This will be a "growing list".
Please do visit again.
0) Ohm / Aum -
The most sacred symbol for Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and even Sikhs.
Ohm is as ancient as time. Written in numerous scripts and forms, it represents the eternal �hum� that fills the universe.
A pot full of water, topped by flowers, leaves,
It represents the "cornucopia", of fullness, prosperity and fecundity.
2) Tilak / tiko / chandalo
Its the world famous mark on the forehead of Indians � popular in the west for the �bindi� worn by women.
It is a mark of respect. When a
person applies a vermillion / sandalwood / camphor mark to your forehead, they are
showing respect for your intelligence, status, etc. When a husband applies the vermillion
mark to his wife�s forehead, he is showing his respect for is life partner, and,
by using the red vermillion, he is promising to protect her with his very life
Religious sects use the tilak as a very public sign of their uniqueness. Each sect�s tilak is imbibed with
their own philosophy and represents their own ideals / ideas.
In social gatherings, people apply tilaks to each other as a mark of unity and mutual respect.
The Hindu swastika points in a clockwise direction, for millennia, it has been a
symbol of progress, social, spiritual and financial.
Its usually of red colour to symbolise its auspiciousness.
When made out of seeds, grains, pulses and other food items, it represents bounty of nature and natural cycle of life.
Most religions consider the fire to be of divine origin. Hence, the lamp is a representative
of the divine, invoked at all auspicious occasions to witness our deeds. It represents knowledge, up-liftment,
and light � the light of truth.
5) Abil, Gulal, Sindur, Chanda
These powders represent
health, vitality and beauty.
They are the "make-up powders" of ancient times. These were offered to the divine along with all other items that represented health, wealth, happiness and auspiciousness.
Represent the beauty and bounty of nature, as well as
the temporary nature of all life.
Flowers are either offered singularly, as petals or as a garland.
Of all flowers, the lotus is considered the most
sacred in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religion.
Lotus grows in the muddy waters near the banks of rivers and lakes. It's fragrant lustrous petals and leaves repel water and seldom muddied.
Thus the lotus represents the ideal of "detachment". Though surrounded by the world, you should strive to remain aloof from it all like the lotus !
Coconut represents the human head.
Like our head, it too is hairy and hard on the outside, soft on the inside and is full of water !
It also has three dots that give it the look of a "face" and thus, the humble coconut is often used to represent "us", our own intellect, our own ego and we offer that to God !
We worship the ideals the idol represents.
That is why, despite several iconoclastic centuries of foreign rule, we have not given up on "God" - as he is truly omnipresent for us.
10) Prasad / Sacrament
Food is offered to the divine as a symbol of our gratitude for what the Gods
have provided us.
Sacrament is Gods' grace and is taken as divine gift.
All the colours have symbolic meanings. Often, colours are specifically
associated with certain deities. For example, red is associated with
Ganesh, Lakshmi and Durga. Yellow is associated with Surya, Vishnu and
Krushna. Black is associated with Shani and Yama, Ash is associated with
Shiva, Vermillion with Devi, Chandan with Vishnu etc.
Animals are part of the divine universe and are associated with specific
deities. For example, mouse is associated with Ganesh ; eagle is
associated with Vishnu ; bull is associated with Shiva and Lion is associated
13) Sacred / holy water
Usually from sacred rivers, stream and pools, water plays an important role in
Hindu worship. Holy water from rivers like the Ganges, Yamuna, Krishna and
14) Incense and perfume oils
Incense and perfume oils made from fragrant flowers and plant extracts are used
to make the atmosphere conducive to meditation and worship.
� Bhagwat Shah [email protected]
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