Hindu symbols overview

Hinduism is made up of various 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 effectively as Hinduism.

While most of the symbols are invariably saturated with spiritual meaning, others represent their gods and goddesses, philosophies, teachings, and cultural traditions.

There are two main categories of 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.

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 that 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 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 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.

Om symbol
Om, the source of the universe

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 mind.

The middle curve represents the state between deep sleep and consciousness, also known as the dream state. In this state, one can view the world behind closed eyelids.

The upper curve symbolizes the unconscious state. In this state of a 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 bliss state 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 in 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.

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.

Hindu symbol names
Sri Chakra symbol

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 represents 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.

3. Swastika

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.

Hindu Swastika

The word basically translates to “to be good” or “being with the 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, representing 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 with four arms, pointing in all four directions to describe the four Vedas and signify the Absolute’s eternal nature.

The Swastika symbol may also represent peace, honesty, truth, purity of the soul, and stability. One of the symbol’s uses is to mark the opening of account books, doors, and thresholds.

4. Shiva Linga

This term comes from combining two words: “Shiva” and “linga,” which translate to auspicious and symbol, respectively.

The term is used about the Supreme Being. The Shiva Linga symbolizes 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.

Shiva linga symbol
Shiva Linga, the cosmic creation

The symbol is an elongated column representing 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

Shiva lingam statue - Click for details
Shiva lingam statue
Shiva lingam statue - Click for details

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.

5. Nataraja

This symbol depicts Lord Shiva in a dancing pose. The beautiful avatar is intended to convey 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.”

Nataraja Hindu symbol
Nataraja, Lord of Dance

In Sanskrit, “Nata” means dance while “Raja” means King. The dance pose 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. He holds a double-sided drum that makes the first sounds of creation in his right hand, and in his left hand, he holds a fire that will destroy the universe.

Nataraja statue
Nataraja statue - click for details
Nataraja statue - click for details

6. Shiva's Nandi

Nandi is Lord Shiva’s mount or Vahana. The Nandi symbol is a huge white bull with 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.

Nandi Hindu symbol
Nandi, Lord Shiva's vehicle

7. Lotus (Padma)

The lotus is the holiest flower in India. Over the years, it has achieved a status that cannot be equaled by any other flower.

Lotus hindu symbol

It’s used as a symbol of 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 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:

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Gold lotus flower necklace - Click for details!

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 govern reproduction physically, 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 maturation site 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 helps us achieve a higher level of consciousness.

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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.

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9. The Conch Shell

Conch Shell Hindu symbol

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 holds 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.

Also, 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.

Hindu symbols and their meaning

This symbol represents the divine omnipresence, which means that the Supreme Being can control many things simultaneously.

11. Vahana

The word Vahana means a carrier, conveys. The Vahana is a creature from Hindu mythology, used as the vehicle of a goddess, the carrier 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, Lakshmi’s owl, and the lion of Parvati.

Most 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.

Handicraft Vishnu Laxmi and Garuda Statue
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12. Vishnu

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 to protect, preserve, and benefit mortals. The zenith is appropriately called Vishnu’s place.

Lord Vishnu and his avatars - Hindu symbols
Lord Vishnu and his avatars

13. The Tilaka

Sadhu - Hindu symbols and meaning
A Shaiva Hindu with Tilaka (Tripundra) on his forehead
A Vaishnava Hindu with 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 symbolizes a Hindu’s devotion to Lord Vishnu, while Shivites use a horizontal one (Tripundra) as a symbol of their devotion to Lord Shiva. The Tripundra has 3 horizontal lines representing the three godly forces: creation, sustenance, and destruction.

14. Bindi

This is one of the most common Hindu symbols. A bindi is a small dot, often in red, 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 bindi area 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:
• Tikli
• Pottu
• Chandlo
• Bottu
• Tilakam
• Tipa
• Teep
Bindis come in various colors, designs, material, shapes, and sizes; some fancy ones are decorated using sequin, glass, or rhinestone.

