Hinduism - Lesson 17
Identifying Gods/Goddesses in India – Siva
The Siva icon always has the presence of the Trishal, which is a sacred weapon of destruction. There is also the nag (cobra), damaru (drum), third eye, Ganges river flowing out of his head. The dancing Siva has a damaru in one hand and a flame of fire in the other that represents creation and destruction of the world. He also has dreadlocks and the trunk of an elephant. The third eye of siva is what Hindu women have on their forehead. The Siva Lingum is the most dominant icon in north India.
Identifying Gods/Goddesses in India – Siva
I. Forms of Siva
A. Siva (classic meditative)
B. Nataraja (dancing)
C. Siva Lingum
II. Additional pictures
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and one of the oldest. It is about 12% of the world population and about 95% are in India. Hinduism is difficult to define. There is evidence of civilization in the Indus valley as early as 2800 BC. The sacred literature that is the basis for Hinduism was created and developed over hundreds of years. It was originally transmitted orally and was eventually written down.
Introduction to fundamental ideas and literature that are basic to the Hindu religion. The first lecture given for this class is not available at this time. This lecture begins on the class outline at II, C.
Discussion of the influence that the Vedic tradition has on Hinduism.
Mahavakyas is made up of two words meaning, “great utterances.” The creation stories are a collection of different stories with various themes. The world is created by a divine figure dismembering themself and their body becomes the world. The caste system has a racial element to it based on some of the creation narratives in the RgVeda.
The Upanishads are one strand of the Vedas. Brahman refers to the all-pervading reality in the Upanishads, not the Brahmin caste. The question throughout the Upanishads is, “Who or what is Brahman?”
Brahman is the ultimate reality of the universe. Our atman is encrusted with karma and stuck on the wheel of Samsara. A Hindu's goal, in the process of being reincarnated through thousands of lifetimes, is to rid themselves of karma so they can achieve moksa, oneness with Brahman.
Maya is the ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance they choose, thereby concealing the true nature of Brahman. Karma is the principle that what you sow, you alone reap.
A Hindu must work off their karma to be released from the wheel of Samsara and achieve moksa when their atman becomes one with Brahman. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve the goals of the Samkhya philosophy. Hindus see God as a material cause of the universe, not an efficient cause.
The Mahavakyas are “great sayings” that give you insights into core teachings of Hinduism. The Brehed Aranyaka Upanishad shows that Hindus believe that diversity can come through oneness and not be an “other.”
Sankara says that Brahman is unknowable and we can't perceive any of his qualities. The rope-snake metaphor is often used by Hindus to discuss the difference between perception and reality.
Hindu writers often use metaphors to illustrate and teach the essentials of the Hindu philosophy. In their writings, they refer to these metaphors in a way that assumes that you know and understand them.
The purpose of this lecture is to see the structure of Hinduism at a glance. Hinduism operates and a philosophical level and a popular level. Hinduism attempts to resolve the relationship between knowledge, works and devotion. The four stages of life and the caste system determine much of cultural structure of Hinduism. Hindus worship many Gods.
The three major dissent movements that area a challenge Hinduism are Buddhism, Janism and materialism. Hinduism is adept at absorbing other movements. Buddhism claims that there is a teaching that makes it possible for you to reach the state of Nirvana which is liberation from all suffering. The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama. The content of his teaching is the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.
The key insight of the Upanishads is the identification of atman with Brahman. Buddhists deny both atman and Brahman.
The Bhakti marga is branch of Hinduism that emphasizes a spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.
The Hindu gods have identifying characteristics that make them easy to recognize when you see them in temples or other settings. The Trimrti are the three major gods of India which are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is not often visually represented, so Vishnu and Shiva are seen the most. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. Vishnu has 10 incarnations or avatars. These are partial incarnations and don’t represent the fullness of Vishnu.
The Siva icon always has the presence of the Trishal, which is a sacred weapon of destruction. There is also the nag (cobra), damaru (drum), third eye, Ganges river flowing out of his head. The dancing Siva has a damaru in one hand and a flame of fire in the other that represents creation and destruction of the world. He also has dreadlocks and the trunk of an elephant. The third eye of siva is what Hindu women have on their forehead. The Siva Lingum is the most dominant icon in north India.
The Brahminical branch teaches that works and devotion lead to true knowledge (Upanishadic vision, tat twam asi). Bhaktis say that knowledge and works should lead to devotion.
The Ramayana is an epic account of India. It is the story or epic of Rama and Sita, and is the origin of the tradition of Suti. Mahabharata is the epic of India. It’s the longest collection of poems in the world. The Bhagavad-Gita is the most important part of the Mahabharata. It talks about both the dharma of caste and the dharma of denial and renunciation.
Gurus integrate different parts of the marga system. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna declared the unity of all religions. He claimed to have visions of Hindu gods and Jesus Christ and Mohammed and that all religions lead to the same ultimate reality, sat chit ananda. Swami Vivekananda was the most well-known follower of Ramadrishna and brought his message to the western world. He accepts tat twam asi, the great insight of the Upanishads, but thinks that everyone, not just Brahmans can perceive that unity. (The last point of the lecture was cut short due to a technical limitation.)
You may download the text of Vivekananda's speech by clicking on the Handouts link in the upper left corner.
These are nine of the major holidays celebrated in India. Sankara has been called India’s greatest philosopher. Sankara emphasized universals and Ramanuja emphasized the particulars, similar to Plato and Aristotle in Western thought. Sankara has greater status as a philosopher, but Ramanuja has had a great influence on how the masses practice Hinduism.
The chart Dr. Tennent refers to near the end of the lecture is the “Three Vehicle Structure of Hinduism,” which is labeled Lecture 6 in the complete class outline pdf document on the class page.
Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was an upper jati Brahman teacher who converted to Catholicism. He attempts to explain Christianity by using Advadic motifs. Brahmabandhav is an example of how a Brahman can address the Brahminical community using a Brahminical line of reasoning.
There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.
In-depth survey of philosophical and popular Hinduism’s historical and theological themes. Exposure to current strategies being used to bring the gospel to Hindus and how Christian theology is being formulated in the Indian context.
Dr. Tennent occasionally uses pictures of Hindu gods or other visual resources in his lectures. You can download a document with these pictures by clicking on the Hindu Deity Pictures link.
