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Deities Pantheon for Hindus
• The Trimurti
• Brahma: The creator
• Vishnu: The sustainer
• Shiva: The destroyer.
• The Three Main Focuses of
• Vishnu: The sustainer
• Shiva: The destroyer.
• Shakti: (a.k.a. Devi, Parvati,
Durga, etc.) The goddess (Mother
Deities Pantheon for Hindus
• Avatars of Vishnu
Krishna: (top left, with his consort Radha) The cowherd boy. Sometimes Krishna – and less often
Rama – is considered the original Godhead, rather than an avatar of Vishnu. The terms "Vishnu"
and "Krishna" are almost synonymous, despite some debate about their respective positions.
Rama: (second from top left, with his consort Sita) The ideal monarch
• Others
Hanuman: (second from top right) The monkey warrior (connected with Rama)
Lakshmi: (top right) The goddess of wealth and fortune, consort of Vishnu
Saraswati: (bottom left) The goddess of learning and the arts, consort of Brahma
Ganesh: (bottom right) (a.k.a. Ganapati) The remover of obstacles, a son of Lord Shiva
Skanda: (second from bottom left) (a.k.a. Murugan, Karttikeya) Commander in chief of the devas
(Demigods), a son of Lord Shiva
Surya: (second from bottom right) The Sun god, one of the "administrative gods." He is one of five
deities worshipped by the Smartas, who simultaneously venerate Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Ganesh, and
Surya. Sometimes considered a form of Vishnu (Surya-Narayana).
Deities Brahma
• Brahma is the creator god in the Trimurti, the Hindu
• He has four faces, looking in the four directions.
• Brahma is also known as Svayambhu (self-born)
• Though Brahma is often identified with the Vedic god
Prajapati and Hiranyagarbha (the cosmic egg), he
prominently features in the post-Vedic Hindu epics and
the Puranic scriptural narratives. In the epics, he is
conflated with Purusha.
• While Brahma is often credited as the creator of the
universe and various beings in it, many Puranas
describe him being born from a lotus emerging from
the navel of the god Vishnu.
• Brahma does not enjoy popular worship in presentage Hinduism and has lesser importance than the
other members of the Trimurti, Vishnu and Shiva.
Dieties Vishnu
• The peace-loving deity of the Hindu Trinity, Vishnu is the Preserver or Sustainer of life with
his steadfast principles of order, righteousness and truth. When these values are under
threat, Vishnu emerges out of his transcendence to restore peace and order on earth.
• Vishnu’s has ten avatars and the yet to appear 10th incarnation called the Kalki avatar.
• In his commonest form, Vishnu is portrayed as having a dark complexion – the color of
passive and formless ether, and with four hands.
• On one of the backhands he holds the milky white conch shell or ‘sankha’ that
spreads the primordial sound of Om, and on the other a discuss or ‘chakra’ –
a reminder of the cycle of time - which is also a lethal weapon that he uses against
• It is the famous Sudarshana Chakra that is seen whirling on his index finger. The
other hands hold a lotus or ‘padma’, which stands for a glorious existence, and a
mace or ‘gada’ that indicates punishment for indiscipline.
• Out of his navel blossoms a lotus, known as Padmanabham. The flower holds
Brahma, the God of Creation and the embodiment of royal virtues or ‘Rajoguna’.
• Thus, the peaceful form of Lord Vishnu discards the royal virtues through his navel
and makes the Sheshnag snake that stands for the vices of darkness or
‘Tamoguna’, his seat. Therefore Vishnu is the Lord of ‘Satoguna’ - the virtues of the
• Vishnu is often depicted as reclining on a Sheshanaga – the coiled, many-headed
snake floating on cosmic waters that represents the peaceful Universe.
• The vehicle of Vishnu is the Garuda eagle, the king of the birds. Empowered with the
courage and speed to spread the knowledge of the Vedas, Garuda is an assurance of
fearlessness at the time of calamity.
• Vishnu is also known as Narayana and Hari. The devout followers of Vishnu are called
Vaishnavas, and his consort is Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and beauty.
Narasimha (the man-lion) Avatar
Dieties Vishnu 10 avatars
• Matsya fish Avatar
Temple Sculpture at CR Park
Kalibari, New Delhi
Matsya (the fish) Avatar. Photo
Credit: Temple Sculpture at CR
Park Kalibari, New Delhi
Fish that rescues Veda, plants and
animals. One of the ten avatars of
Vishnu that appeared in the Satya
Koorma (the tortoise) Avatar
Tortoise that supports the
churn of the ocean to
obtain treasures dissolved
in the ocean of milk. One
of the ten avatars of
Vishnu that appeared in
Varaha (the boar) Avatar
Boar that raise the earth from
the bottom of the sea. One of
the ten avatars of Vishnu that
appeared in the Satya Yuga.
