Described as “the 20th century’s most footloose traveler," Alexandra David-Néel (1868-1969) saw a lot in her 100 years. She crossed the Alps, cycled through Europe (when bikes were wild and new), and studied Hinduism in India and Buddhism in China. She left her husband for Tibet and then returned home to France after 14 years, where she built a Tibetan-style fortress and wrote some of the most essential travel books ever. As she approached 70, she went back on the road.
HINDU GODS CHART There are four main sects within Hinduism: 1. Shaivism (in which Shiva is worshipped as the main god); 2. Vaishnavism (in which Vishnu worshipped as the main god); 3. Shaktism (in which the female aspects of god are primarily worshipped); and 4. Smartism (in which six main gods are worshipped: Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesh, Murugan and Surya).
The Swastika Its use in India dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization city of Harappa, and came to represent Vishnu in Hinduism. In Chinese Taoism, the swastika is a symbol of eternity. For Tibetan Buddhism, it is emblematic of the element of Earth. It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbols on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi.
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the Destroyer or Transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. He is regarded as the most powerful god in Hinduism. In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is the Supreme God and has five important works: creator, preserver, destroyer, concealer, and revealer (to bless).