5 Indian gods and their vahanas
In Hindu mythology, the gods and goddesses have vahanas or vehicles that they ride or are accompanied by. The vahanas are usually animals, birds, or mythical creatures that symbolize the attributes and powers of the deities. They also represent the evil forces that the deities overcome or control. The vahanas are often depicted in the iconography and art of Hinduism, and they have their own stories and legends. Here are some of the most popular Indian gods and their vahanas:
Ganesha and Mushika
Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of wisdom, success, and obstacles, has a mouse or a rat as his vahana. The mouse is called Mushika, and he is said to be a manifestation of Ganesha’s power to remove obstacles. Mushika also represents the qualities of speed, sharpness, intelligence, and curiosity that Ganesha bestows on his devotees. Some legends say that Mushika was once a demon who was defeated by Ganesha and became his loyal servant. Others say that Mushika was a gift from Shiva, Ganesha’s father, who created him from his own matted hair.
Shiva, the destroyer and transformer of the universe, has a bull as his vahana. The bull is called Nandi, and he is also a symbol of Shiva’s energy and virility. Nandi also represents the qualities of strength, loyalty, devotion, and patience that Shiva teaches to his followers. Nandi is said to be the chief of Shiva’s ganas or attendants, and he is always seen near Shiva’s abode in Mount Kailash. Nandi is also worshipped as a god in his own right, and he is believed to grant boons to those who seek his blessings.
Parvati and Simha
Parvati, the goddess of love, fertility, and power, has a lion as her vahana. The lion is called Simha, and he is also a symbol of Parvati’s courage and fierceness. Simha also represents the qualities of bravery, nobility, dignity, and justice that Parvati inspires in her worshippers. Parvati is often seen riding Simha when she assumes her warrior forms of Durga or Kali, who fight against the demons and evil forces that threaten the world. Simha is also said to be the king of the animals, and he commands respect from all other creatures.
Vishnu and Garuda
Vishnu, the preserver and protector of the universe, has an eagle or a hawk as his vahana. The eagle is called Garuda, and he is also a symbol of Vishnu’s sovereignty and majesty. Garuda also represents the qualities of speed, agility, courage, and devotion that Vishnu embodies in his various incarnations. Garuda is said to be the son of Kashyapa and Vinata, who were cursed by their rival Kadru to become slaves of the serpents. Garuda freed his mother by stealing the nectar of immortality from the gods and giving it to the serpents in exchange for her release.
Lakshmi and Ulooka
Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity, has an owl as her vahana. The owl is called Ulooka or Uluka, and he is also a symbol of Lakshmi’s wisdom and prudence. Ulooka also represents the qualities of vigilance, discernment, stealth, and mystery that Lakshmi imparts to her devotees. Ulooka is said to be Lakshmi’s faithful companion who guides her in her nocturnal visits to bestow blessings on her worshippers. Ulooka is also associated with darkness and ignorance, which Lakshmi dispels with her light and grace.