Worship of sacred symbols in Indian culture

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‘Symbols are meaningful, powerful and effective. It is for this reason that we give supreme importance to our national flag. Our tricolor flag is the symbol of the life and soul of every Indian. It is our pride to bow in front of it respectfully. Indians have strong and unwavering national sentiments associated with the tricolor flag. Swadharma, patriotism, nationalism are completely awakened in it.

The green bangles in the woman’s hand and the kumkum on her forehead are also the great symbols. They symbolize both life and good fortune. When saffron color is applied to a stone and it is worshiped with reverence, the divinity is manifested in it and it serves as a protective energy for the worshipper. Symbols are the worship of silence. Worship of symbols is the great art of expressing feelings, emotions, faith, devotion and faith devoid of language.


1. Omkar

Omkar is the main symbol in all mantras. Omkar is the first sound of God. It is the first voice of the God. Omkar is actually Brahma. Om is made up of three and a half letters. The first is ‘A’kar, the second is ‘U’kar and the third is ‘M’kar. The half letter is the superscript dot. The 3 stages of life ‘universe’, ‘brilliance’ and ‘wisdom’ are Akar, Ukar and Mkar. These three dimensions symbolize energy of human life. The half letter keeps us aloof from sin-merit and happiness-unhappiness. The Veda Mantra should be recited with Omkar. The whole universe is contained in Omkar. Yogis constantly meditate on this mantra.


2. Lotus

The ‘lotus’ symbol is influential in Indian culture. The ‘lotus’ symbol is the one whose umbilical cord is in water and whose life is full of fragrance, whose stalk is firm, whose face is soft and whose quality is pleasant. The lotus comes out of the mud. It gives a pleasant vision to all. Human beings who live a detached life from the mud of desires are like a lotus. In the Holy book Bhagwadgeeta, Shrikrushna considers lotus as an ideal for life. Indian culture has many lotus-like petals. Lotus is a symbol of the beauty of life. Hastakamal, Charanakamal, Hridayakamal, Nayankamal, Vadankamal are the beautiful names of the lotus symbol.


3. Kalash

The symbol of ‘Kalash’ is superior in Indian Vedic culture. Kalash adorns the top of a temple. Shri Ganesh and kalash are worshiped in every auspicious ceremony. As soon as the ‘Swastik’ symbol is drawn on the kalash, Deity Surya takes a seat on it. In the same way, as soon as the kalash is decorated, Deity Varun arrives in it. Once kalash is worshipped, the water present in it becomes pure and pious. ‘कुंभ’ is the expansive form of kalash. It is customary to keep a kumbh when entering a new home. When a coconut is placed on a kumbh, its beauty gets enhanced. Symbol kalash is representative of human body. Human body is sacred, beautiful and spectacular. Kalash too is sacred, beautiful and spectacular. Saints are felicitated using kalash with coconut kept on it, upon their arrival. Saint Dnyaneshwar has named 18th chapter of Dnyaneshwari as ‘कळसाध्याय’.


4. Swastik

The ‘Swastik’ symbol has a lot of significance in Indian culture. Swastik mantras are very important in the Vedas. Swastik is worshiped with the objective of removing any obstacles while performing any work. The power of God and the auspicious feeling of the mind are contained in the swastik. A vertical line, a horizontal line and 4 arms constitute the swastik symbol. These 4 arms of the symbol are the 4 legs of Shrivishnu. Shrivishnu protects 4 directions with His 4 hands. The swastik gives overall protection to everyone. Swastik is a sacred symbol of peace, prosperity, purity and well-being. The swastik symbol is also of very importance in Indian sculpture. Worship of swastik enriches human life. Hindu women draw swastik symbol on the doorstep of the house due to which peace prevails in the house.


5. Coconut

Coconut has been given extraordinary significance during commencement of any auspicious or inauspicious activities performed by Hindus. ‘श्रीफळ’(Coconut) is hard from outside and soft inside. ‘श्री’ denotes prosperity. During any auspicious activity, coconut is kept in front of the Deities and then broken. Coconut is of prime importance in the worship of Shri Ganesh. Despite its growth in the vicinity of salty seawater, coconut provides us all with sweet water for consuming.


6. Clay pot

Clay pot teaches ephemerality of the human body. Clay pots are widely used in cremation of dead body. The human body is ephemeral and will get merged with the soil as it came from the soil. Clay pot shows us the despair vision of our life. It denotes the temporary nature of the human body ! If humans live every moment of his life to the fullest, then the raw pot of their life will transform into a ripe one.


7. Shri Saraswati Devi and Shri Lakshmidevi

Just as Shri Saraswati Devi is the mother of 14 sciences and 64 arts, so is Shri Lakshmidevi the provider of worldly and non-material prosperity.


8. Ardhanari Nateshwar

Ardhanari Nateshwar is the vital symbol of Indian culture. Both men and women the presence of Ardhanari Nateshwar can be seen in a natural way. One part of a woman is masculine and the other part is feminine, while half of a man is feminine. Therefore we all are forms of Ardhanari Nateshwar.


9. Devadravya

Devadravya is also a divine symbol. Nothing in this world belongs to me but to the God. We should spend a portion of our own income as ‘Devadravya’ towards the service unto Absolute Truth.’

 Reference : (Monthly Diwali, ‘Hari Vijay’ 2011)

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