It originated in India and at over 7000 years old it is also the worlds oldest living religion. The goal of practicing Hinduism is to attain self-realisation and in doing so liberate yourself from the cycle of reincarnation.
There is only one God in Hinduism but God is experienced in many different ways and so appears in many different forms.
The Hindu god can be male or female, sexless or hermaphrodite in nature. There are hundreds of thousands of gods but the three main gods seen throughout Hinduism are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, they make up the trinity of gods.
Brahma is the creator of the universe. Legend tells us that Brahma was self-born within a lotus flower. His wife is Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. Together they are the creator and educator of the universe. Brahma had 10 ‘mind sons’ and it is believed that they are the fathers of the human race. Each god has a vehicle and Brahma’s is a divine swan, known as hamsa.
Vishnu is known as the preserver of life and nourisher of the earth. His blue skin and four arms easily identify him. Vishnu’s wife Lakshmi is never far from his side, she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Vishnu is also known as the deity of peace and truth. On the cheeky side he is also known as the god of eroticism. All around he is known as peaceful god. Vishnu’s vehicle is a garuda, a mythical bird creature that appears to be part man.
And finally we have Shiva, the destroyer of the universe and the destroyer of the ego. He keeps the world in balance with the help of his wife Parvati. Parvati is known as the Mother Goddess. Shiva is known to take on benevolent forms but at his highest is transcendent and formless. Phallic statues adorn all of Shiva’s temples, representing the necessary energy for life. If you’re ever unsure as to which god you are looking at an easy way to recognize Shiva is by the third eye on his forehead. Shiva’s vehicle is a bull known as Nandi.
All together these three impressive gods are known as the Trimurti or the great trinity; a pod of creation, maintenance, and destruction. Their wives together are known as the Tridevi.
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