All the Hindu mythology gods have animals as their vehicles. What is the reason?
Indra on Airavat. Panel from Cambodia Temples. Image Credits- Fiveprime
To be honest, I do not have the right answers but I will try to give convincing reasons why our Hindu mythological gods have animals or birds as their preferred vehicles. If you have other reasons, please write back to me. Thanks.
Hindu mythology gods and their animal carriers
- Vishnu- Eagle
If you have read my another post on Hindu mythological gods, then you will know that the preferred vehicle of the Lord of Preservation is Garuda, who is an eagle. Vishnu is responsible for the preservation of this Universe. To make His job simpler and faster, Vishnu needs a superfast carrier. He needs a ‘bullet train’ kind of a vehicle which can take Vishnu to all the people in distress. An eagle has a sharp pair of eyes and can reach every nook and cranny in a manner of minutes. Perhaps this is the reason why Vishnu has Garuda as his favorite vehicle. Don’t you think so?
2. Brahma- Swan
The other part of the Holy Triumvirate is Brahma, Lord of Creation. He always rides a swan or a goose. This bird represents knowledge thus, Brahma is associated with knowledge. Is knowledge the same thing as wisdom? Perhaps. Because in the Hindu thought, to know about our existence, the reason for our existence and who made us are the three foundation stones of true knowledge or wisdom.
The swan is also associated with grace and purity. Knowledge should give its bearer purity of thought and grace.
Why a bull for Shiva?
3. Shiva- Bull
Image Credits- Pinterest
The third member of the Holy Trinity is Shiva. He is the Lord of Death ( called Mahakaal), and every creature in the Universe returns to Him after death. Shiva has also a special carrier of His own and that is a bull. The name of the bull is Nandi.
Nandi is not just the divine vehicle of Shiva, He is also a loyal secretary of the Lord. Nandi is always shown as seated opposite the idol of Lord Shiva. In the night, when everyone goes to sleep, Nandi tells Shiva the happenings of the entire day.
I think the bull is important here because it represents the fertility of fields and farms. A healthy bull means high productivity. Many Indian farmers domesticate cows and bulls for tilling the fields.
4. Lakshmi- Owl
One of the Hindu mythology gods rides an owl and that is Lakshmi. She is the Goddess of Wealth and prosperity so why does she ride a bird despised by many?
Perhaps the reason is that if you want to be prosperous, you will have to work hard, really very hard. Sometimes you will have to be a night owl to achieve success.
There are two other reasons why Lakshmi sits on an owl. The first reason is that the owl is known for its patience. It keeps on pursuing its prey until they come within its reach.
Hindus worship owls because they keep pests like rats away from their farms. In certain parts of India, farmers worship owls for this reason.
That’s it, folks.
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You may also read the following articles on Hindu mythological gods and goddesses