Narasimha (the man-lion): Manlion who defies classification and
overpowers mortals who seek to
outwit death. One of the ten
avatars of Vishnu that appeared
in the Satya Yuga.
the Satya Yuga.
Vamana (the dwarf) Avatar
Vamana (the dwarf): Dwarf who
claims the sky from the gods and
buries the demons in the underbelly
of the earth. One of the ten avatars
of Vishnu that appeared in the
Treta Yuga.
Deities Vishnu 10 avatars
The Parasurama Avatar
Parasurama (the angry
man, Rama with an
axe): Priest who turns
to violence to kill
unrighteous kings and
unchaste women. One
of the ten avatars of
Vishnu that appeared
in the Treta Yuga.
The Rama Avatar
Lord Rama (the perfect
man, king of Ayodha): King
who uploads old rules at
the cost of personal life.
One of the ten avatars of
Vishnu that appeared in
the Treta Yuga.
The Kalki Avatar
The Krishna Avatar
Lord Krishna (the divine
n who shrewdly changes
rules. One of the ten avatars
of Vishnu that appeared in
the Dwapara Yuga.
The Balarama Avatar
Balarama (elder brother of
Krishna): One of the ten avatars
of Vishnu that appeared in the
Dwapara Yuga. In many versions
of the mythology, the ninth
incarnation is often mentioned
as Lord Buddha.
Kalki (meaning “eternity”/ the mighty
warrior): The last incarnation of
Vishnu who is expected to appear
at the end of Kali Yuga, the time
period in which we currently exist, to
rid the world of the oppression of its
unrighteous rulers.
Deities Shiva
• Shiva is 'shakti' or power,
• Shiva is the destroyer, the most powerful god of the Hindu pantheon and one of the godheads
in the Hindu Trinity.
• Known by many names - Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairava, Vishwanath,
Bhava, Bhole Nath –
• Lord Shiva is perhaps the most complex of Hindu deities.
• Hindus recognize this by putting his shrine in the temple separate from those of other deities.
• Durga is the Mother Goddess and has various names-- Bhavani,
Sherawali, Amba, Chandika, Gauri, Parvati, Vaishno Devi
• She represents the fiery powers of the gods. The name “Durga”
means “inaccessible”, and she is the personification of the active
side of the divine “shakti” energy of Lord Shiva.
• She represents the furious powers of all the male gods, and is the
ferocious protector of the righteous, and destroyer of the evil.
Durga is usually portrayed as riding a lion, and carrying weapons in
her many arms
• Durga is usually portrayed as riding a lion, and carrying weapons
in her many arms. She is the protector of the righteous, and
destroyer of the evil.
• All Hindus celebrate this festival at the same time in different ways
in different parts of India as well as around the world. Every year
during the lunar month of Ashwin or Kartik (September-October),
Hindus observe ten days of ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts in
honor of the supreme mother goddess. It begins with the fast of
“Navaratri”, and ends with the festivities of “Dusshera and
Deities Krishna
• The Most Powerful Incarnation of Vishnu
• The great exponent of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is one
of the most powerful incarnations of Vishnu, the Godhead
of the Hindu Trinity of deities.
• Of all the Vishnu avatars he is the most popular, and
perhaps of all Hindu gods the one closest to the heart
of the masses.
• Krishna was dark and extremely handsome. The word Krishna literally means 'black', and black also connotes
• The Importance of Being Krishna
• People consider Krishna their leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher and friend all rolled into one.
• The Time of the Lord
• Indian as well as Western scholars have now accepted the period between 3200 and 3100 BC as the period in
which Lord Krishna lived on earth.
• Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu
month of Shravan (August-September).
• The birthday of Krishna is called Janmashthami, a special occasion for Hindus that is celebrated around the
• The birth of Krishna is in itself a transcendental phenomenon that generates awe among the Hindus and
overwhelms one and all with its supra mundane happenings.
Deities Rama
• Rama, the perfect avatar of the Supreme Protector
• The most popular symbol of chivalry and virtue, Rama - in
the words of Swami Vivekananda - is "the embodiment of
truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, and
above all, the ideal king."
