his people suffered. It is from this tear that the tree grew.
The Rudraksha name is derived from “Rudra” which is another name for Shiva and “Aksha” which means eyes. The Rudraksha seeds are as prized as the compassionate tears that Lord Shiva shed. They’re used to make necklaces, prayer beads, and rosaries. These are mostly worn by the Shivites and are a symbol of God’s love.
16. Fire altar
The fire altar is also referred to as the Homakunda. It’s a distinct symbol of the ancient Vedic rites. Hindus made sacrifices and offerings to their gods at the fire altar. The homa fire was used to solemnize the Hindu sacraments.
17. Dhvaja (Flag)
The Dhvaja is a type of banner that is orange in color and is often flown above temples during festivals. The orange color symbolizes the sun’s life-giving glow. This flag is a symbol of victory.
Ganesha is an elephant-headed Hindu god that is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. He is a symbol of the powers that are held within every human being. Ganesha guides our karma by either removing or creating obstacles on our path. Seated upon his throne, Ganesha ensures our success in different endeavors. This means that we ought to seek his permission and blessing in all our undertakings.
The goad that Ganesha holds in his right hand is referred to as the ankusha. He uses it to remove obstacles from our paths. Ganesha’s goad is a symbol of the force through which all wrongful things are repelled from us.
19. The Banyan tree (Vata)
This tree is one of the most worshipped trees in India and can be found in front of many temples. The Banyan tree can grow and survive through many centuries without drying up.
It represents Hinduism in the sense that it has many roots, branches out in different directions, spreads shade far and wide but only stems from a single trunk.
The bark is believed to represent Lord Vishnu, the roots represent Lord Brahma, and the branches represent Lord Shiva. Underneath the tree sat Rishis for the shade, to seek enlightenment. The tree is also a symbol of fertility and longevity. It is mentioned in the Holy Scripture as a Tree of Immortality.
The Trishula is a Sanskrit term that translates to “three spears” and refers to a trident spear that is the emblem of Lord Shiva. The Trishula is a symbol of the empire and the irresistible force of transcendental reality.
Each of the spear’s pong represents Shiva’s three aspects:
The pongs also represent his three powers:
Generally, the trident is a symbol of the balance created by the three facets of consciousness which are cognition, affection, and conation.
21. The Saffron Color
The saffron color symbolizes different aspects of Hinduism such as the color of fire which is used on the fire altar. This color has great religious significance as it reflects the Supreme Being.
Fire worship dates back to the Vedic age and today you will find forked saffron flags fluttering atop most Hindu temples.
This is to indicate that that’s a place of worship.
Hindu saints also wear robes that are dyed using saffron to symbolize humility and the renunciation of material life.
22. The Yajnopavita (Sacred Thread)
During upanayana ritual, a boy is wearing yellow Yajnopavita thread (from left shoulder to waist). The Yajnopavita is a thin yellow thread that is given to young Hindu males to signify spiritual awakening after they have undergone the Upanayana ritual. Once the young males have undergone the ritual, they are referred to as “twice born.”
The thread usually runs diagonally from the left shoulder to the waist. It is made using either cotton or wool. This thread represents the acceptance of young males as religious students. They’re not supposed to take the tread off; they should bathe and swim with it on.
The person who has undergone the ritual is supposed to shave his head and wear new clothes. A priest recites the Gayatri mantra during the ritual and afterward, the initiate gives a traditional Dakshina to his teacher.
The sacred thread comprises of three intertwined threads that symbolize the Trimurti. This thread is also a symbol of the three Vedas texts: Rigveda, Samaveda, and Yajurveda.
23. Peacock (Mayil or Mayura)
The peacock is the national bird of India. It symbolizes the cycle of time in Hindu scripts.
The proud display of the dancing peacock is a symbol of religion in its full, unfolded glory.
The feathers are also a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The peacock’s shrill cry warns of approaching danger. Sometimes, the bird’s cry is considered to be a herald of the rainy season.
It is believed that this sacred bird was created from one of the feathers of Garuda.
Garuda is a legendary bird in Hindu mythology and a carrier of Lord Vishnu.
