00
 
00
 
0
 
-
-
-
o
 
Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
o
o
Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
o
o
o
-HR 201.02
Some of the Basic Aspects of Hindu Religious Beliefs and Practice
A Short Note on the Evolution of the Faith, its Spirit and the Culture
-~ Level - 2 ~
o
 
\    
\
0
 
-
-
Lesson - 25 :
One God Among Many Gods in Hinduism!
Is There One God, no form or Many Gods with many forms?
Please see below
for Lesson - 26
--
 
\
 

 

 

The Vedas teach us of One Godhead, the unmanifest and formless, who is pure energy and pure consciousness, who is absolute truth, action and bliss. Contrary to widely popular thinking among those not knowledgeable, Hinduism is not a religion with Pantheism or Polytheism. Hindus believe in a single Godhead as a formless entity in "Nirguna Brahman" the Unmanifest form. He created the phenomenal universe and the worlds with His Yoga Maya (Divine illusion of Yoga).

He takes the universal manifest form as "Saguna Brahman" or "Isvara", also called Siva, Narayana and Maha Sakthi, a form ordinary people can visualize and comprehend, for the benefit of the phenomenal world. He then created Himself in various forms to carry out the activities of creation, protection and dissolution and several other actions. He manifests Himself in several forms to be understood by people and to come to protect them in the form that people visualize and pray to Him.

The Vedas teach us of "gods" or Devathas in various forms. Vedas often do not teach of prayers and rituals to the Formless Brahman directly, but often through one or more of the various "Devathas" representing the stars, planets, natural forces and energy created by God to perform the various actions of nature. Vedic rituals are performed with prayers for Fire, Water, Sun, Earth, Agni, Indra, Varuna, Vayu and several manifestations of the deities and Celestial beings (Devas) that we pray.

One of the earliest verses of the Rigveda is a prayer to the god of Fire: "O' Agni (Fire), warm golden dust of the Gods, Life and Light of Existence; ...Infinite Energy of Consciousness, Destroyer and Preserver!!"; "Agni (as Daksa) entered into Adithi (the Sun) to produce Adhithya; ...and they gave Light to the world !!"; "All things on Earth are, therefore, the handy-work of Agni, ...and the climax of them all is reached in life!!"

 
\    
\
\
 
-
Lesson - 26 :
A firm belief that Truth is One; with Many a Title
Who are These Vedic Gods the all Hindus We Pray?
--
 
\    

From the Vedic period to the modern times, all rituals based on the Vedic teachings offer prayers to various Divinities. They are known by the names like Adhithi, Prajapati, Indra, Varuna, Yama, Rudra and Purusha. These are Divine creations and Celestial bodies, called "Devas" and they live in "Devaloka".

For simplicity of translations in English language, they are often referred to as "God or gods" though they are more like celestial beings, or "Angels". They occupy certain exalted positions in the heavenly worlds from which they control the rain, sunshine, wind, water, fire, death and other forces of natural phenomena.

They are the manifestations of the powers of Brahman or the Ultimate Supreme reality, in the Phenomenal Universe created by His Yoga Maya. These Devas or the "Vedic gods" are the custodians of social well-being of all men. They draw their sustenance through our sacrificial offerings and rituals. They do not tolerate if we violate our Social Obligations.

A Devotee, by worshipping them without a selfish motive will obtain purity of heart, through the grace of these Devas. They give him peace of mind and helps him in realizing the Ultimate Truth. In the Vedic times, gods were propitiated by means of ritualistic offerings to the sacrificial fire, which has been largely replaced in later times by Agama style of worship in Temples and prayers and rituals in homes, offered to the "One Supreme Truth" in many forms.

 
\    
  \  
 
Vedas taught us:
"Idham Mithram Agnim Aahu Atho; Dhivya Sah Suparnah Garuthman !
E'kam Sath Viprah Bahudha Vadanthi, Agnim ! Yama Matharisvanam Aahuh!!"
--- (Rigveda - - I -164 - 46).
"They call It (Him) Indra, Varuna, Agni; and He is the heavenly Nobly-winged Garuthman !
Truth is One, Sages give It many a title; Agni, Yama, Matharisvan they call It (Him) !!"
 
 
  -  
\
o
 
Chapter - 2 :- The Essentials of the Hindu Traditions - Lessons 25 & 26
o
 
 
0
Go to Lessons: - :~: 17 & 18 :~: 19 & 20 :~: 21 & 22 :~: 23 & 24 :~: 25 & 26 :~: 27 & 28 :~: 29 & 30 :~: 31 & 32 :
 
 
o
 

00