Hindu deities use several transportation modes for their pilgrimage and travel. These vehicles are known as Vahanas. They perform a similar motive as of today’s new machines which are used for travel by air, land or sea or any other travel.
The camel is one of these animals which is used by the Hindu diety Hanuman. Also, the animal is used by the goddess Momai maa known as Dashaa Maa.
The deities of the divine worlds use them for both journey and warfare. The Vahanas are primarily animals or mythological creatures. They are not just an animal of responsibility but holy beings who have divine intuition and acquire brutal forms in the battleground. Many of them are also dealt with appreciation and honored by supporters with grants of grain and worship.
The concept of vehicle or Vahana comes from the Vedas. The deities reside in the upper worlds. They make use of the Vahanas to move from one world to the world or to meet their followers and other gods. Whenever a sacrificial ritual takes place on the earth, they come down to the earth with the help of their respective vahanas to the ceremonial place to accept the offerings laid. These vahanas are also used by them to complete their responsibilities.
Vedas explain how the god of sun, Surya journeys in the sky each day, and rides upon a golden chariot, which is carried by seven horses, glowing light and satisfying the world with Prana. Before storms, the Maruts and Rudras are seen in the sky on their horses, each carries their weapons and wears colorful clothes to scatter water-bearing clouds in a violent display of valor.
The meaning of the Vahana
Vahana or vehicle means that which transports, holds, or conveys, and is normally a reference to a vehicle or an animal of a load. It comes from the word vaha which means bearing or carrying. It is also referred to as a stream or a movement.
Therefore, a river is called as Vahini, which carries water. In the religion of Hinduism, these Vahanas have great importance as the transports of gods and goddesses. every Hindu god has their Vahana which is generally an animal, a bird, or a mythical being. The Vahanas are holy and sacred because they are constantly in connection with the gods that they serve.
And due to this constant interaction and presence in the area of them, they share their sacred nature and show their qualities. Also, they are mighty devotees who exalt the topmost form of dedication and are role models for the followers on the earth. Furthermore, the vehicle camel has similar significance and vitality in Hanuman Ji’s life. As a companion and service in all times of need.
The motive of Vahanas
Deities are all-knowing and universal. They have to power to be anywhere they want. Just by thought, they can appear in any corner of the universe immediately. Then why do they need the vahanas? And why did Hanuman Ji use the camel to travel? If one has the supernatural ability then why does he need a vehicle?
Apart from this, the deities give themselves to serve as the backing for others. The entire universe is maintained by Isvara, who is the Supreme Being, and the deities he made sustain the worlds and humans to make sure their instruction and direction.
The Vahanas are not only mere carriers but also make many other duties. There is a deeper spiritual importance to their presence, in the deliverance of people. Some of the important services and functions of the Vahanas are mentioned below:
- It is said that the vahanas determine the status of the god and serve as status signs to represent the strength, capacity and rank of the god. For instance, Elephants are commonly linked with royalty. Therefore, Indra’s vahana shows Indra’s rank as the king of heaven and also as a fighter king.
- The Vahanas are holy carriers with immense mobility. They represent the receptiveness of the god and how fast he may answer to the prayers and pleads of followers for help.
- The Vahanas usually have its place in the animal world and perform a vital role in the direction and consistency of the world. They symbolise the sacred nature of entire creation and the interconnection of all creatures in God’s formation.
- The Vahanas are strong creatures. They accompany and increase the authorities and powers of the gods and goddesses with their own.
- The Vahanas are not just vehicles. They also play a role as protectors and associates of their gods in wars and make them even tougher. At times they also battle by themselves or at the order of their respective gods as the first line of defence to protect their time and energy.
- The Vahanas also have a part and motive in creation. They help the gods to maintain Dharma by executing various mandatory and secondary tasks.
- The Vahanas are not just animals. They are holy beings, who are worthy of praying and honour, with the capability to give knowledge and freedom on their own. The vahanas of famous deities are put up in temples as subordinate gods and worshipped by disciples.
The bond between the god and their Vahana
The bond between the god and the Vehicle is not just that of a master and help, but close to that of a parent and child, or the body and its soul. From the outside, they may seem like two different entities, but deep inside they are one and share the same awareness as in the situation of an alive being or Jeeva.
The Vahanas must not be considered as just animals or creatures as they are gifted with the wisdom and strength of the god, who is higher than that of humans. If God is the soul, the Vahana is his body portraying the unity of beingness. In this respect, the body of each human being serves as a vahana for the personified soul.
The Vehicles are also as protectors to the gates of the god’s world, which says that without their permission you cannot reach the god. many people view them as just mere animals or the means of journey and transport, but these vahanas have great symbolism.
At the time of the household or ceremonial worship or pooja in Hinduism, devotees must make an image of the god or use a readymade image to perform the worship. After the idol is fit properly and cleansed, they welcome the deity to come into the image and breathe life into it by chanting “avahayami,” which means that please come into the image and accept it as your Vehicle.
Therefore, in Hindu ritual worship, every image worshipped by the followers becomes a vehicle of the deity and is seen as his power and magnificence and as an alive and breathing object. As the god is the mystical power, and we depend on the mind, wisdom, and the intuition to worship him, the idol serves both as the object or the physical illustration of the god, and as the interconnection between him and the devotee.
Thus, in the religion of Hinduism worshipping the god or praying to his Vahana has a constructive effect. Also, it is believed that it is beneficial to worship the Vahana and let him transfer your prayers and petitions to the main deity and be your messenger.