[Advaita-l] Artistic depictions of the trinity- Brahma Vishnu MAheshwara

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 13 07:43:21 CDT 2011

>1) Are the artistic depiction of Visnu as blue bodied with four hands 
>a true representation of the god visnu when he takes form in 
>Vaikunth??? Or does he have no physical body in any world and so is the 
>artistic depiction  purely symbolic.
>Same question for Lord Shiva depicted as an ascetic with snakes for 

Are the forms of devata-s purely symbolic or are their forms real?

The answer would be yes and no. The form of the devata is imagined by the 
mantrin usually or in some cases the devata appears in some particular form 
without the upAsaka having to imagine in that particular form, when the mantra 
japa is done regularly with proper training.

But for a better treatment of the topic I suggest you read the following: I do 
not subcribe to the following 100% but most of it I agree with.


An alternate view would be to say the devata-s are real i.e. as real as this 
world and hence as unreal. 

>2) IS there a physical place called Vaikunth?? or Shivaloka or 


>3) The puranas describe Lord Shiva and Visnu as gods with emotions and 
>involved with human beings activities. Did these gods appear on Earth 
>in those physical forms to help their devotees.

Since we are humans, our ancestors depicted the devata-s with emotions to make 
them more relatable to us. Normally this is done for many purposes: 1) To convey 
a moral 2) To illustrate the significance of a mantra or 3) To impress upon the 
readers some finer aspects of any siddhAnta and likewise a few more purposes 
including illustrating some ancient( or a recurring) astronomical phenomena. Or 
in some cases a story is narrated with devata-s displaying emotions just for 
vinoda i.e. entertainment.

Sometimes some people are seen as incarnations of a devata. In those cases they 
of-course should appropriately be shown as going through all human emotions.


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