24. The Bael or Bilva Tree
This tree’s fruits, flowers, and leaves are all significant during Shiva’s liberation at the summit. The Bilva tree is worshiped by Hindus and it’s for this reason that you will often find it planted around homes and temples.
25. Cow or "Go"
Hindus consider the cow to be an ever-giving nourisher. The cow is a symbol of the earth which keeps on providing without making demands. The cow is a sacred animal and Hindus have a special affection for this gentle creature.
26. The Six-Pointed Star
The six-pointed star is also referred to as the Shaktona. It is made up two interlocking triangles. The upper one symbolizes Shiva or the male energy while the lower one symbolizes Shakti or the female power.
The upper and lower triangles also represent fire and water respectively. The union of these two triangles gives birth to Sanatkumara, whose sacred number is six.
27. The Ghanta (Bell)
The bell is used in the puja ritual which engages all senses including hearing. The ringing of the ghanta summons the gods and stimulates the inner ear to remind us that, like sound, we may perceive the world but not possess it.
28. The Temple Gateways
The temple gateways are also referred to as “Gopura” or “Gopuram.” They are towering gateways made using stones, through which pilgrims enter the South Indian temple.
The gateways are ornamented with a variety of sculptures of the divine pantheon; their tiers are a symbol of the several planes of existence.
29. The Sacred Pot (Kalasha)
The kalasha is a husked coconut that is circled with five leaves on a pot. The pot is used in the puja ritual to represent a god, particularly Lord Ganesha. When a person breaks the coconut in front of his shrine, it represents the shattering of the ego to reveal the sweet fruit inside.
30. The Sacred Sandals (Tiruvadi)
In Hinduism, the sacred sandals are worn by saints, sages, and satgurus. They’re a symbol of the preceptor’s holy feet which are the source of his grace. Hindus prostrate before him and humbly touch his feet to be released from worldliness.
31. The Water Vessel (Kamandalu)
The Hindu monastic carries a Kamandalu as a symbol of his simple, self-contained life, his freedom from worldly needs, his constant ‘sadhana’ and ‘tapas’, and his oath to seek God before anything or anyone else.
32. The Red Rooster
The red rooster is also referred to as the Seval. It is the noble red rooster that heralds every morning at dawn, calling upon to awake and arise. The Seval is a symbol of the imminence of spiritual unfoldment and wisdom. As a fighting cock, he crows from Lord Skanda’s battle flag.
33. The Moon & Sun – Chandra & Surya
Chandra is the moon and Surya is the sun. The former represents the ruler of the watery realms and emotions while the latter represents the ruler of intellect and the source of truth.
Chandra is white (ida) and lights up the night while Surya is yellow (pingala) and lights up the days.
34. NAGA The Snake
The snake, or sometimes cobra, is a symbol of Kundalini Power which we popularly know as cosmic energy.
Kundalini power is believed to be coiled/looped and “inactive” within a person; once activated, it inspires the person to overcome suffering.
The snake has great symbolic significance in Hinduism. There are special shrines where the male (naga) and female (nagin) snakes are kept and worshiped.
The deity may either be a full serpent or a combination of serpent and human.The shedding of the snake’s skin is symbolic in that it shows rebirth, renewal, and regeneration. Snakes are generally a symbol of energy and healing.
In East Asia, the tiger gets more recognition than the lion and is referred to as the “King of Beasts.” In Hinduism, tigers are a symbol of strength, courage, and protection.
Thanks to their ferocity, tigers are closely associated with the deities Shiva and Durga. Shiva is often portrayed sitting on a tiger’s skin or wearing it.
On the other hand, the fierce goddess Durga is often portrayed riding a tiger. All these can be attributed to a tiger’s deadly reputation.
36. The Mankolam Design
This design comprises of a paisley design which is modeled after a mango. This design is associated with Lord Ganesha who is sometimes portrayed holding the fruit.
The mango which he holds is fully ripe and symbolizes a state of attainable perfection.
Mangoes are sweet, juicy, and quite a messy handful. They are a symbol of auspiciousness and the happy fulfillment of legitimate worldly desires. In India, the mango is considered to be the “King of Fruits” and plays a huge role in both cultural and religious rituals.
