List of Hindu deities

Summary

Hinduism is the largest religion in the Indian subcontinent and third largest religion in the world. Within Hinduism there are five major sects or denominations, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Ganapatism,[1] and Saurism whose followers consider Vishnu, Shiva, Adi Parashakti, Ganesha, and Surya to be the supreme deity respectively. Smartism sect considers all the above five deities as equal. Most of the other deities of the Hindu pantheon are different forms (incarnations) of these five major deities or are related to them. Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion" in the world, and many practitioners refer to Hinduism as "the eternal law" (Sanātana Dharma).[2] Given below is a list of the major Hindu deities followed by a list of minor Hindu deities and demi-gods. Smartism, a tradition established by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, invites the worship of more than one god including Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Ganesha (the elephant faced god) and Surya (the sun god) among other gods and goddesses .It is not as overtly sectarian as either Vaishnavism, Shaivism or Shaktism and is based on the recognition that Brahman or God is the highest principle in the universe and pervades all of existence.[3][4][5][6]

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva seated on lotuses with their consorts Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati

Main deitiesEdit

The Trimurti (the Hindu Trinity). Also known as the Tridev, consists of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer and Reincarnator. Their feminine counterparts are Saraswati, the wife of Brahma, Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, and Parvati (or Durga), the wife of Shiva. The followers of Vishnu and Shiva form two major sects.

BrahmaEdit

According to Hinduism, Brahma is the creator of the entire cosmic universe. Although he is the creator, he is hardly worshipped in modern Hinduism as Shiva was said to curse him that he would never be worshipped. He is identified with the supreme vedic god, Prajapati. Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and music is also wife of Brahma, who emerged to give knowledge to create. Some alternative names for Brahma the Creator are:

  • Vedanatha
  • Chaturmukha
  • Prajapati
  • Hiranyagarbha
  • Vedagarbha
  • Kaushala

VishnuEdit

Vaishnavism is the sect within Hinduism that worships Vishnu. He is considered as the Para Brahman , the Preserver god of the Trimurti (the Hindu Trinity), and his many incarnations. Vaishnavites regard him to be eternal and the strongest and supreme God. It is a devotional sect, and followers worship many deities, including Rama and Krishna both the 7th & the 8th incarnations of Vishnu respectively. The adherents of this sect are generally non-ascetic, monastic and devoted to meditative practice and ecstatic chanting.[3][4][5][6] Some alternate names of Vishnu the Preserver are,

ShivaEdit

Shaivism is one of the major Hindu sects. Adherents of Shaivism believe that the god Shiva is the supreme being. Shiva is the Destroyer god among the Trimurti, and so is sometimes depicted as the fierce god Bhairava. Shaivists are more attracted to asceticism than adherents of other Hindu sects, and may be found wandering with ashen faces performing self-purification rituals.[3][4][5][6] Some alternative forms of Shiva (and Bhairava) are listed below:

GoddessesEdit

Communities of goddess worship are ancient in India. In the Rigveda, the most prominent goddess is Ushas, the goddess of dawn. In modern Hinduism, goddesses are widely revered. Shaktism is one of the major sects of Hinduism. Followers of Shaktism believe that the goddess (Devi) is the power (Shakti) that underlies the female principle, and that Devi is the supreme being, one and the same with Para Brahman. Shakti has many forms and manifestations and goddesses that are parts of her, like Lakshmi, Durga, Parvati and Saraswati. Devi is believed to manifest in peaceful forms, such as Lakshmi the consort of Vishnu and also in fierce forms, such as Kali and Durga. In Shaktism, Adi Parashakti is regarded as Ultimate Godhead or Para Brahman. She is formless i.e. Nirguna in reality, but may take many forms i.e. Sagun. Durga and Lalita Tripurasundari are regarded as the supreme goddess in the Kalikula and Srikula systems respectively. Shaktism is closely related with Tantric Hinduism, which teaches rituals and practices for purification of the mind and body.[3][4][5][6] Some different parts of Shakti (Devi) the Mother Goddess are:

