A common characteristic of most of the religions is that they generally recognize the existence of a superhuman controlling power. This superhuman controlling power is commonly referred to as ‘God’.
A novel trait of Hinduism is that it is not known as to who founded this religion. It has been founded long, long ago by many unknown sages. It is said these ancient sages who discovered certain Truths, felt that these Truths which they learnt must have come from God. They considered these Truths so sacred that for a long time they did not put them in writing. These were learned by subsequent generation of sages only by hearing and not by reading. These are known as the Vedas.
According to the teachings of the Vedas, there is one and only one God who is referred to as ‘Brahman’. It is said that by His mere will, Brahman manifests Himself as this universe. Hence, creation, preservation and destruction of this world are the three aspects of God. These three basic aspects of God are represented by the Trinity called as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The other gods and goddesses of Hinduism personify the various other endless powers and aspects of God.
If Hinduism believes that there is only one God, why is it that there are so many gods and goddesses in Hindu Religion? Who are these gods? Is there an anomaly or a contradiction? A simple answer to these questions is that for the purpose of worship of this Supreme power (called Brahman), Hinduism creates, permits and accepts several forms of God. Therefore, though these gods and goddesses appear to be different and independent, they are really facets of the same Supreme God.
In Hindu Dharma, therefore, there are several gods or deities. This book is about one such god, Ganesha.
Hanuman is a well-known god in Hinduism. He is known as a monkey-god, and can be seen in temples throughout India. He is depicted in various forms. In some temples his image is set up alone standing with a mace in his hand. In some other places, he is seen with folded hands. In some other temples he is depicted sitting in a devotional posture before the images of Rama and Sita. He is the greatest devotee of Rama. Rama loves him the most. He is the god of power and strength. He remained a celibate and is stated to be an immortal. It is believed that he is present wherever the story of Rama is recited or spoken.
This book contains some of the stories connected to him.
The foundations of Hinduism are the eternal and supersensuous truths discovered by ancient Indian sages. Hinduism has no known founder and we do not know anything about those sages who discovered these truths. These revealed Divine Truths are called the Vedas. Being the revealed scriptures, they are considered the most authentic. There are scriptures supplementing and explaining the truths contained in the Vedas.
According to the teachings of the Vedas, God is the One without a second — the absolute, formless, and only Reality. God is referred to as Brahman, the Supreme Universal Soul. Hinduism is thus a pantheistic religion.
It is said in the Vedas that by His mere will, Brahman manifests Himself as this universe. Hence, creation, preservation and destruction of this world are the three aspects of God. These three basic aspects of God are represented by the Trinity called as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. There are also other deities in Hinduism to personify the various other endless powers and aspects of God. These are the gods and goddesses of Hinduism. Thus Hindu religion is also polytheistic.
There are myriads of gods and goddesses. These gods and goddesses personify aspects of the one true God. The religion allows individuals an infinite number of ways to worship these gods and goddesses based on family tradition, community and regional practices, and other considerations.
The deeper truths of the Vedas and the scriptures are difficult to comprehend. Therefore, in order to present them in an interesting and easily understandable manner, the sages of India created a special type of literature, called the Puranas. In the Puranas, the scriptural teachings have been presented through stories and parables.
Some of these gods and goddesses are mentioned briefly in this book along with one or two anecdotes from the Puranas.