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God And Gender In Hinduism
In Hinduism , there are diverse approaches to conceptualizing GOD AND GENDER . Many Hindus focus upon impersonal Absolute ( Brahman ) which is genderless. Other Hindu traditions conceive God as androgynous (both female and male), alternatively as either male or female, while cherishing gender henotheism , that is without denying the existence of other Gods in either gender. The Shakti tradition conceives of God as a female. Other Bhakti traditions of Hinduism have both male and female gods. In ancient and medieval Indian mythology, each masculine deva of the Hindu pantheon is partnered with a feminine devi
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Krishna
KRISHNA (/ˈkrɪʃnə/ ; ( listen ); Sanskrit
Sanskrit
: कृष्ण, IAST : Kṛṣṇa) is a major deity in Hinduism . He is the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu
Vishnu
and is also worshipped as the supreme God
God
in his own right. He is the god of compassion, tenderness, and love in Hinduism and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities. Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Janmashtami according to the lunisolar Hindu
Hindu
calendar , which falls in late August or early September of the Gregorian calendar . Krishna
Krishna
is also known by numerous names, such as Govinda, Mukunda, Madhusudhana, Vasudeva, and _Makhan chor_ in affection. The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are generally titled as _Krishna Leela_. He is a central character in the _ Mahabharata _, _Bhagavata Purana _ and the _ Bhagavad Gita _, and is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical , theological, and mythological texts. They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and as the supreme power
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Lakshmi
_LAKSHMI_ (/ˈləksmiː/ ; Sanskrit : लक्ष्मी, IAST : _lakṣmī_) or LAXMI, is the Hindu goddess of wealth, health, fortune and prosperity. She is the wife and shakti (energy) of Vishnu , one of the principal deities of Hinduism and the Supreme Being in the Vaishnavism Tradition. Lakshmi is also an important deity in Jainism and found in Jain temples. Lakshmi has also been a goddess of abundance and fortune for Buddhists, and was represented on the oldest surviving stupas and cave temples of Buddhism . In Buddhist sects of Tibet, Nepal and southeast Asia, goddess Vasudhara mirrors the characteristics and attributes of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi with minor iconographic differences. Lakshmi is also called Sri or _Thirumagal_ because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or gunas, and is the divine strength of Vishnu. In Hindu religion, she was born from the churning of the primordial ocean ( Samudra manthan ) and she chose Vishnu as her eternal consort. When Vishnu descended on the Earth as the avatars Rama and Krishna , Lakshmi descended as his respective consort
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Ardhanarishvara
ARDHANARISHVARA ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
: अर्धनारीश्वर, Ardhanārīśvara) is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva
Shiva
and His consort Parvati
Parvati
(also known as Devi
Devi
, Shakti
Shakti
and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara
Ardhanarishvara
is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating His traditional attributes. The earliest Ardhanarishvara
Ardhanarishvara
images are dated to the Kushan
Kushan
period, starting from the first century CE . Its iconography evolved and was perfected in the Gupta era. The Puranas and various iconographic treatises write about the mythology and iconography of Ardhanarishvara. While Ardhanarishvara
Ardhanarishvara
remains a popular iconographic form found in most Shiva
Shiva
temples throughout India, very few temples are dedicated to this deity. Ardhanarishvara
Ardhanarishvara
represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe ( Purusha and Prakriti ) and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from (or the same as, according to some interpretations) Shiva, the male principle of God
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Shiva
_SHIVA_ (/ˈʃivə/ ; IAST : Śiva, lit. _the auspicious one_) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism . He is the Supreme Being within Shaivism
Shaivism
, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. Shiva
Shiva
is the "destroyer and transformer" within the Trimurti
Trimurti
, the Hindu
Hindu
trinity that includes Brahma
Brahma
and Vishnu
Vishnu
. In Shaivism tradition, Shiva
Shiva
is the Supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the universe. In the goddess tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism
Shaktism
, the goddess is described as supreme, yet Shiva
Shiva
is revered along with Vishnu
Vishnu
and Brahma. A goddess is stated to be the energy and creative power (Shakti) of each, with Parvati
Parvati
the equal complementary partner of Shiva. He is one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism. At the highest level, Shiva
Shiva
is regarded as formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman , and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe. Shiva
Shiva
has many benevolent and fearsome depictions
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Parvati
