Animals in temple worship

Animal Science
“All humans are animals until they learn to use their intelligence and overcome ignorance and delusion.”

Animals have powerful significance and references in Hinduism. Philosophy and mythology of hindusim includes an array of animals and birds connected to deities. Very often, devotees ignore the importance and significance of these animals and birds. These animals, regarded as sacred, are also known as vahana or vehicles, upon which God or Godesses travel. During worship and pooja rituals, animals are also venerated. There are several sacred animals and birds identified in the companion of the Vedic and puranic God and Godesses.

God or Goddesses – Vahana
Siva Bull – Nandi
Ganesha- Rat
Muruga – Peacock
Vishnu – Garuda
Durga as Singhavahini Lion
Durga –Tiger
Virabhadra and Bhairava – Dog
Brahma – Goose
Indra – Airavata
Yama – Buffalo
Kamadeva – Parrot
Sani – Vulture

It is to be noted also that the powerful Hanuman represents monkeys. Though the cow is not regarded as the vahana of any God or Godesses, the sacred animal is worshipped for its purity.

In fact, vahana represents the human mind of the devotees. If you control the mind you control and destroy the evils. God or Goddesses usually dominates the vahana to achieve their target. Similarly, if you dominate and master your mind, you shall control your ego and master your destiny.

Nanda Narrainen © 2018