Match up gods with different things.
But the 3 deities of sectarian hinduism are Shiva (worshippers are callled Saiva), Visnu
(worshippers called Vaisnava) and Devi (Sakti) (worshippers called Sakta).
Who you worship is to a large extent your personal choice.
To discuss: Sectarian Hinduisms: Saiva and Vaisnava
Literally “auspicious One”
Originally Vedic protector of cattle, but by the time of the Epics and Puranas, is imaged
as embodiment of cosmic dissolution, and as a householder-ascetic.
Saivas see Siva as everything.
Gods have multiple hans often and each arm has a symbol. One with drum: sound is
creation in Hinduism. One hand has ﬁre: dissolution. One hand has the fear-not sign:
seek my refuge. With one foot he crushes a small demonic ﬁgure of ignorance.
Each image is complexly coded and captures a number of ideas in a symbol.
Also “phallic” symbol of Siva (Linga) which is more of reproduction (not human
reproduction since “penis” emerges from other).
Half woman god. literally half woman.
“To pervade”. Origins unclear, originally identiﬁed with primordial waters, radically
transformed in post-Vedic period.
Identiﬁed by holding four symbols: ( http://students.ou.edu/P/Bijal.M.Patel-1/vishnu.jpg )
(1) Sankha (conch shell)
(2) Cakra (discus)
(3) gada (mace/club)
Visnu ﬂanked by his two consorts, Laksmi (Goddess of Prosperity and Fertility) and
Bhumi (the earth).
There is also a primordial image of Visnu lying in the milk ocean on a bed made of the
serpent Sesa, in the period between cosmic dissolution and the next creation. Soon the
Brahma emerges out of Visnu, so Visnu wishes the world into creation. ( http://
s400/2074453056_718c6f7a4e.jpg ) Avatara
Descent form of the deity. A theory fully developed in Vaisnava culture
Visnu descends to the terrestrial realms in avatara form to maintain order (dharma).
To discuss: Sectarian Hinduisms: Devi and Sakta Traditions
Devi / Sakti
Textual tradition around Devi crystallizes in with the 6th century Sanskrit text, the Devi-
Mahatmya (“Glory of the Goddess”) found in a Purana called Markandeya Purana. The
text includes a series of narratives and praise-poems.
A number of narratives padded with hymns. It developed a Goddess Theology. There
are people who view the goddess as Brahma (ultimate reality!).
The goddess is more popularly worshipped outside the Sanskritic/Brahmanic
context. She assumes a multiplicity of forms, but all of these are seen as
manifestations of the one Feminine Principle, sometimes referred to as Mahadevi (“the
Sakti (potential of power)
Devi as Brahman in the Devi Mahatmya
Maya (power of illusion
but also to take illusion away)▯ ▯