education in religious symbols



education in religious symbols
Vol 4 Issue 11 May 2015
ISSN No :2231-5063
International Multidisciplinary
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ISSN No.2231-5063
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Maulana Azad National Urdu University
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Prohlad Roy
Department of Education, Vinaya Bhavana, Visva-Bharati.
Short Profile
Prohlad Roy is working at Department of Education, Vinaya Bhavana in
A religious symbol is an iconic
re p re s e ntat i o n i nte n d e d to
represent a specific religion, or a
specific education within a given
religion. The Religion Facts and
Religious Symbols Guide is an
illustrated guide to just about every
visual religious symbol under the
sun. Religious symbolism is the use
of symbols, including archetypes,
acts, artwork, events, or natural
phenomena, by a religion. Religions
view religious texts, rituals, and
works of art as symbols of
compelling ideas or ideals. Symbols
help create a resonant mythos
expressing the moral values of the
society or the teachings of the
religion, foster solidarity among
adherents, and bring adherents closer to their object of worship. The study of religious symbolism is
either Universalist, as a component of comparative religion and mythology, or in localized scope,
within the confines of a religion's limits and boundaries.
Religious Symbols, religion's limits.
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A religious symbol is an iconic representation intended to represent a specific religion, or a
specific education within a given religion. The Religion Facts and Religious Symbols Guide is an
illustrated guide to just about every visual religious symbol under the sun. Religious symbolism is the
use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork, events, or natural phenomena, by a religion.
Religions view religious texts, rituals, and works of art as symbols of compelling ideas or ideals. Symbols
help create a resonant mythos expressing the moral values of the society or the teachings of the
religion, foster solidarity among adherents, and bring adherents closer to their object of worship. The
study of religious symbolism is either Universalist, as a component of comparative religion and
mythology, or in localized scope, within the confines of a religion's limits and boundaries.
To highlight the means of education this is being nourished through different religious symbols.
To fulfill the objectives researcher has given his intension on literature review related with
different articles on religion symbols.
Symbols of Hinduism and means of education
Also spelled "Om," in Hindu thought this image represents a sacred sound. Go here for a full
article on Aum in Hinduism. In Hinduism, Om (also spelled Aum) is a Hindu sacred sound that is
considered the greatest of all mantras. The syllable Om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m (in
Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol's threefold nature is central to its
meaning. It represent several important triads:
•The three worlds - earth, atmosphere, and heaven
•The three major Hindu gods - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva
•The three sacred Vedic scriptures - Rg, Yajur, and Sama
Thus Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. This meaning is further
deepened by the Indian philosophical belief that God first created sound and the universe arose from it.
As the most sacred sound, Om is the root of the universe and everything that exists and it continues to
hold everything together. The syllable is discussed in a number of the Upanishads, which are the texts of
philosophical speculation, and it forms the entire subject matter of one, the Mandukya. AUM is a bow,
the arrow is the self, And Brahman (Absolute Reality) is said to be the mark. (Mandukya Upanishad) The
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essence of all beings is the earth. The essence of the earth is water. The essence of water is the plant.
The essence of the plant is man. The essence of man is speech. The essence of speech is the Rigveda.
The essence of Rigveda is the Samveda. The essence of Samveda is OM. (Chandogya Upanishad) All
those activities which people start with uttering the syllable OM do not fail to bear fruit.
