Today I will be talking about Hinduism. Since we have just entered India, the majority of the population is Hindu. Though, I do see touches of Islam, Sikhism, and Buddism come throughout the land. We have been reading about it here in Varanasi and there are over 300 million gods in Hinduism! Though, all 300 million are supposed to be a representation of one cosmic being. So in a way it is both polytheistic and monotheistic because they are all one but it would be possible to worship multiple.

Though there are more than 300 million gods in Hinduism that does not mean Hindus have to know all of them; they usually only worship a few.

There is Shiva (the destroyer), Ganesh (the deity of all knowledge, intelligence and the destroyer of obstacles), and Lord Vishnu, who uses his four arms to hold up the four corners of the universe, and comes in many forms like Krishna and Rama.

Ganesh’s representations: Ganesh has an elephant head and holds a bowl of sweets meaning the rewards of Sahana. He is also holding an axe that he uses to pry people closer to enlightment. He also sometimes holds a conch shell, representing the call to come and pray. Ganesh will often have his lower left hand open as a gesture of good blessing. A bowl of fruit is also often settled at his foot to pursue people to the right path. He has a trident on his forehead for the past, present, and future. Ganesh has a large stomach to digest all the evil and good in the world. A mouse usally stands by his side and sneaks through cracks to remove obstacles for Ganesh. He also has thin eyes for concentration and large ears to hear the whole wide universe. Last, but not least, Ganesh often holds a lotus flower representing how we can all overcome all obstacles in the world no matter what, to reach enlightment.

Below: Ganesh

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Below: a couple more photos related to Hinduism

 

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