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Taimni - An Introduction to Hindu Symbolism

Taimni - An Introduction to Hindu Symbolism

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Published by Ariadne_777
Introduction to Hindu Symbolism
Introduction to Hindu Symbolism

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Published by: Ariadne_777 on Jul 25, 2009
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03/15/2014

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AN INTRODUCTION TO HINDU SYMBOLISM
BYI. K. TAIMNI1980THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE ADYAR, MADRAS 20, INDIA
 
2
CONTENTSCHAPTER PAGE
I. Introduction 3II. Devis and Devatas as Powers andFunctions of the one God 7III. General Principles of Hindu Symbolism 11IV. Natural Symbolism: The Symbology of Shiva-Linga 15V. Artificial Symbolism: The Symbology of Mahesha 20VI. The Symbology of Trideva 28VII. The Stories of Hiranyakashipu andBhasmasura 33VIII. The Churning of the Ocean (Samudra-Manthana) 38IX. The Allegory in Durga-Saptashati 49
 
3CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
ANYONE who studies Hindu scriptures is struck by the odd mixture of the highest philosophical doctrines on the one hand and crude fetish worship and myths on the other. Andthe most remarkable thing which strikes outsiders who have not studied these things deeply ishow otherwise intelligent people can accept these things as a matter of course and even take part in ceremonies in which Divinity is worshipped in grotesque forms. You will find, for example, a professor of philosophy lecturing on Vedanta in a university and explaining to thestudents very carefully the subtle conception of Nirguna-Brahman. The same professor comeshome and in the evening takes part most enthusiastically in die worship of Kali, the Goddesswith a flaming sword and a garland of sculls round her neck. You find the same professor again, next day, offering Ganga water and
bel 
leaves to an ellipsoid made of stone in a temple.And the strange thing about this religious life of the Hindus is that it does not occur to these people that there is any contradiction involved in their attitude to the many Gods whom theyworship, sometimes in very strange forms.Another aspect of the same phenomenon is the ready acceptance of the innumerablestories of different gods and goddesses in our scriptures, specially the Puranas, which are so popular among the masses. Many of these stories are absurd in the extreme, some of them areeven revolting and insulting to our intelligence. And yet, not only illiterate and unintelligent people, but also educated and highly intelligent people, read the Puranas with great devotionand derive real spiritual sustenance and inspiration from them. When a learned Pandit(scholar) reads a colourful account of the wedding of Shiva and Sati with great devotion,sceptics might feel amused at his credulous attitude, but he does not see any absurdity in theapparently absurd story. He knows in his heart of hearts that he is reading an allegoricalaccount of a great occult truth. The very absurdity of the story shows that it is not to be takenliterally and hides a profound truth.It is true that many common people among the Hindus take many of these things asliterally true and this has led to the growth of superstitions and perverted religious ideas. But Ido not think there are many people, even among those who are illiterate, in whosesubconscious mind there is not a vague conviction that behind these apparently absurd storiesthere are hidden great spiritual truths even though they may not understand what they are. It is

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