(Shankaracharya's Commentary on the Taittriya Upanishad 1.8.1) In the Puranas the syllable Om
became associated in various ways with the major Hindu devotional sects. Saivites mark the lingam (a
symbol of Shiva) with the symbol for Om, while Vaishnavites identify the three sounds as referring to
the trinity of Vishnu, his wife Sri, and the worshiper. Om is spoken at the beginning and the end of Hindu
mantras, prayers, and meditations and is frequently used in Buddhist and Jain rituals as well. Om is used
in the practice of Yoga and is related to techniques of auditory meditation. From the 6th century, the
written symbol of Om was used to mark the beginning of a text in a manuscript or an inscription. Om
Parvat, a sacred peak at 6191m in the Indian Himalayas, is revered for its snow deposition pattern that
resembles Om. With its threefold nature, special shape and unique sound, Om lends itself to a variety of
detailed symbolic interpretations. The symbol of AUM consists of three curves (curves 1, 2, and 3), one
semicircle (curve 4), and a dot. The large lower curve 1 symbolizes the waking state (jagrat), in this state
the consciousness is turned outwards through the gates of the senses. The larger size signifies that this
is the most common ('majority') state of the human consciousness. The upper curve 2 denotes the state
of deep sleep (sushupti) or the unconscious state. This is a state where the sleeper desires nothing nor
beholds any dream. The middle curve 3 (which lies between deep sleep and the waking state) signifies
the dream state (swapna). In this state the consciousness of the individual is turned inwards, and the
dreaming self beholds an enthralling view of the world behind the lids of the eyes. These are the three
states of an individual's consciousness, and since Indian mystic thought believes the entire manifested
reality to spring from this consciousness, these three curves therefore represent the entire physical
phenomenon. The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, known in Sanskrit as turiya. In this
state the consciousness looks neither outwards nor inwards, nor the two together. It signifies the
coming to rest of all differentiated, relative existence This utterly quiet, peaceful and blissful state is the
ultimate aim of all spiritual activity. This Absolute (non-relative) state illuminates the other three states.
Finally, the semi circle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. Thus it is the
illusion of maya that prevents us from the realization of this highest state of bliss. The semi circle is open
at the top, and when ideally drawn does not touch the dot. This means that this highest state is not
affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon. This effect is that of preventing the
seeker from reaching his ultimate goal, the realization of the One, all-pervading, unmanifest, Absolute
principle. In this manner, the form of OM represents both the unmanifest and the manifest, the
noumenon and the phenomenon. As a sacred sound also, the pronunciation of the three-syllabled
AUM is open to a rich logical analysis. The first alphabet A is regarded as the primal sound, independent
of cultural contexts. It is produced at the back of the open mouth, and is therefore said to include, and
to be included in, every other sound produced by the human vocal organs. Indeed A is the first letter of
the Sanskrit alphabet. The open mouth of A moves toward the closure of M. Between is U, formed of
the openness of A but shaped by the closing lips. Here it must be recalled that as interpreted in relation
to the three curves, the three syllables making up AUM are susceptible to the same metaphorical
decipherment. The dream state (symbolized by U), lies between the waking state (A) and the state of
deep sleep (M). Indeed a dream is but the compound of the consciousness of waking life shaped by the
unconsciousness of sleep. AUM thus also encompasses within itself the complete alphabet, since its
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utterance proceeds from the back of the mouth (A), travelling in between (U), and
finally reaching the lips (M). Now all alphabets can be classified under various
heads depending upon the area of the mouth from which they are uttered. The
two ends between which the complete alphabet oscillates are the back of the
mouth to the lips; both embraced in the simple act of uttering of AUM. The last
part of the sound AUM (the M) known as ma or makar, when pronounced makes
the lips close. This is like locking the door to the outside world and instead
reaching deep inside our own selves, in search for the Ultimate truth. But over
and above the threefold nature of OM as a sacred sound is the invisible fourth
dimension which cannot be distinguished by our sense organs restricted as they
are to material observations. This fourth state is the unutterable, soundless
silence that follows the uttering of OM. A quieting down of all the differentiated
manifestations, i.e. a peaceful-blissful and non-dual state. Indeed this is the state
symbolized by the dot in the traditional iconography of AUM. The threefold
symbolism of OM is comprehensible to the most 'ordinary' of us humans,
realizable both on the intuitive and objective level. This is responsible for its widespread popularity and
acceptance. That this symbolism extends over the entire spectrum of the manifested universe makes it
a veritable fount of spirituality. Some of these symbolic equivalents are:
•Colors : Red, White, and Black.
•Seasons : Spring, Summer, and Winter.
•Periods : Morning, Midday, and Evening.
