Questions tagged [symbolism]

Questions about symbols and iconography, which are used to symbolizing the ideas and concepts of philosophical and spiritual meanings behind.

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23
votes
3answers
18k views

Why is there a Damaru attached to Lord Shiva's trishul?

Why is a Damaru attached to the Trishul that Lord Shiva carries? What does that Damaru signify?
20
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7answers
7k views

Why don't men wear the likes of Mangal-Sutra to signify they are married?

In Hinduism, brides wear Mangal Sutra to signify that they are married. Additionally, the use of sindoor, red kumkum powder also applied along the parting of the hair, is also worn by married women. ...
20
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3answers
1k views

What is the significance of the swastika?

The swastika symbol is used in many ceremonies, such as the yagya, among others. What is its significance? Also, what is the correct direction for the swastika? This or its mirror image?
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6answers
27k views

What is the meaning of the word “Shiva”?

Is "Shiva" just a name of a God or does the word actually denote something? In other words, what is the real meaning of the word "Shiva" (also spelled as Śiva or शिव)?
16
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8answers
6k views

What is the significance of the saffron color?

Hindu sanyasis/monks wear saffron colored robes. Is there any scriptural reasons for saffron? Or is it just cultural since Buddhist monks also wear saffron ?
15
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7answers
27k views

Are Lord Shiva and Lord Shankar two different deities?

According to TimesofIndia, There is a subtle difference between the Supreme Soul Shiva and Shankar the deity. The Supreme has been worshipped in the oval or egg-shaped form of the Shivalingam. ...
15
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6answers
5k views

Why are Gods and Yogis shown sitting on animals skins?

It can be observed that many Hindu Gods and saints are shown sitting on animal (tiger) skins. What could be the reason behind this?
14
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1answer
916 views

Why does Lord Ganesha have a mouse as his vehicle?

How did Lord Ganesha get a mouse as his vehicle? Is there a story behind this? And what does the mouse signify?
14
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3answers
6k views

Why is the idol of Lord Ganesha immersed in water (visarjana)?

At the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, the idol of Lord Ganesha is usually immersed (referred to as visarjana) in a water body, as the concluding rite. What is the reason behind this? Also, ...
13
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2answers
2k views

What is the significance of or symbolism behind AjanubAhu (आजानुबाहु)?

This wiki article describes AjanubAhu as a person, whose length of arms is so that his finger touch his knee It also claims that many Hindu Gods, saints, kings or great warriors are AjanubAhu. Is ...
12
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3answers
504 views

Significance of certain deities using a particular animal as their vehicle

The Hindu texts are replete with references of deities using a particular animal as their primary vehicle. E.g., Ganesha has a mouse for his vehicle, Shiva uses an ox (Nandi), while Karthikeya is ...
12
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1answer
784 views

What is the significance of the weapons and other items held by the Lord Vishnu?

Lord Vishnu holds a Disc (Chakra), Conch (Sankha), Komidi Gadha, and also holds other elements like a lotus in his hand. Is there any explanation in scriptures of why Lord Vishnu holds these ...
12
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2answers
310 views

Is there a universal symbol for Hinduism?

I have come across many symbols like ॐ , Swastika , Yantra and Lord Shiva's Trident that are generally associated with Hinduism. Just like the cross represents Christianity or crescent represents ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Why do idols of Lord Ganesha only rarely have the trunk turning to the right?

I've rarely seen idols of Lord Ganesha with his trunk turning towards the right. As far as I know, people say that Ganesha idols having the trunk turning towards the right should be given extra care ...
11
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7answers
89k views

Why does lord Shiva wear a Naga (snake) around his neck?

As you can see in many pictures of Shiva, he wears a naga wrapped around his neck. Credits for Image So is there any reason behind keeping that naga around his neck, or is that a vahan for lord Shiv ...
11
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3answers
9k views

Why does Lord Krishna wear peacock feather on His head?

Why does Lord Krishna wear peacock feather on His head? What is the significance of playing Basuri/Flute by Lord Krishna? Is there any reference that took place that made Lord Krishna to wear peacock ...
10
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2answers
644 views

Why are Apsaras always sent to distract sages?

