Basic Facts about HINDUISM. Unlike Christianity or Islamic religions, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet or worship any one god
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Unlike Christianity or Islamic religions, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet or worship any one god
Hindu New Year is celebrated at different times of the year by people of different states. Many regions have different calendars with some starting in March while others begin at the time of Diwali, the festival of lights in autumn.
To many Hindus, the Vedas, a large body of texts that originated in Ancient India, are the main source of religious social and religious practices in Hindu society.
Indian Vedic astrology is important to the conduct of any of life's important events such as marriage, applying for a post or admission, buying a house or starting a new business. To millions of Hindus the kundali is an invaluable possession that charts the course of life for a man or a woman from the time of his birth, all ascertained by Vedic mathematics and astrology.
Vishnu is the All-Pervading essence of all beings, the master of and beyond the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within.
Vishnu is described as being the colour of clouds (dark-blue), four-armed, holding a lotus, mace, conch and chakra (wheel).
Vishnu is responsible for the maintenance or 'preservation' of the Universe, with the other roles of creation and destruction being under the care of Brahma and Shiva, respectively.
A 13th Century Cambodian sculpture of Vishnu
Shiva is commonly known as the God of Destruction in Hinduism, but it is more appropriate to call Shiva the God of Regeneration. For while Shiva does have aspects of destruction to his character, he is also associated with procreation.
Infertile women will pray to this representation in hopes of bearing children. Other times Shiva is seen as the god of meditation and asceticism. He will be depicted sitting cross-legged with his eyes half-closed.
This is the god Shiva dancing his cosmic dance. It is believed that the energy from this dance sustains the cosmos, and when Shiva is finished with this dance, this universe will end and a new one will begin.
Shiva has a few special characteristics, for example, the third eye in his forehead. He stands in a circle of flames with one foot on the demon Apasmaradurusa, who symbolizes ignorance. He holds a drum in his right hand, symbolizing the rhythm of the cosmic dance.
"Shiva Nataraja," or "Lord of the Dance." Shiva dances the cosmic dance of destruction on the body of the "dwarf of ignorance."
“Shiva Nataraja (The Dancing Shiva)”. Bronze sculpture. Southern India, ca 1400.
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation.
Although Brahma is one of the major gods in Hinduism, few Hindus actually worship him. India today has very few temples dedicated to Brahma alone as opposed to the thousands of temples dedicated to the other deities in the Trimurti: Shiva and Vishnu.
Brahmā is traditionally depicted with four heads and four faces and four arms. With each head he continually recites one of the four Vedas. He is often depicted with a white beard (especially in North India), indicating the near eternal nature of his existence. He is shown as having four arms, with none holding a weapon, unlike most other Hindu Gods.
A Hindu temple can be a separate structure or a part of a building. A feature of most temples is the presence of murtis of the Hindu deity to whom the temple is dedicated. They are usually dedicated to one primary deity, called the presiding deity, and other subordinate deities associated with the main deity. However, some temples are dedicated to several deities, and some have symbols instead of a murti.
The Elephant-headed God
Ganesh is the elephant headed god of Hindu myth. He is known as the remover of obstacles, patron of merchants and scholars. Ganesha is usually depicted either as a pictograph or as an idol with the body of a man and the head of an elephant, having only one tusk, the other tusk appearing broken. His unique feature, besides the elephant head, is the large belly practically falling over his lower garment. On his chest, across his left shoulder, is his sacred thread, often in the form of a snake.