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Sacred Symbols

Endearing Icons of Hindu Art & Culture

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Sacred Symbols

Image Gallery of Hindu Symbols

Mankolam

Mankolam, the pleasing paisley design, is modeled after a mango and associated with Lord Ganesha. Mangos are the sweetest of fruits, symbolizing auspiciousness and the happy fulfillment of legitimate worldly desires. Aum.View Image

Shatkona

Shatkona, "six-pointed star," is two interlocking triangles; the upper stands for Siva, purusha and fire, the lower for Shakti, prakriti and water. Their union gives birth to Sanatkumara, whose sacred number is six. Aum. View Image

Mushika

Mushika is Lord Ganesha's mount, the mouse, traditionally associated with abundance in family life. Under cover of darkness, seldom visible yet always at work, Mushika is like God's unseen grace in our lives. Aum. View Image

Konrai

Konrai, Golden Shower, blossoms are the flowering symbol of Siva's honeyed grace in our life. Associated with His shrines and temples throughout India, the Cassia fistula is lauded in numberless Tirumurai hymns. Aum. View Image

Homakunda

Homakunda, the fire altar, is the symbol of ancient Vedic rites. It is through the fire element, denoting divine consciousness, that we make offerings to the Gods. Hindu sacraments are solemnized before the homa fire. Aum. View Image

Ghanta

Ghanta is the bell used in ritual puja, which engages all senses, including hearing. Its ringing summons the Gods, stimulates the inner ear and reminds us that, like sound, the world may be perceived but not possessed. Aum. View Image

Gopura

Gopuras are the towering stone gateways through which pilgrims enter the South Indian temple. Richly ornamented with myriad sculptures of the divine pantheon, their tiers symbolize the several planes of existence. Aum. View Image

Kalasha

Kalasha, a husked coconut circled by five mango leaves on a pot, is used in puja to represent any God, especially Lord Ganesha. Breaking a coconut before His shrine is the ego's shattering to reveal the sweet fruit inside. Aum. View Image

Kuttuvilaku

Kuttuvilaku, the standing oil lamp, symbolizes the dispelling of ignorance and awakening of the divine light within us. Its soft glow illumines the temple or shrine room, keeping the atmosphere pure and serene. Aum. View Image

Kamandalu

Kamandalu, the water vessel, is carried by the Hindu monastic. It symbolizes his simple, self-contained life, his freedom from worldly needs, his constant sadhana and tapas, and his oath to seek God everywhere. Aum. View Image

Tiruvadi

Tiruvadi, the sacred sandals worn by saints, sages and satgurus, symbolize the preceptor's holy feet, which are the source of his grace. Prostrating before him, we humbly touch his feet for release from worldliness. Aum. View Image

Trikona

Trikona, the triangle, is a symbol of God Siva which, like the Sivalinga, denotes His Absolute Being. It represents the element fire and portrays the process of spiritual ascent and liberation spoken of in scripture. Aum. View Image

More Symbols on the Next Page: Rooster, Rudraksha, Sun & Moon, Lance, Trident, Cobra, Flag, Wheel of Time, Sivalingam, Modaka, Noose, Goose...

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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