Hindu deities (article) | Khan Academy (2023)

The multiple gods and goddesses of Hinduism are a distinctive feature of the religion. However, Professor Julius Lipner explains that Hinduism cannot be considered polytheistic and discusses the way in which Hindu culture and sacred texts conceptualise the deities, as well as their role in devotional faith.

One of the most striking features of Hinduism is the seemingly endless array of images of gods and goddesses, most with animal associates, that inhabit the colourful temples, and wayside shrines and homes of its adherents. Because of this, Hinduism has been called an idolatrous and polytheistic religion. How are we to understand the concept of deity in Hinduism and its worship of images? In this essay, we shall take up this theme and also consider various forms of pilgrimage and prayer.

Hinduism can be likened to an enormous banyan tree extending itself through many centres of belief and practice which can be seen to link up with each other in various ways, like a great network that is one, yet many. The concepts of deity, worship and pilgrimage in Hinduism are a prime example of this ‘polycentric’ phenomenon.

What does the Veda say about deities?

Deities are a key feature of Hindu sacred texts. The Vedic texts describe many so-called gods and goddesses (devasanddevīs) who personify various cosmic powers through fire, wind, sun, dawn, darkness, earth and so on. There is no firm evidence that these Vedic deities were worshipped by images; rather, they were summoned through the sacrificial ritual (yajña), with the deityAgni(fire) generally acting as intermediary, to bestow various boons to their supplicants on earth in exchange for homage and the ritual offering. Some Vedic texts speak of a One that seemed to undergird the plurality of thesedevasanddevīsas their support and origin. In time, in the Upaniṣads, this One (Brahman) was envisaged as either the transcendent, supra-personal source of all change and differentiation in our world which would eventually dissolve back into the One, or as the supreme, personal Lord (īśvara) who was the mainstay and goal of all finite being. In both conceptions, we have the basis for subsequent notions of a transcendent reality that is accessible to humans by meditation and/or prayer and worship.

When did personal gods develop in Hinduism?

It is in theBhagavad Gītā, composed at about the beginning of the Common Era, that we first find sustained textual evidence of developed thinking about devotional faith in a personal God, named Krishna (also spelt Kṛṣṇa). In this text, Krishna teaches his friend and disciple, Arjuna, about his divine nature and relationship with the world, and how the devoted soul can find liberation (mokṣa) from the sorrows and limitations of life through loving communion with him. Here, also for the first time in Hinduism, we encounter the doctrine of theavatāra(anglicised asavatar), which teaches that the Supreme Being descends periodically into the world in embodied form for, according to theGītā, ‘re-establishingdharma, protecting the virtuous and destroying the wicked.’ The doctrine of multipleavatarswith their specific objectives was to develop subsequently over the centuries in various sacred texts, such as the Purāṇas.

A watercolour painting depicting Visnu and his ten avatars in the South Indian style. South India, c.1800. Vishnu and his ten avatars, c. 1800 (The British Library)

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A watercolour painting depicting Visnu and his ten avatars in the South Indian style. South India, c.1800. Vishnu and his ten avatars, c. 1800 (The British Library)

At about the same time as theGītāwas composed, theŚvetāśvatara Upaniṣadendorses devotion to Shiva (also spelt Śiva), also called Rudra, as the Supreme Being who transforms his devotees from the halter (pāśa) of existence into a state of profound union with him. Both theGītāand theŚvetāśvatara Upaniṣadproclaim a form of disciplined devotion (bhakti) as the means to salvation, and it was not till about the 5th century that a theology of saving devotion to the Great Goddess (Mahādevī) appeared in theDevī Māhātmya. In a manner that accounts for the devotional faith of most Hindus, each of these three deities, Vishnu (also spelt Viṣṇu), Shiva, and the Goddess, under one alternative name or other, can be seen to head a distinctive strand of theistic Hinduism which inter-relates in complex ways with the other two. In terms of this interlocking grid, most Hindus would have a firm sense of religious belonging through faith in a Supreme Deity who can be approached, understood and worshipped by way of a system of disciplined belief and practice.

Mohan Singh, Siva outside a cave, with Parvati and Nandi, c. 1780, watercolor on paper (The British Library)

Mohan Singh, Siva outside a cave, with Parvati and Nandi, c. 1780, watercolor on paper (The British Library)

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Is Hinduism a polytheistic religion?

It is important to grasp the distinctive way Hindus tend to approach their desired deity (iṣṭadevatā), usually a traditional feature of household or community worship, as the focus of their religious life. This deity, be it a form of Shiva, Vishnu or the Goddess, can normally manifest through multiple forms (rūpa). When speaking of worship of the great Goddess, theKālikā Purāṇa(14th century) conveniently gives the model for the relationship between the chosen deity and its various forms: ‘Just as rays of the sun continually come forth from the sun’s disc so [the various forms of the Goddess] come forth from the body of the Goddess.’ This idea seems to be a conceptual development of the Vedic notion of the underlying One manifesting in and through the many: there is, ultimately, only one Supreme Source which can manifest, like rays of the sun, in alternative forms, each of which may indeed have its own tradition of narrative, belief and worship, but only as inter-linking with other centres of the whole. We can hardly call this ‘polytheism’ in the common sense of the term; it is, rather, a distinctive kind of ‘polymorphic’ monotheism, i.e. a monotheism underlying many manifestations of the same Deity – the whole relational web being a prime example of Hindu polycentrism at work.