•States : Waking-consciousness (jagriti), Dream (svapna), and deep-sleep (sushupti).
•Spheres : Earthly, Heavenly, and Intermediary.
•Poetic Meters : Gayatri (24 syllables), Trishtubh (44 syllables), and Jagati (48 syllables).
•Veda : Rigveda (knowledge of the meters), Yajurveda (knowledge of contents), Samaveda (knowledge
of extension).
•Elemental Deity : Fire (Agni), Sun (Aditya), Wind (Vayu).
•Manifestation of Speech : Voice (vak), Mind (manas), Breath (prana).
•Priestly Function : Making offering, Performing ritual, and Singing.
•Tendencies : Revolving, Cohesive, and Disintegrating.
•Quality : Energy (rajas), Purity (sattva), and Ignorance (tamas).
•Ritual fire : Of the home, of the Ancestors, and of Invocation.
•Goddess : Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika.
•Gods : Of the elements (Vasus), of the sky (Adityas), of the sphere-of-space (Rudras).
•Deity : Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva.
•Action : Creation, Preservation, and Destruction.
•Power : of Action (kriya), of Knowledge (jnana), and of Will (iccha).
•Man : Body, Soul, and Spirit.
•Time : Past, Present, and Future.
•Stages of Existence : Birth, Life, and Death.
•Phases of the Moon : Waxing, Full, and Waning.
•Godhead : Father, Mother, and Son.
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•Alchemy : Sulphur, Quicksilver, and Salt.
•Buddhism : the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha (three jewels of Buddhism).
•Qabalism : Male, Female, and the Uniting intelligence.
•Japanese Thought : Mirror, Sword, and Jewel.
•Divine Attributes : Truth, Courage, and Compassion.
According to Indian spiritual sciences, God first created sound, and from these sound
frequencies came the phenomenal world. Our total existence is constituted of these primal sounds,
which give rise to mantras when organized by a desire to communicate, manifest, invoke or materialize.
Matter itself is said to have proceeded from sound and OM is said to be the most sacred of all sounds. It
is the syllable which preceded the universe and from which the gods were created. It is the "root"
syllable (mula mantra), the cosmic vibration that holds together the atoms of the world and heavens.
Indeed the Upanishads say that AUM is god in the form of sound. Thus OM is the first part of the most
important mantras in both Buddhism and Hinduism, e.g. Om Namoh Shivai and Om Mani Padme Hum.
Another ancient text equates AUM with an arrow, laid upon the bow of the human body (the breath),
which after penetrating the darkness of ignorance finds its mark, namely the lighted domain of True
Knowledge. Just as a spider climbs up its thread and gains freedom, so the yogis climb towards
liberation by the syllable OM. The omnific and omniparous quality of OM makes it omnipresential, and
in-omissible from any spiritual practice. As an omnipotent symbol, the yogi who penetrates its mystery
is indeed truly omnicompetent and omnipercipient, and as an omniscient source, it is a virtual omnibus
of sacred and mystical inspirations.
The "dot" on the forehead of the woman pictured to the left is called a bindi. It is worn by
married women.
This is the symbol of the god, Shiva. For a full article on linga go here. For a full article on Shiva go
here. Go here to read about Hindu deities.
Lotus flower
The lotus flower represents beauty in Hinduism, and can also carry other meanings. In
Hinduism, the lotus (Sanskrit: padma) primarily represents beauty and non-attachment. The lotus is
rooted in the mud but floats on the water without becoming wet or muddy. This symbolizes how how
one should live in the world in order to gain release from rebirth: without attachment to one's
surroundings. "One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the
Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water." -- Bhagavad Gita
5.10 . A similar meaning is given to the lotus symbol in Buddhism. The lotus is associated with several
Hindu deities. Krishna is described as the "Lotus-Eyed One," referring to his divine beauty. Brahma and
Lakshmi, the deities of potence and wealth, are often seen with the lotus symbol. Other deities
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associated with the lotus include Vishnu and Sarasvati. Finally, the lotus is also a symbol for the centers
of consciousness (chakras) in the body.
