Film: 330 Million Gods – HINDUISM

  1. Share quotes or symbols that you find interesting.

2. Why are symbols and plurality important in Hinduism?

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10 responses to “Film: 330 Million Gods – HINDUISM

  1. The idea that the Ganges is so sacred that the poor save for their whole lives just to bathe in the waters, because they saw it as a goddess that makes everything that it touches pure. I found that to be interesting. I guess the reasons symbols are important because it lets the person know who they are worshipping since there are so many Gods and the plurality is to suit each person. There was a part in the film where they asked some guy how they know who to worship and he said something about it depends on the knowledge you want. So I guess whatever knowledge you seek, that’s how you pick which god you worship.

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  2. One of the aspects of the film that was most interesting to me was the part about the festival for the goddess Saraswati. The video focused a great deal on this particular festival which illustrated one aspect of Hinduism which I found fascinating. In a ritual known as puja, a Brahmin priest went with a student to pray to a statue of the goddess and offer her food and clothes. The host commented about this to his guide, saying that it was as though they treated the statue like an actual person. The guide explained that the worshippers do realize that the clay statue is not the actual goddess. However, they do believe that the priest is able to call the goddess to the statue temporarily while the festival is celebrated. What interested me the most though was at the end of the festival, the people celebrate, and then proceed to throw the statue in a local lake. This act signifies the end of the festival and that Saraswati leaves the statue and returns to wherever the gods live. Traditionally, in religions such as Christianity, worship is a solemn and serious event. In the video a distinction is made that in Hindu philosophy, the worship of the gods is supposed to be fun and festive, and being part of religion should not cancel out these feelings but incorporate them.

    Symbols and plurality in Hinduism are very important because they are what has allowed it to hold the title of the oldest religion still being practiced today. The incorporation of all other religions with which it has come into contact have helped Hinduism to exist thus far. The Buddha and Jesus are in Hinduism, they just become one of the 330 million gods that exist. Unlike monotheistic religions, the vast number of gods allows for flexibility. Having a plethora of gods, provides an opportunity for choice and devotion based on preference of a god(s) which symbolizes values important to each individual.

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  3. Something that most definitely caught my eye was the Trinity of the 3 Gods; Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. It mainly caught my eye because it reminded of the the religion i was raised in trinity, the Catholic’s Holy Trinity (the father, the son,and the holy spirit). In a catholic’s mind set they are three different people but also all together one holy being. I find it crazily similar in how all three Hindu gods are all different, but still all one in equal higher being. I am utterly fascinated by the fact that Brahma creates, Vishnu preserves and that Shiva destroys. I found the clay maker creating pottery was a beautiful symbolism of this because he is creating a clay pot, keeping its structure stable while spinning his wheel, and then just as easily destroying the clay pot. The fact that they believe in such powers controlling our world as easily as that and giving them all the power to create as they please or destroy as the please is bewildering. As someone who is more spiritual then religious I find it so interesting that people dedicate their lives to giving up they having and worshiping gods or beings without a certain knowledge that what they are doing and how they are worshiping is the right way to do it, or is even something should do! For all we know, maybe the way they are worshiping isn’t how those “Gods” want us too.

    Symbols and plurality are important in Hinduism because many Hindus consider religious symbols and gods to be divine and sacred. Once a Hindu excepts this they themselves reach a higher level of divinity and believe to be sacred. I believe that you need to empower and truly understand ones religion and their symbols to become one with their Gods. It allows one to feel a sense of righteousness towards what they are doing and how they are doing it to reach their goal in life.