Bindi - hindu symbols and what they mean

15. The Rudraksha Tree and Seed

This tree is mainly found in Nepal, Southeast Asia, and 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 home fire was used to solemnize the Hindu sacraments.

17. Dhvaja (Flag)

The Dhvaja is a type of orange banner 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.

18. Ganesha

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.

Ganesh Hindu god
Ganesha, the beloved god, son of Shiva and Parvati

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.

Hindu god symbols
A Colored & Gold Statue of Lord Ganesh - Click for details
Hindu symbol names
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19. The Banyan tree (Vata)

This tree is one of India’s most worshipped trees and can be found in front of many temples. The Banyan tree can grow and survive through many centuries without drying up.

hindu symbol images - Banyan tree
Banyan tree

It represents Hinduism because it has many roots, branches out in different directions, and 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.

20. Trishula

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:
• Creator
• Destroyer
• Preserver

The pongs also represent his three powers:
• Desire
• Action
• Wisdom

Generally, the trident is a symbol of the balance created by the three facets of consciousness: cognition, affection, and conation.

21. The Saffron Color

The saffron color symbolizes different aspects of Hinduism, such as fire, which is used on the fire altar. This color has great religious significance as it reflects the Supreme Being.

India flag

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 dyed using saffron to symbolize humility and the renunciation of material life.

22. The Yajnopavita (Sacred Thread)

During the upanayana ritual, a boy is wearing yellow Yajnopavita thread (from left shoulder to waist). The Yajnopavita is a thin yellow thread given to young Hindu males to signify spiritual awakening after undergoing 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.

hindu lucky symbols Peacock

24. The Bael or Bilva Tree

This tree’s fruits, flowers, and leaves are significant during Shiva’s liberation at the summit. Hindus worship the Bilva tree, 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 of 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.

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27. The Ghanta (Bell)

The bell is used in the puja ritual, which engages all senses, including hearing. The ghanta’s ringing 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 various 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 ego’s shattering 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, freedom from worldly needs, 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 Several. It is the noble red rooster that heralds every morning at dawn, calling upon to awake and arise. The Several 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 and lights up the night, while Surya is yellow (Pingala) and lights up the days.

34. NAGA The Snake

Hindu symbol
Naga, the snake

The snake, or sometimes cobra, symbolizes 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.

35. Tiger

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.

Hindu symbols text - Durga riding on Tiger
Durga riding on the tiger - Click for details

36. The Mankolam Design

Hindu Yoga symbol

This design comprises 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 the “King of Fruits” and plays a huge role in cultural and religious rituals.

37. The Coconut

Coconut in a Hindu wedding

The 3 “eyes” present on a mature coconut are associated with Lord Shiva, who is depicted as having 3 eyes- the 3rd eye is in 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

hindu religious symbols and meanings- Star of Lakshmi
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)

Hindu symbols - Ganesh wall decore
Ganesha The beloved God - Wall decore - Click for details

The Elephant carries a powerful and important symbolism in Hinduism. Ganesh, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is often portrayed as having the elephant’s head. This happened when Shiva accidentally cut off his son’s head and quickly replaced it with that of an elephant.

These creatures can easily cruise through tough terrains. Ganesh assumed this attribute in a spiritual sense and was, therefore, called the “remover of obstacles.”

40. Jackal

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.

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41. Sandalwood

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.

Hindu symbol - Sandalwood

42. Navaratna

Navaratna means “nine gems” in Sanskrit and refers to an ancient Indian astrological system with 9 gems representing the heavenly bodies. These gems are often used to make jewelry and other adornments. The pattern in which they’re placed depends on what the heavenly body actually represents.

Let’s have a deeper look at this:
• Ruby – this represents the sun and is always in 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

43. Prateek

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 and 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

Prateek symbol - Hindu symbol names

44. The Standing Oil Lamp

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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.