Dr. Timothy Tennent
Identifying Gods/Goddesses in India – Siva
We've already talked about the etymology and meaning of the bhakti movement. We've already talked about the fine victim figure. And this is actually finally tying Ascend to that third part of the chart. You remember that chart where we looked at the three major markers of Hinduism. Right now, we're still looking at it as essentially three separate paths. Jenny Marga, Carmen, marga, bhakti marga. What we will eventually see as we finally do the last cycle in the course is that the women's movement basically finds ways to dominate all the markers, as you might imagine. And so there's a lot of interplay between the three in the popular level today as well as in the philosophical level with Ramana. So we'll have to come back to that later. But we're still in this section. We're trying to develop popular Hinduism on the street, in the villages. You've been exposed to the major icons. You now can identify the major gods and goddesses that you find in temples all over India. And we're now going to look at some of the ways that people interact with these icons or idols. So we'll look at some themes in the Bhakti movement, and then we're going to look particularly at the practice of Puja, which is the worship of these gods and goddesses. And I have on the overhead to show you when we get to that point, a few pictures I've taken of actual puja going on, you can see what would it look like if you were at a Hindu temple. Let's begin with four basic themes in the book, the movement. The first is this personal popular over ontological and personal. One of the things that you have to notice right off the bat is that the bhakti movement is a major swing away from this whole emphasis on ontology.
And it is very important to remember that, after all, is what Shankara is interested in talking about is ontology. He is trying to understand the ontology of the universe. The Bhakti movement is not as concerned with that as they are one's personal interaction with God. This is why whenever you make a statement about Hinduism, anything you say about Hinduism is probably true and false somewhere in India, because it's a very eclectic thing. And so you have this massive shift away and one of the things they do is to reread the upon the shards through the lenses of Buckley ism. So, for example, as we saw in the early opponent shots, the emphasis on God or the absolute as impersonal and as near goona Brahman without qualities. Suddenly this is replaced by the gods of the moronic myths. The piranhas represent this wholesome, pretty literature that reflects popular religious devotion, realism, the wars, the battles, the famous exploits and epics of various gods and goddesses. We'll look, particularly in this class, in more detail at the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita. Those are two little snapshots of a much larger body of material. But these are not gods that are or nor Guna where there's no contact. This is gods with characteristics and attributes. The devotion is now expressed very concretely with a temple and with an image of the deity that can be seen that has definite attributes and characteristics. The images can be clean, they can be gazed upon, they can be worshiped. They can be anointed. Whatever. So this whole emphasis on God is personal and distinct is very, very important in the book. The movement also the emphasis on the immanence of God as opposed to transcendence, because bhakti theology, toys a lot with this idea of in what way is God transcendent, in what way is God imminent and close to us? In many ways, they play with the idea that He's always slightly eluding us.
I use the example in India with arranged marriages, especially in the ancient Indian times. It was not unusual for someone to have a wedding arranged while they were still a child. So a young girl who maybe only seven or eight years old, would already be arranged to marry a certain fellow so she couldn't have union with him yet until the proper time. And so there's this longing of a married. But I can't be with my beloved. And so he's always slightly eluding me. I mean, this is like the best spin on the whole thing, but certainly it's part of their literature. So they play with that or a picture of a woman who longs for a husband who is gone because of war in a battle, whatever she longs for to be reunited with her husband, he is off it, off working or whatever. And because of that, you have this sense of that God always slightly eludes us. A lot of literature is about a longing after God, and yet we can't grasp, and this is particularly true with the literature around Krishna and Radha. We saw the pictures of Christian right Heart. This is very much a part of that literature. In fact, if you were to go into and show this to anybody in India, they would immediately recognize this as Krishna and Radha. We've seen these icons before, pictures of Krishna and Right Heart and all the stories that have emerged from the book, the literature about Radha. When she's separated from Krishna, she's always longing, pining away. When will I be reunited with Krishna? And the whole theme of the whole thing is how, in a way that Radha longs for Christmas. So the devotee longs for a union with God.
So you still have the theme of union with God even taught. Tomasi maybe could be talked about by a bucket, but it would be totally reinterpreted rather than we are brought together ontologically in this union with God. This is a much more experiential type thing. This is an ecstatic experience where through mantras, through various experiences, through puja to the worship, you enter into an ecstatic union with God. And so the whole Krishna Raha thing is, is brought into that. Thirdly, there's no question that the Bhakti movement is an anti cynical dissent. The Brahmans will always have the last word on this. They have their own plot, this in Hindus courses. We'll see. But there's no question that much of the book to literature talks about how the longing after God finds its reward in the one who is truly devoted. That the devoted one gets you with God, not the one with knowledge. In fact, what you'll find in all of this literature, just to give you a little kind of paradigm for how these markets work in practice, in the literature, you'll find a constant toying with three principles the role of knowledge, the role of works, and the role of devotion. The way I drew this paradigm, this is the classic rabbinical paradigm that you have three marriages. You're the Kama marga, you're the buck de marga, and you have the Jana marga. And they are going to eventually show that this is the pinnacle, that the works and devotion are valuable if they all actually lead to true knowledge. So knowledge is the the key to the whole thing. That's the upon historic vision and having the knowledge of Tomasi, the Oneness, the universe and all that. Whereas in the Bhakti movement they still are toying with the same three markers, but they reconfigure the whole thing and they say that actually knowledge and works should ultimately lead to devotion, actually understanding how significant this little mean.
It's a simple little paradigm, but understanding how significant this is is crucial because in fact it is the way these three are configured more than a debate about the paths which occurs in Hinduism, because most Westerners typically look at this chart. That's why I'm always has met this chart, because the chart is very helpful, but it can also be very misleading if you view it as ultimately a competition between paths in the way that are we going to follow the way of works or the way of knowledge or the way of devotion? If you view it that way, you will be led astray. It's actually more of a both and thing. We're going to acknowledge the valuable role of all of these I mentioned already with the Shamrock in the Middle. How the way of works is kind of a starting point, but you're never going to leave that path. It's just in what way do you incorporate the other two paths into the way of works? So the way of works is in both paradigms at the foundation. The question is whether this is ultimately leading to some higher knowledge, which transcends devotion, mainly through biomedical male kind of paradigms, or whether this is something that which is anti-political descent which transcends them. And even the Brahmins have to ultimately understand the role of devotion. That really is the key. It's not so much competing either or, but how do these relate to each other? As much a better way to picture this in your mind? Well, actually, that's the fourth point there. The priority superiority of bhakti over Jana, marga and Kama marga. This is going to be one of the debates within the Bhakti movement trying to say that the devotional, the buck to Marga path has a as a final reference point and not as just a stepping point was that the Brahmins will argue that devotion is only helpful insomuch as it leads you to a better rebirth as a Brahmin with proper knowledge.