37. The Coconut
The 3 “eyes” that are present on a mature coconut are associated with Lord Shiva who is depicted as having 3 eyes- the 3rd eye is at the middle of his forehead. Again in Hinduism, the coconut may symbolize a human head. The coconut is smashed against a hard surface as a substitute for a “human sacrifice.”
38. The Star of Lakshmi
This symbol is a complex star figure made up of two squares with the same center at 45° angles. The star of Lakshmi symbolizes Ashtalakshmi- the 8 forms of the goddess Lakshmi.
39. Elephant symbolism (Ganesha)
The Elephant carries a powerful and important symbolism in Hinduism. Ganesh, the son of Shiva and Parvati is often portrayed having the head of an elephant. This happened when Shiva accidentally cut off his son’s head and resorted to quickly replacing it with that of an elephant.
These creatures can easily cruise through tough terrains. Ganesh assumes this attribute in a spiritual sense and was, therefore, called the “remover of obstacles.”
Hindus associate the Jackal with the goddess of death and destruction, Kali. The use of jackals to symbolize death stemmed from a relatively straightforward observation of the animal. These animals usually feed on dead bodies and can often be seen visiting graveyards and other locations where there are corpses.
The symbolic meaning of sandalwood comes from its highly fragrant aroma. It is strongly associated with the divine.
While certain religious objects may be curved from sandalwood, it’s also smeared on the body during certain rituals and ceremonies.
Indians use sandalwood as a key ingredient in oils and incense thanks to its pleasant smell.
Navarana means “nine gems” in Sanskrit and refers to an ancient Indian astrological system that had 9 gems that are representative of the heavenly bodies. These gems are often used to make jewelry and other adornments. The pattern in which they’re placed depends on what heavenly body actually represents.
Let’s have a deeper look at this:
• Ruby – this represents the sun and is always at the middle
• Diamond – this represents Venus
• Pearl – this represents the moon
• Red Coral – this represents Mars
• Hessonite – this represents the ascending moon
• Blue Sapphire – this represents Saturn
• Cat’s Eye – this represents the descending moon
• Yellow Sapphire – this represents Jupiter
• Emerald – this represents Mercury
Prateek is a symbol of the “path of bliss”, also known as the Ananda Marga movement. This movement was founded in 1955 and its main emphasis includes social service as well as yoga and meditation.
The symbol is made up of:
• And upward-pointing triangle which represents a person’s external actions
• A downward-pointing triangle which represents a person’s internal work
• A rising sun which represents a person’s spiritual progress
• A swastika which represents the attainment of the ultimate spiritual goal
44. The Standing Oil Lamp
The symbol of the standing oil lamp is referred to as Kuttuvilaku. It symbolizes the dispelling of ignorance and the awakening of the divine light within us.
The can lamp can often be found in temples or shrines where it produces a soft glow that keeps the atmosphere serene.
45. Anjali Gesture
This symbol is a gesture of both hands brought together near the heart. This gesture symbolizes honoring or celebrating something/ someone. The gesture is also used as a greeting.
46. The Mouse - Mushika
Mushika is Lord Ganesha’s mount. Mice reproduce a lot and often bring forth multiple offspring.
The symbol is traditionally associated with abundance in family life.
47. Konrai Blossoms
This is a flowering symbol of Shiva’s honeyed grace upon us. Konrai is also associated with Shiva’s shrines and temples all through India.
48. The Vel or Holy Lance
The Vel is a symbol of Lord Murugan’s protective power which is our refuge in adversity. The tip of the vel is wide, long, and sharp representing incisive discrimination and spiritual knowledge, which is broad, deep and penetrating.
49. The Noose or Pasha
The symbol of the noose or tether symbolizes a person’s soul three-fold bondage of ‘anava, karma, and Maya.’ The noose is the all-important force through which God brings souls (pashu) along to the path of truth and enlightenment.
50. The Hamsa or Goose
The Hamsa is Brahma’s vehicle which is represented as a wild goose. This vehicle is a symbol of our soul.