Sri Ramakrishna says that there can be as many spiritual paths as there are spiritual aspirants. Extending this further, we can accept as its corollary that there can be as many gods as there are devotees. As long as the central fact, viz., that these gods are the doorways leading to the one Godhead, is not forgotten, polytheism, pantheism, henotheism or 'any-theism' is acceptable. The bewildering variety of the Hindu gods should be viewed from this angle.
An unbiased, if not reverent, study of the Hindu gods and goddesses can convince anyone of the rich symbology they represent. Contemplating on them with a proper understanding of their symbolical significance will help us to be raised more profound levels of spiritual experience.
In this booklet a humble attempt has been made to unravel the symbolism of Siva and Ganapati as also their different facets. We earnestly hope that it will provide the readers with a basic knowledge of these deities and rouse their curiosity to know about the other deities of the Hindu pantheon also.
Readers who may be interested in a more comprehensive study of the deities of the Hindu pantheon are advised to go through my book, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, published by the Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
Key to Transliteration and Pronunciation
Aspects of Lord Siva
Minor deities associated with Siva
Icons of Ganapati
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