Hinduism: Why So Many Gods? The Deva & Devis of Hindu Culture (What is Hinduism?)
Acharya Shree, why are there so many gods in Hinduism? Absolutely. There are many gods in Hindu culture. That’s why this is considered the richest culture in the world. Because when there is one god, it is very dangerous and the message from that god,
if it is written even in one book, it is more even, even more dangerous. Because it becomes like a constitution. But if it
is many gods, there are many messages. But also it is mistaken that there are many gods in hindu culture.
No. I will say no. God is only one. And that god in Hindu god, that god is most of people they consider it
is a creator or it is a protector or it is a destroyer. It has all the qualities. That’s why by mistake people begin to think
Brahma is a creator, Vishnu is a protector, and Shiva is a destroyer. Maybe these 3 power makes God. Now I want to
clarify today to everyone that God is beyond that. God is the highest, highest and purest form of the soul. And God is viraat. Viraat means expanded one. God is everywhere. That’s what we call Bhagawan
Sarva Vyapak Hai. God is omnipresent. Why? Because God is in the bliss. God has
eternal bliss. God has eternal ecstasy. Ananda we call it. There is sukha, dukha. There is
punya and paapa. But there is ‘ananta’ is absolute ananda. And ananta you cannot define it. You cannot tell in
the words. You cannot write in the words. You cannot explain it. It is very difficult. Ananta is just
you can realize it. You can taste by yourself. Because our soul is, our soul is full of that bliss
too. Because we are part of that God. We are not separate. We are part of in a way
because which way? That we have the same bliss. But our bliss is still asleep. So
in Hindu culture God is Ananda Mayi. It is full of bliss. It is only one. No matter it is Jain religion, or no matter
it is Sankhya religion, no matter it is Nyayaic or Vaisheshika. They all believe in that God. That God is one. According to Jain religion, also same
thing. That the Siddha is…one Siddha is many. It depends which way you want to see it.
But yes, God is basically one. But there are…what is the concept going on that there are
many gods in Hindu culture? That is called demigods. Or I will call them devi, devatta. Because Shiva…Shiva
is very big devatta. He is Mahadeva. We still when we worship Shiva these days, we still call Hara Hara Mahadeva!
Mahadeva means he is the biggest deva in the Indian culture. Same thing goes to the Vishnu. Same thing goes to the Brahma. They are Mahadevas. And there are other devi, devattas like Lakshmi, Saraswati,
there are many other like the other categories they are like angels. They are saints like in Catholicism, saints. Same thing in
Hindu culture. Those devi, devatta. Demigods. So, but the real God is beyond. Real God doesn’t have that
quality to be happy on someone or to become unhappy on someone. But these devi, devatta, what people begin to consider
they are many gods, they have that quality. They can be happy on someone, they can be unhappy on
someone. That’s why people begin to worship them. Why they worship them? They will fulfill their wishes. So Bhagawan is not worshipped. The God is not worshipped. But those
devi, devattas, are widely worshipped in Hindu culture because they’re mostly selfish. And they want to fulfill their wishes. I’m not saying that don’t fulfill your
wishes, but don’t mix up with the real God with those devi, devattas. Devi, devattas, are different. Like Mahadeva.
‘Hara Hara Mahadeva’. Brahma. Vishnu. These are mahadevas. All the other devi, devattas…there are many
devis, many devattas, like Padmaavati Maa, or Vaishnodevi Maa. Or there is a Hindu…in Sanskrit…in Hindu culture, there is one devatta called Ganesha. Ganesha is the Indian cultural devatta.
And everybody worship the Ganesha. Why? That may our work will be finished without any disturbance,
without any hindrance, without any problem. So they worship it. They know that it can
help them. That’s why they worship it. But real Bhagawan, real God is not worshipped.
Nowhere. Only devi, devattas are worshipped. Because they know they can be happy on them.
And people are mostly selfish. That’s why if it is a Shiva’s temple, it will be crowded.
Because Shiva is called ashu dosha. It becomes happy quickly. That’s why Shiva is worshipped widely in India because it fulfill your wishes. Or if somebody protects you like Hanuman, is called monkey god
in english. Is worshipped widely because it protects you. Ganesha is worshipped widely that you don’t want any problem in your life. Vaishnodevi or other devis they are
worshipped because they give you wealth – Lakshmi – or they give you lot of knowledge – Saraswati. Or they make you better person. So those devi,
devatta are worshipped. I don’t call them God. They are devi, devatta. If you want to be on the right path, consider them devi
and devatta. That was, since ancient time, since centuries, it is in Indian culture. Rama is not considered devatta. Rama is considered Bhagawan. Why?
Because he achieved that highest state. He merged with the God. That’s why Rama is considered God, because when you
merge with the God, so you become God. So, devi, devatta, they didn’t merge yet with the God. They are separate.
Keep them separate and teach your children mostly they are all devi, devatta. We are blessed that we have a different like in Catholicism
there are saints, they worship saints that fulfill our wishes. Same thing in Hindu culture there are many devi,
devatta who are worshipped to fulfill their wishes. And that’s why you see that there are many gods, but
there are not many gods. God is one. And God is beyond that. Is always Ananda
Mayi. Is full of bliss, ecstasy. Niraa baad sukha, niraa baad ananta. That is
God in Hindu culture and it is one.