Vata, the banyan tree, Ficus indicus, symbolizes Hinduism, which branches out in all directions, draws from many roots, spreads shade far and wide, yet stems from one great trunk. Shiva as Silent Sage sits beneath it.
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Hindu main description
Hindu symbolism plays an important role in Hinduism culture. No other religion utilizes the art of symbolism as effectively as Hindus. Most popular Hindu symbols have a spiritual meaning based on Hindu philosophies, cultural traditions, teachings.
The exact significance of each symbol and icon varies with the region, period, and sect/tradition of the followers. Hindu symbols are divided into two main categories: mudras (hand and body gestures) and murti (icons, drawings, statues). Some of Hindu symbols are similar to the symbols used in Buddhism and in Sikhism.
Hinduism has social and cultural traditions, norms, and practices that have significant influence on the life of practitioners. Historically, Indian and Hindu populations have been grouped along vocational lines into a caste system. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Many believe that these four castes originated from the God of creation (Brahma).
Within Hindu devotion there are many practices and rituals. There are everyday rites and those to mark important events, such as births, deaths, weddings. Hindu practice aims towards the fulfillment of four central goals: Kama (sensual pleasure), Artha (power and wealth), Dharma (code of conduct), and Moksha (rebirth cycle).