This symbol combines two triangels, a rising sun, and a swastika. In Hinduism, the pratik
("emblem") is the symbol of the Ananda Marga ("path of bliss") movement, which was founded in India
in 1955 and emphases social service along with yoga and meditation. The pratik symbol consists of the
following elements: Upward-pointing triangle representing one's external actions (social service).
Downward-pointing triangle symbolizing one's internal work (meditation, self-realization). Rising sun
symbolizing spiritual progress through the balance of external and internal efforts. Swastika
representing fulfillment or one's ultimate spiritual goal
The connotations of the swastika in the Western world aren't the same as those in the East. Go
here to read a full article on the swastika in Hinduism. Learn about Karma in Hinduism here. The
swastika (Sanskrit svastika, "all is well") is a cross with four arms of equal length, with the ends of each
arm bent at a right angle. Sometimes the crossing lines are horizontal and vertical and other times they
are an angle, forming a central "x" shape. Sometimes dots are added between each arm (e.g. the
"swastika rangoli" picture below). The swastika is an ancient symbol that has been found worldwide,
but it is especially common in India. Its name comes the Sanskrit word svasti (sv = well; asti = is),
meaning good fortune, luck and well-being. This original meaning of the swastika is a far cry from
Western associations of the symbol, which are largely negative. The swastika is most commonly used as
a charm to bring good fortune (in which case the arms are bent clockwise), but it has a variety of
religious meanings as well, which are described below. The right-hand swastika is one of the 108
symbols of the Hindu god Vishnu as well as a symbol of the sun and of the Hindu sun god, Surya. The
symbol imitates, in the rotation of its arms, the course taken daily by the sun, which appears in the
Northern Hemisphere to pass from east, then south, to west. (It is also a symbol of the sun among
Native Americans) . The left-hand swastika (called a sauvastika) usually represents the terrifying Hindu
goddess Kali, night and magic. However, this form of the swastika is not "evil" and it is the form most
commonly used in Buddhism. The auspicious symbol of the swastika is very commonly used in Hindu
art, architecture and decoration. It can be seen on temples, houses, doorways, clothing, cars, and even
cakes. It is usually a major part of the decoration for festivals and special ceremonies like weddings. The
Nazis adopted the swastika because it was understood as an Aryan symbol indicating racial purity and
superiority. (The Nazis propogated a historical theory in which the early Aryans of India were white
invaders). There may also be a connection with the swastika's magical connections, for Hitler and other
Nazi leaders were keenly interested in the occult.
Like a bindi, a tilak is a mark on the forehead. For a full article on tilak in Hinduism go here. For
Hindiusm facts go here. For Hinduism beliefs go here.
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Also spelled "Trishula," this trident is an important symbol in Hinduism. Go here to read more
about trisula. Learn more about Namaste in Hinduism here. In Hinduism, he trihsula (also spelled
trishul or trisula, Sanskrit for "three spear") is a trident spear that is the emblem of the god Shiva. The
weapon symbolizes empire and the irresistible force of transcendental reality. The three prongs of the
trishula represent Shiva's three aspects of:Creator, Preserver, Ddestroyer as well as the three shaktis
(powers):Will, Action, Wisdom. The fearsome goddess Durga also brandishes a trishula in one of her
seven hands.
In Hinduism, this symbol represents the universe. Read more about yantra here. Learn about
cows in Hinduism here.
Symbols of Islam and means of education
Star and Crescent
The star and crescent is the best-known symbol used to represent
Islam. It features prominently on the flags of many countries in the Islamic
world, notably Turkey and Pakistan. It's sometimes colored white with a green
background. The symbolized was popularized during the Ottoman Empire.
Learn more about Islam facts. Learn more about Islamic beliefs. Learn more
about Islamic history.
The name "Allah"
The word "Allah" is very important in Islam. Certain words in Arabic script or characters can be
regarded as visually representing Islam, such as "Allah." When used as a symbol, the script appears
The color green
Seen here in the flag of Pakistan, green is the official color of Islam. Scholars speculate that
green is valued in Islam because of it's associations with life, making it important to the idea of paradise
in Islam. The Quran mentions green in different places (e.g. Surah 55:76). Learn about the afterlife in
Islam here.