Hindu symbol meaning - Mushika meaning
Ganesh rested with his Vahana, Mushika

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 vel’ tip is wide, long, and sharp representing incisive discrimination and spiritual knowledge, which is broad, deep, and penetrating.

Lord Murugan with his holy lance

49. The Noose or Pasha

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.

Hinduism and Hindu Gods

A majority of Indians are Hindus (nearly 80 percent). Hinduism originates from the Indian subcontinent and is considered the oldest and the 3rd largest religion globally in terms of adherents. Hinduism has about 1 billion followers, with more than 905 million of them being Indians. Many of its practitioners refer to it as the “eternal law.”

The Hindu name comes from “Sindhu” which refers to the Indus river that goes through Pakistan. History says that the name was used for people who had settled on the Indus river banks.

The religion comprises a variety of systems of beliefs, philosophies, rituals, traditions, and obligations. Another factor that defines the path of Hinduism is the knowledge of its sacred texts and scriptures.

These ideas and beliefs go above and beyond to prove that Hinduism is not just but a system of beliefs- it’s a way of life.

The 3 main traditions are Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism; their adherents are referred to as Shiva, Vishnu, and Shakti respectively. The roots of the religion can be traced back to the 1st millennium BCE to the female terra-cotta figurines that are found ubiquitously in excavations of sites that are found along the Indus valley.

The general nature of the religion

What makes Hinduism strikingly different from other religions is its pluralistic nature; it accepts different realities from different sources. This expansiveness is brought about by the fact that the truth cannot be encapsulated in any creedal formulation and, therefore, has to be sought from multiple sources.

According to Hinduism, one’s view of the truth is basically determined by the specifics of time, gender, state of mind, attainment, and state of consciousness.

All these factors function to expand a view of religious truth rather than minimize it. As a result, you will find that most Hindus believe intolerance as the foremost spiritual virtue. Another way in which Hinduism differs from other religions is that it has no founder and no prophets.

Although Hindus believe in a universal God called Brahman, who is the cause and foundation of all that is in existence. They also believe that he takes many different forms that may be worshiped as Indian gods. Some of the common Hindu gods’ names are Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi.

Devotional Sects

Indians refer to their gods as “deva” and “devi”. The former is masculine (gods) while the later is feminine (goddesses). All Hindus believe in the concept of the sacred Trimurti; Lord Brahma is the creator; Lord Vishnu is the sustainer; Lord Shiva is the destroyer. The four distinctive sects in Hinduism are:

1. Shaivism

The followers of this sect are referred to as Shaivas. They worship Lord Shiva together with all his incarnations. The Shaivas believe that Shiva is the creator, sustainer, revealer, concealer, and destroyer of the entire universe. There are several sub-sects under Shaivism.

2. Vaishnavism

The followers of this sect are referred to as Vaishnavas. They worship Lord Vishnu, all his ten incarnations, as well as the Vishvaroopa. The Vaishnavas believe that Lord Vishnu is the creator, destroyer, sustainer, revealer, and concealer of the universe. Similar to Shaivism, Vaishnavism also has several sub-sects.

3. The Shakti

The followers of the Shakti sect are known as Saktas; they believe in the divine feminine energy. Saktas translates to worshippers of the mother goddess. The Saktas believe that Shakti is the consort of Lord Shiva, and they control the universe together.

The Shakti sect believes that masculinity is incomplete without femininity and the two are needed for the completeness of the universe.

4. Smarta Sampradaya

The Smarta Sampradaya orthodox sect has followers from the Hindu Brahmin families that consider the Hindu scriptures to be the most authoritative texts of Hinduism. Since they believe in the Smrtis (the scriptures), the followers are referred to as the Smartas.

The Smartaz only worship 5 divinities which they believe to be the animate forms of Brahman itself: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Ganesh, and Surya- the Sun god.

The goals of human life

In Hinduism, there are four goals for human life that a believer can attain through his actions while they are alive. A person is expected to fulfill all these goals to lead a fruitful life and to get free from the cycle of reincarnation. 