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  4. 1) Share quotes or symbols that you find interesting.
    – “Three hundred thirty Million Gods” depicts numerous symbols of religious representations that can be found within the Hindu community. For example, something I had found to be interesting is that one of the main focuses of Hinduism falls under wondering where one was before they were born, where they would die, as well as what the purpose for their belonging on Earth was. Hinduism is known to contain three hundred thirty gods, each representing their supreme and highest god known as Brahman. Examples of representations of Brahman include Kali, known to be the wife of Shiva who would not tolerate any wrong, Ganesha who was the remover of obstacles, the head of Laksma whom was the clay image that represented a symbol of God, Ganga who is known to be the goddess who purifies everything and every individual she touches instantaneously, Saraswati known to be the goddess of art and learning, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, where Vishnu is the preserver and maintains the universe in equilibrium, Shiva destroys the world, and Brahma recreates what had been destroyed by Shiva, Sanyiasi who renounces everything, and Mahatma, known to be the great soul. Another aspect that I found interesting was that it had been stated that Hinduism was not a strict religion but a philosophy and way of life where everyone is free to behave as their mind and conscience deems fit, where it is seen good as long as it is not harming anything or anyone. It is known that three-fourths of individuals live in villages, where each refers to one another as ‘uncle’ because the whole village is considered to be an entire community. Also within the Hindu community, schools celebrate the Festival of Saraswati, where in the boys’ schools, a statue of Saraswati is utilized as a way of communicating with the goddess, emphasizing the role of the young men as a way of breathing life into the goddess by reciting certain verses, inviting her to take seat into the image. Another thing I had found to be interesting was that Brahman priests spent from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon chanting sansript hymns and fire rituals, symbolizing an upbringing of a good harvest, where the fire would be known as the mouth of God devouring offerings and turning it into smoke as prayers are devoured and turned into power. Also, it is known that Hindu gods are known to be a “pathway to God, where it is reflecting God back to Earth like a mirror.” Lastly, what I found to be interesting is that the Hindu community is divided into a four caste system, as well as undergoing four stages, including the stage of rebirth, marriage, prayer, as well as mahatma, where it is a process of getting close to God and identifying oneself as Brahman.

    2) Why are symbols and plurality important in Hinduism?
    – Symbols and plurality are known to be important factors within Hinduism because they act as a sign of worship and symbolism, where it serves as a bridge between physical acts and devotion towards a higher God. It is also believed that religious symbols embody the divine and are in turn sacred, leading them to become Brahman if invoked with love and devotion.

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  5. 1.Symbols that i found to be interesting were the clay figurines representing their different gods. I found it interesting how much they respected these images. As one Hindu stated in the video, “statues are just a pointer to the actual god”, and another one said, “that the clays are disposable but what it represents is not disposable.” Therefore, attaching oneself to these images is the same as attaching to the actual god in a spiritual sense. Another quote the captured my attention was “the many gods are light bulbs working on the divine electricity, Brahma.” Thus, one cannot go directly to their supreme god if its not through the other deities. A symbol I found to be strange was that of Shiva Shakti, the destroyer god made of the female and male sexual organs, representing fertility. It symbolizes that destruction and creation are not distinguished, rather one leads to the another;the sign of procreation.
    2.Symbols are important in Hinduism because its what spiritually attaches one to their gods in a physical sense. Offering food, fruits, and cosmetic paste to a goddess statue is a physical representation to what is actually happening spiritually for them, sine they believe the goddess is really receiving their offerings and adoration. Plurality is important since it unites everyone to this religion and to their gods leading to Brahma. They all perform rituals, visit temples, and have household shrines. Gathering for the transitional stages of a twice born, is very important because the boy notices that he is becoming more than a boy, someone important to many. performing chants, prayers and burning offering is what unites the Hindus. Since they believe their life is a cycle and never ending they must continuously together seek their gods and not let the chain break. However, at the end we see that actually withdrawing, and becoming a sannyasi is what draws one nearer to god and “this is where Hindus converge.”

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  6. 1) Share quotes or symbols that you find interesting.
    I found the discussion between the presenter, Ron Eyre and the tour guide, M.K. Sharma, about the symbol of Lakshmi found on the ground quite interesting. Eyre asked if a physical symbol actually contained God within it. Sharma told him that it was just a symbol of God and that “statues are just like a pointer.” The statues can point man in the direction of God and understanding. He compares the statues to showing someone an object by pointing with his finger. Once the spectator is aware of what he is gesturing towards he can put down his finger. Eyre counters this by asserting that some people never understand what is being pointed at and will only see the finger. To that Sharma says “God is not in a hurry.” Compared to Abrahamic religions, particularly Christianity and Islam , the acceptance of God is critical. If you have heard the “word of God” and ignore it, you are going to Hell. From what I understood of Sharma, there is not the same sense of urgency, every Hindu must find their “truth” in their own time, and God will be where they always have when the individual realizes it. Hindus even get a few lifetimes to get it right.
    2) Why are symbols and plurality important in Hinduism?
    Symbols are important in Hinduism because they represent the divine and can act as a starting point in a person’s quest for spiritual knowledge. Plurality is another major part of Hinduism because everyone is responsible for finding their own truth in their own time. It makes sense that there would be multiple gods because everyone’s self-realization is unique, and whatever knowledge they uncover during their journey will lead them to need different types of gods.