The imagery of mosques, the sacred place of worship in Islam, is sometimes used as a symbol by
Muslims. The imagery can take on different forms. Variations include the rounded dome roofs upon
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which a crescent moon is sometimes placed as decoration.
The Kaaba
The Kaaba is the most sacred place in Islam, a mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is in the shape
of a black "cube" and pictures often show Muslims dressed in white walking around it in prayer. Various
images of the Kaaba, real or drawn, are often used in Islam.
Christian Symbol and means of education
Christian symbolism is the use of symbols, including
archetypes, acts, artwork or events, by Christianity. It invests
objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian
ideas. The symbolism of the early Church was characterized by
being understood by initiates only, while after the legalization of
Christianity in the 4th-century more recognizable symbols
entered in use. Christianity has borrowed from the common
stock of significant symbols known to most periods and to all
regions of the world. Christianity has not generally practised
Aniconism or the avoidance or prohibition of types of images,
even if the early Jewish Christians sects, as well as some modern
denominations, preferred to some extent not to use figures in
their symbols, by invoking the Decalogue's prohibition of
idolatry. The fish as a symbol in Christianity is nearly as old as the
Christian faith itself. The sign is seen in the past on things like art
and architecture and today it endures on things like bumper
stickers and business cards as a sign of Christian faith. The fish is
thought to have been chosen by the early Christians for several
reasons: The Greek word for fish (ICHTUS), works as an acrostic for I = Jesus, C = Christ, TH = God's, U =
Son, S = Savior (Also see Christian beliefs about Jesus Christ). The fish would not be an obvious Christian
symbol to persecutors; It is said that during the persecution of the early church, a Christian meeting
someone new would draw a single arc in the sand. If the other person was a Christian, he or she would
complete the drawing of a fish with a second arc. If the second person was not a Christian, the
ambiguity of the half-symbol would not reveal the first person as a Christian. (Also see Christian history
and Christian beliefs and Christian fast facts). Jesus' ministry is associated with fish: he chose several
fishermen to be his disciples and declared he would make them "fishers of men." (Also see the New
Testament and the Book of Matthew)
Ichthius fish
The second fish symbol (to the right) is the ICHTHUS fish, with the Greek word for fish written
out to emphasize the symbolic acrostic described above. Although the word looks like IXOYE, the letters
are from the Greek alphabet, so the "I" is actually an iota, the "X" is actually a chi, the "O" is actually a
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theta, the "Y" is an upsilon, and the "E" or "C" at the end is a sigma.Taking the first sound from each of
these Greek letter names, we get the transliteration into our alphabet of ICHTHUS.Today, when
Christians (in the West) do not need to worry about persecution, the Christian fish symbol often has
"Jesus" written inside or includes a cross symbol. And of course, there have been many spoofs and
variations of the popular Christian symbol, such as the famous "Darwin fish" (with legs).The fish is also a
symbol of baptism, since a fish is at home in the water. "As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he
saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow
me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him."~
Mark 1:16-18. Christianity has always incorporated symbols - that is, visual representations and signs into its practice, as valuable expressions of truth. The depiction of an important element of the faith, by
means of an animal or color, for instance, can be powerful and encouraging. What words cannot say,
sometimes symbols can. While Christians are known for being people of faith, the religion has
produced some of the most beautiful art in history. Whether they be carved on first-century tombs or
tattooed on twenty-first century bodies, symbols matter in the Christian religion. Christians believe
that God created human senses - sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell. Of course faith is of utmost
importance in Christianity, but the physical abilities God gave people aren't unimportant. It is helpful to
understand that the Christian worldview doesn't teach that immaterial and the material are in
competition with each other or opposed to each other. in fact, faith experiences can be supported by a
sensory experience such as when the Apostle Paul laid hands on people when he prayed for them (Acts
The Good Shepherd
The image of the Good Shepherd, often with a sheep on his shoulders, is the most common of
the symbolic representations of Christ found in the Catacombs of Rome, and it is related to the Parable
of the Lost Sheep. Initially it was also understood as a symbol like others used in Early Christian art. By
about the 5th century the figure more often took on the appearance of the conventional depiction of
Christ, as it had developed by this time, and was given a halo and rich robes.
