Dog in Hindu Religion and Scriptures

Dog in Hindu Religion is mainly associated with Bhairava form of Hindu God Shiva. Bhairav is shown along with a black dog. In some paintings, the god takes the role of Vahana or vehicle of Bhairava. There are also some people who believe that dogs are an incarnation of Bhairav. For some Hindu communities dogs are a link to the world of the dead.

Next most important instance of dog in Hinduism is associated with Lord Dattatreya – an incarnation of Trimurtis – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Dattatreya is followed by four dogs, which symbolically represent the four Vedas and his complete mastery over the Vedas.

The most popular instance of dog in Hindu scriptures is in the Mahabharata. Here God Yama takes the form a dog and follows the Pandavas during their final journey and tests the Dharma of Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas.

Indra, the king of demigods (devas) has a dog named Sarama. This dog is believed to have helped the Devas in recovering the cows stolen by demons.

The Abode of Yama – Hindu god of death – is guarded by two dogs named Sarameyas. They are believed to have four eyes each.

Dogs are mostly associated with Hindu religious ceremonies for dead ancestors, parents and relatives. Some Hindu communities believe that dogs are a link between the living world and the world of the dead. So they make offerings to the dogs.

One of the most popular ceremonies associated with dog in Hindu religion takes place in Nepal. It is known as Kukur Tihar and is observed during the Diwali period (October – November). People worship the companion of Bhairab or Bhairav. A red tika is applied on the day on dogs; they are then garlanded and are offered food. The ritual is sort of a thanksgiving to dogs that guard homes and protect wealth, women and children.

There are some Hindu astrologers who recommend feeding black dogs to escape from the malefic effects caused by Saturn (Shani) and Rahu in horoscopes.

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