Exposures

What is a God/Goddess in India?

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Text by Patty Simon

Haridwar, India

Hinduism is complex, colorful and chock full of long complicated tales. For me, the names are unpronounceable… the meanings overwhelming.
So, one day, I simply asked our guide, “How many gods and goddesses are there?”
33 million! What? Did I hear correctly? “Can you actually name them all?”
Our guide laughed and answered, “You see, everything and anything can be a god!”
He went on to say that anyone can put special godlike meaning into a person, place or thing. He tells a story where a family made a shrine on the side of the road to celebrate a moment of good fortune. Another family walked by and saw the shrine. They did not know the original purpose but knew it meant something so they decided to make an offering hoping to double their own good luck. And so it goes on and on!

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