The dove as a Christian symbol is of very frequent occurrence in ancient ecclesiastical art.
According to Matthew 3:16, during the Baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and came
to rest on Jesus. For this reason the dove became a symbol of the Holy Spirit and in general it occurs
frequently in connection with early representations of baptism. It signifies also the Christian soul, not
the human soul as such, but as indwelt by the Holy Spirit; especially, therefore, as freed from the toils of
the flesh and entered into rest and glory. The Peristerium or Eucharistic dove was often used in the past,
and sometime still used in Eastern Christianity, as Church tabernacle.
Ancient Greeks believed that the flesh of peafowl did not decay after death, and so it became a
symbol of immortality. This symbolism was adopted by early Christianity, and thus many early Christian
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paintings and mosaics show the peacock. The peacock is still used in the
Easter season especially in the east. The "eyes" in the peacock's tail feathers
symbolise the all-seeing God and - in some interpretations - the Church.
In medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to be particularly
attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood by wounding
her own breast when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican
became a symbol of the Passion of Jesus and of the Eucharist since about the
12th century.
A 3rd-century painting of
the Good Shepherd in the
Catacomb of Callixtus.
The Christians adopted the anchor as a symbol of hope in future
existence because the anchor was regarded in ancient times as a symbol of
safety. For Christians, Christ is the unfailing hope of all who believe in him:
Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and several of the early Church Fathers speak in this
sense. The Epistle to the Hebrews 6:19-20 for the first time connects the idea
of hope with the symbol of the anchor.
A pelican vulning itself.
Lily Crucifix at Holy Trinity
Church, Long Melford, Suffolk
St. Patrick depicted with shamrock in detail of stained glass window
in St. Benin's Church, Wicklow, Ireland
Traditionally, the shamrock is said to have been used by Saint Patrick
to illustrate the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity when Christianizing
Ireland in the 5th century.
The coat of arms of the Anglican
diocese of Trinidad contains
several Christian visual symbols
Elemental symbols
Elemental symbols were widely used by the early Church. Water has specific symbolic
significance for Christians. Outside of baptism, water may represent cleansing or purity. Fire, especially
in the form of a candle flame, represents both the Holy Spirit and light. The sources of these symbols
derive from the Bible; for example from the tongues of fire that symbolized the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,
and from Jesus' description of his followers as the light of the world; or God is a consuming fire found in
Hebrews 12.
Lily crucifix
A lily crucifix is a rare symbol of Anglican churches in England. It depicts Christ crucified on a lily,
or holding such a plant. The symbolism may be from the medieval belief that the Annunciation of Christ
and his crucifixion occurred on the same day of the year, March 25.
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Sikhism symbols and means of education
The Five Ks are the five items of dress and physical appearance given to Sikhs by
Guru Gobind Singh when he gathered together the first members of the Khalsa on
Vaisakhi day in 1699. These symbols give Sikhs a unique identity signifying
discipline and spirituality. However, these items cannot be reduced to just symbols
and must be worn in their full form.
•Uncut hair, which is kept covered by a turban, or dastaar.
•Kesh are a traditional symbol of holiness in India, and the turban is a symbol
of leadership.
•The dastaar is worn by men and some women to cover their long hair.
•A ceremonial sword, symbolizing readiness to protect the weak, and
defend against injustice and persecution.
•The kirpan is normally worn with a cloth shoulder strap called a gatra.
•The kirpan exemplifies the warrior character of a Sikh.
•A steel bracelet, symbolizing strength and integrity.
•Steel is symbolic of strength yet resilient under stress. In the same way, the
human soul must become as strong and unbreakable as steel which has
been tempered in the furnace.
