BY SHWETA PORWAL
Hinduism is the oldest religion on the earth that finds its roots in different parts of India. Hinduism is full of various religious, cultural, powerful theories and philosophical practices followed by the Hindu people worldwide.
Hinduism is not only limited to its culture, religious and philosophical practices but also includes many symbols that employ the art of it.
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Hinduism is replete and rich in symbolism. The religion is brimming with symbolism. People say that no other religion employs the art of symbolism as effectively as Hinduism. It has several numbers of symbols having their own importance and meaning that are used on various occasions.
Let’s walk through the universal symbols of Hinduism and gain knowledge of it.
OM- The Source of the Universe
OM or AUM is the most universal and vital symbol in Hinduism. Om is considered the greatest and the mother of all the Mantras. The symbol consists of three curves, a semi-circle, and a dot. The symbol represents the four stages of Consciousness and represents the essence of the Universe.
The Four stages of Consciousness are:
Waking State: Also referred to as Vaishvanara or Jagrat. The ‘A’ in ‘AUM’ relates to our conscious mind.
Dream State: Also referred to as Taijasa or Swapna. The ‘U’ in ‘AUM’ relates to our unconscious state.
Deep Sleep State: Also referred to as Pranja or Susupti. The ‘M’ in ‘AUM’ relates to our latent unconscious state.
Samadhi: It is pure silence and consciousness after sounding AUM.
The Threefold Nature of AUM represents these essences of the Universe:
The three Worlds- Earth, Atmosphere, and Heaven.
The three main Gods– Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
The three Scriptures– Rigveda, Yajurveda, and Samaveda.
OM is the god in the form of sound and a word of great power.
SWASTIKA: An Ancient Solar Sign
The word Swastika comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Svastika’. ‘Swa’ means good or auspicious, ‘asti’ means a state of being, and ‘Ka’ is used as a suffix. The literal meaning of Swastika means ‘to be good’ and ‘Being with higher self’.
This Hindu symbol has great importance in Hinduism. It is used as a representation of good fortune, peace, honesty, purity of soul, and stability. The swastika is an equilateral cross having right-angled arms pointing in all four directions.
The symbol represents the two forms of the creator god Brahma. The right face presents the evolution of the universe and the left face presents the involution of the universe. The pointing of Swastika in all four directions (North, east, west, and south) describes the four Vedas and signifies the absolute eternal nature.
The symbol is used in all Hindu yantras and designs. You can easily see the symbol throughout the subcontinent of India. It can be seen on the sides of temples, gift items, religious scripture. The Swastika is also used to mark the opening of account books, doors, and others.
Sri Chakra or Shri Yantra is known as the Queen of Yantras. It is the symbol of the great divine, a source of energy, power, and creativity. The shape of Sri Chakra is made up of 2 squares with a T-shape structure, 3 circles, 9 Triangles, 43 small triangles.
The outer square represents the earth element. The T-shape structure is the gates of four directions and the entry points of the Yantra. The three circles represent the past, present, and future.
The first circle of sixteen lotus petals states the ten organs of perception and action (Skin, mouth, tongue, eyes, ears, feet, hands, arms, nose, and reproductive organs). The other Five state universal elements (Earth, air, water, fire, and space) and the last one petal represents the mind.
The second circle of Eight petals governs a specific activity: Speech, grasping, exertion, revulsion, enjoyment, motion, attraction, and equanimity.
The first set of interlocked triangles points upwards represents the masculine principles and the downwards triangles represent the feminine.
The symbol of Sri Chakra is used as a symbol of the unity between the Masculine and the feminine divinity.