Related deitiesEdit

  • Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati and is also called Ganapati. The Ganapatya sect worshipped Ganesha as their chief deity. He is the god of wisdom and remover of all obstacles. He is worshipped before any other deity.
  • Kartikeya is the son of Shiva and Parvati and is also called Muruga, Subramanya, Karthik, Kumara or Shanmukha. The Kaumaram sect worshipped Subramanya as their chief deity. He is also the brother of Ganesha.
  • Ayyappan is the son of Shiva and Mohini (an incarnation of Vishnu) and is also called Manikanta since he has mani (Rudraksha) in kanta (neck).
  • Hanuman is one of the incarnations of Shiva and a devotee of Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu) and was also called Anjaneya, since his mother is Anjani.
  • Ganga is the goddess of the most holy river in Hinduism. She is considered to erase all sins and purify a person.
  • Yamuna is the daughter Surya (the sun god) and Saranyu (the goddess of clouds) and the wife of Krishna. She represents life energy.
  • Hansa is the devoted swan who acts as the vahan (vehicle) of Brahma and Saraswati.
  • Garuda is the devoted eagle who acts as the vahan (vehicle) of Vishnu and the king of all birds. He is prominent in the Garud Purana.
  • Nandi is the devoted bull who acts as the vahan (vehicle) of Shiva.
  • Shani is the son of Surya and Chhaya. He is the god of justice.
  • Shesha is the king of Nagas.

Avatars (Incarnations)Edit

ParvatiEdit

MahadeviEdit

  1. Gayatri
  2. Yogamaya
  3. Sati
  4. Lalita
  5. Uma
  6. Durga
  7. Chandika
  8. Rudrani
  9. Mhalsa
  10. Ganga
  11. Kamakhya
  12. Meenakshi
  13. Kamakshi
  14. Vishalakshi
  15. Padmakshi Renuka
  16. Kanya Kumari
  17. Annapurna
  18. Shakambhari
  19. Bhramari
  20. Kaushiki
  21. Akilandeswari
  22. Mariamman
  23. Bhavani
  24. Ambika
  25. Periyachi
  26. Shitala
  27. Mandhradevi

Mahavidya’sEdit

  1. Kali
  2. Tara
  3. Shodashi
  4. Bhuvaneswari
  5. Chhinnamasta
  6. Bhairavi
  7. Dhumavati
  8. Bagalamukhi
  9. Matangi
  10. Kamalatmika

NavadurgaEdit

  1. Shailaputri
  2. Brahmacharini
  3. Chandraghanta
  4. Kushmanda
  5. Skandamata
  6. Katyayani
  7. Kalaratri
  8. Mahagauri
  9. Siddhidhatri

KaliEdit

  1. Mahakali
  2. Bhadrakali
  3. Adya kali
  4. Sri kali
  5. Vama kali
  6. Bhima kali
  7. Shamshana kali
  8. Raksha kali
  9. Krishna kali
  10. Rakta kali
  11. Shyama kali

MatrikasEdit

  1. Brahmani
  2. Maheshwari
  3. Kaumari
  4. Vaishnavi
  5. Varahi
  6. Narasimhi
  7. Indrani
  8. Chamunda
  9. Vinayaki
  10. Shivadooti

ShivaEdit

  1. Shankar Avatar
  2. Veerabhadra Avatar
  3. Bhairava Avatar
  4. Khandoba Avatar
  5. Durvasa Avatar
  6. Nataraja Avatar
  7. Ardhanarishvara Avatar
  8. Muneeswarar Avatar
  9. Muthappan Avatar
  10. Pashupati Avatar
  11. Gangeshwar Avatar
  12. Rudra Avatar
  13. Lingam Avatar
  14. Dakshinamurthy Avatar
  15. Ravananugraha Avatar
  16. Vaidheeswara Avatar
  17. Lingodbhava Avatar
  18. Somaskanda Avatar
  19. Bhikshatana Avatar
  20. Sri Manjunatha Avatar
  21. Jyotirlinga Forms, The 12 divine representations of Lord Shiva
  22. Bholenath Avatar
  23. Hanuman Avatar
  24. Tripurantaka Avatar
  25. Mahadev Avatar
  26. Mahakala Avatar
  27. Sharabha Avatar
  28. Dattatreya Avatar
  29. Bhava Avatar
  30. Kapali Avatar
  31. Yogeshwarya Avatar
  32. Adiyogi Avatar
  33. Ashwatthama Avatar
  34. Pipplada Avatar
  35. Virupaksha Avatar
  36. Pingala Avatar
  37. Yaksha Avatar

BrahmaEdit

  1. Kashyapa Avatar
  2. Sukra Avatar
  3. Kalidasa Avatar
  4. Chandra Avatar
  5. Samudra Avatar
  6. Jambavan Avatar
  7. Agastya Avatar

VishnuEdit

The Dashavatara : These avatars are the main and official avatars according to the Hindu texts.