The last thing in terms of the reviewing the upon Assads is this concept of anti-human. You may recall this had been some time ago that when we passed out and looked at the motivations of the Upanishads, you recall we had the major passages from the opening shots, one of which was this and Toyama. And I told you at that point that we would revisit this. Well, we're now revisiting this. The Anti-human was the idea of the one who controls from within. Now, that has become a huge stepping stone for both survivors and veteran of rights to argue that the opponents shards are really extolling the role of the deity who dwells within the devotee. And that deity serves as the entierement, the one who controls you from within, one who guides you, directs you. It's a personal thing, as opposed to kind of the idea of that being the ottoman within. And this has become an anthological axis. This is recreated in more of a popular version. And so this suddenly gets launched out into the literature based on the upon shards. So at level one you have a rereading of the Upon the Shards themselves, essentially reinterpreting them in new ways. In fact, one of our students is doing his teaching thesis on a well-known liberal theologian in India named Stanley Samantha. And one of the things that I've asked him to develop, he hasn't completely worked it out yet, but I've asked to develop, is how fair is it in the way he treats Tort? Tomasi Because this is a modern Hindu writer who argues that Tort Tomasi is the paradigm for inter-religious dialog, and that just as the Punisher is taught that everything is one, so all religions should be one. So essentially he's taking an ontological paradigm and he's trying to recast as a sociological thing.
That's typical of what you find with all of modern Hinduism is a revisiting of kind of old standard rabbinical Panasonic paradigms and trying to recast them. Even Gandhi does this, and the whole ramp up to the independence, Gandhi tries to talk about what he called such a greater soul force and the idea of reinventing Hinduism as a social action force. It was not part of any of the three markets, but they go back and they reinterpret. And so he found this from the Geeta. So this is the kind of process that happens in the Hindu world. The second major development not only is a rereading, they punish gods, but the production of their own literature, which we call the piranhas. The piranhas are quite a remarkable bit of literature. I wanted to bring in for you a copy of some of this that a Christian has put out for Sammy, but I have loaned it out to somebody. I couldn't bring it into. It's called Temple Bells. And this is a Christian from South India who lived from late 19th century till 1970s. And he wrote a lot about the incredible possibilities of the parenting literature. And he believed that Christians should appreciate the chronic literature because a lot of it is not about, you know, Christian and Nordhaus love exploits, but a lot of it is very sincere longing after God. Prayers of repentance that Christians could equally pray and they would prayers that would be offensive to Christians just in terms of their wording of it. And I think there's some truth to that in the sense that you find genuine expression of sorrow over sin. You find very powerful prayers where people ask for and want to surrender themselves to God or desire to be in union with God or asking God to bestow grace on them.
So there's some of that that operates at that level. Now, again, as a Christian, we don't accept this literature, obviously, as in any way inspired or whatever. But what we do can say is that it shows that certain paradigms are present in there in the body mind, the idea, the longing for God's grace, the recognition of sin. These are things that you would not necessarily find in many parts of Hinduism that book Deism has brought into it. So that's actually a positive thing. We actually you find this back in the early Vedic material with the Rig Veda, but it's now been re emerging in the popular literature. The Bhakti movement develops a lot of variety and as I mentioned before, the role of devotion is a second major area where they try to emphasize the power of devotion over a ritual or caste. And what you essentially see developed in this chronic literature, as well as the smutty literature in general, is a number of deities that are raised and lifted up and worshiped in a popular sense. You have been exposed to much of this literature, of much of the gods and goddesses, the majority ones, and the slide presentations. A lot of the literature does focus on Krishna. And so I thought I would emphasize a little bit of that here. Christian devotion is one example of this. We can spend a whole class developing strands of this, and I originally plan on doing a lot more with some of the Tamil movement, so maybe we'll have time to do that. But just looking at time, I think we should at least focus on some of this development. So you have the Bhagavad Gita, which is part of the Mahabharata, part of that larger epic, and the Geeta, which we will take some time and a bit to expound on more carefully.
But this is a very powerful devotional book poem, and it is used for many purposes. One of the advantages of the Geeta is that it isn't really at the chronic level and therefore it is not as alien to the philosophical concerns that you find in later devotional material. So that's why the Geeta is often viewed as the place where philosophical and popular Hinduism meet. The guitar represents a tremendous reflection on many of the philosophical themes. It does it in a popular fashion. For example, everyone knows that in the upon us shards, we witnessed the strong emphasis on the Ottoman and the indestructibility of the Ottoman in the whole Tomasi paradigm. Well, that gets revisited in the Geeta because when Krishna comes down he is counseling Arjan up. Yeah, here we go. All these ones we saw earlier, this is an example of it right here in these icons you have. This is everyone who immediately recognized this as a Krishna Arjuna paradigm because course it comes down. This is a well-known mudra of Krishna. That's a hand signal. We haven't really discussed those yet. He comes down, he's giving advice to Arjuna. This is the basic format of the Bhagavad Gita. You have another couple of other slides. This is actually the point I want to look at here. You have a very visual image. Millions, millions of Hindus. If they saw this, they would know immediately. This is Krishna talking to Arjuna, and this is the point where Arjun is expressing his sorrow and grief over the prospect of killing his own relatives. That's right. At the moronic level, we're talking a big battle and the piranhas are largely battles and fights and wars and all of this, a lot of the materials that way.
So in that sense, it's very popular. Every child knows this. And yet, Christian, his advice to Arjuna is largely based on philosophical concerns. And Christian explains to him because the Ottomans indestructible. Therefore, you don't need to worry about slaying the body. One of the lines in the Geeta, I just call it for you here. This is in chapter two, verse 19. This is Krishna talking here, who regarded this as a slayer. And he. You think if he is slain, both of them are ignorant. He slay. If not, nor is he slain. So he's saying to Arjuna, You think that you are an actor who acts and they are those who suffer receive the action. But there there is neither act nor action. This is the real reality is the underlying argument. And I sound almost Buddhist, but actually this is this is still Hinduism, but this kind of thing. The Geeta very powerfully begins to draw together strands from the way of knowledge as well as the way of devotion. We'll come back to the Bhagavad Gita and say more about that later on. Another very famous book is The Heart of the Vows. This is a supplement to the Mahabharata. Hottie is the word for Lord. In this case, it means Vishnu. Okay, so you heard a hottie. Krishna. Lord Krishna. Hottie is the word for Lord Haridwar that you went to. And you know how they do are the doorway or the mouth of God famous place in India that you lived in Haridwar. So you know how to do our very well famous pilgrimage spots site in India that were hardy is a very famous prefix This thumbs is essentially the living history or the the the epic history of of Hari of the Lord of Vishnu.
