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Sacred Symbols

Endearing Icons of Hindu Art & Culture

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Sacred Symbols

Image Gallery of Hindu Symbols

Tripundra

Tripundra is a Saivite's great mark, three stripes of white vibhuti on the brow. This holy ash signifies purity and the burning away of anava, karma and maya. The bindu, or dot, at the third eye quickens spiritual insight. Aum. View Image

Nataraja

Nataraja is Siva as "King of Dance." Carved in stone or cast in bronze, His ananda tandava, the fierce ballet of bliss, dances the cosmos into and out of existence within the fiery arch of flames denoting consciousness. Aum. View Image

Mayil

Mayil, "peacock," is Lord Murugan's mount, swift and beautiful like Karttikeya Himself. The proud display of the dancing peacock symbolizes religion in full, unfolded glory. His shrill cry warns of approaching harm. Aum. View Image

Nandi

Nandi is Lord Siva's mount, or vahana. This huge white bull with a black tail, whose name means "joyful," disciplined animality kneeling at Siva's feet, is the ideal devotee, the pure joy and strength of Saiva Dharma. Aum. View Image

Bilva

Bilva is the bael tree. Its fruit, flowers and leaves are all sacred to Siva, liberation's summit. Planting Aegle marmelos trees around home or temple is sanctifying, as is worshiping a Linga with bilva leaves and water. Aum. View Image

Padma

Padma is the lotus flower, Nelumbo nucifera, perfection of beauty, associated with Deities and the chakras, especially the 1,000-petaled sahasrara. Rooted in the mud, its blossom is a promise of purity and unfoldment. Aum. View Image

Swastika

Swastika is the symbol of auspiciousness and good fortune -- literally, "It is well." The right-angled arms of this ancient sun-sign denote the indirect way that Divinity is apprehended: by intuition and not by intellect. Aum. View Image

Mahakala

Mahakala, "Great Time," presides above creation's golden arch. Devouring instants and eons, with a ferocious face, He is Time beyond time, reminder of this world's transitoriness, that sin and suffering will pass. Aum. View Image

Ankusa

Ankusha, the goad held in Lord Ganesha's right hand, is used to remove obstacles from dharma's path. It is the force by which all wrongful things are repelled from us, the sharp prod which spurs the dullards onward. Aum. View Image

Anjali

Anjali, the gesture of two hands brought together near the heart, means to "honor or celebrate." It is our Hindu greeting, two joined as one, the bringing together of matter and spirit, the self meeting the Self in all. Aum. View Image

Go

Go, the cow, is a symbol of the earth, the nourisher, the ever-giving, undemanding provider. To the Hindu, all animals are sacred, and we acknowledge this reverence of life in our special affection for the gentle cow. Aum. View Image

More Symbols on the Next Page: Mankolam Design, 6-pointed Star, Mouse, Konrai Blossoms, Fire Altar, Bell, Gopuram, Kalasha, Kuttuvilakku, Kamadalu, Tiruvadi, Triangle…

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

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