When some people look at Hinduism, they very easily dismiss it as a religion where people worship statues. They see 1000’s of Gods with confusing names and elaborate rituals. And they are at a loss to understand how such a seemingly superficial and complicated religion can have survived for so many 1000’s of years!
Hiduism is not polytheistic – it is, in fact, monotheistic – believing that there is only one God – the supreme, formless, omnipotent, omnipresent Lord.
The different Gods and Goddesses that you see in the Temple can be thought of as symbolic representations of particular characteristics or functions of that formless God. In fact, we can say that Hinduism embodies pluralism i.e. one God – many forms, as encapsulated in one of our most ancient of Hindu scriptures:
“Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti” – There is only one Reality. The sages call it by different names. [Rig Veda 1.164.46]
Whilst living in this world, our mind is never still. It is always in chaos because of our vasanas or desires
With such an agitated mind, we can not concentrate, contemplate or meditate – the path that will lead us to realisation of the God within.
The founders of Hinduism, realising that our concentration was on worldly pursuits, therefore created gods and goddesses, rituals and festivals related to worldly events, so that holiness would become part of our everyday life.