When did the worship of deities begin?

The first archaeological evidence we have of standing temple construction and its implication of image-worship of the deity occurs in about the 3rd century BCE – of a Vishnu temple (in eastern Rajasthan) and of a Shiva temple not too far away. Presumably, since these were constructions of mud, timber, brick, stone etc., the process of temple-building had begun appreciably earlier, though we cannot say exactly where or when. We can also assume from textual and archaeological evidence that image-worship in Hinduism was present by about the 6th to the 5th century BCE.

It is generally believed (though there is mounting evidence against some external 'Aryan invasion') that people known as ancient Aryans had originally displaced an advanced civilisation in the north-western regions of the subcontinent called the Indus civilisation. Thre is evidence of brick structures, dating from this civilisation, that indicate a religious purpose and of small figures made of, and in, firm material such as terracotta and soapstone. However, since there is no agreement about how to interpret the script of the Indus civilisation, we cannot say for sure that these were truly figures of religious import, and thus had an influence on the fashioning later Hindu images.

How are deities worshiped?

By the first centuries of the Common Era, cults of the worship of images of various deities, such as Vishnu and the Goddess, were established. Such worship (pūjā) would have taken place both at home and in the temple. In time, temple design became ornate and varied, and temple-worship involved making the image according to strict iconographic rules and served by a dedicated class of priests, an elaborate ritual of consecration of the image, flower and food offerings, anointing and bathing the image, oil lamps, incense, bells and processions with the image, a daily programme for the deities involved patterned on practices of the royal court, and so on.

A botanical painting of the lotus flower (nelumbium speciosum) used in Temple worship as sacred to Lord Vishnu. Album of Drawings of Hindu Deities, early 19th century, watercolor on paper (The British Library)

A botanical painting of the lotus flower (nelumbium speciosum) used in Temple worship as sacred to Lord Vishnu. Album of Drawings of Hindu Deities, early 19th century, watercolor on paper (The British Library)

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Most deities have an animal associate (vāhana) which helps identify the deity and express the latter’s specific powers; this was achieved too by an artistic device that attributed multiple body-parts, such as hands and heads, adorned by weapons and other objects, to the image. There are many stories, especially in the Purāṇas, which describe the origin and role of thevāhanaand the weapons and other attributes associated with the image.

Lord Brahmā and Goddess Sarasvatī seated upon their vāhana (vehicle) the haṃsa (swan). Album of Drawings of Hindu Deities, early 19th century, watercolor on paper (The British Library)

Lord Brahmā and Goddess Sarasvatī seated upon their vāhana (vehicle) the haṃsa (swan). Album of Drawings of Hindu Deities, early 19th century, watercolor on paper (The British Library)

The temple itself was viewed as the body of the deity, with the darkened chamber at its heart in which (the image of) the deity was placed, known as thegarbha-gṛhaor ‘womb-house.’ This was the place in which the worshipper, who approached as humble supplicant, was reborn to a new lease of life by the grace of the deity.

Hindus tend to perceive the material of the consecrated image (arcā) as having undergone substantial change in the multiple earthly bodies of the deity itself, whose true, transcendent nature is really one and spiritual, consisting of pure consciousness, power and bliss. Here too we see that a complex relationship obtains between the One and the many. This cannot be dubbed ‘idolatry’ in any usually understood, derogatory sense. The point of the transcendent deity’s manifesting as thearcā, of appearing limited and powerless in many forms and places, is to express compassionate love and accessibility (saulabhya) on the deity’s part for the sake of the worshipper. Otherwise, as theViṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa(ca. 6th–7th century) says, ‘what [else] can the image accomplish for the One who is always fulfilled?’ ‘Understand’, continues the Purāṇa, ‘that the purpose of His image-worship is the love of the worshipper’, that is, the divine love for the worshipper and the worshipper’s love for God.

Other than by forms of temple worship, which include both personal prayer and various rituals conducted by priests, the deity may be worshipped at home too, either through personal images, or family images handed down, or by way of meditation (dhyāna).Dhyānacan include highly specialised kinds of visualisation of the deity invoked, in which the deity is often envisaged as communicating with the worshipper.

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Another form of worshipping the deity in Hinduism is through pilgrimage (yātrā). Pilgrimage is a way of creating a sacred landscape, of indicating that the whole world, including the pilgrim, belongs to the deity and is under its rulership. Through every pilgrimage, Hindus encounter atīrtha, a sacred ford or crossing-point between heaven and earth, by which they may come to terms with this world of sorrows and arrive at the threshold of liberation. Over time, a great manytīrthashave developed across the Hindu sacred landscape.

