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Significance of Vahana – The concept of the Vehicle of Hindu Gods

The Sanskrit word ‘Vahana,’ which means vehicle, is used for the animals and birds that serve as the carriers of the gods in Hinduism. The most famous Vahanas are Garuda of Vishnu, Swan of Brahma, 7 horses of Surya, lion of Durga, rat of Ganesha, peacock of Skanda or Muruga. Most of the gods in the Hindu pantheon has a Vahana and it is offered due worship along with the presiding deity. The Vahanas are suggestive of the nature of the power that is expressed by the deities.

Idols and pictures of the Vahanas are prominently displayed along with the gods and goddesses in temples and sacred places. The living counterparts of the Vahanas on earth are protected and provided a sanctuary.

The vehicle of a particular deity in Hinduism has symbolic and philosophical significance. The symbolic meaning varies from deity to deity. Some Vahanas teach human beings the value and importance of selfless service, devotion to duty and patience.

Often the Vahana of a Hindu God indicates a wrong human quality which has been controlled by riding on it, or a good quality inherent in an animal or bird that needs to spread and adapted by all.

Comments

  1. surya rides on a chariot fastened to seven horses.He does not directly ride on the horse as Kalki Bhagavan .Ganesa's vehicle is mooshika or mouse and not rat. you have not mentioned Lord Siva whose vahana is the bull or rishabha and mahishasuramardhini whose vahana is the lion or simha.

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  2. Please post significance of Donkey as Vahan of ma kalratri?

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  3. In my opinion, the "vahanas" represent "any instrument" in our life that will enable us to cross the ocean of samsara( this planet earth)Let us examine Lord Ganesha's vehicle, the mouse. Very often this vehicle is ignored in our daily prayers. The mouse, scientifically has almost similar DNA with human beings. It suffers the same diseases like humans and its behaviour is also similar to that of ours. As such its widely used in scientific research in education,medicine,cosmetics,bio-informatics,pollution etc. etc. in short we owe our wellness because of the mouse sacrifice.Its one of the most widely used animal today in scientific laboratory research. Dont you think this God created animal is an important instrument/vehicle that has been enabling us to survive on this planet earth. Being our life instrument, its wordly desires has to be curtailed and controlled by the intellect, as represented by the elephant face of Lord Ganesha.Again this worldy desires is also our very own behaviour... restless, full of desires and has to be subdued by our very own intellect.. and no one else can do it for us expect ourself. The mouse is a symbol of our "trapped" nature....trapped in relationship,money,food,technology,sensous pleasures etc.
    This is my understanding of what Lord Ganesha's vehicle is, i.e. the moushika vahana.
    Gods and deities dont need vehicles, we need such aids and assistance in this mundane wordly life..
    Therefore every vahana in Hindu deities has its special signigicance...a lesson to follow
    Bala Chandran
    saicanran@yahoo.co.uk

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  4. Ganesa's vehicle is mouse and not rat; yes,for clarity-rat is nocturnal while mouse is diurnal, and the symbolic meaning varies accordingly.

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  5. ABOUT 50 YEARS,WHILE PASSING THROUGH OLD BOOK STALLS AT COLLEGE STREET,KOLKATA I WAS CONFRONTED WITH A BOOK AND WENT THROUGH A PAGE ON GANESH WHERE IT WAS STATED THAT MOUSE REFLECTS QUALITY OF LORS GANESH SINCE MOUSE CAN CUT ANYTHING TO SMALLEST PIECES WHATEVER BE THE SIZE AND THIS BEING THE WORK OF WISDOM.SINCE THE PRICE OF THE BOOK WAS VERY HIGH I COULD NOT PURCHASE THE SAME.CAN ANYBODY HELP ME IN PROVIDING THE NAME OF THE BOOK

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