The Symbols of Hinduism and Their Symbolism

Shiva Blessing Devotees

Symbols are an important part of human vocabulary. They express and reveal what common words and natural language cannot, and add a new dimension of meaning and significance to the reality of things. Regarding Hindu symbols, Swami Sahananda, in his book of the same title, wrote thus, "Hinduism recognizes that all finite things are symbols of the infinite. But to be spiritually beneficial, true symbols should be selected as against the comparitively falseones. A mirage is a delusive symbol whereas a wave is a true one, for it is made of the same substance. For worship higher symbols are used, symbols which have acquired a sort of life, having been visualized and used by innumerable saints and holy men."

We cannot do away with symbols, because they help you see abstract phenomena in concrete objects and make sense of them. With their help you can express the inexpressible, see patterns and correlations, and understand complex ideas and thoughts that cannot be easily expressed. When words fail to express your thoughts and when the mind grapples with the choice of right words symbols come to your rescue and extend your thinking and imagination. With their help you can reduce the time and effort in explaining a wide range of metaphysical concepts. The following is an account of important symbols and images of Hinduism and their significance. Under this heading, I intend to cover every possible object and phenomenon that is important to Hinduism. This will be an exhaustive work, and until it is completed I will keep working on it and even edit what is already published. In the end, I hope it will be an invaluable source of information for students and others alike on the symbols of Hinduism.

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