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The Concept of God in Hinduism

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Cultures +1 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary

This topical collection is meant to serve as a starting point to explore the concept of god in Hinduism. Students can review the images in the collection for clues to help them answer questions like:

-How are gods portrayed in relation to other gods, people, or animals?

-Do there seem to be one god or many gods? Do they seem to be male or female?

-What common symbols or poses are present? What do you think they mean?

-What kinds of powers do the god figures seem to have? In what ways are they like human beings and in what ways are they different?

The final resource in this collection is a video that gives insight into the Hindu concept of god. After exploring this collection, encourage students to choose one aspect of Hinduism that they would like to research further.

tags: India, religion, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, trimurti, Ganesh, avatar

Devi standing four-armed with Siva prostrate

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Durga as Mahishasuramardini

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Pair of Manuscript Covers

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

One of the twelve deva: Bonten (Brahma)

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Vishnu and Lakshmi

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Vishnu as Vamana (dwarf-avatar)

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Shiva Nataraja

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Shiva as Teacher

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Shiva and Parvati with Their Children Ganesha and Karttikeya (Skanda)

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Krishna and Balarama

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Krishna Holding Mount Govardhan

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Krishna hunting black buck

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Durga fighting the rakshashas Shunga and Nishunga, from a Devi Mahatmya

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Figure of Indra's three-headed elephant

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery