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Zazen Sacred Icons :: FAQ - HINDU DEITIES

Who is Bhairav?

Bhairav is the wrathful, tantric aspect of Shiva, portrayed as naked, black or blue, with long, unruly flaming hair and holding a sword in one hand and a wand with 3 skulls or a noose in the other. He often has a string of skulls round his neck and stands on a recumbent figure. Sometimes shown embraced by his consort, Kali (Bhairav Shakti).

Who is BRAHMA?

the lord of creation and the god of wisdom has four faces, representing four qualities of the earth, directed in four directions. He holds in his hands the Vedas (ancient book of wisdom and learning), a string of pearls for counting time, a sacrificial spoon symbolic of spiritual nature. The fourth hand is usually raised in blessing. He also carries water in a Kamandalu (water pot), indicating that the universe has evolved from water.

Who is Durga?

Durga is a wrathful form of Parvati (consort of Shiva). She is represented with many arms with a weapon in each hand, shown sitting astride her mount, the lion, holding a sword, a club, a lotus flower and a dire. Her face always remains calm and gentle.

Who is GANESH?

Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of wisdom and success, is the defender and remover of obstacles, and has to be propitiated first before worship to other gods. He is one of the sons of Shiva and is known as ‘Siddhi Data’, or bestower of success in work. His elephant head is believed to be an emblem of wisdom and his mount (the shrew called ‘Mooshika’) an emblem of sagacity.

Who is Kali?

Kali is a wrathful form of Parvati (consort of Shiva). She is the goddess of mysteries. She is usually black or blue in colour. She is represented unclothed except for a garland of severed heads, tongue protruding from her mouth.

Who is Krishna?

Like the Buddha, Krishna is considered to be a popular incarnation of Vishnu, symbolising many virtues, including love, devotion and joy. He is usually shown playing a flute, though often depicted as a little blue baby. His love for Radha is an allegory of the union of the individual soul with God.

Who is Laxmi?

Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, and the wife of Vishnu She has four hands. The two prominent hands are in Varada and Abhaya Mudra. The other two hold a mirror and vermilion pot. She is often accompanied by two dwarfs.

Who is Mahavira?

Often considered to be the founder of the Jain religion but actually the 24th Tirthankara (fordmaker), though he is credited with the founding of modern Jainism, a religion which requires total commitment to non-violence (ahimsa). He was a contemporary of the Buddha and, in fact, Buddhism and Jainism have much in common. He was famed for his severe ascetism and complete rejection of the material world - he is said to have gone naked from the moment of his renunciation and to have had no concern with food, water, sleep or cleanliness.

Who is Nataraj, the Lord of the Dance?

The dance represents Shiva as the moving force of the universe and his five supernatural acts of creation, preservation, destruction, embodiment and release (of the souls of men from illusion ~ release being found in the fire of the cremation ground, here symbolized by the ring of flames round the dancer). Shiva is caught in mid-dance with one foot on a demon, the other poised for the next step, his hair flying out at the sides, he holds the hour-glass-shaped drum (representing the 5 rhythms of manifestation) and the ashes of fire with which he destroys the universe.

Who is Saraswati?

Saraswati is the goddess of learning, music & poetry, and is believed to confer wisdom and learning on those who worship her (she is revered by Hindus and Buddhists). She is the consort of Brahma and is generally represented holding a Vina (stringed musical instrument). Her colour is white and her mount a swan.

Who is SHIVA?

Shiva, the god of destruction and regeneration in the Hindu pantheon, has many forms including Shiva as a meditating ascetic, Nataraj - Lord of the Dance, Bhairav - Shiva in his wrathful aspect, the androgynous Ardhanari - half man, half woman, and in various forms with his consort Parvati/Uma/Durga/Kali. He usually holds a trident and a small drum, and the divine bull, Nandi, serves as his vehicle. He is the father of Ganesh.

Who is VISHNU?

The preserver and protector ~ popular because of his compassionate nature; worshipped either singly or with his consort Lakshmi (goddess of wealth). He is usually shown standing upright with four arms, one holding a wheel (chakra), another a mace or club (gada), another a conch shell (sankh) and the last a lotus bud (padma). He also wears a diadem (kirit) on his head and stands on a lotus pedestal. Krishna, Rama and Sakyamuni Buddha are said to be incarnations of Vishnu.

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