So in the course of that, it exploits a number of things in the life of Christ, including the one that I showed you earlier. Perhaps I can find it here. I didn't know what how helpful this had been, had this open, so I'm glad that we had it. The famous butter thief, this raw the butter thief stuff comes in and he says, I'd rather be known as the butter thief than is Brahmin. This is really powerful stuff because it shows the anti medical critique that's inherent in the devotional literature, and yet they're dealing with it. They're talking about they're engaged with it. This is not two separate movements don't speak to each other. There's a constant awareness of the romantic power in the Indian context. And so Krishna, as the Butter Thief is brought out and it's often one of these, you'll notice in general, we don't have time to kind of lay out the proof of this, but there's always an attempt. Everything is trying to be Shruti, obviously, right? So you have an attempt by every literature level to push itself to a higher level. So that's why you have the rig Veda in the are not because the Ramana is in the Upanishads attached to the Veda. Everyone's trying to, you know, put their caboose on the train and take themselves with the literature. So it's not unusual for something to be published. And they'll say, Oh yeah, this is part of the Mahabharata. So all of this literature, the Honey Vamps material is often said to be a supplement to the Mahabharata. It's part of the whole process of creating appendices. It's really not part of the Mahabharata, actually, but it's something that you'll find stated in that way. The story.
The devotees believe it to be part of the Mahabharata. So you have the childhood of Krishna as it is brought out there. The boy is pranks. As a young cow herder go along the banks, the Yemen, the river, the brothers fall into all kinds of battles with demons and they dance with young girls in the town. I think we had that. Did we have that picture as well? Oh, no. Here it is. Hidden Christian, the GOP's. This is a scene from that epic count Krishna dancing with the GOP's. All of these exploits are found in this literature. However, in this particular strand, the hardy volumes of literature, there is no particular emphasis on any one of the GOP's is simply his dalliances with the GOP's. For example, Christian has intercourse with over 18,000 women. This is pretty remarkable. 18,000 women he has and of course, and has children by. In the epics in this material. So what happens is eventually the the world is so overburdened by Christian is the children because he has so many wives and they all have so many children that he eventually destroys his whole family. Kills them all. So that the world is not as burdened by the weight of all these children. This is the kind of way this material can develop. If I raise this point in at the same rate writing right now I did this week when working on a finished and a little booklet that we using with our with our Hindu questioners. But one of the things that one of the questions that Hindus ask that you would not study at seminary is why would was Jesus not married? Because all the Hindu gods are married. Why wasn't Jesus married? And does this show that he doesn't care about family life? One of my replies is to bring out this by Christian.
Christian, they think is a great symbol of family life. They have these symbols of him with right hand, all of that in their minds and say, Well, Jesus doesn't have anybody similar to that. Jesus doesn't care about family life. So I try to explain in the thing and of course, I'm talking to people who don't have any background in the Bible, but trying to explain how Christian material is not conducive to family life. Killing your children. Oh, there's too many. I'm going to just kill them all. Or this idea of hiding the clothes of these women. This is not promote family life anywhere in the world. This is important material, actually, because on the popular level, these are the stories that people know as opposed to perhaps something from The Punisher. The other text I want to be aware of is the Geeta Govinda and I have on the bottom. You can see terms now from this lecture. There's some of these terms you should know. The Geeta Govinda is extremely important because even though it didn't appear to the 12th century, it is a famous Sanskrit poem and in this poem it's by a guy named Jaya Dave. I don't actually put that on here, but if you're interested, looking up David's word for God. Daya Victory, The victory the gods. Jaya Deva wrote. This particular poem is composed in Bengal, West Bengal, where William Carey later would go. And it details in great detail the many emotional states that Radha and Krishna go through. This is like puppy love material. A lot of pining after lost love. If you don't want to have the courage to go into the supermarket and buy a, um. What do you call these things? Romance novel. If you just, like, feel too embarrassed to go out like I want to get lost in some romance.
So you go to, you know, you go to our store, you can buy for a dollar. Like a book like that thick. I don't know who has to tolerate this kind of stuff, but they're out there. So if you don't have the courage to do that, then do a study of ancient Sanskrit literature and pick up an English copy of the 12th century Sanskrit poem Tell people, this is from my class and pick up the guitar. Go Venda, and you'll find some remarkably erotic. Love. It's like it's like a the Hindu equivalent of the television programs that like, yeah, this is it. This is the Hindu soap operas. And they've all been turned into soap operas, really. They're just not modern soap operas and Hindu India yet always be old. And so they they reenact all the same kind of emotional stuff through the. The gods. I think I told you perhaps that when they aired this on television in cartoon form, that the Sunday school program was completely decimated. People wouldn't come to church. Because everyone couldn't miss it on television. These Indians had very mischievously time the airing of this to fall right on the time when we were having our Sunday school program. It's really amazing. People love these stories. I mean, not so much this stuff. I mean, this is I shouldn't say that it wasn't so much the get to go vendor, but the whole mahabharat all the battles and all very, very popular with kids. The get go vendor is very, very popular, but it's all spiritualized. Even the most erotic kind of material is all about really the longing after God. It's how it's interpreted. So it's during this period that the actual ra ra theme comes out as the particular Gopi of all the thousands of copies.
This is the one that Krishna particularly loves and develops. So what eventually emerges in this particular strand of it? The Christian strand is 18 major piranhas. The one that is most famous is the back of about the piranha, which give all the adventures of Krishna the various ecstatic responses. Gopi is rendering devotion to him. All this material is displayed and put out in these moronic materials. The Bhakti sutras is a treatise on devotion. Again, Bhakti means devotion. Sutra can be law or treatise. See about devotion again, bringing together all of the classical Hindu philosophy. Put out sutras. That explained their philosophies. The Buckley Sutra would be the framework of devotion. So here you actually have very sophisticated writers trying to write to lay out theologically why this is true and not this. So now you have some theological undergirding for the whole bhakti movement, and we'll eventually see. As the course develops, we're going to develop a little bit about how this happens with the philosophical movement and how they try to find a way to bring all this back under their domination. So this eventually will receive a lot of philosophical support in various ways, again, along these two paradigms. But the sutras is a big part of that. This is written by two people named Send Delia and Narada. This all is coming out in the Middle Ages. So we're talking about 12th century to the 14th 15th century. Finally, there's an emphasis on simplicity. Puja is an expression of devotion and adoration to God. Puja means worship. As you know, we've discussed this in the past, but it's simply a way. How do you express your devotion and adoration to God? You do this through Puja, and this is normally done through bringing something to the deity.
