(Last Updated on : 05/08/2013)
Gods of India form a superhuman and mysterious race of mighty humanoid beings that were prayed to by the ancient Aryan
and Vedic tribes
of the Mid-East from around 3000 BC till modern times. They were recognized mainly in Hinduism
. It is believed that God pervades in everything and everywhere, He is the colossal being and stays in the gigantic things as well as in the smallest particle of the world. Hinduism defines God as the being who is visible and at the same time invisible, He has a form and He is formless as well.
gods are the eternal deities appearing to be sovereign and different, but in reality are aspects of the same Brahman
, the supreme God. Indian Gods are the Hindu deities in a number of incarnations. Hindu religion has several Gods and Goddesses that are worshipped by the inhabitants of India. As per the Hindu belief, the God and Goddesses are living beings of a separate macrocosm. Apart from various Gods, the people of India also worship a large number of Goddesses. The Goddesses are worshipped in almost all places in India. They are prayed in various forms in the country. Some of the major Goddesses of India
includes Goddess Parvati, Goddess Kali, Goddess Durga
He is the God of Creation, an important parivara or family deity among the Hindus. He is seen with four heads representing four Vedas
, which is also called the four 'Yugas'. Seated on a lotus, Lord Brahma's 'vahana' is the swan.
He is the God of maintenance, protection and sustenance among the Gods of India. He was instrumental in introducing the souls into the cycle of life by Brahma sustaining them. His complexion is the colour of dark clouds and so is often known as 'Nilameghashyamalan'. Being merciful, Vishnu is seen resting on the ocean on his bed of Adisesha (serpent with thousand heads), taking 'avatar' for rescuing humans from evils. He has ten avatars or incarnations which are Matsya avatar
, Kurma avatar
, Varaha avatar
, Narashima avatar
or Lion, Vamana avatar
or the Dwarf incarnation, Parashurama avatar
Lord Shiva is the God of destruction and is highly revered among the Gods of India. He is greatly worshipped in the form of 'linga' or phallus that is built on a pedestal. Enormous energy of the creator is denoted by the 'linga' which absorbs the creator Brahma, Vishnu and Gayatri Devi
in its heart.
Lord Ganesha is one of the prime Gods of India who is worshipped at the commencement of any important action or venture, related with business or art. Known as Vigneshwara, he is known to remove all hindrances in the way. He is seen in the form of an elephant head in a human body, with four arms, a huge belly and a snake adorning it.
This God is the name given to describe a deity form of Krishna
. He is considered merciful and the oldest and renowned Jagannath deity at Puri
. The famous Ratha Yatra
or car festival is organized every year to mark Krishna's home coming in Mathura
He is also known as Anjaneya and is among the most important Gods and Goddesses in the Indian epic Ramayana
. He assisted Rama
in recovering Sita
from the captivity of Ravana
and was blessed with enormous energy and power by the Gods. He is highly worshipped in temples all over assuming the status of a deity among the other Gods of India.
Another most important God of India is Indra who is known as the king of the Gods and the ruler of the heavens. He is a great warrior and he is also regarded as the God of rain and thunder. Numerous stories are also associated with him, which also tells how he lost the heavens to the Demons. He is bedecked with conch, hook, rainbow, noose and Vajra.
Goddess Parvati is the most widely worshipped Goddess in India who is the manifestation of Shakti and is the Female Creative Energy of the Universe. Shakti
is also related to Prakriti, the 'material-nature' of Ishwara, which unites with Brahma, to give birth to everything around. Shiva, the Purusha or Male Productive Principle of the Universe, is believed to be in conjunction with the Prakriti, expressed in Parvati, which sustains the flow of life.
She is one of the shades of Parvati, and an expression of Shakti or Prakriti. Goddess Durga Universe's Kind Mother and she is also Destroyer of Evil. This Goddess holds the Trishul, sometimes the sword, in her different images. One of the hands of this Goddess is displayed in Varadaa-Mudra or in a stance of giving boon to her true devotees. In the state of West Bengal
, she is projected as an idol with ten arms.
Goddess Saraswati is the conferrer of wisdom and knowledge. The stringed musical instrument, called Veena
, and the book, which she holds in her hands, attests her as the celestial Mistress of all kinds of learning, be it the creative arts (music) and scientific research, talent and skills.