  1. Matsya, the fish
  2. Kurma, the tortoise
  3. Varaha, the boar
  4. Narasimha, the Half Man-Half Lion avatar
  5. Vamana, the Dwarf
  6. Parashurama, the cosmic warrior Brahmin
  7. Rama, the emperor of Kosala and the hero of the epic Ramayana
  8. Krishna, central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, though according to some is the supreme parambrahman himself
  9. Gautama Buddha, founder of buddhism
  10. Kalki, expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga

The other avatars : These avatars are considered as forms of Lord Vishnu other than the main avatars.

  1. Dattatreya, considered as an avatar of the Hindu trinity
  2. Guruvayoorappan, Lord Krishna in his child form
  3. Vyasa, Sage who wrote the epic Ramayana
  4. Prithu, the form of cow
  5. Balarama, also considered as an avatar of Sheshnaag
  6. Jagannath, form of Lord Krishna in Odisha
  7. Vitthal, considered as a form of Lord Krishna in Maharashtra
  8. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ,a saint known as an avatar of Lord Krishna and Radha combined
  9. Mohini, the enchantress avatar known for the Samudra Manthan episode in hindu texts
  10. Hayagriva, horse headed avatar

LakshmiEdit

  1. Bhargavi
  2. Sridevi
  3. Sita
  4. Radha
  5. Rukmini
  6. Ashtabharya
  7. Padmavati
  8. Andal
  9. Rahi
  10. Revati
  11. Maha Lakshmi
  12. Yamuna
  13. Narayani
  14. Junior wives of Krishna
  15. Alamelu manga
  16. Vedvati
  17. Varahi
  18. Vaishnavi
  19. Narsimhi
  20. Devi
  21. Chaitanya
  22. Jyotismati
  23. Archi
  24. Dakshina
  25. Dharani
  26. Surabhi
  27. Kirti
  28. Lakshmipriya
  29. Vishnupriya
  30. Urmila
  31. Mandavi
  32. Shrutkirti
  33. Viraja
  34. Gandaki
  35. Vaishno Devi
  36. Mahamaya
  37. Bhudevi
  38. Nila devi
  39. Sunanda
  40. Sumangala
  41. Jaya prada
  42. Mangala
  43. Tulasi
  44. Vrinda
  45. Amba bai

Ashta LakshmiEdit

  1. Adi Lakshmi, The ancient form of Lakshmi
  2. Dhana Lakshmi, The Money Lakshmi
  3. Dhanya Lakshmi, The Grain Lakshmi
  4. Gaja Lakshmi, The Elephant Lakshmi
  5. Santana Lakshmi, The Progeny Lakshmi
  6. Dhairya Lakshmi, The Valarous Lakshmi
  7. Vidya Lakshmi, The Knowledge Lakshmi
  8. Vijaya Lakshmi, The Victory Lakshmi

Additional forms

In some Ashta Lakshmi lists, other forms of Lakshmi are included,

  1. Aishwarya Lakshmi, The Prosperity Lakshmi
  2. Saubhagya Lakshmi, The Giver of Good Fortune
  3. Rajya Lakshmi, The Royal Lakshmi
  4. Vara Lakshmi, The Boon Lakshmi

SaraswatiEdit

  1. Savitri
  2. Vani
  3. Brahmani
  4. Maha Saraswati
  5. Gayatri
  6. Vāc
  7. Para Saraswati
  8. Shatarupa
  9. Medha
  10. Sharada
  11. Bharati
  12. Aditi

Rigvedic deitiesEdit

The Rigveda speaks of Thirty-three gods called the Trayastrinshata ('Three plus thirty'). They consist of the 12 Adityas, the 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras and the 2 Ashvins. Indra also called Śakra, lord of the gods, is the first of the 33 followed by Agni. Some of these brother gods were invoked in pairs such as Indra-Agni, Mitra-Varuna and Soma-Rudra.

AdityasEdit

  • Mitra, the god of oaths, promises, and friendships
  • Varuna, the god of water the seas, the oceans, and rain
  • Indra, also called Śakra, the king of gods, and the god of weather, storms, rain, and war
  • Savitr, the god of the morning sun; associated with Surya
  • Aṃśa, solar deity; associated with Surya
  • Aryaman the god of customs, hospitality, and marriages
  • Bhaga, god of fortune
  • Vivasvan, the god of the sun
  • Tvāṣṭṛ, the god of architecture and smithing; blacksmith of the gods
  • Pūshan, patron god of travellers and herdsmen, god of roads,
  • Dhāta, god of health and magic, also called Dhūti
  • Vamana avatar of Vishnu

