For this question, assume I will shortly be running a campaign for some players who are new to D&D, most of whom are of Hindu faith.
I’d like to introduce some elements of the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana for flavor, but I’m only passingly familiar with these texts. Note that I don’t plan to spawn avatars of Vishnu in combat or anything so trite, but I’d like some thematic elements of the campaign to match to ideals they are already culturally familiar with, as it may help facilitate immersive roleplaying, rather than trying to accommodate to a less familiar cultural identity.
It might be a long shot, but how can I incorporate elements of the Hindu faith into my campaign without the attempts looking goofy or causing offense?
Obviously, things like basic animistic spiritual beliefs already exist in D&D, and traditionally famous figures like Rama do not. But, if the players can encounter similar times of struggle and perseverance of character, that’s sort of what I’m aiming for.
To put it another way, using a mythology I’m slightly more familiar with, if I were running a campaign and wanted to incorporate elements from Greek mythology, I wouldn’t just create the D&D version of Hercules, but perhaps the players encounter similar trials, being tasked with sidequests performing labors to prove their worth and/or divine spirit. Anything like this for Hindu tales?