Sita, Rama, Laksman and Hanuman
Sri Ram Bhagavan is the seventh avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The eldest son ofKaushalya and Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya, Sri Rama is referred to as MaryadaPurushottama, literally the Perfect Man or Lord of Self-Control or Lord of Virtue. An ideal son, brother, husband, friend and King, Lord Rama was an embodiment of love. Along with The Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna, Shri Ram is considered to be one of the most important avatars of Lord Vishnu. Shri Ramachandra’s life and journey is one of adherence to dharma despite harsh tests and obstacles and many pains of life and time. He is considered to be an ideal man and a perfect human. Lord Rama’s incarnation was to establish righteousness, destroy the wicked and to protect his devotees.
Sita Devi his wife and consort is considered to be an avatar of Shri Lakshmi and the embodiment of perfect womanhood. Sita is esteemed as a paragon of spousal and feminine virtues for all women. She is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity in the epic Ramayana.
Lakshmanji the younger brother of Lord Rama is said to be a one quarter component of manifest Vishnu and is considered to be an avatar of Shesha Naga. He was highly skilled in the science of archery and his sacrifice, dedication and allegiance to Lord Rama is unparalleled.
Hanumanji is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva and is a supreme devotee ofLord Rama. He is a symbol of devotion and dedication and worship of Shri Rama is complete only with the worship of Bajrangbali Hanuman.
Lakshmi Narayana is a manifestation of Vishnu and His internal energy. Usually referring to Vishnu, also known as Narayana when He is with His consort, Lakshmi in His abode,Vaikuntha. Lakshmi is depicted as standing next to a dark-skinned Vishnu, who is holding a conch, a club, lotus and the Sudarshana Chakra. Another depiction of Lakshmi Narayana portrays Lakshmi in the service of Narayana, who is reclining on the cosmic serpant Sesha Naga, floating in Kshirsagar, the Ocean of Milk. Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. Her four hands represent the four goals of human life – dharma, kama, artha and moksha.
Lakshmi is also called Shri or Thirumagal (in Tamil) because She is endowed with sixauspicious and divine qualities, or gunas and also because She is the source of strength even to Lord Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on the Earth as the avataras Rama and Lord Krishna, Lakshmi took incarnation as His consort. Sita (Rama’s wife), Srimati Radharani (Krishna’s eternal consort), Rukmini and Satyabhama are also considered forms of Lakshmi.
In ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. Themarriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband is referred as the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings.
Worshipping Lakshmi Narayana brings success, prosperity, wealth and abundance. It gives protection against ailments and fosters good health. Also ensures cordial family (spousal and children) relationships and peace of mind.
Radha Krishna collectively known as the combination of both the feminine as well as themasculine aspects of God. Lord Krishna is referred as Svayam Bhagavan in Gaudiya Vaishnavism theology and Srimati Radharani is Lord Krishna’s supreme beloved. With Krishna, Radharani is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that She controls Krishna with Her love. Shri Krishna enchants the world, but Radha enchants even Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. Lord Krishna attracts everyone, but devotional service attracts Krishna. The symbol of devotional service in the highest degree is Radharani. Krishna is called Madana Mohana, which means He is so attractive that He can defeat the attraction of thousands of Cupids. But Radharani is still more attractive, for She can attract Krishna. Therefore devotees callHer Madana Mohana Mohini, the attractor of the attractor of Cupid.
The simplest way of pleasing Radha and Krishna in the age of Kali-yuga is by chanting theHare Krishna Maha Mantara: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Lord Ganesha also known as Ganapati is the most worshiped deity. The elephant headmakes him easily recognisable and popular among little children. The son of Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata, it is said praying to Ganapati removes all obstacles. Lord Ganesha is said to be the God of wisdom, knowledge and new beginnings. As the god of beginnings, He is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies. Interestingly worship of Ganapatiji extends outside of India and he is popular among jains and buddhists where he is known by different names.
Gauri Shankar or Umapati Mahadev or the great Shiva Bhagavan is often referred to as one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. His position in the
Trinity namely Brahma Vishnu and Maheshvara is “The Destroyer” or “The Transformer” among the Trimurti. At the highest level, Shiva Bhagavan is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In benevolent aspects, He is depicted as an omniscient yogi who lives an ascetic life on Kailash Parvata mountain as well as a householder with wife Parvati (Gauri – who is the goddess of love, fertility and devotion). She is gentle and nurturing. She is the perfect incarnation of Adi Para Sakthi) and His two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron God of yoga and arts.