Tridevi , Adi Parashakti , Shakti , Devi , Kali , Durga , Matrika , Tripura Sundari ABODE Mount Kailash MOUNT Tiger , Lion and Nandi PERSONAL INFORMATION CONSORT Shiva CHILDREN Ganesha Kartikeya PARENTS Himavan Menā (Maināvati) PARVATI ( IAST : Pārvatī) or UMA ( IAST : Umā) is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Known by many other names, she is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Hindu goddess Shakti and one of the central deities of the Goddess-oriented Shakta sect. She is the mother goddess in Hinduism, and has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu stories of India. Along with Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and learning), she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses ( Tridevi ). Parvati is the wife of the Hindu god Shiva - the protector, the destroyer and regenerator of universe and all life. She is the daughter of the mountain king Himavan and queen Mena
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Brahman
In Hinduism , BRAHMAN (/brəhmən/ ; ब्रह्मन्) connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe . In major schools of Hindu philosophy , it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind the diversity in all that exists in the universe. Brahman is a Vedic Sanskrit word, and it is conceptualized in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen , as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world". Brahman is a key concept found in the Vedas , and it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads . The Vedas conceptualize Brahman as the Cosmic Principle. In the Upanishads, it has been variously described as _Sat-cit-ānanda _ (truth-consciousness-bliss) and as the unchanging, permanent, highest reality
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Hinduism
HINDUISM is a religion, or a way of life, widely practiced in the Indian subcontinent . Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as _Sanātana Dharma _, "the eternal tradition," or the "eternal way," beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This " Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE following the Vedic period (1500 BCE to 500 BCE). Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmology , shared textual resources , and pilgrimage to sacred sites . Hindu texts are classified into Shruti ("heard") and Smriti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology , philosophy , mythology , Vedic yajna , Yoga , agamic rituals , and temple building , among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads , the Bhagavad Gita , and the Agamas . Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is also a strong Hindu tradition of the questioning of this authority, to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition
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Gender Of God
The GENDER OF GOD can be viewed as a literal or as an allegorical aspect of a deity . In polytheistic religions, the gods are more likely to have literal sexual genders which would enable them to interact with each other, and even with humans, in a sexual way. In most monotheistic religions, there is no comparable being for God
God
to relate to in a literal gender-based way, so the gender of this one-and-only deity is most likely to be an analogical statement of how humans and God
God
address, and relate to, each other, with no sexual connotations. Although God
God
is an intangible spirit in many religions and therefore has no gender, debate over his or her "actual" sex nevertheless has passionately raged in recent decades. The preponderance of references to God
God
in both the Old and New Testaments are in the context of a masculine reference, often "father". However, there are a significant number of feminine allegorical references to God, most often in some maternal role
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Absolute (philosophy)
In philosophy , metaphysics , religion , spirituality , and other contexts, the ABSOLUTE is a term for the most real being . The Absolute is conceived as being itself or perhaps the being that transcends and comprehends all other beings. While there is agreement that there must be some fundamental reality, there is disagreement as to what exactly that might be. For example, some theist philosophers argue that the most real being is a personal God
God
. Some pantheist philosophers argue that the most real being is an impersonal existence, such as reality or awareness. Others (such as perennial philosophers ) argue that various similar terms and concepts designate to the same Absolute entity. Atheist, agnostic, and scientific pantheist philosophers might argue that some mathematical property or natural law such as gravity or simply nature itself is the most real being. CONTENTS* 1 Three conceptions of the Absolute * 1.1 Cross-cultural Conception of the Absolute * 1.2 Interpreting the Absolute * 1.2.1 Within religious traditions * 2 Relation of humanity to the Absolute * 2.1 Experiencing the Absolute * 2.2 Representing the Absolute * 3 See also * 4 Notes * 5 References * 6 Sources * 7 External links THREE CONCEPTIONS OF THE ABSOLUTE The Mesopotamian cuneiform ideogram An or Dingir, "Divine". It symbolises the Fountain of being as the Medium or Centre of irradiance of (a) reality
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Henotheism
HENOTHEISM (from Greek ἑνας θεός _(henas theos)_, meaning 'one god') is the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities . Friedrich Schelling (1775–1854) coined the word, and Friedrich Welcker (1784–1868) used it to depict primordial monotheism among ancient Greeks. Max Müller (1823–1900), a German philologist and orientalist, brought the term into wider usage in his scholarship on the Indian religions , particularly Hinduism whose scriptures mention and praise numerous deities as if they are one ultimate unitary divine essence. Müller made the term central to his criticism of Western theological and religious exceptionalism (relative to Eastern religions ), focusing on a cultural dogma which held "monotheism" to be both fundamentally well-defined and inherently superior to differing conceptions of God
