Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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Sacred Animals
(5,591 words)

A sacred animal in Hinduism is a divine being in animal form or with animal features, or a living animal that is worshipped and religiously valued. Most of the animals that are worshipped are divinities in animal form or with animal features pictured in stone or other material or embodied in statues (mūrtis), but in some cases the animals worshipped are living animals. However, the divine beings in animal form do not become completely separated from the living species they represe…

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Axel Jacobsen, Knut, “Sacred Animals”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 22 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

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