So you're bringing food to the deity I have here. This is an example of puja offerings. You recognize, obviously, kale. I mean, a banana. You'll see all kinds of other things here that these are all being prepared to offer to the gods. These are examples of puja offerings, the same offerings that they do. There's two things happen to it. The priest will eat it, but also they will redistribute this back to the devotees that come is called Prasad. And so you take that and then you go and you share it with somebody. So you go into their home and you share it as an act of gratitude to your friends. So people will come back to the temple and they'll go to their household of friends and eat. So one of the questions that our Hindus that we witness to ask us is why do Christians not take Prasad? Because this is a very living problem. This is not just the book of Corinthians. This is a living issue in India. Should Christians eat food sacrificed to idols or not? Again, this shows you the importance of understanding that the theology answers questions that are posed to it. Because even though this is a very biblical issue, it is not found like if you look at Graham's theology, he doesn't address this question. And yeah, it's a very important question in the in context. So you need to have good theological reflection for various cultural context. And this is an example of that because the Hindus view it as an act of hospitality. So if you go and take Puja, someone's take the food, someone's house and they refuse to eat it, it's a sign of rejecting their friendship. If you accept it, then it's a sign of accepting their friendship.
And yet if you have a weak conscience about it, and because it's been so much to a God or a goddess, then obviously you are sinned against God because you have gone against your conscience. So all of the issues that Paul brings up are perfectly relevant in this thing, and his whole argument would need to be reflected on in this light. So that's a big part of it. The other is the concept of Mana. We're actually a developed puja a little more in the next a little bit here. But Mana is not a simple thing. I mean, that's the part of the process of this is how simple it is to be a Hindu on the village level. One of you wrote in your paper, and I don't embarrass you. I thought it was a very great statement, actually. I forgot now who was, but said, This religion is so difficult. That makes my head hurt. But that was really a great line. I remember that. And maybe that's true. Maybe Hinduism is a very complicated religion. Maybe I have made it even more complicated by all these long 30 hours of explanations of all this stuff. But again, on the village level, I don't view it as complicated at all. Very simple, because they're not trying to understand this whole thing. You're trying to understand it, and you're to be commended for that. And it may make your head hurt. But on the village level, you're talking about taking some food and bringing it to the idle. And very typically they'll take a coconut, they'll break open the coconut, they'll pour the coconut milk over the shaved lingam or whatever. And they will sometimes have some little white chips on the inside, the coconut, which represents purity.
And they'll toss this on there. They have flowers, they sell bags and bags of flowers, and they'll throw those flowers over it and they go home. That's it. Very simple. Not complicated. No one stops and ask them to recite a particular passage from the bread. Aaron Yaacov upon a shot. It's not that way. It's very simple. The concept of touch or contact with the dead is very, very important. They will emphasize in the book the movement the importance of a physical. What we call, I think I'm not sure if we call it this, but a point of contact. When you actually come into physical contact with something, you can receive the grace of it. Now, this is a important theological debate because people often will say, when in India does that person who is bowing down for that God or goddess, do they believe that that is God? And, you know, I just this my book, if you read my book, addressed this point so you can reflect on it there. But actually, it's not so much that Hindus believe that that statue is the embodiment of a particular god or goddess in its fullness or whatever. But they believe that that statue or that icon, if it's a picture or if it's a three dimensional idol, is a channel through which they believe they can receive grace, forgiveness, salvation, whatever. So this idea of touching and touching actually comes in two forms and in manner. One form of manna is actually where you physically touch the idol. So you'll see people who will go up to an idol, they will fall down and they will touch it on its feet, or they'll grasp the various murders, the various hand. One of the things people will see, one of the murders is this one that we saw with an icon of the the bloody, as I mentioned, has some of the arm inside the palm.
This is a model of blessing. So they can touch that. They believe they can receive the blessing. So if you have a statue there with a with a hand signal like this, then that is a way of saying that God wants to bless you. So if you can touch that idol, you can receive the blessing. It's no more complicated than that. So that's one way of manna is physically touching. You could, by extension, agree it. Say it also includes touching it with your offerings because in many cases the priest mediates this, so you're not allowed to actually touch the idol. But if you bring milk to the priest and you give it to the priest and the priest goes and pours it on it, then you will have touched the idol by virtue of your offering that you made. It's for a manner. The other way that you come in contact with the deity through manna is through gazing. This is a very hard thing for Westerners understand, and I've observed this even in Christian circles, and I don't know quite what to make of it, But in India I first noticed this actually not among Hindus, but on Christians. I'm in a worship service and Christians are worshiping and worshiping and worshiping. And you know how you sing choruses And they sing choruses and more choruses and more choruses and things get built up and built up and built up. All right. They do that in India. They'll they'll sing for hours. When you don't know anything about this, you think 23 months, long time, no hours and hours. They'll sing and sing and sing and sing. So this will usually mount up, mount up, mount up. And then eventually they'll come to this point where everyone will this to this kind of they're just gazing.
They're just like in this state of. No one says anything. Everyone just kind of in the presence of God. I never really experienced that in the West. I don't know really quite how to read it theologically and honestly. I've no, I've never quite figured out what to do, and it's been relatively rare, but I have experienced it. But I do know in the Hindu world that this is a very big part of it. Somehow this is carried over subtly or not, but in the Hindu world, you go before the idol and it's not just enough to look at the idol. You enter into this kind of gaze at the idol and there's a point where you can and they often have these long, long, elaborate puja services where they sing and they sing and they sing and they bang on these drums and they'll go through all this stuff and they get people worked up essentially to the point where they can properly gaze. I'm not really quite sure how to describe it, but it's this intently gazing state that you're in. And at that point they believe that you're actually touching the God or goddess and you can receive the the blessings or the benefit of the God goddess. Unfortunately, this has had many terrible, terrible developments, like everything else that Hinduism touches it. Actually, Hinduism, a form of destruction, really, as the main symbol of Hinduism. And Hinduism is a religion that destroys people because they don't have the gospel which is born out of legitimate desire. He will have to be saved and to be forgiven gets brought into bondage. And the worst kinds of nightmarish things of this is where you might want to think about the Ministry of Evil like Amy Carmichael.