Why are Apsaras frequently sent to distract a sage from his ascetic practices? This theme seems to appear over and over again in many Puranic stories. Is there any significance attached to this theme ...
10
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1answer
3k views

Why is Moon on Lord Shiva's head only shown as crescent?

The story that of, how the Moon god ended up in Lord Shiva's hair, goes like this: Moon god had to get relief from the disease that he got by his own fault. He came to know that the only remedy for ...
10
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2answers
747 views

What is the symbolic meaning behind Lord Shiva sitting in snow clad mountain Kailasa?

We often see lot of pictures of Lord Shiva sitting in the snow clad mountain of Kailasa. Does it represent anything symbolically? P.S. I'm not interested in the story of how Shiva came to live on ...
8
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3answers
4k views

Do birth marks signify anything?

I understand that it may sound little absurd but I have noticed that some people have birth marks and some have none, some birth marks are pretty prominent ones. My question: Do birth marks tell ...
8
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3answers
5k views

Why do Hindus follow the quote “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam”?

I often hear about "Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam" which means "The whole world is one family". What is the story behind this quote?
8
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4answers
7k views

Did Krishna have 16108 wives?

Most Hindus believe that Lord Krishna had 16108 wives. Can someone explain this? I have heard that, according to Srimad Bhagavata, the number "16108" has a different philosophical meaning. What does ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Why do Hindu Gods have multiple organs?

Why do Hindu Gods have multiple heads & multiple shoulders? Is it just meant to symbolically represent the God we worship is cosmic?
8
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1answer
2k views

Why does Krishna suck his toe while lying on a Banyan leaf?

The very famous imagery of a baby Krishna sucking his own toes is mentioned in various places. The first paragraph of the Balamukundashtaka clearly depicts the scene: Kararvinde na padarvindam ...
8
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2answers
2k views

What is the symbolic representation of Swami Natarajar? What is the reason of using him in all classical dances?

I heard about many interesting facts about Swami Natarajar's pose but I am not OK with the answers and I haven't had strong reasons for them. I am looking for the pose of Swami such as Swami having ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Is Sambhoga (sex) the need of the body or soul as per Vedas?

I am not sure if there is an explanation to this question in Vedas or not but it came to my mind because we have often heard about 'KaamDeva' in mythological stories and what was expected of him when ...
7
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2answers
87 views

Real or virtual banayan tree?

Bhagvad Gita says: Bg 15.1 — The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is said that there is an imperishable banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are ...
7
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1answer
6k views

What is the reason behind Lord Kartikeya holding a rooster flag?

Kartikeya (also called Muruga, Skanda, Subrahmanya) is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. He is mostly worshiped in the southern part of India. He is also the commander-in-chief of the army of the ...
7
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2answers
1k views

What is the significance of Lord Ayyappa's sitting posture?

Lord Ayyappa is mostly shown as sitting in a peculiar posture. Like shown in the images given below: When i checked his Dhyana Sloka in order to find out whether this posture is any particular ...
7
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1answer
3k views

What is the meaning behind Shiva with 26 heads and 52 hands?

I was wondering what the meaning is behind Shiva's 26 heads and 52 hands in a temple in Tamil Nadu? I have never seen him in this form before.
7
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1answer
2k views

What are the symbols and weapons in the hand of Sadashiva?

Sadashiva is described as being eternal form of Lord Shiva. He is represented with Five-faces and ten hands. The five heads of Sadashiva are known as Sadyojata [West facing], Vamadeva [North facing], ...
7
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0answers
192 views

What is the significance of bride leading the groom during Saptapadi?

This question has nothing to do with feminism or anything else. In Vedic or Hindu religion every step has deep meaning or significance. I know the significance of sacred oaths taken during Saptapadi. ...
7
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1answer
495 views

Why is Vishnu described as holding a vessel and a mirror?

