Hinduism is rich in symbolism. Many acts of worship, such as puja, are symbolic. Many symbols are considered auspicious, embodying the notion of inner purity. Sacred emblems are displayed in the home or temple to invoke good fortune.
Symbolism of Gods & Goddesses
Brahma holds the Vedas in his hands
Vishnu holds a conch which stands for the five elements and eternity; a discus, which is the symbol of the mind; a bow that symbolizes power and a lotus which is the symbol of the cosmos.
Shiva's trident represents the three gunas.
Krishna's flute symbolizes divine music.
- Aum, also written "Om" and called pranava, is the most important Hindu symbol. Its prolonged intonation is associated with the primeval sound through which the universe was created. It consists of three syllables — a-u-m — are considered to symbolise the three states of consciousness – waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. The entire symbol represents the fourth state, which is the awareness of one's own spiritual identity. Aum is the most important mula (root) mantra and is thus chanted at the beginning of many prayers, mantras, and rituals.
- Swastik – It is the symbol of Lord Ganesh, the Vignhaharta. It is for general good luck and prosperity.
- Trishul – is a symbol of protection and can also be used for spiritual advancement. It is also a Tanrtik symbol.
- Beads – These are used in many forms and denominations from coral to amber to rudraksha and for many purposes from spirituality to prosperity and to ward off the evil eye. Rudraksha especially is a symbol of Shiva and comes in various shapes, sizes and facets.
- Bull – A symbol of strength, power and determination.
- Crescent Moon – Auspicious in all religions.
- Ring – It signifies eternity as it a symbol with no beginning or end.
- Serpent symbolizes knowledge and healing from diseases.
- Mesha (Aries) – The rashi lord is Mars (Mangal); Moonga (coral) the recommended stone.
- Vrishabh (Taurus) – The rashi lord is Venus (Shukra); diamond is the recommended stone.
- Mithun (Gemini) – The rashi lord is Mercury (Budh); green emerald is the recommended stone.
- Karka (Cancer) – The rashi lord is Moon (Chandra); the recommended stone is pearl.
- Simha (Leo) – The rashi lord is the Sun (Surya); the recommended stone is ruby (manek).
- Kanya (Virgo) – The rashi lord is Mercury (Budh); the recommended stone is green emerald.
- Tula (Libra) – The rashi lord is Venus (Shukra) and the recommended stone is diamond.
- Vrishchik (Scorpio) – The rashi lord is Mars (Mangal); the recommended stone Moonga (coral).
- Dhanu (Sagittarius) – The rashi lord is Jupiter; the recommended stone yellow sapphire (Pukhraj).
- Makar (Capricorn) – the rashi lord is Saturn (Shani); the recommended stone blue sapphire.
- Kumbha (Aquarius) – The rashi lord is Saturn (Shani); the recommended stone is blue sapphire.
- Meena (Pisces) – The rashi lord is Jupiter (Guru); the recommended stone is yellow sapphire.
Colours play a very important role in culture and religion and have a very deep significance transcending purely aesthetic values. Hindu artists used colours for their deities and their adornments to signify these qualities.
RED – In Hindu religion, red is of utmost significance and the colour of choice for most auspicious occasions like weddings, birth of a child, festivals etc. A red mark (Tilak) is put on the forehead during ceremonies and important occasions. Hindu women usually put a red powder (sindoor) in the parting of their hair to signify their married status. Red is also usually the preferred colour for the wedding garb itself. It is the colour of strength (Shakti) and progress (pragati). It is the colour of energy, war and fire.
SAFFRON – It also represents fire, sometimes more so than red. As saffron represents fire which burns away all impurities, it is considered a symbol of purity. It also represents religious abstinence (monks, priests and those who serve God generally wear this colour). It is the colour of holy men and ascetics who have renounced the world. Wearing this colour is s symbol of the quest for light (knowledge).
GREEN – It symbolizes peace and felicity. It stabilizes the mind. It represents Earth and Vasundhara Devi (the Earth Goddess who represents the Earth, planets and all things ecological).
YELLOW – This is the colour of knowledge and learning. It symbolizes happiness, peace, meditation, competence and mental development. It is the colour of spring and used for activating the mind. Lord Vishnu’s dress is yellow symbolizing his representation of knowledge.
WHITE – This is a mixture of seven different colours, each symbolizing a particular quality. It represents purity, cleanliness, knowledge and peace. The Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge and learning) always wears white and is seated in a white lotus.
BLUE – This is the colour of the Creator and the Destroyer. The oceans, the rivers, the lakes are all blue. The deity who has the qualities of bravery, manliness, determination, the ability to deal with difficult situations, is of a stable mind and depth of character is represented by this colour. Lord Rama and Lord Krishna are always coloured blue as they spent their lives protecting humanity and destroying evil.