These goals make up the Hindus way of life. The 4 goals are collectively referred to as the purusarthas and they include:

1. Dharma

Dharma relates to a person’s religious duties. This goal refers to the life code that involves respecting one’s elders and marriage.

2. Artha

Artha relates to a person’s prosperity. This second goal represents the pursuit of wealth and material gains by lawful means.

3. Karma

This goal gives a person the chance to reincarnate to a higher level through good and pure acts. Karma relates to the pleasures we give ourselves and how they affect our afterlife.

4. Moksha

Moksha translates to spiritual liberation. It’s referring to the final release of the soul from the cycle of reincarnation


Hindus believe that the soul is an eternal entity and exists through multiple lifetimes. The soul gets into a new creature after the previous body dies; it may be reborn as a person, an animal, or sprout as a plant. They do believe that everything that is living has a soul.

Reincarnation goes on and on until all the soul’s beliefs are realized. Afterward, the soul achieves some form of “freedom” that Indians refer to as Moksha.

There are four different paths to take to achieve this freedom. They are:

  1. The path of knowledge
  2. The path of devotion
  3. The path of meditation
  4. The path of good works

Also, Hindus believe that how the soul comes back is dependent on karma. They argue that any challenges that you experience in your current life are as a result of how you acted in your previous life. They, therefore, live their lives cautiously to earn a better life after their soul is reborn.

Worship and Pilgrimage

Daily worship is a mandatory part of Hinduism. They often at home, to a shrine, such as statues, a unique alter, a particular room, and even pictures. Believers gather on the weekends at the temples (Mandirs) to worship together.

Hinduism facts also tell us that pilgrimage is also an important part of the religion. The most important one being the Chaar Dhaam; this should be done at least once during a person’s lifetime.

Other major Hindu pilgrimages are the Barah Jyotirlinga Yatra, and Kumh Mela. The later is held after every three years and is a mass pilgrimage whereby the believers meet at a sacred river and bathe.

The holy scriptures

The Hindu Holy Scriptures comprise of multiple works that are divided into Sruti and Smrti. In general, the scriptures talk about theology, mythology, and religious philosophies.

The Sruti (revealed) scriptures describe Hindu rituals and practices and are made up of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Aranyakas, and the Brahmanas. On the other hand, the Smrti (remembered) scriptures define sacred thoughts and are made up of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata among others.

Three holy scriptures: Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana

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Bhagavad Gita - Click for details!

The main Hindu Gods

As we saw earlier, Brahman is the Hindu Supreme Being. Some other Hindu/Indian gods and goddesses represent Brahman’s different aspects. The foremost among them is the Indian god Shiva and the Indian gods, Ganesh.  All these gods are special to Indians in their unique way.

It’s about time we have a look at the different Hindu deities and what they represent. Below is a list of the major Indian gods and goddesses that everyone should familiarize with before making a pilgrimage trip to India. We have narrowed down the list to make it easy for you to wrap your head around the deities.

1. Lord Shiva

Shiva is one of the principal Hindu deities worshipped as the creator, maintainer, and destroyer; he represents death and dissolution. Other names used to refer to Lord Shiva are Mahadeva, Nataraja, Pashupati, Vishwanath, and Bhole Nath. He is the Supreme Being that protects and maintains the universe;

Shiva maintains balance by death and destroying worlds so that Brahma can bring rebirth and recreate them. He is also said to offer protection for his followers from anger, greed, ignorance, lust, and other traits that stand in the way of divine enlightenment. Shiva is usually being depicted as a phallic symbol referred to as the Shiva Lingam.

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Shiva Linga pooja (credit: Nevil Zaveri )
Hindu god stories
Shiva Linga ritual (credit: India Ministry of Culture )

According to the Shaivism sect, the highest form of Shiva is a formless and limitless soul of the universe. Shiva means “nothingness,” translating to omnipresent; this means that he is present in the form of one’s consciousness.

