vehicles of the divinities
   In the post-Vedic iconography of India, gods and goddesses are commonly seen in associa-tion with what is described in SANSKRIT as their vahana (vehicle). Often they are pictured astride an animal; at other times there is a depiction of the animal standing alone in the foreground or background. Vedic divinities did not have such mounts, but mounts were created for them in later times to make their images accord with those of the non-Vedic gods.
   The vehicle of VISHNU is the man-eagle GARUDA; the vehicle of SHIVA is the bull NANDI; DURGA is often depicted astride a lion or tiger; SARASVATI is seen in association with a swan or peacock; KARTTIKEYA, the younger son of Shiva and PARVATI, has a peacock vehicle; GANESHA, the elephant-headed divinity, is seen in association with the lowly rat. LAKSHMI is unique in having a lotus that she is always shown seated upon, which serves as her vehicle.
   There are, however, many prominent divini-ties who do not have iconographic vehicles. These include RAMA and SITA, PARVATI and KRISHNA. Among the Jains the TIRTHANKARAS (perfected beings) were usually depicted in association with particular animals, perhaps in imitation of the Hindu notion. However, since the Jain tradition is so old, it is quite possible that the practice origi-nated with them.
   Further reading: Cornelia Dimitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen, eds. and trans., Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978); Margaret Stutley, An Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mesopotamia, history of — ▪ historical region, Asia Introduction  history of the region in southwestern Asia where the world s earliest civilization developed. The name comes from a Greek word meaning “between rivers,” referring to the land between the Tigris and… …   Universalium

  • List of Doctor Who audio releases — For audiobooks, see List of Doctor Who audiobooks. For soundtracks and other music releases, see List of Doctor Who music releases. For audio productions by Big Finish, see List of Doctor Who audio plays by Big Finish. There have been many… …   Wikipedia

  • Buddhism — Buddhist, n., adj. Buddhistic, Buddhistical, adj. Buddhistically, adv. /booh diz euhm, bood iz /, n. a religion, originated in India by Buddha (Gautama) and later spreading to China, Burma, Japan, Tibet, and parts of southeast Asia, holding that… …   Universalium

  • Japan — • Called in the language of the country Nihon or Nippon (Land of the Rising Sun), and Dai Nihon or Dai Nippon (Great Japan), situated north west of the Pacific Ocean and east of the Asiatic continent Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006.… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Aegean civilizations — The Bronze Age civilizations that arose and flourished с 3000–1000 BC in the region bordering the Aegean Sea. They included Crete, the Cyclades, the Greek mainland south from Thessaly, including the Peloponnese, and Macedonia, Thrace, and western …   Universalium

  • Vanishing hitchhiker — The vanishing hitchhiker (or phantom hitchhiker) is a reported phenomenon in which people travelling by vehicle meet with or are accompanied by a hitchhiker who subsequently vanishes without explanation, often from a moving vehicle. Vanishing… …   Wikipedia

  • South Asian arts — Literary, performing, and visual arts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Myths of the popular gods, Vishnu and Shiva, in the Puranas (ancient tales) and the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, supply material for representational and… …   Universalium

  • arts, East Asian — Introduction       music and visual and performing arts of China, Korea, and Japan. The literatures of these countries are covered in the articles Chinese literature, Korean literature, and Japanese literature.       Some studies of East Asia… …   Universalium

  • Litter (vehicle) — For other meanings of litter, see Litter (disambiguation). A Korean gama, circa 1890 …   Wikipedia

  • Mindstream — Part of a series on Buddhism Outline · Portal History Timeline · Councils …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”