The 10 Main Hindu Gods, And Their Symbolism

A review of the mythology of this original religion of the Indian subcontinent.

Hindu gods

Unlike other religions that have followers in a large number of countries, the Hindu gods are mostly venerated in India, where their legends originated 4000 years ago, in the Indus Valley.

One of the most interesting differences from other cultures is that Hindu gods are worshiped in daily life; they are not seen as abstract figures but as an intrinsic part of families and the community. Let’s see which are the most representative Hindu gods of Hinduism and what is their associated mythology.

The most important Hindu gods

Hindu mythology has approximately more than 30 million gods, but evidently there are some deities that are more renowned than others and are more worshiped throughout India. Here we will give a review of the best known Hindu gods

1. Brahma

The supreme creator of the universe for the Hindus is the god Brahma, who can inhabit both living beings and inanimate objects. From this god are derived two other Hindu gods, called Deva and Devi, which represent one or more aspects of him.

Thus, Brahma is the creator and the first of the Hindu gods, who is responsible for creating everything known to man. It symbolizes a source of wisdom and represents intelligence.

In the images he is represented with four faces, which indicate his great capacity for knowledge, and four hands as a sign of the various aspects of the human personality: mind, intellect, ego and consciousness.

2. Vishnu

Vishnu, the Preserver, is one of the most aesthetically beautiful Hindu Gods and appreciated by the Hindu community. It is the Preserver inasmuch as it symbolizes order, peace, and universal love. Its purpose is, precisely, to maintain these values ​​in the world and that is why it motivates its faithful to be compassionate and kind people with their equals. This deity is usually represented with blue skin.

After Brahma, Vishnu turns out to be the second of the Hindu gods in the main trilogy, and Shiva is the third deity.

3. Shiva

As mentioned above, Shiva is the third deity in the trinity of Hindu Gods, known as The Destroyer.

It represents the other side of the Universe with respect to Vishnu. One is the beginning of life, the other is the end. But the end seen as the possibility that everything arises again, for there to be life there must also be death. This is how it should be understood in Hindu philosophy, as a positive energy for the balance of the universe.

Shiva is also recognized as the God of Dance, an art that for Hindus has great religious and spiritual significance. The snake around his neck symbolizes life energy. He has 19 reincarnations.

4. Lakshmi

She is the wife of Vishnu, considered the goddess of fortune and beauty. It turns out to be one of the most revered deities in the homes and businesses of India.

Hindu mythology tells a magnificent love story between Lakshmi and Vishnu. It is said that when one reincarnates the other does it in the same way to stay together.

Goddess Lakshmi is represented as a beautiful four-armed woman who rises in a lotus flower, and lives where there is industry, courage and virtue.

5. Krishna

Krishna is another of the Hindu gods that the inhabitants of South Asia love the most. According to Hindu mythology, she is represented as a hero, leader, teacher and friend. That is why it is called the indweller of hearts.

If we make a trip throughout India, we can see a large number of sculptures and works of art that present him in human form, almost always playing a flute, as he is very fond of music. Krishna is said to be endowed with love, and has the power to destroy pain and sins.

6. Ganesha

Son of Shiva and his spouse Parvati, Ganesha joins Krishna and Hanuman as one of the most popular Hindu Gods in the Indian subcontinent.

He has an elephant head with a human body, and he is considered the destroyer of obstacles and an envoy of good news. He is related to art and science, and is even said to be the god of intelligence.

One of the most frequent religious practices in the Hindu population is to pray to Ganesha before getting married, or when a project is going to be carried out.

7. Branch

Protagonist of one of the most famous works of Hindu literature, the Ramayana text, Rama represents an exemplary man with all his virtues: courage, goodness, devotion and piety. Its role is to destroy evil and fight for good things.

It is the second most important avatar of Vishnu and its history has a background in the Indian tribal heroes that existed thousands of years ago. He is considered a King and a God.

8. Hanuman

It represents a symbol of strength and perseverance. Hindus invoke it in difficult times, keeping in mind that it represents energy and courage. He is known as the Monkey King, for his ape form.

Hanuman is also a very popular deity in India (and the world). In Hindu mythology his fame originates through his great loyalty to the God Rama, of whom he is a devotee and fellow warrior.

He is also a scholar who knows all the grammars and holy books, but so humble that he never boasts of his knowledge.

9. Saraswati

The images show her as a beautiful woman who plays the zither on a lotus flower. Her clothes are modest, showing her predilection for knowledge and sensitivity.

Of all the Gods of the Hindu pantheon Saraswati is the one that represents creativity, music and the arts, that is why she is known as the Goddess of Knowledge. Believers often invoke it to improve their ability to understand and learn in times of study

10. Kali

It symbolizes the dark side in harmony with the positive side. She is dual in nature and is shown more as a destroyer of demons than a ruthless and hostile being.

Compared to other Hindu gods who possess goodness and good values, Goddess Kali is believed to be born from Shiva’s wrath and therefore represents a destructive force. That is why she is also known as The Dark Mother.

The image of the Goddess shows a stocky woman with a necklace made from the skulls of her defeated enemies. It is said to symbolize the death of the ego and the temporary condition of the human body.

Bibliographic references:

  • Bakker, FL (1997). “Balinese Hinduism and the Indonesian State: Recent Developments”. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- in Volkenkunde. Brill. Deel 153, 1st Afl .: 15–41.
  • Robinson, S. (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Routledge.
  • Williams, RB (2001). An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136-138.

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