RudrasEdit

The Ramayana tells they are eleven of the 33 children of the sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi, along with the 12 Adityas, 8 Vasus and 2 Ashvins, constituting the Thirty-three gods.[7] The Vamana Purana describes the Rudras as the sons of Kashyapa and Aditi.[8] The Matsya Purana notes that Surabhi – the mother of all cows and the "cow of plenty" – was the consort of Brahma and their union produced the eleven Rudras. Here they are named: Nirriti, Shambhu, Aparajita, Mrigavyadha, Kapardi, Dahana, Khara, Ahirabradhya, Kapali, Pingala and Senani.[9] Brahma allotted to the Rudras the eleven positions of the heart and the five sensory organs, the five organs of action and the mind.[8][10]

VasusEdit

Assistants of Indra and of Vishnu

  • Agni the "Fire" god, also called Anala or "living",
  • Varuna the "Water" and "Ocean" god, also called Samudradeva or Apa,
  • Vāyu the "Wind" and "Air" god, also called Anila ("wind"),
  • Dyauṣ the "Sky" god, also called Dyeus and Prabhāsa or the "shining dawn", also called akasha or sky,
  • Pṛthivī the "Earth" goddess/god, also called Dharā or "support" and Bhumi or Earth,
  • Sūrya the "Sun" god, also called Pratyūsha, ("break of dawn", but often used to mean simply "light"), the Saura sect worshipped Sūrya as their chief deity, also called Anshuman,
  • Soma the "Moon" god, also called Chandra,
  • Nakshatrani, also called Dhruva or motionless polestar (Polaris) and Prabhasa.

AshvinsEdit

The Ashvins (also called the Nāsatyas) were twin gods. Nasatya is also the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra.

Number of deities in HinduismEdit

Most of the Hindu temples are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu (including his incarnations Krishna and Rama), Shakti (the mother goddess, hence including the forms of Durga and Kali and Parvati, Lakshmi (including her incarnations Sita and Radha etc) [11][12][13]

As per the context it means to be 33 type (33 koti) including Eight Vasus (deities of material elements) – Dyauṣ "Sky", Pṛthivī "Earth", Vāyu "Wind", Agni "Fire", Nakṣatra "Stars", Varuṇa "Water", Sūrya "Sun", Chandra "Moon" Twelve Ādityas (personified deities) – Vishnu, Aryaman, Indra (Śakra), Tvāṣṭṛ, Varuṇa, Bhaga, Savitṛ, Vivasvat, Aṃśa, Mitra, Pūṣan, Dhata.[14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nath 2001, p. 31.
  2. ^ Knott 1998, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Four Denominations of Hinduism". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "The Four Main Denominations". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Hindu Sects". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Dubois (April 2007). Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies. Cosimo. p. 111. ISBN 9781602063365.
  7. ^ Mani pp. 654–5
  8. ^ a b Daniélou, Alain (1991). The myths and gods of India. Inner Traditions International. pp. 102–4, 341, 371. ISBN 0-89281-354-7.
  9. ^ A Taluqdar of Oudh (2008). The Matsya Puranam. The Sacred books of the Hindus. Vol. 2. Cosmo Publications for Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd. pp. 74–5, 137. ISBN 978-81-307-0533-0.
  10. ^ Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia: A Comprehensive Dictionary With Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 0-8426-0822-2.
  11. ^ "Hindu Gods & Goddesses". Sanatan Society. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Hinduism". About.com. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Hindu gods and goddesses". usefulcharts. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  14. ^ Lynn Foulston, Stuart Abbott (2009). Hindu goddesses: beliefs and practices. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9781902210438.

SourcesEdit

  • Parikshitt, Sai (2012). 33 Koti Devata ~ The Concept Of 33 Koti Devata. Speaking Tree.: ' The Vedas refer to not 33 crore Devatas but 33 koti (Koti means types in Sanskrit) of Devatas. They are explained in Shatpath Brahman and many other scriptures very clearly. (In Sanskrit 33 koti means 33 types god's ) [...] .' The number 33 comes from the number of Vedic gods explained by Yajnavalkya in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad – the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati. (Chapter I, hymn 9, verse 2) . They are: 8-Vasu, 11-Rudra, and 12-Aaditya, 1-Indra and 1-Prajaapati.
  • Brown, Joe David, ed. (1961). India. Time-Life Books. Time, Inc. popular figure.: "Though the popular figure of 330 million is not the result of an actual count but intended to suggest infinity, the Hindu pantheon in fact contains literally hundreds of different deities [...]"
  • Knott, Kim (1998). Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  • Nath, Vijay (2001). "From 'Brahmanism' to 'Hinduism': Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition". Social Scientist. 29 (3/4): 19–50. doi:10.2307/3518337. JSTOR 3518337.