Because as you know, the reason Amy Carmichael had her ministry among these young girls in South India, if you don't know, you should be aware, is because of temple prostitution. This is where that comes in, because it is a form of particularly in south India, the form of puja involved the manna which is coming in contact with a deity. Well, many of these images of the deities, which I haven't shown you here because it's too erotic, but shows the God and goddess in a full erotic sexual embrace. And it's all used philosophically to explain all kinds of, you know, talk policy and all that. But this is a very erotic image. So what happens is, I mean, these people are taught that if you come to the temple and you engage in intercourse with one of the girls, that you're actually engaging in intercourse with the God. So this is a form of temple prostitution which exploited the young girls. These girls were raped, would be given to the temple. Similarly, the parents, when they had a child, they wanted to offer the God or goddess some offering. Well, what? What better option than your own child? So rather than just bringing food, they they'd bring their own child. So this little girl that we offered to the God or goddess would be married to the deity. And once that little girl was married to the deity, she becomes a temple prostitute. And Amy Carmichael spent her life rescuing these girls from temple prostitution. This also happens in Buddhism in places like Thailand. You've heard I'm sure heard it as well. So it's a very tragic, tragic thing that happens and it's all part of this manner. Yes, South India has. The larger question of Israel, the British presence and the Christian presence in the government and so forth.
And frankly, a number of Hindu reformers that were Hindus but felt like this was horrible, joined together and much of this is outlawed. So today it's illegal to marry one of your children to a God. Offering up your wife to the funeral Pyre City is also illegal, but people do it. Last summer, there's two papers when I was there just for six weeks to settings. So it's not something that has disappeared, but it's illegal. So in that sense, there has been response, and I'm always trying to be very fair. I don't think it's helpful just to caricature one other hand. You have to be aware of the reality of this. I mean, this is a horrible one of the many, many horrible expressions of Hinduism. Many Hindu reformers are also strongly opposed to, but many popular Hindu expressions still practice it. It's a terrible thing. So in conclusion, there are five general themes, both whether it's vision of light or shovel light, expressions of beauty ism that you'll find. I'll just want to mention these five and it's not on the handout, so give them to take on notes on this carefully, I guess. But just to summarize, these are things I think you'll find are true. We've kind of emphasized the Christian line of this, but in all of book T ism, you'll find an emphasis on five things. First of all, some concrete manifestation of the divine. That's an idol. Or an icon, an idol, and defined as any three dimensional statue type thing. An icon would be a two dimensional picture of something. Either an idol or an icon would be found in these temples. Yes. So with that, I don't know. They don't believe that it's like one particular idol is any different or better than that.
I'd say all the idols that represent, you know. No, that's not true. And that's why they do believe that certain idols are more powerful than other idols. Or the God chose to dwell on this idol Mormon. There's a very famous one, for example, where Ganesh gives milk. Now, you've heard this in the papers. Anybody heard of the story about Ganesh giving milk and the news? I guess it's been in the papers. But anyway, there's this famous Ganesh statue that if you hold your bowl underneath Ganesh, milk will come into your bowl from the statue. I never seen it, and I've been there. But there have been thousands of reports about this. And you always in the paper from time to time, people who claim that they've came there and this milk and there've been all these scientists tried to figure out how could there is such milk being poured over the statue. Maybe this like this, this statue is saturated, a leak no one knows. But there have been people who say this is a spiritual miracle and so that people who will go pass a thousand Ganesh statues to get to that one. So that kind of thing happens in India. In fact, I just brought in the other class a while back. So maybe you have heard this is in January that I read this to you about this statue of Krishna fell over. This is in the papers in India, Jan from New Delhi, a giant statue of the Hindu god Krishna that took six years to build toppled onto its back this way, killing three people. So here's this huge statue that fell over and killed three poor people. This man named Shivraj Sharma, said this was a bad omen. This is a 108 foot statue, 108 feet near this village of nursing power well on the outside of Delhi.
Two laborers were up there doing the final polishing of the cement statue, and they were crushed, along with one core passerby there. Dozens others were injured. The village had spent $417,000 to build this statue, the half million dollars nearly to build the statue. And if you know, when you were up in Haridwar, did you see a big, big, gigantic civic thing there building this massive, massive, massive silver idol there now in in Haridwar? Huge thing. I'm not sure how tall it is. It must be 100 feet as well. And that is one of the poorest parts of India. People who have nothing are giving, giving, giving to build now, say Hinduism impoverishes people. It's not another one of the destructive thing to Hinduism because they give all their money to build these billboard idols more and more temples. This idol fell to the ground. I don't say it has to have a scientific explanation, but I don't know the answer to it any more than I do about the goodness that goes milk. I mean, I've heard these stories, but I have no idea. I think it's probably demonic, but I don't know. Other questions or comments. I have a friend who's Catholic. She does this thing about gazing at the Sacred Heart. They wouldn't call it that. But yeah, right. You know, gazing in Catholicism, you have the beatific vision which involves this entering this ecstatic trance in the presence of God. That's part of the that whole literature in the Catholic movement. So there are definitely parallels to this and mystical movements in the West. The veneration worship line is not always clear whether it's a two dimensional, like forever. I would never and maybe this is crazy, but I would never bring home from India like a Shiva lingam or some idol to show you like you can buy all over India.
Like the not the Raja is there everywhere. You can buy statues of Ganesh or whatever you got could bring them home. I could. I could put all these gods on the table and show you her passport and class. I don't want. I don't want one of in my house. I just do not want in my house. I don't mind having electronic pictures of these. It doesn't bother me because that's the electronic picture for educational purposes. I never have gaze at my computer too long, but I find that offensive. I know people who have these in their office to teach Hinduism and say, Look, you pass around these gods and goddesses and statue form. That piece of statue has no power over me. I don't feel any fear about it. I just simply don't want it anywhere in my house. But, you know, people have different ideas about that, what constitutes an act of worship or whatever. But in certainly in India, if you buy an idol, you're giving money to an Idol worshiper. And I fundamentally opposed that. If I have a little bit of money, I want to give it to the people of God who are preaching the gospel, not to an Idol worshiper. So, you know, that kind of thing is is different. Taking pictures. Most temples do not permit you to take pictures unless you give them, like a few rupees. So you can give like ten or ₹15. Take pictures. I very rarely even do that. I have paid a few rupees, like I'm like $0.20, $0.30 in order to take pictures in certain temples for the sake of educational purposes that I don't have this large anymore because I'm doing it on PowerPoint now. But in years past. But basically, I don't, as a rule, give money to Idol worshipers.