The main iconographical attributes of Shiva is the third eye on his forehead, the snakeVasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the Trishula as his weapon and the Damaru as his musical instrument.
Durga in sanskrit means “the invincible” is the principal form of the Goddess, also known as Devi and Shakti. According to the legend, Durga was created for the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahishasura by Brahma Vishnu and Shivaji, and the lesser demigods, who were otherwise powerless to overcome him. Embodying their collective energy (shakti), She is both derivative from the male divinities and the manifested representation of their power Durga is the wife of Shiva and She is also known as Uma or Parvati. She is Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Sarasvati in her mild form; Goddess Kali and Goddess Chandi in her wrathful form. Durga is also called Padmanabha Sahodari and Narayani, the sister of Lord Vishnu. To bring back lord Shiva on the Earth, She was reborn in human form (Sati or Parvati) to marry Shiva. Durga gave birth to Her first child Kartikeya. Durga Puja held annually in her honour, is one of the great festivals of eastern India.
Kartikeya is the second son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. He is an embodiment of perfection, a brave leader of God’s forces, and a war God, who was created to destroy the demons, representing the negative tendencies in human beings. He is also known as Shadanana meaning one with six heads reflecting the five senses and the mind.
Sarasvati is the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. She is part of the trinity of Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the universe respectively. Many people in India celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami (the fifth day of spring) in Her honour and mark the day by helping young children learn how to write alphabets on that day.
She is an aspect of Sarasvati, Lakshmi & Parvati, all three in one form, a form of Adi Shakti, possessing the raja-guna and hence is the source of Brahma’s power. Without her, Brahma remains dormant or unable to create. It’s said that if we worship anyone, Gayatri, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Durga or Radha Devi it is equal to worshiping all the pancha. One of the sacred texts explicitly reads, “The Gayatri is Brahma, the Gayatri is Vishnu, the Gayatri is Shiva, the Gayatri is Vedas”. She is shown having five heads and is usually seated within a lotus. She is another consort of Lord Brahma, the creator of this universe.
Parvati Mata is the goddess of love, fertility and devotion. She is gentle and nurturing. She is the perfect incarnation of Adi Para Sakthi. She is the mother goddess in Vedic tradition and has many attributes and aspects. Along with Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Sarasvati (goddess of knowledge and learning), She forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses. The consort of Lord Shiva and daughter of Parvata, Parvati is the mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya.
The Shiva Ling is a representation of Lord Shiva and is used for worship. In traditional Indian society, the lingam is rather seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of God, Shiva himself.
Veer Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama His loyalty, dedication and devotion is unparalleled and can not be surpassed by any human and even demigods. There are many legends as to how Hanumanji got his name but one legend has that Indira struck him with his vajra when as a child he tried to eat the sun thinking it was a ripe mango. In sanskrit hanu means jaw and man means disfigured and hence the name. But Hanumanji has a lot of attributes including one who is as swift as the mind, has the sped of the wind and has complete control of his senses to name a few. Veer Hanuman participated with Lord Rama in the war against Ravana. There are many texts which also claim and present him as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is the son of Anjani and Kesari and is also described as the son of Vayu who played a role in his birth. It is said devotees worshiping Hanuman will be blessed with happiness and all their worries and defects will be eradicated. Their sufferings will disappear, they will be gifted with children, business will flourish and wealth will be sustained, unmarried girls will find suitable grooms and receive knowledge and confidence to flourish in this material world.
Surya in sanskrit means, “the Supreme Light”, Suryadeva is also known as Aditya, Bhanu or Ravi Vivasvan in Sanskrit, is the chief solar deity and generally refers to the Sun. Suryadev is the chief of the Navagraha, the nine Indian classical planets and important elements of Vedic Astrology. Suryadev is seen riding a chariot harnessed by seven horses which might represent the seven colors of the rainbow or the seven chakras in the body. He is also the presiding deity of Sunday. Benefits of worshiping Surya Narayana includes good health and increased wealth and is very beneficial for people who have eye problems.