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  7. The gods in Hinduism represent different aspects in the Hindu religion. The gods in Hinduism represent different aspects of Hinduism. There are many gods and goddesses. For example the 3 major gods are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma creates the world, Shiva destroys the world so Brahma can re-create it again and Vishnu is the god of protection and who looks after the world. They all form into one god who is the Brahman who is the ultimate reality. They are other gods and goddesses as well. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and is the wife of Vishnu. Sarasvati is the goddess of knowledge and the daughter of Brahma. I found it interesting because it is something l had not experienced or even watched. Hinduism is rich in symbolism. Many acts of worship, such as puja, are symbolic, a form of visualization in which worshippers simulate activities normally performed on higher planes of existence. Om (Aum) is the most important Hindu symbol, often used as the emblem of Hinduism. The eternal, mystical syllable; the syllable that stands for whole universe. This sacred word encompasses in itself the whole universe, the past, the present and the future and goes beyond the periphery of Time itself. Beyond the symbol of the Brahman or the Universal Soul, it is the very essence of all that is sacred in Hindu thought.

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  8. The film, 330 Million Gods, depicts Hinduism and helps us to better understand the sacred symbols and gods that the Hindus have. There were several quotes and symbols that caught my eye while I was watching it. The first one was the Ganges River. The Ganges River is one of the goddesses of the Hindus. It purifies and cleans the soul. In the film, many people are seen bathing and doing their laundry in it. These people believe that they can be purified by it. Another symbol that is depicted in the film is the statue of Saraswati. Often, outsiders that do not know much of the religion will confuse the communication with the statue of Saraswati with idol worship. But, in fact, it is not worshipping an idol at all. The Hindus use the statue as a visual image that allows them to concentrate. It serves as a “pointer”. Once they are done praying to it, they destroy it. This goes to show that they do not perceive the statue as the goddess itself, rather they use it as a means to connect with the goddess. A quote that stood out to me was in the beginning of the film, “There is nobody beyond Hinduism. Everyone is Hindu.” This conveys the importance of Hindu being a lifestyle, rather than a religion. It, also, demonstrates the significance of unity and community in the Hindu religion. Finally, the last thing that I noticed in the film was the Mahatma. The Mahatma is a sage and he leaves the entirety of his life behind in order to gain more knowledge and connect with god. This concept of forgetting the past and leaving one’s life behind is courageous and astonishing.

    Symbols are what makes up the Hindu religon. The various statues are what are used to offer food and other material things to the gods and goddesses. This is the way that the Hindus can connect with their gods. Hinduism brings to life the term ‘unity’. There is no separation between god and the world. Brahman is the world, and the world is Brahman. You, yourself, are Brahman. Hinduism is a lifestyle, and is composed of a whole community of people worshipping their gods. Plurality, in a sense, is of utmost importance in Hinduism. Even the film’s name, 330 Million Gods, conveys this plurality. There are many gods in the Hindu religion. It is up to the person to choose the god they most connect with based on their needs and wants.

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  9. “330 Millions God” depicts the overview of Hinduism and focuses on the perception of the divine, religious practices and chapters of life. Hinduism has many gods and goddesses but is also has the concept of monism. Hindus view the world as arising divinity activity. The gods in Hinduism represent different aspects of the religion, but they believe in one main god, Brahma, who is the highest of all deities or the Absolute. The Ganges River is not only a sacred, but also known as a goddess named “Ganga” in Hinduism. It is believed that river can wash away sins and gift immortality, the water of Ganga is considered very pure. We saw people bathing, purifying, themselves but as well, doing daily necessaries like laundry in river.
    Hinduism is rich in symbols; it’s representation of many acts of worships, such as “puja”, symbolic form of reverence to a deity through prayers, songs and rituals. Many Hindus believe that religious symbols are the embodiment of divine and notion of inner purity. The symbol “Om” is called “pranava”. The highest importance in Hindu symbols. It contains three syllables a-u-m. It’s believed to contain all things; the symbol is the sacred syllable of Brahman or the Absolute. It’s often believed, that Hinduism is more of a religion, it is a way of life, realizing one’s full potential.

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