In addition to that, Shiva is also considered the master of dance and regeneration. He is one of the most complex Indian gods. He’s the benevolent herdsman of souls and the wrathful avenger, one who can kill or injure the forces of darkness.

Shiva often wears a crown of skulls and a snake around his upper arms and neck. It symbolizes that he has power over the most deadly of creatures.

The head represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. As a destroyer, he is dark and terrible.

Lastly, Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, which symbolizes higher consciousness. Whenever necessary, the eye can be used to destroy his enemies with fire.

2. Lord Vishnu

Vishnu is the second deity of the Hindu trinity and is known to be the preserver and sustainer of life representing the principles of truth, order, and righteousness.

Lord Vishnu

He is also referred to as Jagannath, Vithoba, Narayana, and Hari. Hindus, who pray faithfully to Lord Vishnu, are referred to as Vaishnavas. They believe Vishnu will come to their rescue to restore peace in times of disorder.

Vishnu is believed to preserve life through his adherence to truth, order, righteousness, and order. He is known to encourage his followers to always be kind and compassionate to all creatures.

He is commonly depicted with four arms that represent his omnipotence and omnipresence.

It’s not uncommon to see Vishnu seated upon a coiled snake. It means the ability to stay calm in the face of adversity, chaos, and destructive forces.

Vishnu is worshipped in the forms of incarnations that are also referred to as avatars. The ten embodiments (collectively known as Dashavatara) are:

2.1 Matsya: The Fish

Matsya, the fish. The first avatar is said to have rescued man and other creatures from great floods. It gave humanity a warning about the coming floods and asked him to carry grains and other living creatures in a boat. Matsya then held onto the ship through the turbulent waters all night until the storm ended. Afterward, Brahma created the present world.

54mm round Matsya MANU Fish
54mm round Matsya MANU Fish - Click for details!
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Matsya the fish - Lord Vishnu incarnation

It’s often depicted as a giant golden fish or a human torso connected to a fish’s tail.

2.2 Kurma: The Tortoise

The Kurma avatar is the incarnation that relates to the myth of churning the ocean to obtain the treasures dissolved in the ocean of milk.

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Indian gods - Lord Vishnu incarnation - Kurma the tortoise

In this myth, the giant tortoise was sent to help support the world on his back to prevent it from sinking in the ocean. Kurma kept the land until the nectar of immorality emerged.

2.3 Varaha: The Boar

Varaha the boar (credit: G41rn8 )

Varaha saved the earth by raising it from the bottom of the sea, where it had been dragged by the demon Hiranyaksha during a battle that had taken 1,000 years. He dived into the ocean and pulled the world out, using his tusks and his massive snout.

This avatar is depicted as a full boar and sometimes takes a boar’s head on top of a human body.

2.4 Narashima: The Man-Lion

The legend tells of a tyrant demon that had become too arrogant because it could not be harmed or killed by any means.

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Narashima, the man-lion

As a result, he started causing trouble both on earth and in heaven. Vishnu took the form of a man-lion, Narashima, to slay the demon that had turned against his son Prahlada.

2.5 Vamana: The Dwarf

Antique Indian Miniature Painting - Click for details!

To destroy the demon king Bali, Vishnu took the form of a dwarf. Once he had already taken the form of a dwarf, he visited Bali, who had already taken over the universe and caused other gods to lose their power. Vamana asked Bali to give him just three feet of land.

After his wish was granted, he transformed from a dwarf into a giant and took the whole earth with the first foot. With the second step, he took over the heavens, and with the third, he pushed down Bali’s head to the underworld.

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Indian god Vamana the dwarf

2.6  Parashurama: The Angry Man

Parasurama appeared to protect humanity and restore social order, corrupted by an arrogant warrior, Kshatriya. He is depicted as an angry man carrying an ax. For this reason, he is sometimes referred to as Rama with an ax.

