A wide selection of key Hindu artefacts, complete with teachers' notes.
Set includes: brass aum, mendhi kit (comprising henna, stencil and a book of designs for hand painting and kum kum powder for a tikla mark on the forehead - a symbol of blessing), complete puja set (comprising tray, bell, tumbler and spoon, deva lamp, incense holder and container for kum kum powder), prayer beads, joss sticks, deva lamp, Divali card, plastic murtis of Rama Sita, Lakshmi, Radha-Krishna and Ganesh, and teachers' notes.
One of the most popular gods is Ganesh, the elephant headed god of good fortune, remover of obstacles. He is worshipped at the beginning of puja and at the start of important events such as marriage. Most Hindu homes will have a picture or statue (murti) of him too. He was Vinayaka, the son of Shiva and Parvati.
The Aum is the sacred syllable which represents the Supreme Power. It is pronounced with four distinct sounds which are said to stand for the four states of consciousness.
Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman are the four major characters from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, a story associated with Divali. Prince Rama was exiled from his kingdom and went with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to live in the forest. Whilst there, Sita was captured by the wicked ten-headed demon king Ravana. The Ramayana tells how the brothers rescue her with the help of the monkey king Hanuman.
Lakshmi is the consort of Vishnu and goddess of wealth and good fortune. During Divali, Lakshmi is thanked for her generosity in the past year and is remembered by a special Lakshmi puja, where she is asked for her blessing for the year ahead.
Divas or devas are small lamps which are used at Divali. They are small lights which are lit to welcome the return of Rama and Sita.
Puja is the Hindu practice of offering worship, honour or reverence to God. It may be done in the home, before a small shrine, or in the temple. Before Puja begins, the worshipper will bathe, then ring a small bell to let the God know worship is about to commence. Offerings of incense may be placed in the incense holder and water or milk will be placed in the tumbler, also as an offering. The spoon will be used for giving this to the deity or to the worshipper after it has been offered to God. Offerings of food, flowers, puja spices or haldi may also be made.
Kum kum powder or a sandalwood paste is often placed on the centre of the forehead before worship. This is known as the tilaka mark. Women may wear a kum kum spot or bindi on their forehead throughout the day. This indicates the God's blessing.
In common with many other religions, Hindus sometimes use prayer beads to help them focus their attention when they pray. Hindu prayer beads generally have 108 beads.
Mendhi is a plant dye commonly known as henna. It dries to a reddish brown. Women and girls paint their hands and feet with intricate mendhi patterns on special occasions such as weddings. Usually the patterns are painted free hand, but special books of designs and stencils are also available. We've included some in the set so that you can try it, and pupils can make their own patterns. A really nice way of linking RE with Art.