Divine Figurines

The Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses represent the wide variety of forms the divine manifests itself. The pantheon is a culmination of a long tradition and synthesis of integrating beliefs of newer cultures with older ones. Idol making is an art form practiced by Indians since gods and goddesses have been part of their lives.  

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The Hindu tradition is an ancient one and that has evolved over ages. The gods and goddesses of the Hindus also represent this change. Early Indians believed in natural powers of nature and Mother Earth was important for the agrarian societies. Over the ages there was a shift and gods in the skies took over the pantheon and the mother goddesses became consorts and wives of the male gods, yet retained many of their powers. Durga, a form or Rupa of Parvati, the consort of the god Shiva, is known for the powers bestowed upon her by 10 different gods to defeat a pompous semi-god who had earned the boon of not dying at the hands of any male god, and then started spreading terror among all. He had forgotten that a woman could destroy him and Durga defeats him in a long battle. She is a source of power but she is also a benevolent mother who takes cares of her devotees. 

Ganesh, is considered the son of Shiva and Durga (also known as Parvati and Sati), who lost his head when this father, under a curse, looked at him. The curse was lifted to comfort the grieving mother's pleas. It was agreed that an animal head could be used to replace the human head, and thus a search began. The elephant was the first animal found, and thus Ganesh ended up having an elephant head. Despite his pot-bellied lovable depiction, he is considered a wise god. He has the privilege of being prayed to first, before other gods. He is considered the one to remove obstacles. He is also the scribe of the Indian epic tale of Mahabharata, by Ved Vyasa.

 

Saraswati, the goddess of learning, music, and arts is the daughter of the god Brahma, the creator of the universe. Saraswati is not a wife or consort of any other male god, rather she devotes her life to learning and music, and blesses those who have similar goals in life. She is depicted usually in all white, playing the string instrument Veena, and seated on her ride, a swan.