Hinduism is replete with symbolism—some even say that no other religion employs the art of symbolism as effectively as the Hindus. Most of these symbols are representative of the philosophies, teachings and even the gods and goddesses themselves of the Hindus. There are two general categories or branches of Hindu symbols. Hand gestures and the positioning of the body are called “mudras” while icons and drawings are called “murti.” Some Hindu symbols, like the lotus and the conch, are similar to the symbols used in Buddhism.
Om (or Aum)
The Sri Yantra
The Shiva Lingam
|This plant is representative of creation and is used to symbolize Vishnu, Brahma, and Lakshmi.||
More information click Lotus Flower
|The Veena is an Indian stringed instrument that represents art and learning. It is also used for the goddess Saraswati and the sage Narada.|
|Bindi – One of the most well-known items in Hinduism is the bindi, a dot (often the color red) worn on women’s foreheads. It is a form of the tilak, a symbolic mark worn by many Hindu men and women, but that has less religious meaning than other tilaks. Traditionally, the bindi is worn on the forehead of married Hindu women. It symbolizes female energy and is believed to protect women and their husbands from bad things. Bindis are traditionally a simple mark made with the paste of colored sandalwood, sindoor or turmeric. The bindi is most commonly a red dot made with vermilion.|
|Brahman – One can say that Brahman Itself (him/herself) constitutes the essential building material of all reality, being the substance from which all things proceed. Brahman, as understood by the scriptures of Hinduism, as well as by the ‘acharyas’ of the Vedanta school, is a very specific conception of the absolute. This unique conception has not been replicated by any other religion on earth to this day and is exclusive to Hinduism.|
|Fire Altar – The fire altar is regarded as a distinct symbol of ancient Vedic rites. It is through the fire element, denoting divine consciousness, that the Hindu make offerings to the Gods. Hindu sacraments are solemnized before the fire.|
|Dhvaja, or ‘flag,’ is the orange or red banner flown above temples, at festivals, and in processions. It is a symbol of victory, signal to all that “Sanatana Dharma shall prevail.” Its color betokens the sun’s life-giving glow.|
|Vata, the banyan tree, symbolizes Hinduism, which branches out in all directions, draws from many roots, spreads shade far and wide, yet stems from one great trunk. Siva as Silent Sage sits beneath it.|
|Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles and Ruler of Dharma. Seated upon His throne, He guides our karmas by creating and removing obstacles from our path. We seek His permission and blessings in every undertaking.|
|The Trishula – Trishula or the Trident is a prominent Hindu symbol that is associated with Lord Shiva. Though this three-pronged symbol is usually viewed as a weapon used by the Lord for the protection and restoration of Dharma, it actually carries deeper meanings. It is representative of the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh and stands for the balance between the forces of creation, preservation, and destruction. It is also considered symbolic of the three Gunas – Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. Another symbolic representation of the Trishula is that of the three facets of consciousness, namely, cognition, affection, and conation.|
|Tripundra – The Tripundra is a prominent Hindu symbol that is used by Shaivites or the devotees of Lord Shiva. Tripundra is typically a tilak, with three horizontal lines made from Bhasma or sacred ash applied on the forehead. It may have a red dot or Bindu superimposed in the center. Some Shiva followers also draw the three ash strips of Tripundra on the sides of their arms.
The Tripundra represents the three godly forces of creation, sustenance, and destruction through the three lines, while the ashes symbolize purification and burning away of Anava (ego), Maya (illusions) and karma (actions/deeds). The dot is symbolic of the rise or quickening of spiritual insight.