Child : Who are some of these gods and goddesses?
Mother : Most of the gods and goddesses that are worshipped are either incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, and his wife Goddess Lakshmi or other deities. Some commonly worshipped gods and goddesses include: Vishnu (worshipped in various forms and names such as Venkateshwara, Jagannatha, Tirupati, Bithala or Balaji), Shiva who is also known as Mahadeva or Mahesha, (Shiva-linga, a symbol of Lord Shiva which is commonly worshipped instead of his image), Rama, Krishna, Hanumana or Mahaveera, Ganesha, the older son of Lord Shiva and who is also known as Ganapati or Vighneswara, and Subramanyam or Kartikeya, the younger son of Lord Shiva. Shiva's wife Parvati (who is also known as Gauri, Uma or Meenakshi and also exists in her incarnated form of Durga or Kali is worshipped as a Divine Mother. Lord Brahma is not usually worshipped but his wife Saraswati is worshipped as the Goddess of learning. Goddess Saraswati is the favorite deity of students in schools and colleges. Lakshmi is worshipped as the Goddess of wealth and prosperity and is favorite deity of business people. Sita, Lord Rama's wife, and Radha, Lord Krishna's companion, are other feminine deities who are adored. Commonly Lord Rama is worshipped as part pf a family, along with his dear brother Lakshamana his wife Sita and his devout hero of the epic Ramayana, Hanumana. Also, Lord Krishna is usually worshipped along with Radha, a staunch lover and devotee of the Lord. Gayatri, the most powerful feminine force and the prescribed deity of the Vedas, is worshipped universally in Hinduism by reciting the Gayatri Mantra. This mantra is a powerful chant worshipping the light of the universe. Lord Satyanarayana is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu and is commonly worshipped in Hindu homes together with family and friends.
Each Hindu God and Goddess has a form of appearance which carries a special symbolic meaning. Some of them have multiple arms or heads which represents their greater capabilities to provide protection for people. Multiple arms express their domination over all directions of space, and multiple heads indicate their broad vision. Many Gods and Goddess ride on animal-vehicle (Vahan) to accomplish their mission. of protecting people. A crown on a deity's head represents the supremacy of the divine power over common people. The images or pictures of Gods and Goddesses are used for the purpose of instilling devotion in us during worship. Later, I will tell you about the forms and features of some common Gods and Goddesses.