Here is the list of 10 prime Goddesses in hinduism (no particular order)
Lakshmi (लक्ष्मी) is the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. She is the wife and active energy of Vishnu.
Saraswati (सरस्वती) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. She is a part of the trinity of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the Universe respectively
Durga (दुर्गा), meaning “the inaccessible” or “the invincible”, is the most popular incarnation of Devi and one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti in the Hindu pantheon.
Parvati (पार्वती) is the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of Hindu goddess Shakti. She is the mother goddess in Hinduism and has many attributes and aspects.
Kali also known as Kalika, is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, shakti. She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga (Parvati).
Sita (सीता) is the consort of the Hindu god Rama and is an avatar of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and wife of Vishnu. She is esteemed as a paragon of spousal and feminine virtues for all Hindu women. Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity.
Radha, which means prosperity and success, is one of the Gopis of Vrindavan, and is a central figure of Vaishnava theology.
Rati is the Hindu goddess of love, carnal desire, lust, passion and sexual pleasure. Usually described as the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, Rati is the female counterpart, the chief consort and the assistant of Kama (Kamadeva), the god of love.
the river Ganges is considered sacred and is personified as a goddess known as Ganga. It is worshipped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha.
Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu goddess of nourishment. Anna means “food” or “grains”. Purna means “ful l, complete and perfect”. She is an avatar (form) of Parvati, the wife of Shiva.
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(The Hindu FAQs does not owe any of these images)
1. Hinduism is the world’s 3rd largest religion closely following Christianity and Islam. However, unlike the top 2 religions, 95% of Hindus live in a single nation! Source
2. If you ask a religious Hindu, when did Krishna or Rama live – they will give an answer like 50 million years ago or some other random big number. Actually, it doesn’t matter. Because, Hindus believe in a circular time (rather than the linear time concept in the Western world).
3. Each of our time cycles has 4 main periods – the Satya yuga (golden age of innocence), Tretha Yuga, Dwapara yuga and Kali Yuga. In the last stage, people get so filthy that whole thing is cleaned up and the cycle starts all over again.
4. Hinduism is the oldest of the major extant religions. Its fundamental book – Rig Veda was written over 3800 years ago.
5. Rig Veda was orally passed for 3500+ years in parallel. And yet, its current form has no major discrepancies. It is indeed a stupendous achievement that a major body of work can be orally passed between people in such a large nation with no loss in quality/content.
6. Unlike other major religions, Hinduism doesn’t consider the pursuit of wealth as a sin. In fact, we celebrate wealth in the form of many gods such as Lakshmi, Kubera and Vishnu. Hinduism has a 4 level hierarchy – Kama (pursuit of pleasures including sexual/sensual) – Artha (pursuit of livelihood , wealth and power), Dharma (pursuit of philosophy, religion and doing duties to society) and Moksha (liberation) and we progress from the top to bottom. This is very close to Maslow’s hierarchy and thus Hindus are natural capitalists.
7. Hinduism is the parent religion for 2 of the other major religions of South Asia – Buddhism and Sikhism. It is also closely associated with its sister religion – Jainism.
8. The holiest number for Hindus is 108. This is the ratio of Sun’s distance (from earth)/Sun’s diameter or Moon’s distance (from earth)/Moon’s diameter. Thus, most of our prayer beads have 108 beads.
9. Beyond India, Hinduism is the dominant religion of many exotic regions such as Nepal, Mauritius, Bali, second biggest religion of Fiji & Sri Lanka and at one point covered most of South east Asia – including Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia. Source
10. The Hindu epic of Mahabharatha – that is often used to teach the principles of Hinduism – is written in 1.8 million words long poem (10X the combined length of the Illiad and Odyssey)
11. Unlike all other major religions, we don’t have a founder or a prophet (like Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammad or Buddha). According to Hindus, the religion has no origin (again coming back to the circular concept).
12. Unlike the popular Western conception, Yoga in Hinduism is not merely an exercise routine. It is one of the founding blocks of the religion.
13. The 4 most holiest animals for Hindus are the cow, elephant, snake and peacock (India’s national bird and a wagon of many Hindu gods) – 4 main animals of India.
14.The largest religious structures in the world – Angkor Vat in Cambodia were built by the Hindu kings of South East Asia.
15. Hinduism has no formal Institution – no Pope, no Bible and no central body.
16. Unlike Christians or Muslims, we go to the temple at any time, any day. There are no special Sabbath, Sunday congregations or Friday prayers.
17. Hindu scriptures are organized into Vedas (poems that written in multiple levels from abstract rural level and going deeper into cosmic universe), Upanishads (scientific discourses and arguments about the world), Brahmanas (manuals for ritual performances), Aranyakas (experiments done on human mind and nature in the forests), Puranas (mythologies about Hindu gods) and Itihasas (notebooks on “historical” events”).
18. Hindus don’t mourn for anything and believe that happiness is the highest form of religious achievement. Thus, unlike most other religions there is no sad festivals for us where we are supposed to mourn.