Bhagawan Parashurama With Shiva Linga
Bhagawan Parashurama With Shiva Linga - Click for details!
Parashurama, the angry man

This avatar destroyed the bad kings of the earth who had become autocratic and started to harm and harass the people.

2.7 Rama: The Perfect Man

Lord Rama is often depicted with blue skies, in an upright position with a bow and arrows. He is considered to be a compassionate man who is the perfect embodiment of humanity. He represents reason, courage, devotion, and adherence to Dharma.

Antique Majapahit Style Bronze Javanese Rama Statue - Click for details!

Rama came to earth to fight Ravana, the demon with multiple heads. The bow and arrow that he carries are a symbol of his readiness to fight and destroy even for the sake of protecting righteousness. Hindus celebrate him as Ramayana during Diwali.

2.8 Krishna: The Divine Statesman

The eighth avatar of Vishnu is Lord Krishna, one of the most widely revered deities in Hinduism and is kept close to the believers’ hearts. He is also the most powerful incarnation. Hindus view Lord Krishna as a hero and a leader and as a teacher and a friend.

This beloved Hindu god is the destroyer of sins and an embodiment of joy, happiness, and love. Krishna is commonly depicted as a statesman who changes the rules shrewdly. He also takes a variety of other forms due to the many stories surrounding him.

Krishna - Large Vintage-style Indian Hindu devotional poster print
Krishna - Large Vintage-style Indian Hindu devotional poster print - Click for details!
Brass Radha Krishna Statue
Brass Radha Krishna Statue - Click for details!
Indian gods - Lord Krishna
Lord Krishna with Arjuna, a famous scene from the Mahabharata

He’s portrayed as having blue skin, wearing a crown of peacock feathers with a yellow loincloth in pictures. Krishna is often drawn with a flute that he uses for his seductive powers. The following YouTube video is Bhajan, Love songs to Krishna, by Meera Bai.

2.9 Balarama: Krishna's Elder Brother

Balarama is often portrayed as having pale skin in contrast to that of Krishna, which is blue. He said to have engaged in many adventures together with his brother.

Balarama God Painting
Balarama God painting - Click for details!
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Balarama, Krishna's elder brother

In several versions of myths, Balarama is not commonly worshipped as an independent entity. The stories usually focus on his prodigious strength.

2.10 Kalki: The Mighty Warrior

Kalki is the last incarnation of Vishnu. His name also translates to “eternity.” He is expected to come to the very end and come carrying a fiery sword and riding on top of a white horse. Kalki comes to do away with the world of oppression by unrighteous rulers.

Hindu stories about gods
Kalki, the last incarnation of Vishnu

3. Ganesh - The Remover of Obstacles

Ganesh, also known as  Ganapati, Binayak, Vinayaka, or Pillaiyar, is a chubby pot-bellied god with an elephant head and is said to be the son of Shiva and Parvati. His features make him very easy to identify.

All Hindu sects worship Ganesha; they believe that he’s the god of wealth, success, and knowledge. It makes him a significant god, perhaps the most important of them all.

Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi Idol - Hindu God Brass Statue
Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi - Hindu God Brass Statue - Click for details!
Original, Ganesha and Krishna, Original Handmade Painting - Click for details!

Lord Ganesh is portrayed as riding a rat that helps him remove any barriers that hinder one’s success. The rat is capable of gnawing through any obstacles on the way. Ganesh also bestows wisdom on how to acquire fortunes.

Hindus pray to Ganesh before a big venture or ceremony such as a wedding or investment in a business. Authors and poets also invoke him as patron of letters at the start of their books.

The statues of Ganesh are a common sight in most towns. Indians place the image of Ganesh in locations where they plan on building a house.

Ganesh is depicted as a red being with four arms, a single task, and playing a musical instrument. The fact that he has one broken tusk attributes to his last name, “Ekadanta,” which translated to “one-tusked.”

