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As per the Hindu religion, the Supreme Being contains
both masculine and feminine traits. The female part is as important as
the male part. One has to consider the feminine aspect of the divine, in
order to know the ultimate truth. It is believed that all goddesses of
the Hindu pantheon are special forms of the divine mother- Shakti. To
recognize the feminine aspect, it is necessary to restore wholeness,
completeness and universality.
There are many goddesses and local deities in the Hindu mythology. Here
we will discuss some of the popular Hindu goddesses (forms of Shakti).
Goddess Durga ( Mother )
Durga symbolizes the power of the Supreme Being that maintains moral
order and righteousness in the universe. Worship of the goddess Shakti
is very popular among the Hindu people. Durga stands for the unified
symbol of all divine forces (Shaktis).
Lakshmi is the auspicious goddess of wealth and fortune, whether it is
material or spiritual. The word ''Lakshmi'' has been derived from the
Sanskrit word Lakshay, meaning "aim" or ''goal''. Goddess Lakshmi
suggests the aim of life, which includes all worldly and spiritual
Saraswati Devi is the Goddess of arts, music, knowledge, and wisdom.
Saraswati is considered as the divine consort of Lord Brahma, the
Creator of the universe in the Hindu Religion.
Kali is one of the many forms of Shakti. Maha Kaali is the fiercest of
all goddesses of Hinduism. The word Kali has its roots in the Sanskrit
word "Kaal" which means time. And nothing escapes from time. Goddess
Kali is sometimes referred as the goddess of death.
Parvati is a well known goddess in the Hindu mythology. Goddess Parvati
is the divine consort of Lord Shiva, the trinity god. Parvati is also
considered as a representation of Shakti or Durga, but the gentle aspect
of that goddess not the fierce one.
The River Goddess Ganga / Ganges is considered as the most sacred river
of the Hindu Mythology. River Ganges is very much popular in India and
is worshipped as a goddess. Ganga is the most revered river in the
Goddess Radha is a well-known personality in Hindu Mythology. She is
also known as Srimati Radharani in the northern part of India. Radha is
usually depicted with her paramour Krishna.
Sita is the consort of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar (incarnation) of
Lord Vishnu. Sita is the one of the most popular goddesses of Indian
History. Devi Sita is regarded as the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi,
the divine consort of Lord Vishnu.
History Of Hinduism
The origin of the Hindu religion is under dispute to
date and many theories about its origin are still being put forward. The
common belief is that the Indus Valley civilization existed near the
river Indus around 3200 B.C.-1600 B.C. They followed a religion that had
a close resemblance to Hinduism. This religion later went through the
influence of the Dravidians and the Aryans around 1500 BC. In the recent
times repeatedly, the theory of Aryan invaders is being challenged.
With the introduction of the Vedas around 1000 BC, a
loose framework of the religion was formed. The Vedas were considered as
the most important holy books as they were believed to provide divine
knowledge. The Vedas are also considered as the foundation of Hindu
philosophy. Upanishads are a part of the Vedas, which lay emphasis on
the metaphysical nature of the universe and soul. In the epics like,
Ramayana, Mahabharata and Manu smriti the essence of the Hindu religion
The term Hinduism
The origin of the term Hindu also has historical
connotations. The Aryan race that settled near the river Sindhu. The
Persians pronounced the word Sindhu as Hindu, and named the Aryan's
Hindus. Thus Hindu is only a mispelt form of Sindhu. The word Hindu was
a geographic rather than a religious term but now it has turned out to
be a loaded term as it is associated with a religion.
The origin of Hinduism
Hinduism was not found by any one person, or does not
have only one core doctrine. There is also no definite time when it
could be said to have begun. It does not require its adherents to accept
any one idea, and thus is cultural; its Ideologies were developed into a
history with the peoples with which it is associated. Hinduism is also
known for an attitude, of accommodating other religious and cultural
perspectives into their own. Thus it has a variety of ideas and
practices resulting in what appears as a multiplicity of religions under
one umbrella 'Hinduism'.
Hinduism maybe the only religious tradition that is
so diverse in its theoretical and practical expressions that it is like
a compilation of religions. Hinduism lacks any definitive beliefs or
ideas. It is a phenomenon and forms a broad spectrum of beliefs and
practices, which are paganism, pantheism and so on. On the other hand it
is very profound, abstract, and full of metaphysical speculations.
Religion and culture are interchangeable terms in
Hinduism. Some expressions like 'Bhakti' (devotion) or 'Dharma' (what is
right) and 'Yoga' (discipline) are used to depict essential aspects of
the religion. Hinduism later in its belief included idol worship,
casteism, reincarnation, 'karma', 'dharma' and 'moksha'. Some moral
ideals in Hinduism include non-violence, truthfulness, friendship,
compassion, fortitude, self-control, purity and generosity.
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