You see, we don't teach our people about it. That's the problem. Unfortunately, we're just now actually a seasonal curriculum in terms of its usefulness to our students. So a lot of our curriculum is very similar to what you have here. So what happens is that the curriculum kind of happens as a core, and then students will ask these questions and we'll have an ad hoc in class. There's no question this has been discussed in all of our classes, and professors are responding, but they're responding in a disorganized. We don't have a coherent policy about it, and we have differences of opinion about them on the faculty. Just the way you have to hear about things here, not open disputes, but just we haven't actually have a policy about what we should promote among our church planning pastors. So we're working on that now. So the things we're working on. My own view on the on the facade is just what the Apostle Paul says. That photo of us to idols has absolutely no power over you, but you will refrain for the sake of the weaker brother for his lack of faith, not yours. So if you are in the presence of a new believer, a new Hindu convert to Christianity, then you should definitely not take it because it would be a stumbling block, the person's faith for sure. But there are some certain contexts I think it would be allowed. And secondly, I feel even more strongly that if you don't know, it's Prasad It's a lot of times papering by food and you don't know after you've taken it, you find out it's. Prasad There's no reason why that should be a problem for question because you never know. But I think, you know, my feel on all these things is that I don't think it's very helpful for those in the West to legislate these things.
I think we need to talk about theologically, talk about what Paul teaches, interact with them. But ultimately, the Indian church has to decide these issues, not us. And of course, it's a good question you're asking, and I'm not answering it, but I'm just saying that I think ultimately it's not a question that we can really address well, because this is a context that they know better than we know. The second common feature, which this is reflecting on what we said is the idea of the icon or the idol is a bridge between the soul and God or the doctor and the divine. You have idols, number one. You have the idea that Idol is a bridge. And thirdly, you have the idea that that Idol can transfer grace or power. Chuck D is the word for it. Shakti is power in Hinduism. That power can be transferred into you through meditating on the deity, through offering touching mana of some kind or through this intent gaze. And we talked about. The fourth theme that's common to all of the Bhakti movement is the sense of being overwhelmed and raptured in the presence of God. This is, I guess, the ultimate expression of this intent gazing thing, of being overwhelmed. They have these very, very loud services. There'll be a lot of music and chanting. And this creates a sense of being overwhelmed. I haven't mentioned a lot of the particulars of how this is done, but let me just give you three things briefly that are involved. One thing its uses are mantras. A mantra is the utterance of some sacred syllables. It could be a Sanskrit phrase from the upon the shards. It can be material that's best particular to a particular bhakti movement.
The mantra meaning just simply means sacred words. So you will repeat certain words over and over and over again in order to enter into an ecstatic experience. That's called a mantra. The other element, which I've alluded to we haven't discussed is murderers. This is even more important in Buddhism. There isn't Hinduism, it's important in Hinduism as well. And this refers to hand signs. Various configurations of the hand of the deity that conveys certain kinds of things. You notice, for example, in the Sarasvati imagery where you have the hands extending and the money is flowing out of the hand, the coins of the hand, that is a mudra of giving blessing, giving help to somebody in need. The most important one is the one that we saw already with this new is the hand like this and shoulder level. This you'll see on many of the aisles icons and this is particular thing means a blessing. It's called the abaya mudra. Abaya means blessing. And if they have that position, that means abaya. So again, if you touch that, then you receive the blessing. The other one and there's just a few that that you'll probably know. The other one is one called Anjali. You don't need none of these. Turn for the Anjali mudra. Is this one where Indians greet one other. It's the mother of greeting. Now this, you'll be surprised, is a very interesting cultural question because everybody in India greets like this. Traditionally, the word is namaste to our Namaste, Kyra. That's a common greeting all over India. It's one of the u19 words of India. So it doesn't matter if you're a Hindi speaker or of your Tamil, Malayalam, whatever you can say, namaste cut off or if it's familiar, Namaste.
Okay. Now, that particular greeting, this Angele mudra is a sacred symbol, which is supposed to be theoretically or technically in Hindu iconography. This is bowing to the art and within the other person. So when you greet somebody like this in India, if you want to be technical about it, you are worshiping them. Now, it's not used that way. It's used as a greetings, as an example of cultural things. I mean, Christians will greet like this. Many Christians want, but most Christians do. Many times I've got conversations like this in India because it's the it is the kind of the Indian way to do it. They did this in northeast. Like. Like this northeast. No, it doesn't. And it is not the whole class in the Northeast, but everywhere else in India, it is the Muslims who are supposed to worship any other person. And they were right. Muslims do not use underlay. Muslims will typically have their own greeting. They say, salaam alaikum. Salaam. Now, if a muslim is down in a Hindu area, it's very possible. I don't know. I can't really think of examples, but I'm sure that the Muslims, certain Muslims that are widely traveling around wouldn't have any problem with doing this. But it's not commonly done. I mean, certainly a muslim greeting Muslim, It would not happen. All right. That's a question. Yeah. But certainly it's very customary within the Hindu and even the other things. I mean, like when you walk into a Hindu home. When I was just recently visiting with Shivraj Mahendra, the both of, you know, Shivraj, he lives in the home of a Hindu man who called Guruji guru teacher Ji as a way of respecting the. So he was like the village teacher in this very small village.
He's still a Hindu. He lives upstairs. Guruji goes down stairs. So we walked into the house to have tea one day and Guruji was there, sitting on a little slutty thing. And the minute. Even though he's a Christian. The first thing Shivraj Dilly walked in was to reach down and touch the toes of Guruji. It's a very thing, a very polite thing to do. And if you walk in a Hindu home, what it means culturally is I acknowledge that you're the head of the household. I don't question your authority. You know, whatever. If someone in the government questions, if someone wants to tell you something like we would say, I swear, I promise to that. Kind of like if you're really in an intense thing and someone's to let you know, they really, really mean this, that, you know, I cross my heart, hope to die kind of thing when you're kids going out that when they really want to talk to you that way they will put their hand underneath your thigh and they'll say, I did not mean to hurt you. And I said that. Now what that means, if they do that to you is they are promise you solemnly. That they did not mean to hurt. They really did. Wasn't like an apology after the fact. It's like I was not there Tuesday night. It means you were not there. So the idea of touching this whole manner thing, symbols of the hand is very much a part. And it has developed into Christian circles. Certain elements of it have developed. The other is the one you may have seen a lot is the Whitaker mudra, which is like this. This is where you touch the forefinger and the thumb together.
