Author Topic: Why Gods in Hinduism are most often depicted with jewelry and lipstick?  (Read 6865 times)

Hari

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Why Gods in Hinduism are most often depicted with jewelry and lipstick? Is there some symbolism in that or this is the way the royal and important people in India have dressed themselves, like in ancient Egypt?
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Ravi.N

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Meditating on God and not on His glories

MASTER (to Keshab): "Why do the members of the Brahmo Samaj dwell so much on God's glories? Is there any great need of repeating such things as 'O God, Thou hast created the moon, the sun, and the stars'? Most people are filled with admiration for the garden only. How few care to see its owner! Who is greater, the garden or its owner?
"After a few drinks at a tavern, do I care to know how many gallons of wine are stored there? One bottle is enough for me.
"When I met Narendra, I never asked him 'Who is your father? How many houses does he own?'
"Shall I tell you the truth? Man loves his own riches, and so he thinks that God loves His, too. He thinks that God will be pleased if we glorify His riches. Once Sambhu said to me, 'Please bless me, that I may die leaving my riches at the Lotus Feet of God.' I answered: 'These are riches only to you. What riches can you offer God? To Him these are mere dust and straw.'
"Once a thief broke into the temple of Vishnu and robbed the image of its jewels. Mathur Babu and I went to the temple to see what was the matter. Addressing the image, Mathur said bitterly: 'What a shame, Lord! You are so worthless! The thief took all the ornaments from Your body, and You couldn't do a thing about it.' Thereupon I said to Mathur: 'Shame on you! How improper your words are! To God, the jewels you talk so much about are only lumps of clay. Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune, is His Consort. Do you mean to say that He should spend sleepless nights because a thief has taken your few rupees? You mustn't say such things.'
"Can one ever bring God under control through wealth? He can be tamed only through love. What does He want? Certainly not wealth! He wants from His devotees love,
devotion, feeling, discrimination, and renunciation.
Different classes worshippers
"One looks on God exactly according to one's own inner feeling. Take, for instance, a devotee with an excess of tamas. He thinks that the Divine Mother eats goat. So he
slaughters one for Her. Again, the devotee endowed with rajas cooks rice and various other dishes for the Mother. But the sattvic devotee doesn't make any outer show of his worship.People don't even know he is worshipping. If he has no flowers, he worships God with mere Ganges water and the leaves of the bel-tree. His food offering to the Deity consists of sweetened puffed rice or a few candies. Occasionally he cooks a little rice pudding for the Deity.
"There is also another class of devotees, those who are beyond the three gunas. They have the nature of a child. Their worship consists in chanting God's name-just His name".

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Ravi.N

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A man used to celebrate the worship of Durga with the sacrifice of goats and with other ceremonies. He continued the worship many years and then stopped it. A friend asked him, 'Why don't you perform the Durga Puja any more?''Brother,' replied the man, 'my teeth are all gone. I have lost the power to chew goat-meat.'"

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Hari

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Thank you for these beautiful quotes from Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ravi.

But my question is why male Hindu Gods are depicted with earring, lipstick and so on. Was it some ancient Indian tradition like in ancient Egypt and many other cultures? I have never seen Indian man, even religious one, who wears lipstick and earrings. Does this depiction contain historical authenticity or everything is symbolic? And what I have noticed is that this is only typical for the Gods. For example Sages like Vasishta or Vishvamitra are with bears and without any beautification and they are always with beards. Only the Gods are without beards and may be the young boys. Is that also part of some tradition?
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Nagaraj

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॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Hari

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Thank you, Sri Nagaraj. But I couldn't understand is was wearing of jewelry, lipstick and so on also typical for male too? Did male wear them too or the male Gods are represented in this way because of some symbolic purpose as the blue color is according to many Gurus such as Swami Shivananda, etc.?
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Subramanian.R

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Dear Hari,

In the olden days, even males wore ear studs (called kuzjai in Tamizh) and also neck chains, bangles etc.,  They also wore
anklets, golden belts etc.,  So male gods are also shown with these ornaments.  Lipstick on the idols is only to show that their
lips are coral red in color. It is a painting and not a lipstick as such.       

in the ears - kuhai.

in the neck - maragatha maNi.

on the wrists - vaLaiyal

on the ankles - thandaiaym and vendaiyam

on the hip - araip pattai (it is called Ottyanam nowadays)

These are the classical Tamizh names.

Saint Arunagirinathar describes these in several songs as Muruga wearing. 

Siva, strictly speaking has no ornaments but serpents and rudraksha mala everywhere.  But in temple idols they show Him wearing some of these ornaments. Vishnu is an alankara priya, one who loves adornments. 

All lady gods wear all ornaments.

Arunachala Siva.           

Hari

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Thank you, Sri Subramanian! It was very informative and answered my question!
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