•A small wooden comb, symbolizing cleanliness and order.
•The kangha is used to keep the hair clean and is normally tucked neatly in
one's uncut hair.
•As a Sikh combs their hair daily, he or she should also comb their mind with
the Guru's wisdom.
•Cotton boxer shorts, symbolizing self-control and chastity; prohibition of adultery.
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Religion Symbols of Jainism and means of education
Ahimsa Hand
The hand represents fearlessness. The
wheel on the palm represents the dharmacakra,
which is the desire to stop the cycle of
reincarnation through non-violence. The word
in the wheel is “ahisma.” The circle on the palm
of the hand represents Samasara, meaning,
“continuous flow,” and depicts the Hindu belief
in reincarnation, which posits that after death
the soul or spirit returns to a different life form
(not necessarily human). The 24 inward spokes
represent the teaching of the 24 Tirthankars,
w h o a re p e o p l e w h o h ave a c h i eve d
enlightenment and mentor those trying to do
likewise. (See Jainism fast facts and Jainism
beliefs) The word “ahimsa” comes from the
Sanskrit language. It combines the root for “to strike” (hims) and “injury” or “harm” (himsa). The first
letter, “a”, acts as a prefix and negates what follows, so “ahimsa” literally means “no strike or injury or
harm” or just “non-violence.” Ahimsa represents physical and verbal non-violence to all living things.
Not only does non-violence foster harmony between all living things, but in an ultimate sense,
obedience to this principle results in good karma for the individual. Conventionally, Ahisma permits
Jain Flag
The flag of Jainism was first mentioned in a holy text dating back to the 5th century BC. It has five
colours: White, Red, Orange, Green and Dark Blue or Black. For more on the religious use of the
Jain emblem
In 1974, on the 2500th anniversary of the last Jain, Tirthankara Mahavira, the Jain community
collectively chose one image as an emblem to be the main identifying symbol for the religion. Use of
this emblem helps to create a culture showing dedication and trust for the religion and the values that
are represented by their emblem. The outter border of the image symbolizes the universe. The semicircle symbolizes Siddhashila, which is a zone beyond the three realms. All of the Siddhas (liberated
bodiless souls) reside on this forever, liberated from the cycle of life and death. The three dots on the
top under the semi-circle symbolize Triratna (Ratnatraya) – Samyak darshan (right belief), Samyak Gyan
(right knowledge), and Samyak Charitra (right conduct).
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Religion Symbols of Judaism and means of education
And you shall write [the words that I command you today] on the
doorposts of your house and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:9, 11:19
On the doorposts of traditional Jewish homes (and many not-sotraditional homes!), you will find a small case like the one pictured at
left. This case is commonly known as a mezuzah (Heb.: doorpost),
because it is placed upon the doorposts of the house. The mezuzah is
not, as some suppose, a good-luck charm, nor does it have any
connection with the lamb's blood placed on the doorposts in Egypt.
Rather, it is a constant reminder of G-d's presence and G-d's mitzvot.
Tzitzit and Tallit
Tzitzit and Tallit
Hamesh Hand
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They shall make themselves tzitzit on the corners of their garments
throughout their generations, and they shall place on the tzitzit of each
corner a thread of techeilet. And it shall be tzitzit for you, and you will
see it, and you will remember all the mitzvot of the L-RD and do them
and not follow your heart or your eyes and run after them. -Numbers
The mitzvah to wear tzitzit applies only to four-cornered garments,
which were common in biblical times but are not common anymore. To
fulfill this mitzvah, adult men wear a four-cornered shawl called a tallit
(pictured above) during morning services, along with the tefillin. In
some Orthodox congregations, only married men wear a tallit; in
others, both married and unmarried men wear one. In Conservative,
Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues, both men and women may
wear a tallit, but men are somewhat more likely than women to do so.
A blessing is recited when you put on the tallit. See the text of the
blessing at Tallit and Tefillin.
