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The most fundamental of Hindu deities, is the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - popular deities include Ganesha, Krishna, Hanuman and goddesses like Lakshmi, Durga,Saraswati.

Worshipping Shiva

The simplest ritual worship of Shiva involves pouring water and milk over the linga; decorating it with bel leaves, flowers, ash, vermillion and sandalpaste; making an offering of sweets; lighting lamps and singing hymnsto the glory of the lord.

Monday, Somvar, the day of the moon, is considered especially auspicious to worship Shiva.

Water - Water is poured on the linga to cool Shiva down, Besides water, milk and curds are poured over the linga too.

Bel Leaves -The leaves and fruits of the bel (also called bilva) tree are very dear to Shiva.

Some say that this wood-apple tree (Aegle Marmelos) grew out of Parvati's sweat.

Others say that when Goddess Laxmi didn't find a lotus for her shivalinga she offered it her breasts instead. These became the bel fruit.Bel leaves are never offered to Vishnu, just as tulsi sprigs, adored by Vishnu, are never offered to a linga. This practice is a remnant of medieval Shaivite-Vaishnavite rivalry.

Datura Flowers - The linga is often decorated with the flowers of this wild plant. Its capability to produce poisonous fruits may have something to do with this.

Rudraksha Beads - The berries of this unique tree, the Elaeocarpus Ganitrus, are holy to Shiva and his bhaktas. It is supposed to possess magical powers and can cure many diseases. It is believed that these beads came from the tears of Rudra which he shed on contemplating the end of the world. Rosaries of 108 beads are worn by many devotees of Shiva.

A one-faced berry, the ekamukhi rudraksha, representative of the single absolute truth, the brahman, is the rarest and the most powerful.

The panchamukhi rudraksha is the common five-faced berry which represents the five elements and the five senses that are under Shiva's control.

Bhang -Bhang is an intoxicating drink made out of the leaves of the Indian hemp, Cannabis Indica. The decoction is mixed with sweetened milk and taken by bhaktas on Shiva's holy nights, the shivaratris.

Hermits use their chilum to smoke the resin from its dry leaves, ganja, and lose themselves in narcotic dreams.




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