There is evidence that some of the Hindu Gods were worshipped as long ago as 2,000BC. Centuries ago some of the thoughts of Hinduism were written in the Veda, and other writings include two epic poems, heroic stories about the gods.
In the Hindu faith, God or Brahman, is everywhere and represents both the physical world around and the inner, spiritual world. Hinduisms main principles are to seek truth and to avoid injury to any living thing, although its scriptures do acknowledge the principle of a just war. The cow is a sacred animal which must never be killed, and is allowed to wander freely.
Some say that there are 330,000 gods and goddesses within Hinduism though they all represent aspects of one omnipresent God. The figure of 330,000 comes from the supposed population of the earth at the time the Hindu scriptures were written. Of course, the vast majority of the gods are very obscure and people usually have one or two who they worship particularly. Lord Ganesh is the favourite god of many South Indian people.
The three most important physical representations of God are Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Wives of these gods are also important: Brahma’s wife is Saraswati; Vishnu is married to Lakshmi and Shiva to Parvathi. Their son Ganesh, the elephant headed god, is the popular god of wisdom and good fortune who grants boons and favours. Lord Murugan, also known as Lord Subramanya, is the second son of Shiva and Parvathi. He is one of the most revered deities in Tamil Nadu.
Another form of Vishnu worshipped in South India is Lord Venkateshwara, also known as Lord Balaji, He is a very important god and his temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is one of the richest temples in the world.
Most Hindu families in K.V.Kuppam will have had a long tradition of worshipping mainly Vishnu or Shiva and will refer to themselves as Vishnaivites or Shaivaites. They can usually be identified by the symbol chalked on their forehead after a visit to the temple. Many of the villages also worship the mother goddess, Shakti (also called Parvati, Durga or Kali Amman) and her sister Gowri Amman. Mariamman is an ancient Village Goddess related to fertility and rain, often found close to a tree, a rock or a special spot.
The gods have many alternative names in different areas and this can be very confusing.