A Brief Introduction to some Hindu Gods

Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
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Flag of India  , Jharkhand,
Friday, January 14, 2011

(as given by our train companions)

Ganesh - Intelligence

You cannot rely on one sense alone. To be intelligent you must both see and hear. An elephant has such big ears it can use them to cover its eyes if it chooses. But it does not. It both sees and hears. This is why Ganesh, the elephant god, represents intelligence.

Sarswati - Knowledge

For knowledge you need both imagination/creativity and logic. Sarswati holds a musical instrument in one hand to represent creativity, and a pile of books in the other to represent logic.

Shiva - the Lingam

Shiva is worshipped in the form of the lingam (phallus) because it is both something and nothing. Both form and formless. Both meaningful and non-figurative. It is non-representation; an icon that is not totemic, whilst still being, quite literally, a totem.

Dushera - a festival to celebrate all non-living things, all things that make life easier. Shoes are worshipped, cooking instruments are worshipped, catalytic converters...etc.etc. The buses are so decorated with veneration that the drivers can hardly see out of the window.

The goddesses with eight arms, ten arms, a thousand arms.

She is not intended as a goddess with multifarious limbs. She represents the thousands of jobs a woman does in her daily life.

A guide to choosing your own personal god

My friend likes one kind of sweet, I prefer another. To make me happy, my friend will make for me the type of sweet I like to give to me. To make my friend happy, I will make the type of sweet she likes to give to her. Both sweets are made of the same ingredients. It is only the preparation that varies.

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