19. Fire & Light are among the holiest of offerings for Hindus. The concept of Yajna – offering things to fire – is considered one of the highest forms of worships in Hinduism. It symbolizes the idea that everything meets its end.
20. Hinduism’s holiest body of works – Rig Veda – talks of 33 main gods.Although most Hindus consider the Vedas as the holiest, none of those 33 gods are in mainstream worship now. Also READ: 330Million Hindu Gods
21. Unlike other major religions, Hindu scriptures ask a number of philosophical questions and is ok with “don’t know” answer for some of them. One of the critical body of these questions is the Prashna Upanishad. unfortunately most of us cannot understand the answer to the fundamental questions posted there.
22. Hindus strongly believe in rebirth and karma. That means my next birth will be determined by my actions of this birth.
23. Hindus hold big chariot processions to carry their gods during special occasions. Some of these chariots can be huge and marauding – sometimes killing people in their path when they lose control. The biggest one of all – Jagannath – gave the English dictionary term Juggernaut -meaning the unstoppable one.
24. Hindus hold Ganga as the purest of all waters and believe that bathing in it can purify them of their sins.
25. Kumbh Mela. It is considered to be largest peaceful gathering in the world with over 100 million people visiting during the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013. Most of the sadhus and saints are said to be in samadhi and appear only to kumbh mela.
The holiest number for Hindus is 108. This is the ratio of Sun’s distance (from earth)/Sun’s diameter or Moon’s distance (from earth)/Moon’s diameter. Thus, most of our prayer beads have 108 beads.
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Image credits to the original owner and Google Images
Shiva One of the most Badass Hindu GOD, also referred to by names like Rudra, Mahadev, Trayambak, Natraja, Shankar, Mahesh, etc. is considered the personification of the Masculine element of the universe. In the holy trinity of Hinduism, he is considered the ‘destroyer’ of cosmos.
Such is the scale of his wrath, that he had cut off, one of the heads of Brahma, who is a major god and also happens to be part of the trinity. Hindu mythology is loaded with his exploits.
The nature and character of Shiva is marked with simplicity, yet there are unpredictable, contradictory and complex philosophical traits in his personality. He is considered the greatest dancer and musician, yet he prefers to stay away from the pomp of the heavens. Shiva is a hermit, lives a secluded life and enjoys the company of heinous and outcast creatures like Pisachas(vampires) and Preta (Ghost). He dresses himself with tiger hide and sprays human ash all over himself. Shiva loves intoxication (opium, cannabis, and hash are openly offered to him in hindu temples to this day!)however, he is known for being kindhearted, selfless and a maintainer of cosmic balance. Not only did he slay demons and egotist demi-gods, he has beaten the hell out of all major Heroes of Indian Mythology like Arjuna, Indra, Mitra etc. at some point to destroy their ego.
In contemporary Hindu religion, Shiva is one of the most revered gods. But he is also the most feared.
There are many versions of this story. However in all of them, there are certain common observations. Brahma was a conformist, brahmanical god. A critical study of his character would reveal his prejudice and unfair bias towards Rakshas, Gandharva, Vasu, non-human races and lower forms of creation. Brahma is not immortal. He sprang out of Vishnu’s navel and was entrusted the responsibility of creating mankind. Shiva on the other hand is something different and beyond Brahma. As the omnipresent present manforce of the cosmos, Shiva adored all forms of creation without any bias and prejudice. There are no sacrifices allowed in Shiva temples. Even breaking coconuts (which is symbolic of human sacrifice) is forbidden, despite sacrifice being an essential element of Vedic/brahmanical culture.
Shiva’s boons to rakshasas were the root cause of all major disturbances and invasion on paradise (Swarga). Brahma’s four heads were representative of four dimensions of his thinking. One of it looked down upon of Shiva, and was purist and Devkula (Aryan stock convieniently!) supremacist. Brahma had some grudge against Shiva, for he had slayed one of Brahma’s biological sons Daksha (who also happened to be Shiva’s father in law!!).
Still in his Shankara (cool) form, Shiva had requested Brahma on various occasions to be more kind and inclusive, but that was all in vain. Finally succumbing to his anger, Shiva assumed the dreaded form of Bhairava and chopped off the Brahma’s fourth head that represented his egoist side.
Shiva is representative of the egalitarian and all-inclusive spirit of Hinduism. He was on the verge of supporting Ravana against Ram, if not for Ravana’s towering ego. Though the list of his victims includes the who’s who of Indian mythology (He didn’t spare even his own son Ganesh!), Shiva is considered the easiest god to be pleased.
Some More Info
Symbols of Shiva
1. Trishul : knowledge, desire and implementation
2. Ganga : flow of wisdom and spiritual teachings
3. Moon : Shiv is Trikal-Darshi, master of time
4. Drum : words of vedas
5. Third Eye : destroyer of evil, when it opens it destroy anything that comes in vision
6. Serpent : ego as ornament
7. Rudraksh : creation
Bhasm on body and rudraksh never dies like flowers and does not have any distraction (smell)