When a mantra is given in the Puranas, it's usually preceded by a Dhyanam, which describes the appearance of the god whom you're supposed to meditate upon before reciting the mantra. For instance, in ...
6
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2answers
800 views

What is the Yogic meaning of getting liberation by reaching Varanasi?

Varanasi which is also known by the name Kashi is one of the the most sacred place. It is also known as Avimukta which means which is never forsaken by Shiva. अविमुक्तं स्वयं लिङ्गं स्थापितं परमा...
6
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1answer
1k views

Why is Lord Shiva called NilaLohita?

NilaLohita which means the Lord who is both Blue and Red. Nila means blue and Lohita means Red. NilaLohita is one of the popular name of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is called by the name NilaLohita itself ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Which Hindu scriptures discuss Kapāla Mokṣa?

If you ever attended a Hindu funeral or cremation, you will notice that it is customary to wait until the kapāla (skull) of the deceased cracks. I think this is taken as a sign of the deceased person'...
6
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1answer
423 views

Is the mirrored image Swastika forbidden or inauspicious?

There is already a question about the significance of the swastika and Pandya's answer describes it in detail, but one part of it says : Note: only right Swastika is almost used and reverse (left) ...
6
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1answer
312 views

Are Karthikeya and Mars same?

I was recently watching a documentary about symbolism in ancient culture on YouTube. It proclaims that Karthiyeka and Mars are same, which per my information is a new concept. Can someone corroborate ...
6
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2answers
529 views

What is the origin of Namaskar? What does it signify?

Namaskar or Namaste is the traditional way of greeting/praying in India. Also in temples we use the same gesture to pray to the Lords. As Hinduism is hiding many unknown facts in it's rituals, curious ...
5
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3answers
643 views

Does the word “Indrajāla” (Indra's net) have any connection to the god Indra?

Does the Sanskrit word Indrajāla (Indra's net) have any connection to Indra or Arjuna? Has this word been used in any Hindu scripture? If so in what context? This Sanskrit dictionary suggests the ...
5
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4answers
11k views

What is that flow of water on the head of lord Shiva?

You can see in many pictures of lord Shiva a flow of water like this: Source: satishverma.deviantart.com What exactly is it?
5
votes
2answers
722 views

What is the reason behind considering number 12 as special?

Purna Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 12 years. It is also believed that spiritual progress happens in practitioners in the cycle of 12 years i.e., it takes 12 years of disciplined practice to change ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

Does any scripture mention that forms of God or Goddess are symbolic?

Often I read different interpretations of the Forms of God. For example, the ten hands of Durga repesent the ten directions, the standing of Kali over Shiva repesent the Saguna Brahman or Prakriti ...
5
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1answer
529 views

What is the symbolic meaning behind the siva-sakthi triangle?

What is the symbolic meaning behind the siva-sakthi triangle? I know there are several variations of symbols that can represent her, but what does this upside-down triangle with the dot in the ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Do Hindus mourn the death of animals the same way they mourn their deceased relatives?

Hindus remain austere and refrain from participating in any religious ritual for a specified number of days (mostly 13) when any family member expires. The popular thought is that the home becomes "...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

What does three steps of Vamana avataar symbolize?

I very well understand the story of Bali and Vamana but as a common man I would like to understand what exactly does three steps of Vamana (Vishnu avataar) symbolize?
5
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1answer
799 views

What does a Dove symbolize?

In Christianity a dove symbolizes peace. Does it have a similar meaning in Hinduism if any meaning at all?
5
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2answers
1k views

Does Hindu scripture say anything about Third Eye visions?

Recently, while meditating, I had a vision of Lord Ganesha. The vision came to my 3rd Eye. The vision was of an Elephant, with its Trunk pointed down, but swaying back and forward, almost in a ...
5
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1answer
620 views

Could you explain the Sad Bhuja form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?

Could you explain the Sad Bhuja form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ?
5
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2answers
8k views

Historicity of the Bhagwa flag

I know of Marathas and Rajputs using bhagwa flags as their official hoists, but is there some older (Puranic) legend in associating the bhagwa flag with Hinduism? I'm very specific about the origin ...