The Importance of Dogs in Hindu Mythology!
30 Apr 2016
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Dogs have been referred to as ‘Shvan’ in many Vedic verses and have a deep meaning in Hindu mythology. Right from being worshipped in parts of Sikkim and North Bengal, dogs have been the mounts of fearsome gods like, Kalabhairava. They are also considered protectors of the gates of heaven as well as hell. When it comes to ancient Hindu religious symbolism, dogs have always been associated with different forms of Lord Shiva, the God of desolation and the eternal ascetic. Lord Duttatreya is also associated with four dogs, which symbolize the four Vedas.
Sarama is the female canine, who is referred as mother of all the dogs, and the dog of the Gods who helped Lord Indra retrieve his stolen divine cows. According to some old beliefs, black dogs are also said to be the reincarnation of the fearsome god, Bhairava. Yudhistir, in Mahabharata, requested that the dog that followed them throughout their penance, be given a place in heaven. This dog was Yama who took this form to test the truthfulness of the eldest Pandava, Yudhistir.
Yama, the Hindu god of death has four dogs with four eyes guarding his abode. On many occasions food offerings are made to dogs during ceremonies of death. Dogs are considered a link between the netherworld and beings on Earth. As per astrology, people suffering from the negative effects of planet Rahu and Shani might find some respite when they feed black dogs. Throughout Vedas and Hinduism various animals have played their part either taking the form of the gods or being their vahana or mounts.
There are also some beliefs and superstitions associated with dogs in India amongst Hindus. In India, a few girls who have a strong Mars in their horoscope are married to dogs. As astounding as this may sound, there are still a few people who follow all these superstitions with regard to dogs. For people who believe in omens, it is said that anyone who sees a dog carrying a bone in is his mouth is considered to be a good omen. If your pet dog sneezes while you are going out, it is considered to be a good omen. These are just a few superstitions and beliefs associated with dogs in Hinduism.
In the holy temple of Gandgapur in Maharashtra, where Lord Duttatreya resides, dogs are not restricted from entering and living inside the temple. Dogs are territorial; the allegory that relates to dogs in Hinduism is to defy the territorial behavior with regards to emotions or material. Like dogs, humans too protect their emotional and material boundaries. Understanding this aspect of dogs can throw deep insights into our own behavioral deficiencies. Originally, evolved from wolves, dogs have a DNA similar to that of wolves. However, their significance in Hinduism can never fade away. Tihar is a dog festival celebrated in Nepal during the times of Diwali as a part of thanksgiving to dogs for their loyalty and protection.
It just goes on to show the significance dogs have had in people’s lives since times immemorial.