There is no particular religious significance to the tallit (shawl) itself,
other than the fact that it holds the tzitzit (fringes) on its corners. There
are also very few religious requirements with regard to the design of
the tallit. The tallit must be long enough to be worn over the shoulders
(as a shawl), not just around the neck (as a scarf), to fulfill the
requirement that the tzitzit be on a "garment." Likewise, it should be
draped over the shoulders like a shawl, not worn around the neck like a
scarf, though that is commonly done (see illustration at right). A longer
tallit is commonly folded over the shoulders, to prevent the tzitzit from
dragging on the ground. The tallit may be made of any material, but
must not be made of a combination of wool and linen, because that
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combination is forbidden on any clothing. (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11). Most tallitot are white with navy or
black stripes along the shorter ends, possibly in memory of the thread of techeilet. They also commonly
have an artistic motif of some kind along the top long end (the outside of the part that goes against your
Bind [the words that I command you today] as a sign on your arm, and they shall be ornaments
between your eyes. -Deuteronomy 6:8
The Shema also commands us to bind the words to our hands and between our eyes. We do this
by "laying tefillin," that is, by binding to our arms and foreheads leather pouches containing scrolls of
Torah passages.
The word "tefillin" is usually translated "phylacteries," although I don't much care for that term.
"Phylacteries" isn't very enlightening if you don't already know what tefillin are, and the word
"phylacteries" means “amulet," suggesting that tefillin are some kind of protective charm, which they
are not. The word "tefillin," on the other hand, is etymologically related to the word "tefilah" (prayer)
and the root Pe-Lamed-Lamed (judgment).
We bind them to our head and our arm, committing both our intellect and our physical strength
to the fulfillment of the mitzvot. At weekday morning services, one case is tied to the arm, with the
scrolls at the biceps and leather straps extending down the arm to the hand, then another case is tied to
the head, with the case on the forehead and the straps hanging down over the shoulders.
One of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith is the menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum
used in the Temple. The kohanim lit the menorah in the Sanctuary every evening and cleaned it out
every morning, replacing the wicks and putting fresh olive oil into the cups. The illustration at left is
based on instructions for construction of the menorah found in Ex. 25:31-40.
Cover your head so that the fear of heaven may be upon you. -Talmud Shabbat 156b
R. Huna son of R. Joshua would not walk four cubits bareheaded, saying: The Shechinah [Divine
Presence] is above my head. -Talmud Kiddushin 31a
R. Huna son of R. Joshua said: May I be rewarded for never walking four cubits bareheaded. -Talmud
Shabbat 118b
The most commonly known and recognized piece of Jewish garb is actually the one with the least
religious significance. The word yarmulke (usually, but not really correctly, pronounced yammica) is
Yiddish. According to Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, it comes from a Tartar word meaning skullcap.
According to some Orthodox and Chasidic rabbis I know, it comes from the Aramaic words "yerai malka"
(fear of or respect for The King). The Hebrew word for this head covering is kippah (pronounced keypah).
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This symbol, commonly seen on necklaces and other jewelry and ornaments, is simply the
Hebrew word Chai (living), with the two Hebrew letters Cheit and Yod attached to each other. Some say
it refers to the Living G-d; others say it simply reflects Judaism's focus on the importance of life.
Whatever the reason, the concept of chai is important in Jewish culture. The typical Jewish toast is
l'chayim (to life). Gifts to charity are routinely given in multiples of 18 (the numeric value of the word
Hamesh Hand
The hamesh hand or hamsa hand is a popular motif in Jewish jewelry. Go into any Judaic gift
shop and you will find necklaces and bracelets bearing this inverted hand with thumb and pinky
pointing outward. The design commonly has an eye in the center of the hand or various Hebrew letters
in the middle.
The Happy Human-our global religion
(originally the Happy Man) is a secular icon and the official symbol of the International
Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a world body for Humanism, and has been adopted by
many Humanist organisations and individuals worldwide. Its origin was a competition
organised in 1965 by the British Humanist Association to find a symbol for itself. The winning
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design was created by Denis Barrington.
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9.Wiccan Pentacles at Arlington, and Why Litigation Was Necessary January 31, 2012 By Jason PitzlWaters
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