Lord Agni or Fire-god is a Hindu and Vedic Deva. This God is beneficent as well as destructive. Lord Agni the acceptor of sacrifice and the messenger of Gods. So all tributes made to him is distributed among other gods and goddesses. He enjoys immortality and perennial youth since fire is used everyday. Agni or fire is fundamental to existence, being a constituent of the Panchamahabhutas or Five Great elements namely, earth or Prithvi
, Agni or Tejas i.e., fire, Jala (water) or Ap and Sky or Akasha.
Lord of Wind
Pavan or Vayu
, the god of wind or air, in Hinduism is mainly a deity which is worshipped. Similar to Agni, the God forms a part of the five tatvas or elements which are known as the Panchamahabhutas. In Sanskrit language
, the word Vayu is related to the Latin word 'Vita', which means life. Indeed, Vayu is Prana or vital life-force.
He is the source of water, which sustains life, the water in the rivers, sea and oceans, and even the rains that fall, and at times causes floods. Lord Varuna rides on Makara
, his mount, or a type of holy sea-creature. The ancient scriptures, however deliver a different data. In Vedic religion
, Varuna is considered as the god of the rain, sky, and of the ocean. He is also the creator of Law and of the underworld. His residence is the celestial sea, Rasa.
The origin of Lord Kartikeya
, the symbol of masculine might, has link with the desperation of Gods for the birth of the much-awaited son of Shiva, who could obliterate the ghastly demon, Taraka.
Buddhists believe that there are four main Buddhist Gods who are in charge of supervising the four directions of the world. They are known as Satarawaram Gods and protect virtuous Buddhists from the evils of some devilish people. They are Dularatha, Virulha, Virupakka and Vaishravana. The other gods are Brahma Gods, Pure Land Gods, Sakkra Devandra, Kuwera, Dataraththa, Indra Deva, Godess Visakha, Panchasika. Viswakarma god and many others. Gautama Buddha
was a sage who is worshipped as the main god in Buddhism
, since this religion was founded along the guidelines of his teachings.
Jains believe in the existence of certain heavenly beings known as 'devas' who are liable to all kinds of sufferings and should meet their end, namely death. As per Jain beliefs, such beings are not the creators of the earth. However, Jainism
asserts the presence of gods and goddesses called 'sasanadevatas' and 'sasanadevis'. Jain 'Tirthankaras' are known to worship these heavenly beings. The four kinds of these gods are the 'Bhavanpatis' or gods residing in abodes, 'Vyantaras' or intermediary gods, 'Jyotiskas' or luminaries and 'Vaimanikas' or astral gods. Vardhamana
Mahavira is the last Tirthankara of the Jains.
states that there is only one single God which is the principle tenet of this religion. Sikhs
believe in the philosophy of 'Ik Onkar' or one God. However, it is a common opinion of Sikh Gurus like Guru Nanak that God is present everywhere and in all human beings. Sikhism feels that though God is present, he is perceivable only by people who are willing to dedicate their energy, time and devotion to Him. God has been described in several ways by the Sikh Gurus in their sacred book called 'Guru Granth Sahib
Islam has asserted about the existence of only one God and believes in monotheism. 'Allah' or God is worshipped as the ultimate powerful creator and sustainer of the universe. The term Allah is derived from Hebrew and Arabic names of god, known as Elohim and Allah respectively. Muslims feel that Allah is omnipotent, unique and merciful. Islam speaks about as many as 99 names of different gods.
Parsis or 'Zoroastrians' are of the view that their gods in their religion represent both monotheism and dualism. Fire is respected and worshipped by Parsis and numerous kinds of fire are utilized in different Parsi temples.
has declared the presence of god who is the eternal being that created the universe. Lord Jesus Christ
is worshipped and respected by all Christians as the all-merciful Lord, who had embraced his crucifixion to save mankind. He is known as the great Saviour.
Thus, the Gods of India from the ancient period form an integral part of the religious life of the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and other communities. Apart from these well-known Gods and Goddesses, the people of India worship a large number of deities, the list of which goes on and on with the religious beliefs of the people of this country.