Why do Hindu Gods have so many arms?
Multiple arms can depict various natures of a God’s divine power. For example, Kali holds in her various hands elements of creation and destruction. While Shiva is dancing at the end of the final Kalpa which destroys the universe he is also doing a Mudra with his finger which means it’s all gonna be ok. The Hindu gods have many arms because they are superhuman. Their capabilities reach beyond the capacity of mere two armed mortals.
Deep Analysis About Why Hindu Gods Have So Many Arms
Hindu gods with so many arms bring up a lot of questions like What is it like a centipede or something? Or what’s it like getting a hug from one of them? How long does it take to put on a sweater when you’ve got Fucking 50 arms,
To understand the imagery of the Hindu pantheon the best starting point is our own psychology. That is the psychology of the western mind. You see western theology has widely been chiseled by the same myopic monotheistic image of God. Our icons in comparison to the Hindu are mundane. A man hanging on a cross or some mystical father figure hidden behind the clouds. By their nature, these images are supremely homo-sapien. They are mere facsimiles of the human form. Ordained by the mundane and lacking something to take us beyond. The mere surface representations are not meant to estrange us.
Perfect Shiva in Lotus Position
Mother Kali Protecting the Realm
Father Ganesh of High Knowledge
Let me refer to my video on accurate angels. There’s a new age JC penny catalog angel and then the biblically accurate angel of pure terror…At the chocolaty center of the religious mystery is forbidden knowledge that transcends space and time in all realms beyond the boundaries of the omniverse toward the ever-eliminating poobah. Timeless and ever-expanding transcending the regions of all understanding towards the ocean of infinite consciousness.
But you can’t market that to the masses. The purpose of religion is to make money. You need dat gravy. So we’ll just stick with the hockey campy Hallmark Guardian angel. You picking up what I’m laying down…open up a bag of skittles and the rainbow. When we critique symbols for being hockey and Disney, just know that there is something bubbling beneath the surface. The same goes for Hindu gods and the reason why Hindu Gods have so many arms.
Symbols & Iconography
In the Abrahamic dogma of Christianity, Islam & Judaism it is God who made man in his image. This is the main difference between the Hindu image of the divine and the Christian. You see to Hindus God didn’t make man in his image, instead, it’s the other way around man-made God in man’s image. This humanification of god is called anthropomorphization. It’s the characterization of things under the format of the human persona, putting a human face on things if you will.
Anthropomorphization: to attribute human form or personality to things not human
It’s like when Xenophon the presocratic philosopher said
‘if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw and could sculpt like men, then the horses would draw their gods like horses and cattle like cattle and each would shape bodies of gods in the likeness each kind of their own.”
The western mind has been so molded by the tenants of a monotheistic religion that it has rendered itself destitute to visual transcendence. Its narrow view of the universe through the myopic lens of a human-centric universe sets the stage for a purely anthropocentric worldview that leads to a kind of psychic restlessness. Anyone who has survived a cataclysm understands that the forces of nature are indifferent to mankind. Humanity is certainly not at the center of the cosmos
Father which is in heaven: for he maketh. his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. … Father who is in heaven.’
Putting a Face on the Divine
Indifference is the prevailing position of the divine. Hindu Gods are Higher Beings, they are simply carrying out cosmic forces. Their arms depict these higher abilities.
The actual universe seems bleakly uncaring of humans. This is why there came the need for interpersonal theism to personify your own personal imaginary buddy. A kind and humanly face of Krishna…something homely to personify the wholly inhuman masses of impersonal, indifferent energies…Monsters that make their presence known throughout space and time. What face do we give to them?
The equivalent of Hindu imagery of the divine agency is of course modern superhero mythology.
