Information on Religion in Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh
Here is information on Religion in Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh - The Hindu religion is one of oldest in the world and continues to be practised throughout India. More than a religion, Hinduism is a way of life.
According to the local legend there were once over 85 temples built at Khajuraho, of which 20 are in a fairly good state of preservation. Most of the temples of Khajuraho are Hindu while a few, confined to the Eastern Group, are dedicated to the Jain faith.
Central to the belief is that the Divine manifests itself in innumerable ways. The countless deities of the Hindu pantheon are merely the multitudinous manifestations of the power and energy of the Divine.
Representative of the single phenomenon called Life are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They are not really three male gods but represent the continuous process of creation (Brahma), of preservation of life (Vishnu) and reabsorption or destruction (Shiva). This process of birth, life and death is an unending continuum and cannot be separated, for everything that is born will ultimately die and be reabsorbed by the original creator. In the temples of Khajuraho, this synthesis of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva is depicted on the lintel above the sanctum and on the walls.
Brahma is identified as an old bearded man, as he is the original parent. He carries a sacrificial spoon and a tapering palm leaf book.
Vishnu carries a conch, the symbol of the haunting sound of creation emerging from primeval waters, and disc, the wheel-like weapon that destroys ignorance or evil. Vishnu, as preservor, has nine incarnations in which he appeared to save the universe from annihilation.
Shiva, as the original creator - destroyer, is represented by the linga, an abstract pillar-like form. There are linga images of different kinds in the sanctum of the Kandariya Mahadev, Vishvanath, Matangeshvar, Duladeo and Brahma Temples of Khajuraho. Shiva is also depicted in sculpture in human form, carrying a three-pronged trishul or trident in one hand and a snake, the representative of the three worlds, in the other.
Each of the gods are given a consort that represents their shahti or energy. There are sculptural figures of the divine couples embracing each other in the niches of the Devi Jagadambi and Chitragupta Temples. Brahma's wife is Saraswati, the goddess of learning and wisdom, Vishnu's wife is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and well-being and Shiva's wife is Parvati. The gods and goddesses are also represented by their animal manifestations. Brahma is said to ride Hansa, the heavenly swan, Vishnu on Garuda, the divine eagle and Shiva 41i;' on Nandi, the loyal bull. A magnificent specimen of Nandi is sculpted in front of the Vishvanath temple.
Shiva's son Ganesh is one of the most popular Hindu deities. He has an elephant head because, according to one myth, his father accidently cut off his original head and replaced it with that of an elephant. An image of Ganesh, the lord of good fortune is found in the first niche on the south side of the Vishvanath and Lakshman Temples. Ganesh is the first deity to be worshipped in all Hindu rituals for, as a remover of obstacles, he sees to the successful completion of every venture.
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