God
. CONTENTS * 1 Definition and terminology * 2 Zoroastrianism * 3 Hinduism * 4 Hellenistic religion * 5 Canaanite religion and early Judaism * 6 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links DEFINITION AND TERMINOLOGYFriedrich Schelling coined the term henotheism, from _heis_ or _hena_ which literally means "single, one". The term refers to a form of theism focused on a single god. Related terms are monolatrism and kathenotheism
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Shakti
In Hinduism , SHAKTI ( Devanagari
Devanagari
: शक्ति; from Sanskrit _shak_, "to be able"), also spelled as SAKTHI, meaning "power" or "empowerment" is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe . Shakti
Shakti
is the concept or personification of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as 'The Great Divine Mother' in Hinduism . As the mother she is known as ADI PARASHAKTI or ADISHAKTI. On the earthly plane, Shakti
Shakti
most actively manifests through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unmanifest form. Hindus believe that Shakti
Shakti
is both responsible for creation and the agent of all change. Shakti
Shakti
is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force. In Shaktism
Shaktism
, Shakti
Shakti
is worshipped as the Supreme Being . Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva
Shiva
and is identified as Tripura Sundari or her avatar Parvati
Parvati

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Bhakti
BHAKTI (Sanskrit : भक्ति) literally means "attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, piety". In Hinduism , it refers to devotion to, and love for, a personal god or a representational god by a devotee. In ancient texts such as the _ Shvetashvatara Upanishad _, the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the _ Bhagavad Gita _, it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards moksha , as in _bhakti marga_. Bhakti in Indian religions is "emotional devotionalism", particularly to a personal god or to spiritual ideas. The term also refers to a movement, pioneered by Alvars and Nayanars , that developed around the gods Vishnu (Vaishnavism), Shiva (Shaivism) and Devi (Shaktism) in the second half of the 1st millennium CE. It grew rapidly in India after the 12th century in the various Hindu traditions, possibly in response to the arrival of Islam in India. Bhakti ideas have inspired many popular texts and saint-poets in India. The _ Bhagavata Purana _, for example, is a Krishna -related text associated with the Bhakti movement in Hinduism
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Deva (hinduism)
DEVA (Sanskrit: देव, Devá) means "heavenly, divine, anything of excellence", and is also one of the terms for a deity in Hinduism . Deva is masculine, and the related feminine equivalent is devi (pronounced Devee). In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras . The concepts and legends evolve in ancient Indian literature, and by the late Vedic period, benevolent supernatural beings are referred to as Deva-Asuras. In post-Vedic texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas of Hinduism, the Devas represent the good, and the Asuras the bad. In some medieval Indian literature, Devas are also referred to as SURAS and contrasted with their equally powerful but malevolent half-brothers , referred to as the Asuras. Devas along with Asuras, Yakshas (nature spirits) and Rakshasas (ghosts, ogres) are part of Indian mythology, and Devas feature in one of many cosmological theories in Hinduism
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Devi
DEVī ( Sanskrit : देवी) is the Sanskrit word for "goddess "; the masculine form is Deva . Devi – the feminine form, and Deva – the masculine form, mean "heavenly, divine, anything of excellence", and are also gender specific terms for a deity in Hinduism. The concept and reverence for goddesses appears in the Vedas , which were composed in the 2nd millennium BC; however, they do not play a central role in that era. Goddesses such as Saraswati and Usha have continued to be revered into the modern era. The medieval era Puranas witnessed a major expansion in mythology and literature associated with _Devi_, with texts such as the Devi Mahatmya , wherein she manifests as the ultimate truth and supreme power, and she has inspired the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism. The divine feminine has the strongest presence as Devi in Hinduism, among major world religions , from the ancient times to the present
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Hindu
HINDU ( pronunciation (help ·info )) refers to any person who regards themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism . It has historically been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for people indigenous to South Asia . The historical meaning of the term _Hindu_ has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu ( Indus ) river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims. The historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu- Muslim wars. A sense of Hindu identity and the term _Hindu_ appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages
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