And of course this is a symbol of the arm and is the mother of teaching. So you often see teachers in India in statues that have this. So again, the mothers are very important because they also help you identify not only the gods and goddesses, but even other statues like of Shankara will have this symbol. He'll be doing this because Shankar is a great teacher. So you had a Buddha. Buddha has this. So, you know, this is also part of the way you identify various other statues in India. The last one is called the Diana. And those are these just the most important ones. You'll see many statues where the hands like this, actually, yeah, it's like this. The left hand under the right hand, the thumbs are touching. And it's the meditation mudra. So you'll find this or the various are the if they're in meditation, if you see a statue that has this symbol, it means that this God is meditating. The word for meditation is Diana. This is the words in Japanese Zen. We get Zen Buddhism from India is called Diana. In China is called Chon in India or in Japan is called Zen, meditative Buddhism. So this is the Diana or the Zen or whatever. It also goes into Buddhism mudra. So there are a number of these ways in which grace or teaching or greeting or blessing, and then many others of these that come across, and they're called murderers. The last and fifth general feature is the desire for the company of other actors who've enjoyed similar esthetic experiences. So they get together in big meetings. They'll have big services. And this is a very, very powerful kind of joint experience. So Indians like being in corporate gatherings.
They don't like being alone. So a lot of Hinduism, the whole emphasis on all is so individualistic. This is a anti individualistic expression. So you'll find, even though they don't have a day of worship, like certain day or body goes like I do, and Christianity or Islam and Hinduism, they have so many festivals, so many opportunities where people can get together. Every marriage is another opportunity to worship idols and every engagement, every opening of a new business, every you name it, an option to get together. And so the idea and they have clubs and they have little medallions they wear on their neck that show you if they're a book they follow and people say, Oh, you know, I worked with that God and it's like a fellowship thing they promote. Are any questions about any of those five things? Yes, I sense that much. Oh, I didn't. I didn't mention the third one. You're right. Yeah, the third. The three M's mantras. Mothers, mandalas. What's a mandolin? You already know this from bad times. It's a little image that interrupts. All right. Congratulations, Cosmo. Homology everything in India. Ultimately at some point touches cosmic homology. That's why you have the whole thing when you say. Do they really believe that that God dwells in that stone? No. Cosmic homology. If you can connect with that God through manna in the stone, you can connect with the God of the universe. It's a cosmic homology. So the mandalas or the diagrams, they will display these diagrams that are used for the gazing. So it's part of the minor. And you look upon it, you gaze upon it, and you believe you can get insight into the whole universe. This is used to create the book, the ecstatic experience.
So there's all kinds of tie ins with the philosophical tradition, but also done in a very, very popular way. Thanks. Remind me. I've forgotten to finish that that up. Okay. Puja refers to a ritual symbolic offering to a god or gods in bhakti Hinduism. We have no idea what the word puja is derived from. Now, I'll tell you what it's derived from. There's a lot of debate among bodies about this. Some say it comes from pas de paranoia. Chapa Which is referring to the repetition of the names of God, which is part of the whole Pcdi process I mentioned earlier, where you get into this ecstatic union. Others say comes from PUSH. Pushpa Which is the word for flower daal, the word for water. Pooja push pom doll because flour and water. Two of the main things you offer in puja, they are people on the more philosophical bent who believe it stands for Perugia Puja. Donmar. Perugia has a word for God. John means we wake up or to excite. And so the idea is that you wake up the God within. So there's a lot of different ideas about what the word puja means or the derivate derivation of it. We actually do not know. But in some ways I think it's helpful to have it here before you because it does show you the way puja can be used on a very common level flour and water, or all the way up to some practice or even some philosophical connection. So it does show you the way Puja operates popularly. And though in in the larger philosophical sense, the key elements of puja. This is fairly what we've discussed already a lot. You have the icon or the idol of the deity located in a mandir sacred space that can also mean Temple can be a niche in the wall.
There's certain trees in India that are very sacred. The most sacred one is a tree called. Yeah, Banyan Tree. Thank you very much. The banyan tree where the the limbs will come down and root into new. This should be the front cover of your book by Lipner. That's a picture of Banyan Tree. He used an analogy like covers this whole back a square mile. That's a banyan tree. They have several of them very close to where I teach in India. And they will dig into the tree and they will place an idol into that mandir sacred space. And there's a lot of reasons for the banyan tree being worshiped, which we don't we haven't gone into, but it's a sacred tree in India. So any kind of sacred space that has to be elaborate. Temple many of them are just little concrete buildings. Many of them are in the middle of fields. You'll have a sacred vessel, what's known as a Purna Kumar, which is located next to the icon. Again, I've not included words like mandir or not come by on your list of things to know, but in case you're interested in the terminology, it's there. It just means sacred vessel or a purna means actually pure a pure vessel, and it's usually immediately next to the idol. It's often filled with water or rice, leaves, flowers, coconuts. We've discussed some of these in before. Often the pot is viewed as a symbol of Tevye, which is the great goddess or a particular manifestation of it. Lakshmi. So they often will say, I don't care what deity you're worshiping. Devi is always there. What they mean by that is Devi is there because of the sacred pot is there, and that represents the goddess of the Earth.
Or they are Devi. Gas Earth is another one of the goddess that comes from Debby. The flowers are viewed as often a beauty ornamentation of the gods and goddesses, and they will spend a lot of money and time decorating the flower god with flowers and bringing food to the God rice coconut. One of the most dramatic conversions in India was from a young boy who. Was was observing the gods. And this is part of the story behind the emergence of Sikhism. But he's observing the God. And at night time he was there trying to gaze the good God, you know, day and night. This whole thing about gazing. And during the night he knows the rats were coming to eat the prasad and the rats were crawling all over this God, and it just blew them away. Why would not allow this? And it turned them away from Hinduism He saw they were just a statue. So you have this presence of food there. It's very, very important. Prasad just means sacred offering of food, flowers, perfume, substances and coconut milk are the most obvious examples of this. And they'll light oil lamps and and they have various ways. It's says lamp. It's just a lamp. I'm sorry. The lamp represents virtue or knowledge. The oil well, the cotton wick is pleasure. The light itself is liberation. This is all part of the way they explain everything has meaning and purpose. Let me just show you real quick. This is a picture of puja going on. This is them pouring the water over the idol as a sacred offering. These are the Brahmans. They're wearing the sacred thread. We haven't discussed that yet, but there's no doubt in my mind these are Brahman males. This is the offering of coconut milk over the deity.
Again, you have Brahmins gathered around performing the sauce, people watching, participating in that way. You have the vessel here that's just a vessel of water. I don't see any other vessel there, but this is just like ad hoc pictures here. It's not there. We know it's not Debbie. It's actually Booth. Debbie, Booth. Debbie is the goddess of the earth. It's one of the manifestations of Debbie. You can see the food offered here. See, this is I mean, this is just like candid shot. So it's not as perfect as maybe if it's like a patty or something. But here you have him pouring it over the the goddess Here is another priest offering. Now, this is a a newly installed goddess. So that's very decorate with the flowers and all this is not always look this elaborate and this person is chanting mantras. People are there participating. That's the way it offering the light. Okay. I think we will stop there.