Symbols in Hinduism
Hinduism uses a variety of symbols to convey messages. These symbols are not empty signs or rituals. Each has a deep significance and meaning. In this article, we look at a few Hindu symbols and the significance behind each of them.
Om or Aum
Om is believed to be the primordial sound that reverberates throughout the universe. All Hindu prayers and invocations to deities begin with Om. The symbol of Om is present in all Hindu temples and worship rooms in houses. Om represents the Absolute – which has no beginning nor end. It signifies authority and divinity.
Another sacred symbol of the Hindus is the Swastika. This symbol came to be known worldwide after the Nazis used it during their reign. Swastika symbolizes the Brahman’s eternal nature and omnipresence. It is used in all Hindu festivals and celebrations. The word ‘Swastika’ combines two Sanskrit words which together mean ‘May Good Prevail’. Many historians say that in the past, kings built forts in the shape of a swastika. This protective power may have immortalised this hoary symbol.
The Saffron Color
Saffron symbolizes Agni or fire. Vedic rites used fires extensively. The saffron color is also holy also by Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. Sikhs consider the saffron color to have militant qualities. But, Hindu and Buddhist monks wear saffron robes, which indicate that they have renounced material life.
The Lotus symbol represents non-attachment and beauty. Even though the lotus flower grows out of mud and floats on water, it does not become muddy or wet. This tells us Hindus that they should live with detachment to materialistic objects to gain liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Many Hindu deities are portrayed with the lotus flower. Krishna is known as the “Lotus-Eyed One”.