Mayil,"peacock," isLord Murugan's mount, swift and beautiful likeKarttikeya Himself. The proud display of the dancing peacock symbolizes religion in full, unfolded glory. His shrill cry warns of approaching harm. Aum.
Pranava,Aum, is the root mantra andprimal sound from which all creation issues forth. It is associated with LordGanesha. Its three syllables stand at the beginning and end of every sacred verse,every human act. Aum.
Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles and Ruler ofDharma. Seated upon His throne, He guides ourkarmas through creating and removingobstacles fromaround home ortemple is sanctifying, as is worshipinga Linga with bilva leaves and water. Aum.
Padma is thelotus flower, Nelumbo nucifera, perfection of beauty, associated withDeities and thechakras, especially the 1,000-petaledsahasrara. Rooted in the mud, its blossom is a promise of purity andunfoldment. Aum.
Mahakala, "Great Time," presides above creation's goldenarch. Devouring instants and eons, with a ferocious face, He is Time beyond time, reminder of thisworld's transitoriness, that sin and suffering will pass. Aum.
Ankusha, thegoad held in LordGanesha's right hand, is used to remove obstacles from dharma's path. It is the force by which all wrongful things are repelled from us, the sharp prod which spurs
Nandi is Lord Siva's mount, orvahana. This huge white bull with a black tail, whose name means "joyful," disciplined animality kneeling at Siva's feet, is the idealdevotee, the pure joy andstrength of Saiva Dharma. Aum.
Bilva is thebael tree. Its fruit, flowers and leaves are all sacred to Siva, liberations summit. Planting Aegle marmelos trees around home ot temple is sanctifying, as is worshipping a Linga with bilva leaves and water. Aum
Mankolam, the pleasingpaisley design, is modeled after a mango and associated withLordGanesha. Mangos are the sweetest of fruits, symbolizing auspiciousness and the happy fulfillment of legitimate worldly desires. Aum.
Shatkona, "six-pointed star," is two interlocking triangles;the upper stands forSiva,purusha andfire, the lower for Shakti,prakriti and water. Their union gives birth toSanatkumara, whose sacred number is six. Aum.
Mushika is LordGanesha's mount, themouse, traditionally associated with abundance in family life. Under cover of darkness, seldom visible yet always at work, Mushika is like God's unseen grace in our lives. Aum
Ankusha, the goad held in Lord Ganesha's right hand is used to remove obstacles from dharma's path. It is the force by which all wrongful things are repelled from us, the sharp prod which spurs the dullards onward. Aum.
Anjali, thegesture of two hands brought together near the heart, means to "honor or celebrate." It is ourHindu greeting, two joined as one,the bringing together of matter and spirit, the self meeting the Self in all. Aum.
Go, thecow, is a symbol of theEarth, the nourisher, the ever-giving, undemanding provider. To the Hindu, all aimals are sacred, and we acknowledge this reverance of life in our special affection for the gentle cow.Aum.
Ghanta is thebell used in ritualpuja, which engages all senses, including hearing. Its ringing summons theGods,stimulates the inner ear and reminds us that, like sound, the world may be perceived but not possessed. Aum.
Gopuras are the towering stone gateways through which pilgrims enter the South Indiantemple. Richly ornamented with myriad sculptures of the divine pantheon, their tiers symbolize the several planes of existence. Aum.
Kalasha, a huskedcoconut circled by mango leaves on a pot, is used inpuja to represent any God, especially LordGanesha. Breaking a coconut before His shrine is theego's shattering to reveal theunseen grace in our lives. Aum.
Konrai, Golden Shower, blossoms are the flowering symbol of Siva's honeyed grace in our life. Associated with His shrines and temples throughout India, the Cassia fistula islauded in numberless Tirumurai hymns. Aum.
Homakunda, thefire altar, is the symbol of ancient Vedic rites. It is through the fire element, denoting divine consciousness, that we make offerings to the gods. Hindu sacraments are solemnized before the homa fire. Aum.
Tiruvadi, the sacredsandals worn by saints, sages and satgurus, symbolize thepreceptor'sholyfeet, which are the source of his grace. Prostrating before him, we humbly touch his feet for release from worldliness. Aum.
Trikona, the triangle, is a symbol of God Siva which,like the Sivalinga, denotes His Absolute Being. It represents the elementfire and portrays the process of spiritual ascent and liberation spoken of in scripture. Aum.
Seval is the noble red rooster who heralds each dawn, calling all to awake and arise. He is a symbol of the imminence ofspiritual unfoldment and wisdom. As a fighting cock, he crows from Lord Skanda's battle flag. Aum
Kuttuvilaku, the standingoil lamp, symbolizes the dispelling of ignorance and awakening of the divine light within us. Its soft glow illumines the temple or shrine room, keepingthe atmosphere pure and serene. Aum.
Kamandalu, the water vessel, is carried by theHindu monastic. It symbolizes his simple, self-contained life, his freedom from worldly needs, his con
Chandra is the moon, ruler of the watery realms and of emotion, teating place of migrating souls. Suriya sun, ruler ofintellect, source of truth. One ispingala and lights the day; the other is ida and lights the night. Aum.
Vel, the holylance, is LordMurugan's protective power, our safeguard in adversity. Itstip is wide, long and sharp, signifying incisive discrimination and spiritual knowledge, which must be broad, deep and penetrating. Aum.
Trishula, Siva'strident carried by Himalayan yogis, isthe royal scepter of the Saiva Dharma. Its triple prongs betoken desire, action and wisdom;ida,pingala andsushumna;and thegunas sattva,rajas andtamas. Aum.
Naga, the cobra, is a symbol ofkundalini power, cosmic energy coiled and slumbering within man. It inspires seekers to overcome misdeeds and suffering by lifting the serpent power up the spine into God Realization. Aum.
Dhvaja,"flag," is the orange or red banner flown abovetemples, 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. Aum.
Kalachakra, "wheel, or circle, of time," is the symbol of perfect creation, of the cycles of existence. Time and space are interwoven, and eight spokes mark the directions, each ruled by a Deity and having a unique quality. Aum.
Sivalinga is the ancient mark or symbol of God. This elliptical stone is a formless form betokeningParasiva, That which can never be described or portrayed. The pitha, pedestal, represents Siva's manifestParashakti. Aum.
Modaka, a round, lemon-sized sweet made of rice, coconut, sugar and spices, is a favorite treat of Ganesha. Esoterically, it corresponds to siddhi (attainment or fulfillment), the gladdening contentment of pure joy. Aum.
Pasha, tether ornoose, represents the soul's three-foldbondage of anava, karma and maya. Pasha is the all-important force or fetter by which God (Pati, envisioned as a cowherd) brings souls (pashu, or cows) along the path to Truth. Aum.
Hamsa, vehicle of Brahma, is the swan (more accurately, the wild goose Aser indicus). It is a noble symbol for the soul, and for adept renunciates,Paramahamsa, winging high above the mundane and diving straight to the goal. Aum
Rudraksha seeds, Eleocarpus ganitrus, are prized as the compassionatetears Lord Siva shed for mankind's suffering. Saivites wearmalas of themalways as a symbol of God's love, chanting on each bead, "Aum Namah Sivaya."
Chandra is themoon, ruler of the watery realms and ofemotion, testing place of migrating souls.Surya isthe sun, ruler of the intellect, source of truth. One is pingala and lights the day; the other is ida and lights the night. Aum