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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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OM, AUM

Hinduism
Many Paths to One God

Gods

Hindus believe that there is one God, Brahman, who is the cause and foundation of all existence. Brahman, being the Absolute, is one, indivisible, unchangeable, beyond action and inaction, beyond good and evil. The Ultimate is referred to as Purushottoma (Highest Spirit), Parameshvara (Highest Lord), Bhagvan (God) and many other terms. But latent within Brahman is the power of life. When this power is manifested in the creation of a universe, it takes the form of maya, the material world.

"Vedic Invocations, which are deemed animistic and crudely pagan by many scholars, merely invoke God through his attributes and functions. He is the Force behind all of nature's mighty forces, the Light behind the light; the Terror behind the terror; the Delight behind delights; the Ultimate Activity behind all activities. Similarly, God's various names in the Vedas are the one God viewed in terms of his attributes, functions, and nature. There is no real suggestion of anything besides the One."

"Hardly polytheism. Long before the burgeoning Hindu pantheon; long before Siva, Vishnu, Rama, Ganesh, Parvati, Saraswati, Laxmi, and the 35,999,993 others, this is the God of the Vedas, and religion in its most pristine form."

Excerpted from: "Empire of the Soul: Some journeys in India" 
by Paul William Roberts.

He is without any form, yet dwells inside and outside all things
With form and shape,
Yet He is entirely free of error, faultless and pure.
He is far beyond anything a human body can comprehend.
And being the Divine Poet. He is inspiration itself.
He maintains peace and harmony because He is both peace and
Harmony made manifest.

-- Yajur Veda

The Supreme Lord is not two. To me belongs the glory of meditating that I, His devoted servant, am He. As one imagines, so one becomes. Therefore, practice the meditation of "I am He." Then all your actions will become His action.  

-- Natchintanai

He is present in all places and rules everywhere.
His power controls utterly all the three regions:
Earth, the Middle-Air, and the highest heavens.
One foot is rooted in things we understand:
But the other rests in a realm of deep, dark mystery,
A place far beyond the knowledge of mankind.

-- Artha Veda

He is substance of every great eternal law,
And He can be perceived in the universal forces of life.
His presence is there in the vast seas,
Across the teeming earth,
And in the soaring mountain peaks.

-- Rig Veda

He is the Supreme Brahman, the Self of all, the chief foundation of this world, subtler than the subtle, eternal. That thou art; thou art That. 

 -- Atharva Veda

Lead me from unreality to reality. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to immortality.

-- Yajur Veda

Whatever exists and wherever it exists is permeated by the same divine power and force. 

-- Yajur Veda

Him who is without beginning and without end, in the midst of confusion, the Creator of all, of manifold form, the One embracer of the universe--by knowing God, one is released from all fetters. 

-- Yajur Veda

He is the never-created creator of all: He knows all. He is pure consciousness, the creator of time, all-powerful, all knowing. He is the Lord of the soul and of nature and of the three conditions of nature. From Him comes the transmigration of life and liberation, bondage in time and freedom in eternity.

 -- Yajur Veda

God is, in truth, the whole universe: what was, what is and what beyond shall ever be. He is the God of life immortal and of all life that lives by food. His hands and feet are everywhere. He has heads and mouths everywhere. He sees all, He hears all. He is in all, and
He is.

 -- Yajur Veda

He is the God of forms infinite, in whose glory all things are, smaller than the smallest atom, and yet the creator of all, ever living in the mystery of his creation. In the vision of this God of love there is everlasting peace. 

-- Yajur Veda

Fire is His head, the sun and moon His eyes, space His ears, the Vedas His speech, the wind His breath, the universe His heart. From His feet the earth has originated. Verily, He is the inner Self of all beings.

 -- Yajur Veda

He the Self, is not this, not that. He is ungraspable, for He is not grasped. He is indestructible, for He cannot be destroyed, He is unattached, for He does not cling to anything. He is unbound, He does not suffer, nor is He injured. 

-- Yajur Veda

All the gods of Hindus represent different expressions of Brahman. In Hindu mythology Brahman appears in the form of the god Brahma to create each universe, in the form of Vishnu to sustain it, and in the form of Shiva to destroy it. Brahma creates each universe from eternally existing material, not out of nothing as in the Christian bible. Hindus believe that nothing which exists is destroyed; only the form changes.

Most Hindus worship an istadevata,  a specific god or goddess chosen by an individual or a family as the main focus for devotion.

Vedic Gods
Early Gods Representing the Heavenly Bodies and the Elements
Agni the life-force, god of fire and sacrifice 
Indra god of war and storm 
Varuna sky god: god of the day and of water
Rudra a mountain god
Dyauspitr the 'heaven father' 
Surya the sun, described as 'the eye of Varuna' 
Later Gods/Divinities
Brahma the creator
Vishnu the preserver and controller of human fate 
Shiva the destroyer, source of both good and evil 
Sarasvati Brahma's consort and goddess of Knowledge and truth
Lakshmi Vishnu's wife, goddess of fortune and beauty

The three principal gods are:

Brahma - creator of the universe
Vishnu - preserver the universe
Shiva - destroyer and creator of the universe. (dual aspect.)

Hindus are are often classified into three groups according to which form of Brahman they worship:

Those who worship Vishnu (the preserver) and Vishnu's important incarnations Rama, Krishna and Narasimha - also known as Vishnuvites (Vaishnava).

Those who worship Shiva (the destroyer) also known as Shivites (Shaiva).

Those who worship the Mother Goddess, Shakti, (also called Parvati, Mahalakshmi, Durga or Kali).

See Also:

Supreme Being

[Hinduism Infocenter Home]

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