He, at times, maybe holding a noose that is called Pasam, a pot of rice, an elephant goad, or laddus, which are his favorite sweets. In images, his characteristic belly is usually bound by a cobra that acts as a reminder that Ganesh is Shiva’s son.

4. Hanuman - The Monkey God

Hanuman is yet another Indian god that is easily distinguishable. He is the son of Anjana and Kesari and the son of Vayu, the wind god.

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Indian art Hanuman statue - Click for details!
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Hanuman, the monkey-facedn Hindu deity

The monkey-faced Hindu deity symbolizes courage, power, devotion, physical strength, perseverance, and selfless service. Hanuman is also a symbol of resistance to persecution, inner self-control, faith in a cause, and the ideal combination of heroic initiative and assertive excellence.

Worshippers often call upon Hanuman in trying times and in times of trouble as he teaches them the unlimited power within them.

Hanuman helped Lord Rama when he battled against evil forces, as described in Ramayana. Hanuman’s owers include his ability to become significant at will. He could easily fight the elephant by assuming a much larger form.

5. Kali - The Dark Goddess

Kali, also referred to as Kalika, Shyama, or the dark mother is perhaps the fiercest deity. She is Shiva’s other wife and appears as a four-armed woman with a protruding blood-soaked tongue, blue or black skin, a skirt of bones, and a garland of skulls.

Sculpture Carving of Kali Hindu Deity Goddess of Renewal
Sculpture of Kali Hindu deity - Click for details!
most dangerous Hindu god
Kali, Most dangerous Hindu god

These features symbolize the ego’s death and act as a reminder for people that their bodies are only in a temporary state.

The goddess image portrays her standing atop her husband, Shiva, who remains calm under her feet. Kali’s eyes are red in absolute rage and filled with intoxication from Raktabija’s blood. She also has fangs in between which the tongue rolls.

In her most famous legend, when Durga and her assistants injured Raktabija in an attempt to destroy him, they noticed that they had only made the situation worse.

Each one of his blood droplets produced a clone of Raktabija. Kali was summoned to handle the situation of the multiplying demon. She consumed Raktabija and all his duplicates; she spread her tongue across the battlefield and licked all the blood falling from the demon before it hit the ground.

To celebrate, Kali performed a wild dance on the battlefield and adorned herself with several heads’ garland.

6. Devi

Devi is the Hindu goddess of existence; the masculine version is Deva. Generally, she is the sum of all mother forms, including Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, and Jagannatha.

While in some forms, she is gentle, in others, she is ferocious. In short, she is the one, and at the same time, she is the many. Under several other aspects, Devi is also viewed as a cosmic force, a gracious donor of wealth, a heroine, a protector, and as a semi-divine force that manifests through fertility spirits.

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Sterling Silver Durga pendant - Click for details!
Handcrafted Annapura Devi
Handcrafted Annapura Devi - Click for details!

In most legends, Devi is depicted as an ideal wife and a mother. She is a divine feminine figure with a strong presence in Hinduism. Devi is the central and supreme being in the Shakta and Saiva Hindu traditions. In Smarta, Devi is among the five primary forms of Brahman.

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Durga goddess poster - Click for details!
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Devi, goddess of existence

Saiva Hindu traditions. In Smarta, Devi is among the five primary forms of Brahman. In Hinduism, Devi is symbolized as a cow since cows nourish us and give us endless resources.

Kamadhenu, the sacred and divine cow, is a deity of Devi and is often regarded as a pure mother who sustains human life and grants us our wishes.

It is in her that all the other gods are said to reside; she represents Dharma itself. Hindus love, protect, and respect cows because they sustain the life of many different species. It is contrary to popular belief that they worship cows.

For the longest time, eating beef was considered a sin in India. Cows were kept for milk and other dairy products and for their dung that was used as fuel and as manure. Hinduism encourages eating vegetarian food. However, civilization has changed the man-bovine relationship in India. There are several slaughterhouses around the country where cattle are slaughtered and sold for consumption.

