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Notre derni\u00e8re cr\u00e9ation de lann\u00e9e 2016, inspir\u00e9e dune scultpre originale Devat\u0101. - terre cuite creuse, polychrome H. 80 cm Origine - Indochine Cambodge Bronze Khmers - Angkor Vat.

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"Devat\u0101 or deity is a multifaceted concept in San\u0101tana Dharma. There are very many different aspects of devat\u0101. Apart from object of worship, devat\u0101 is a symbol representing different things in different forms of knowledge. Commonly we see that devat\u0101s are described as having consorts, weapons and vehicles. And they have number of heads, hands and feet. They are also associated with different sets of numbers. All these have different meanings in different senses, when we talk of different aspects of the devat\u0101. Some of the symbols become more important or less important based on the aspect we are talking of.

Then there are different likes and dislikes for each devat\u0101. Not having a form and qualities in the human sense, likes and dislikes do not apply to devat\u0101 the way they apply to humans. They represent methods that make the devat\u0101 easily reachable or in other words, they are the means to realize the devat\u0101.

Broadly, the different aspects of devat\u0101 are:

Belonging to a level of consciousness - transcendental : Devat\u0101 represents a faculty of higher consciousness. Consorts represent the associate consciousness powers of devat\u0101 that are inseparable from devat\u0101. Weapons and vehicles represent powers, instruments and methods that enables one to reach the devat\u0101. Kap\u0101li epithet of \u015aiva[1] is a good example of this, which means that He wears kap\u0101las or in other words resides in the kap\u0101las of the devotees.

Different forms of devat\u0101 are said to reside in or rule different worlds. Though devat\u0101s pervade all the worlds, we usually apply the word devat\u0101 in the seven urdhva lokas, especially from swarga loka and above.

What is symbolically narrated in general by allegories of gods killing demons is the story of transcendence. There are demons and gods. Demons do evil acts, hurt noble people; gods slay them and protect the noble. In San\u0101tana dharma, there is nothing that is noble or evil. Everything, good or bad, is seen as a part of evolution of man. Only evil is ignorance of man or nescience that will be transcended by gnosis. Devat\u0101 killing an Asura, is also a psychological suggestion. It symbolizes the growth of man over his inner enemies such as hatred and lust that emanate from ignorance and his march towards truth. Gods are the nobler facets of human nature that are manifestations of knowledge and realization. They help man elevate himself to higher states of consciousness by slaying demons. Man himself, by his will power, reaches to those states is another version of the same statement. Arjuna fighting gods and later knowing that gods were testing him, then taking astras from them, pleading Lord \u015aiva to get the Pashup\u0101ta, Bhima defeating the Air\u0101wata of Indra are accounts of their divine romance and their quest for truth. Their consequent physical victory is an account of how dharma was established. These stories narrate a moral action followed and inspired by a spiritual realization. In fact the great Mah\u0101bh\u0101rata war followed a great discourse on cosmic mechanism and its spiritual principle, Bhagavad Git\u0101.

Part of Vir\u0101t Purusha, a cosmic conception</b>Devat\u0101 is infinite and universal. Devat\u0101 is depicted as a part of the Unviersal Being or Vir\u0101t Puru\u1e63a. Also, in the worship of each devat\u0101 the devat\u0101 is equated to the Vir\u0101t Puru\u1e63a Himself. It is said that the word "deva" applies up to Param\u0101tma, that is each devat\u0101 is not only a part of but also represents the whole of the Eternal. This is to say, the absolute/eternal could be realized through worship of any devat\u0101.

Devat\u0101 is both universal and personal. Devat\u0101 is said to grow when man worships. This is the personal aspect. The growth of devat\u0101 in man is the development and fulfillment of man's being, material, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

\u015ari K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a says: "devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha"

Gods grow when men worship and please them. They in turn bring about man's well-being. Thus they mutually help each other. Representative of a power of nature: The sound-form of each devat\u0101's energy is represented by Mantra. Mantras are of many types like stri and puru\u1e63a mantras. They have waking and sleeping times. Each mantra devat\u0101 represents a "n\u0101di" and the active and inactive times of those are represented by this. There are also different ragas in Sangita, which are said to please different devatas.[3]

Yogic : Devat\u0101 is a yogic symbol too. The various weapons and associate symbols of devat\u0101 represent methods, clues and instruments to awaken higher levels of consciousness hidden in man. The heads, hands, legs of devat\u0101 that are in different numbers, are also such suggestions. Vajrayudha of Indra, Bowl and Gad\u0101 in the hands of G\u0101yatri, the great Serpant that Vi\u1e63\u1e47u sleeps on and \u015aiva wears as adornment, Garuda and Mayura the vehicles of Vi\u1e63\u1e47u and Kumaraswamy that are enemies of snakes, V\u1e5b\u1e63abha the vehicle of Union of \u015aiva and \u015aakti, Kumaraswamy having Six heads, are all examples. They are all clues to yoga, that the su\u015bumna marga in the spine could be used to awaken the hidden consciousness and union with the divine.

Astronomical : Alternately, Devat\u0101 is an astronomical suggestion. Each devat\u0101 represents a star or a constellation.

The consorts, vehicles, symbols on flag, can also be seen in this light. The star closest to another star is depicted as an adornment or consort. A star while rising is followed by another, the latter is said to be the vehicle. While setting the direction changes and the latter gets ahead of the former - in this case the latter becomes symbol on the former's flagstaff. For instance, Mithuna[4] is Parvati-Parameswara Mithuna. When Gemini rises after sunset, Vrshabha[5] rises just ahead of it. Then Parvati-Parameswara become Vrshabha Dhvaja, with Taurus as the symbol on their flag. Before sunrise when Gemini sets, the positions are reversed and it appears above Taurus. Then \u015aiva-Parvati are Vrshabha v\u0101hana, Taurus becomes their vehicle. Durga as Si\u1e45ha v\u0101hana[6] Kumara Swamy as Mayura v\u0101hana, Ganesha as Mu\u1e63ika V\u0101hana, Manmatha as Makara Dhwaja are examples.

A devat\u0101 killing an asura is an astronomical symbolism too. If a character A is said to kill a character B, it means that the star symbolized by B sets at the time at which the star symbolized by A rises. If it is an indirect killing then it means that these stars are not diametrically opposite but there is a small time difference between the rise of A and set of B. In general, enmity is to be seen as diametrically opposite. At the time of the set of B, the star nearest to A is said to have helped A in killing B. Indra killing Vritra, R\u0101ma killing R\u0101va\u1e47a, Arjuna hitting Bhi\u1e63ma with the help of \u015aikhandi, enmity between Garuda and Sarpa, are examples. "

Shankara Bharadwaj Khandavalli

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