• Shiva is Reality
    Reality is Shiva
  • Allah is Reality
    Reality is Allah
  • Nirvana is Reality
    Reality is Nirvana
  • God is Reality
    Reality is God

Hinduism

In Hinduism, too, there exists no hierarchy, no coordinating  authority that declares what the followers are supposed to believe. Among Hindus, however, there exist various levels of ‘initiates’ (e.g. Pundit, Swami, Acharya, Avatar, Rishi).  

We may expect that all teachers on these different levels are very well aware that the ONE they are supposed to represent became the whole of creation.

In the early days of Hinduism, no images of the ONE were made. People were supposed to grow toward enlightenment (knowing Reality) through reasoning, meditating, and doing the right thing (Parts I to IV). Gradually, there arose the need to shape an image, which gave the owner of that image a strong association with the elusive, omnipresent, timeless Absolute.
Thanks to archaeological findings, we know that the image of Shiva (a male figure sitting with crossed legs) is probably the first type of image made by man to help focus on the Absolute Reality. His sitting in meditation posture is significant, because it expresses an ‘unmovable, conscious presence’ (Reality).

It is not so strange that through the ages this need to shape images in order to come closer to the experience of Reality developed. But the confusion starts when people are no longer aware that the image is not God, but only an invented ‘form of the formless’.

The image cult developed largely in Hinduism, and we can understand this to the extent that the Absolute is creating (Brahma), sustaining (Vishnu), pulling us back from life (Shiva), subject of our devotion (Krishna), giving us knowledge and wisdom (Ganesha), bestowing the energy with which we can overcome our problems (Durga), and so forth.
(from Epilogue F. Hinduisme: Clear Up All the Confusion About the Gods and Godesses)