A visual guide to Shiva symbolism

Shiva is one of the most widely known and revered Hindu gods. In the Hindu mythology, Shiva is the Destroyer, working in concert with Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Protector. Shiva has always fascinated his followers by his unique appearance: he has not two but three eyes, has ash smeared all over his body, … Continue reading A visual guide to Shiva symbolism

Decoding the symbolism of the cosmic dancer

Nataraja is a well known sculptural symbol in India and popularly used as a symbol of Indian culture. It depicts the Hindu god Shiva as the cosmic dancer and the Sanskrit word actually translates as Lord of Dancers. His dance is called Tandavam or Nadanta, depending on the context and the pose and artwork is … Continue reading Decoding the symbolism of the cosmic dancer

Understanding the Hindu use of Ash

In seeking to understand Hinduism more thoroughly I came across an interesting little article called, "Hindu Rituals and Routines - Why Do We Follow Those?" It covers a number of aspects of Hindu practice that, while familiar enough from observation, I've never heard explained so well for before. One in particular was the Hindu use of … Continue reading Understanding the Hindu use of Ash

What is the difference between the Trimurti and the Trinity?

I have frequently heard non-Christians assert that the Trinity of Christianity and the Trimurti of Hinduism are equivalent "triple god" concepts. This, however, is a gross misunderstanding. Yes, the number three features promenantly in both teachings, but that is where the similarity largely ends. Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer) are temporally differentiated. … Continue reading What is the difference between the Trimurti and the Trinity?

Sacred shit

I have encountered all sorts of strange rituals in my engagement with other religions, but possibly the strangest I have ever personally witnessed was cow dung puja. It was many years ago in Darling Harbour, at one of the seasonal Mind Body Spirit Festivals. I had struck up a conversation with some Hindu converts earlier … Continue reading Sacred shit

The Co-Existence of Violence and Non-Violence in Hinduism

I have a huge amount of respect for Ghandi, and I imagine many of you reading this have too. But as I have come to understand Hinduism in more depth I have become increasingly aware that Ghandi was not, and is not, universally representative of Hindu ethics. There is an ethical spectrum in Hinduism that is not … Continue reading The Co-Existence of Violence and Non-Violence in Hinduism

Who can tell me more about the Hindu festival of Holi?

I was wondering if anyone out there can enlighten me on the significance of the Hindu festival of Holi? From what I've read it seems to be celebrating (a) Krishna's play with the cow-herding girls, (b) the slaying of the demoness Holika by Prahlad, a devotee of Vishnu, and (c) the arrival of spring. Is it a … Continue reading Who can tell me more about the Hindu festival of Holi?

Not Quite Christian Art: Hindu Jesus

An image of Jesus in India by an unknown artist. Whatever its artistic merits I can't help thinking that art like this is too syncretistic to properly be called Christian. It is one thing to depict Christian stories in Hindu style. It is another to depict Jesus as a Hindu. This strikes me as more … Continue reading Not Quite Christian Art: Hindu Jesus

That Old Black Magic

It seems a Hindu Astrologer has set up business near the puja supply shop in the centre of Pendle Hill. Promising "Protection from any Black Magic" with a "100% success" rate, it suggests there are many out there seeking divine protection. Few seem to be seeking it from Christian communities however, or, given my conversations, … Continue reading That Old Black Magic

What makes a person a Hindu?

As a Christian who lives in a predominantly Hindu suburb I know from personal experience that it is important to understand Hinduism through the eyes of Hindus (and not just their Western interpreters). So when a Hindu writes on "What makes a person a Hindu?" or "What does following Sanatana Dharma mean?" I pay attention. … Continue reading What makes a person a Hindu?

Aghast at the Aghori

Every path has its extremists and Hinduism is no exception. The first I heard of the Aghoris was in a book called, "Yoga: The Essence of Life," which I read back in 2005. The book was based around interviews of Australian yoga instructors, one of whom, Robert Svoboda, spoke of his own experience with Aghora in … Continue reading Aghast at the Aghori

Gita and Gospel

From John Nicol Farquhar, 1861-1929: "Here, then, we have the secret of that similarity which we are all so clearly conscious of, when we read a Gospel alongside of the Gita. In the Gospels we have in historical form the authoritative utterances of the historical Jesus; in the Gita we have the imaginations of a … Continue reading Gita and Gospel