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Hinduism is one of the world's most widely practiced religions, although many people associate Hinduism with India.  People have come to other countries from India, helping Hinduism to spread throughout Asia, including places such as Nepal, Tibet, and Indonesia.  While a few of these countries have adapted and changed Hinduism to make it more compatible with indigenous cultures, the Gods and Goddesses that form the backbone of Hindu mythology remain the same.  These Gods and Goddesses often have a central character with several different incarnations, each with its own distinct characteristics.  To some, it may seem like a contradiction but Hindus worship many forms of God, yet each of these is believed to be part of the same concept of God. 

Hindu religion, somewhat like Christianity, is based on a three-part God.  In Hinduism, the trinity is based on three Gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.  These three major figures each have a defining role.  Brahma is considered the lord of creation, having said to grow as a lotus plant in the navel of Vishnu, the protector of the world.  Brahma created himself a Goddess, named Gayatri, so that he could create the world and human beings.  Brahma is generally depicted as a four-headed, grandfatherly figure that often appears floating in the air before praying supplicants.  His wife Gayatri is also known by many other names, such as Saraswati, who is the Goddess of music, creative arts, and knowledge. 

Vishnu is considered the preserver and protector of creation.  He is said to be the embodiment of goodness and mercy, and is the all-powerful force that works unseen to maintain cosmic order or Dharma (a Hindi word and concept meaning, "That which binds together").  Vishnu is most often seen resting on a coiled serpent, with his consort Lakshmi rubbing his feet.  Additionally, Vishnu is usually represented as resting because he never sleeps, keeping an ever vigilant watch on the world.  Vishnu has nine separate incarnations, each with weapons to care for and protect the world. 

Shiva, the final deity in the Hindu trinity, is the destroyer.  However, Shiva is not seen as a figure of evil.  Instead, he makes change possible by destroying the old elements and people in the world so they can be reincarnated.  Shiva is most often represented as traveling about on his white bull Nandi, and can also be seen cross legged and with his many arms in the air as he rests in his home atop Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas. 

Representations of each Hindu God and Goddess are treasured art works for many Hindus.  It is by looking at the images and contemplating each attribute of their higher being that Hindus find the peace and strength necessary to tackle everyday life.  However, these icons, along with stories of the Gods and Goddesses themselves, are becoming popular with art collectors as well, and are now widely available throughout the world.


 

 
Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
Code:12265
Price:$15.95
Soapstone Ganesha ~ 5 Inches
Soapstone Ganesha ~ 5 Inches
Code:10743
Price:$12.95
Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
Code:12268
Price:$15.95
12 Inch Bronze Natraj
12 Inch Bronze Natraj
Code:12213
Price:$44.95
Buddha Head ~ Bronze
Buddha Head ~ Bronze
Code:10924
Price:$34.95
 
 

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