When it comes to materializing the primordial it can’t get past the human. This is why there is this aesthetic overlap between the human dimension and the spiritual dimension. Equilibrium homeostasis of imagery if you will that can’t be breached. Whereas Hinduism does tread past the human dimension to the primordial and the sub primordial…..Categorization of the metaphysical dimension is not homeostasis to be tread like some coastal waters, but a springboard to go beyond. Since the divine can only be grasped by the material world, the imagery of the superhuman or the above human needs to be transcendent needs to defy belief and be awesome. Hence the many arms…
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The Pantheon is critical to understanding the symbolic order of Hindu iconography. The pantheistic theology sees the forces of nature as a varying assortment of systems. These systems have their own function, their own job to do in the ordering of nature. This is more clear in the Brahmanic code which stratifies the Hindu society into a system of castes. These castes function hierarchically to fulfill certain dharmic disciplines. Yet hidden in the secret knowledge of the Vedas we come to find that within each appendage of the divine is the full-frontal massivity of the supreme God head. Not just all beings but all being themselves is a manifestation of the infinite divine. Arms, heads, legs in their nature are appendages which are componential tools to the divine essence. The imagery of the multiple arms is there to remind us that we ourselves are mere appendages in this cosmic drama. We are mere sock puppets with hands of the divine God head shoved up our soggy buttholes.
Intense and visceral imagery is how God and the Gods communicate with us. Correcting iconography denotes this higher force that is wholly incomprehensible to the human mind. Even in the Mahabharata when Arjuna was able to see the non-dual form of Krishna he had to be granted a sort of “divine sight.” There when he saw through Krishna he didn’t just see Krishna but the entire pantheon of gods, he saw the cosmic and beyond.
Gods are memes
A meme is an icon and these icons in Hinduism have the name: Murti. A murti is not God itself but acts as a conduit between man and the divine. Memes are important ok Memes matter. I say this time and time again, because memes are the language of the divine. The repetition and interplay into memetics capture of glimpse of the archetypal structures that haunt our collective unconscious. Memes are forces that keep cropping up and reinforcing themselves. The ebb and flow of the ocean waves is a dependable constancy that the mind can latch onto a meme if you will. The rising of the sun daily is a meme. These forces are cosmic. Hindu memes or Murti seek to embody those atemporal elements and package them in a way that can be palatable to the human mind. To put a human face on the inhuman forces.
Pantheons are theologies of systems. Each system functions as according to fulfilling a certain purpose in a higher ordering.
Anthologies of the divine are seen to be all one. In the Baghavad Gita Arjuna witnesses all the faces of God appearing through Krishna. They all coalesce into one primordial spirit that permeates all things. This is what the Hindus call Brahman. It is an all powerful imminent force that is meant to be embodied by these Hindu murti Icones these Hindu memes. Since we don’t have any way to conceptualize the imminence of the divine we project higher powers onto those icons and images through symbology. This is where the many arms come in. Take for example Ma Kali or mother Kali.
Understanding Iconography of Many Arms
Icons of the divine are a trickery of the sense. Triggering of the symbolic to take over and open oneself up to the suggestability that it takes to comprehend the magnificence of something beyond. How does one convey the spirit of the eternal permeating reality? How does one make characterized the uncharacterizable? Hindu scholars do this through instead of All the characteristics of God: omniscience, Omnipotents, Omni presents…
The force of Brahman is expansive. Etymologically the prefix Brah denotes expansiveness an endlessness that permeates all being. God is doing many things without thinking about it. A ballet dancer who needs to consciously think about where she puts her foot in the next turnaround is an incredibly bad ballet dancer. The ballet dancer who does so to the flow of the music and knows inherently where comes the next turn is performing the cosmic dharma.
Symbolism in Worship Puja
To come to God with love and reverence. Hindu traditional actually be in the presence of a divinity.
When I stand before a statue of Krishna or Vishnu (Darshan) or Darsana. This word comes from the Sanskrit (to see or witness an apparition). Its reference is to a holy person but when you have an expansive deity like the Brahman which connotates the highest universal ultimate reality everywhere you look is essentially coming into the presence of the divine.
You yourself are an appendage of the Godhead.