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Education

Hinduism

Hinduism is a complex religion with variety of teachers, doctrines, and as it said, millions of gods and goddesses. Though Hinduism is frequently described in philosophical terms as a trinity of gods – Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer, in every day religion numerous gods and goddesses are worshipped depending on the special day of observance, the affinity of the person or the family for a particular deity and the purposes of the worship.   Shiva, the destroyer, is historically the god most worshipped in the country. He may be worshipped as the holy ascetic, depicted with his consort Parvati and holding a trident and a small drum or more often in the form of a linga, an elongated stone representing his generative powers. The most important linga is situated in the shrine of Pahupatinath to west of Kathmandu. In front of Shiva temple one usually sees a statue of a Nandi, the divine bull that serves as Shiva’s vehicle. Another popular form of Shiva is the terrifying Bhairav. Different aspects of Bhairav play a major role in many of the Valley’s festivals.   Vishnu, whose primary duty is to assure the preservation of the world and all living forms, is believed to have visited the earth ten times, each time as a different incarnation or avatar. He is often depicted as a boar, tortoise, a man- lion, and a fish – his four animal incarnations. Throughout South Asia he is often worshipped in the two well known human forms: prince Ram, the hero of epic Ramayana and the pastoral god Krishna. In Nepal he is often worshipped in his omnipotent form of Narayan, and in some of his most lovely images is seen astride the man-bird Garuda, his vehicle. The archetype mother or female, goddess is of particular importance in Nepal. She is worshipped in many aspects: as Durga, protector and slayer of buffalo demon, Taleju, patron deity of the valley rulers, and as, Kumari, the living virgin goddesses include Laxmi, Saraswati, goddess of learning and the arts. Another widely venerated god is elephant headed Ganesh, the remover of obstacles and the source of good fortune. Other deities such as Red Machhendranath, are special to Nepal alone and celebrated with unique local festivals.

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