A Real Historical Figure:
• The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama is said to
have taken birth on earth to annihilate the evil forces of
the age.
• He is widely believed to be an actual historical figure - a
"tribal hero of ancient India" - whose exploits form the
great Hindu epic of Ramayana or The Romance of Rama,
written by the ancient Sanskrit poet Valmiki.
How to Identify Rama:
• To many, Rama is hardly different in looks from Lord
Vishnu or Krishna.
• He is most often represented as a standing figure, with an
arrow in his right hand, a bow in his left and a quiver on
his back.
A Rama statue is also usually accompanied by those of
his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana, and the legendary
monkey attendant Hanuman.
Deities Hanuman
• Hanuman, the mighty ape that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil
forces, described in the epic Ramayana, is one of the most popular idols in the
Hindu pantheon.
• Believed to be an avatar of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is worshipped as a symbol
of physical strength, perseverance and devotion. The character of Hanuman
teaches us of the unlimited power that lies unused within each one of us.
• One of Vishnu's avatars is Rama, who was created to destroy Ravana, the evil
ruler of Lanka. In order to aid Rama, Lord Brahma commanded some gods
and goddesses to take the avatar of 'Vanaras' or monkeys. The god of wind,
was reborn as Hanuman, the wisest, swiftest and strongest of all apes.
• Hanuman directed all his energies towards the worship of Lord Rama, and his
undying devotion made him such that he became free from all physical fatigue.
• Hanuman perfectly exemplifies 'Dasyabhava' devotion — one of the nine types
of devotions — that bonds the master and the servant. His greatness lies in
his complete merger with his Lord, which also formed the base of his genial
• On Tuesdays and in some cases, Saturdays, many people keep fast in honor
of Hanuman and give special offerings to him. In times of trouble, it is a
common faith among Hindus to chant the name of Hanuman.
• Once every year — on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Chaitra (April)
at sunrise — Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of
Dieties Saraswati
• Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and learning, represents the free
flow of wisdom and consciousness.
• She is the mother of the Vedas, and chants to her, called the 'Saraswati
Vandana' often begin and end Vedic lessons.
• The goddess of wisdom, art and music, she is the daughter of Lord
Shiva and Goddess Durga. It is believed that goddess Saraswati
endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning.
She also represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness
• She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in
learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego.
• She has sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus – the symbol of true
knowledge – in the second.
• With her other two hands she plays the music of love and life on a string
instrument called the veena. She is dressed in white – the symbol of
purity – and rides on a white swan – symbolizing Sattwa Guna or purity
and discrimination.
• As a practice, only educated people worship her for knowledge and
wisdom. They believe that only Saraswati can grant them 'moksha' - the
final liberation of the soul.
• Saraswati's birthday - Vasant Panchami - is a Hindu festival celebrated
every year on the 5th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of
Magha. Hindus celebrate this festival with great fervor in temples, homes
and educational institutes alike.
Dieties Goddess Lakshmi
• Goddess Lakshmi means Good Luck to Hindus. The word 'Lakshmi' is derived from the Sanskrit word "Laksya", meaning 'aim' or
'goal', and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. She is the goddess of prosperity, wealth, purity,
generosity, and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm
• Lakshmi is the household goddess of most Hindu families, and a favorite of women. Although she is worshiped daily, the festive
month of October is Lakshmi's special month. Lakshmi Puja is celebrated on the full moon night of Kojagari Purnima.
• The Lakshmi Form
• Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands,
sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility. Her four hands
represent the four ends of human life: dharma or righteousness, "kama" or desires, "artha" or wealth, and "moksha" or
liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
• Cascades of gold coins are seen flowing from her hands, suggesting that those who worship her gain wealth. She always
wears gold embroidered red clothes. Red symbolizes activity and the golden lining indicates prosperity.
• Two elephants are often shown standing next to the goddess and spraying water. This denotes that ceaseless effort, in
accordance with one's dharma and governed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.
• The importance attached to the presence of Lakshmi in every household makes her an essentially domestic deity. Householders
worship Lakshmi for the well being and prosperity of the family.
• On the full moon night following Dusshera or Durga Puja, Hindus worship Lakshmi ceremonially at home, pray for her blessings, and
invite neighbors to attend the puja. It is believed that on this full moon night the goddess herself visits the homes and replenishes
the inhabitants with wealth. A special worship is also offered to Lakshmi on the auspicious Diwali night