Hindu Deities

LORELAI: Oh, Rory, quick, uh, what are the three major Hindu deities, because I’ve missed four questions in a row and if I miss another one, I don’t think I get dessert.

RORY: Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.

Brahma: The Creator God in Hinduism, part of the trinity he forms with Shiva and Vishnu. He is associated with creation, knowledge, and the sacred texts of the Vedas. He is sometimes seen as the manifest divine presence of the Brahman, the ultimate metaphysical reality, whose name means “creative principle which lies realised in the whole world”. Brahma is commonly depicted as a red or gold-complexioned bearded man with four heads and hands, symbolising the four Vedas and four cardinal directions. He is seated on a lotus and his mount or vehicle is the swan, goose, or crane. Brahma is revered in the ancient texts, yet rarely worshipped as a primary deity in contemporary India, owing to the absence of any significant sect dedicated to his veneration.

Shiva: His name means “auspicious one” in Sanskrit, and he is known as the Destroyer within the trinity, although destruction isn’t his main attribute. His task is to propagate good, end evil, and bring everyone to knowledge of the divine, as he has all the knowledge of the universe. He is the patron god of yoga, meditation, and the arts. He may be shown with a serpent around his neck, a crescent moon, the holy river Ganges flowing from his hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trident as his weapon and the drum as his instrument. His origins are older than the Vedas, and he is worshipped widely by Hindus in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia (especially Java and Bali).

Vishnu: His name means “pervader” in Sanskrit, and he is known as the Preserver within the trinity, as he protects and transforms the universe. Whenever the world is threatened with evil, chaos and destructive forces, Vishnu descends as an incarnation to restore cosmic order and protect good. He is depicted as an omniscient being sleeping in the coils of a serpent which represents time, floating in the primeval ocean of milk which contains the immortal nectar of life.

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