7. Lakshmi

Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune, wealth, and both material and spiritual prosperity. She’s also known as Shri or Laxmi and is the wife of Vishnu. The name Lakshmi is derived from Laksya, which translates to the goal.

This beautiful goddess is depicted as a golden complexion woman with four-arms and wearing a red silk dress. She’s either seated or standing upon a massive dew-drenched lotus blossom while holding a lotus bud. Lakshmi symbolizes purity, beauty, and domesticity.

Antique Thai Style Lakshmi Statue
Antique Thai Style Lakshmi Statue - Click for details!
Lakshmi, goddess of fortune

Her image adorns most homes and business establishments of the faithful. Each one of her four arms represents the four goals of human life. People must appreciate and respect all the laws of life and the wonders of existence to realize them.

Although she’s often described as restless, Lakshmi is maternal and has her hands raised, ready to bless. Today Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of wealth and luxury who holds the promise of contentment and material fulfillment. Festivals such as Diwali and Sharad Purnima are celebrated in her honor.

8. Durga - The Invincible

Durga is the ultimate representation of the Divine Mother. She symbolizes the fiery powers of the gods. She is the protector of humankind and the destroyer of evils such as jealousy, ego, and hatred. The Hindu goddess Durga is portrayed with eight arms holding onto a myriad of weapons and riding a lion. The weapons show that Durga is always protecting humanity from all directions.

Durga Statue - Antique Javanese Style
Durga Statue - Antique Javanese Style - Click for details!
Hindu god of happiness
Durga, the Divine Mother

Durga is sublime and contains within her a combination of the power of all Hindu gods. She’s immune to the weapons of all those who seek to subjugate her- she always triumphs. In her most ferocious form (when she is furious), Durga Metamorphoses into Kali.

9. Parvati - Daughter of the Mountain

Parvati is also referred to as the Divine Homemaker- the goddess of marriage, motherhood, and family. She caused Shiva to become a family man who still stuck to his old ways as a hermit.

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925 Sterling Silver God Shiva and Parvati pendant - Click for details!
Parvati, goddess of marriage, motherhood, and family

After the death of his first love, Shiva isolated himself from the world and went to live in a dark cave in the Himalayas. Later on, Parvati was born. She would visit Shiva’s cave to clean and decorate it with flowers. She also brought him fruits.

After a while, Shiva took Parvati as his wife, for she melted his heart with affection. Parvati had a son by herself without the aid of her husband. His name was Ganesh.

10. Saraswati

list of Hindu gods
Saraswati, goddess of art, music, learning, and knowledge

Saraswati is the goddess of art, music, learning, and knowledge. She is the daughter of Shiva and Durga, who represents the free flow of consciousness. Saraswati endows human beings with the powers of speech and understanding.

She is mostly depicted as a beautiful woman seated on a white lotus playing the lute. Saraswati is portrayed in images dressed in pure white.

The color white symbolizes her purity; she neither wears jewelry nor paints herself with bright colors. She has four arms that hold different items: a water pot, a Pustaka, which is a script, a musical instrument, and a mala, which is a rosary.

The water pot represents the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. The Pustaka represents all forms of learning that bring divine knowledge.

The musical instrument, which is a lute, represents all the creative arts and sciences. Lastly, mala represents the power of meditation. Some Indians celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami in her honor. They commemorate this day (the 5th day of spring) by teaching children to write the alphabet.

Foreigner's perspective about Hindu Gods

Because Hinduism has so many divinities and is full of different sects and spiritual practices, many people think Hinduism is polytheistic. It could not be further from the truth. Even though Indians believe in multiple gods and follow different paths, it’s clear that their main goal is to reach the Supreme Being, Brahman. To Hindus, all the other gods are but manifestations of eternal power.

Hindus refer to their religion as “Sanatana Dharma,” a term that translates to a law that does not have a beginning or an end. It is this aspect that gives Hinduism its own unique identity. A Hindu can worship any one of the 300 million gods, depending on his/her choice.

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