The one thing that really surprises non-Hindus is that we worship animals and
plants as God !
One of the most oft asked questions is why do Hindus worship God in animal / plant form ?
All of us have had to answer this at one time or another. Here is my take on the matter -
Hindus have always believed in God as being the truly omnipresent, omnipresent GOD.
It is a common misconception that Hindus believe in many Gods.
Hindus believe in only one God.
Hindus believe the spirit of God pervades the entire universe.
Hence there is only one thing that exists in the universe - GOD !
God is in the stones, air, water, plants, minerals, all life forms and in the vast "emptiness" of the space.
Thus GOD to Hindus is "Polymorphic", ie GOD is manifested as the universe itself !
Just as water in its gaseous, vapour, liquid and solid form, is still water, God, in which ever form we perceive it, is still God !
Hindus believe the Vedas are God's conversation with man. They explore the
loving relation that exists between man and God.
Vedas are the first to announce the monotheistic principle. In its hymn - Purusha-Sukta, God is envisioned as a human, with the rivers forming His veins and arteries, mountains are the bones, sun and moon are the eyes of the divine, and plants are the hair on His body. All beings, great and small, are part and parcel of this Divine being. There is nothing outside that divine, and hence, this divine is everything !!
Those who think there are other principles besides God in the universe, are the
polytheistic believers ! Those who think they can help God achieve
specific goals, cast doubt on God�s omnipotence. Those who think God
exists in some places and not in others, or amongst some people and not amongst
others, cast doubt on God�s omnipresence.
We do not do that ! We believe God is in everything and is everywhere.
God exists in all places and in equal measure. Just as gold is gold, no
matter how it is fashioned � as ring or a crown, God is God, whether
formed as man or a monkey ! We are not polytheistic, we are monotheistic
in the truest sense of the word.
Hindus accept that there are things in the universe that are considered by us to
be good and things that we consider to be bad. But, that�s from our point
For example, Carbon Dioxide is a gas that can spell death for us, but, it gives life to plants. So, sometimes things may have seemingly conflicting �nature� to it.
Vedas explain that this is an integral part of God and is the sort of complexity that is seen in a �play�. Hence the universe is explained as a divine �lila� � divine play.
And so, to the Hindus, the universe is full of God�s grace and is a
manifestation of God�s own sense of humour. We see God�s grace in rain, in
the rivers that bring us life, in the plants that sustain our lives, and in the
fire that warms us. We see God in the earth that supports us, in the
smallest microbe that helps us digest our food, to the Sun that governs our
solar system. We see Tandava - Lord Shiva's dance of destruction - in the
earthquakes, storms and floods that threaten to wipe out all our work. We
see God's divine play in creation as well as destruction that surrounds us all
Indra is the rain-bearing nature of the Divine.
Agni is the bright, warm, all consuming fiery nature of the Divine.
Varun is the deep, dark, life giving watery nature of the Divine.
Usha is the Divine as a maiden at dawn.
Nisha is the soothing, restive nature of the Divine.
Bharati and Gayatri are the knowledge giving aspects of the Divine.
Yama is the form of the Divine that dispenses karmic justice to all.
Marutas are the different types of wind that range from the soft warm breezes to storms.
Rudra is what we perceive to be the angry face of God.
God is manifest in the little ants that make enormous colonies.
God is mnifest in the diverse plant life that communicates without talking.
God is there in the thunder and the rainbow that follows.
God is there in the deepest ocean and the farthest corner of the uncharted universe.
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