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I always wonder why Hindu Gods carry weapons. I mean they are "Gods", why do they need weapons?

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  • They don't need weapons. However they carry them just to assure the worshiper that they are in control and will take care of everything. After all, in the initial stages of bhakti, the devotees worship God out of fear and need for protection, thus the form of the deity gives a sort of assurance and keeps the mind from fears.
    – Sai
    Jan 11 '16 at 1:37
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    Journalist and economist S.Gurumurthy once jokingly said that Hindus gave all their weapons to their gods and remained in peace while the Abrahamic God gave weapons into his poeple and they fight with each other.
    – Bharat
    Jan 11 '16 at 20:15
  • Related: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/2609/…
    – pbvamsi
    Jul 26 '16 at 9:49
  • Because they like fighting every time .... ;) Actually they hold powers and they can control the weapons and also reposnibilities are performed by them.
    – prem30488
    Dec 9 '16 at 7:01
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First I feel the terminology of "God" is unsuitable. Unfortunately in English there is no proper translation of Devtā. Deity is closer.

In Hinduism devās are seen as friends and guides and hence human qualities were projected on them. This can be seen throughout the Rig Veda. Hinduism evolved from tribal roots and also assimilated tribal cultures into it. The deities are thus portrayed as how a human helper or a protector would be - with weapons.

The Rig Vedic people didn’t worship in temples but did in fire altars. Given that temples were a later development, lots of metaphorical and philosophical ideas had developed behind the iconography.

In the book "Hindu Iconology - The study of the symbolism and meaning of Icons", Pandit Sri Rama Ramanuja Achari outlines the symbolic meanings behind many aspects of Hindu iconography.

Here are some of them:

Iconography 1 Iconography 2 Iconography 3 Iconography 4

For further information on Hindu iconography refer to this e-book.

Sometimes even the weapons themselves are given human form. For example Sudarshana Chakra is given anthropomorphic form and known as Chakkrath Azhwar in Tamil.

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  • Should we just take Sri Ramanuja Achari's word for the what the symbols or Gods' weapons mean or are they backed by Hindu scripture? It would be great if you can cite those scriptures in your answer. Jan 11 '16 at 20:34
  • It is up to you to take Ramanuja Achari's words or not. I would trust Aacharyas & Gurus. Hinduism is not a book based religion, so one needn't be too particular about finding a quote from the 'books' when an Aacharya has said it. Again this is just my opinion.
    – Bharat
    Jan 11 '16 at 20:41
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    Yeah, it's definitely okay to cite the words of an Acharya on this site. By the way, you should be wary of Rama Ramanujachari; he's a Sri Vaishnava Acharya, but his views are quite heterodox. He calls his views "Metkalai", because he has disagreements with both Thenkalais and Vadakalais. He doesn't even believe in the existence of Vaikuntha! I wouldn't be surprised if he believed that Vishnu doesn't even have a physical form, and that it's all just symbolism. Jan 11 '16 at 20:57

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