Citrapaṭa of the Jagannātha temple at Puri, 19th century, painting on cloth (The British Library)

Citrapaṭa of the Jagannātha temple at Puri, 19th century, painting on cloth (The British Library)

Written by Julius Lipner

Julius Lipner is Professor Emeritus in Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. He specializes in Hindu philosophical theology and modern Hinduism and in the relationship between Hinduism and Christianity. His published works includeThe Face of Truth: A Study of Meaning and Metaphysics in the Vedāntic Theology of Rāmānuja(1986),Brahmabandhab Upadhyay: The Life and Thought of a Revolutionary(1999),Ānandamath or The Sacred Brotherhood(2005),Hindus: their religious beliefs and practices(2nd ed. 2010), andHindu Images and their Worship with special reference to Vaişņavism: A Philosophical-Theological inquiry(2017), and numerous journal articles. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of the British Academy.

The text in this article is available under theCreative Commons License.

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Hindu deities (article) | Khan Academy? ›

It is often said that there is a trinity of Hindu gods: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. But while Vishnu and Shiva have followers and temples all over India, Brahma is not worshiped as a major deity.

Who are the 3 major deities of Hinduism? ›

It is often said that there is a trinity of Hindu gods: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. But while Vishnu and Shiva have followers and temples all over India, Brahma is not worshiped as a major deity.

What are the 7 gods of Hinduism? ›

Examples of Hindu deities (from top): Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Harihara and Ardhanarishvara.

What are the Hindu 4 deities? ›

The Trimurti are the most prominent deities of contemporary Hinduism. This consists of Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer. Their feminine counterparts are Saraswati, the wife of Brahma, Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, and Parvati (or Durga), the wife of Shiva.

Is Vishnu a male or female? ›

In Vaishnavism and Shaivism, God, Vishnu or Shiva respectively, is personified as male. God, however, transcends gender in these sub-schools, and the male form is used as an icon to help focus the Puja (worship).

Who are the top 3 most powerful god in Hinduism? ›

Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are the major gods and Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati are the major goddesses in Hinduism. Many Hindus believe that Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva or Maheshwar is destroyer.

Who is the first god in Hinduism? ›

Article about Brahma, the first god in the Hindu trimurti. He is regarded as the senior god and his job was creation.

Are there only 33 gods in Hinduism? ›

The Samhitas, which are the oldest layer of text in the Vedas, enumerate 33 deities classified as devas, either 11 each for the three worlds, or as 12 Adityas, 11 Rudras, 8 Vasus, and 2 Ashvins in the Brahmanas.

Who is biggest god in the world? ›

Vishnu is known as "The Preserver" within the Trimurti, the triple deity of supreme divinity that includes Brahma and Shiva. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is the supreme being who creates, protects, and transforms the universe.

Which religion has 8 gods? ›

The Origin of Hinduism and all the Hindu Gods

Originated from India, Hinduism and all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses have been around for at least 5,000 years.

What are the 5 elemental gods in Hinduism? ›

These elements are: Prithvi/Bhudevi (Sanskrit: पृथ्वी:, Earth), Apas/Varuna/Jala (Sanskrit: आपः, Water), Agni (Sanskrit: अग्नि, Fire), Vayu (Sanskrit: वायु:, Air), Akasha/Dyaus (Sanskrit: आकाश, Space/Atmosphere/Ether).

What is the oldest religion? ›

Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world. The word Hindu is an exonym although many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

Who are the 12 in Hindu mythology? ›

Generally, Adityas are twelve in number and consists of Vivasvan, Aryaman, Tvashta, Savitr, Bhaga, Dhata, Mitra, Varuna, Amsa, Pushan, Indra and Vishnu.

Who is Shiva the god of? ›

Shiva performs several roles as a Hindu deity. He is the great ascetic, the master of fertility, the master of poison and medicine, and Lord of Cattle. His combined roles are exemplary of a tendency in Hinduism to see complementary qualities in a single ambiguous figure.

Who is Shiva's first wife? ›

Sati married Shiva against her father's wishes. When her father failed to invite her husband to a great sacrifice, Sati died of mortification and was later reborn as the goddess Parvati.

Is Shiva unisex? ›

In India, Shiva is an unambiguously male name; but in the middle east, Shiva derives from the Persian words for charm and eloquence, and is usually used as a female name.

Who is more powerful Allah or Shiva? ›

The Shiva purana establishes Lord Shiva as the greatest.

Who is most beautiful goddess in Hinduism? ›

Indrani (Sanskrit: इन्द्राणी, IAST: Indrāṇī), also known as Shachi (Sanskrit: शची, IAST: Śacī), is the queen of the devas in Hinduism. Described as tantalisingly beautiful, proud and kind, she is the daughter of the asura Puloman and the consort of the king of the devas, Indra.

Who is stronger Buddha or Shiva? ›

Buddha is great at dodging, and though Shiva's four arms and dance moves maki it a complex fight, Buddha still has present the advantage there. Also, Shiva's Tandava Karma slowly destroys his body as well, making it a fight not built for endurance.

Which Hindu god married his daughter? ›

The effulgent beauty and sharp intelligence of Saraswati enamoured Her father Brahma so much that He was determined to make His own daughter His consort. But Brahma's incestuous infatuation to His daughter miffed Saraswati so much that She became desperate to avert Her father's lustful gaze.

Which Hindu god married his mother? ›

Other namesManmatha, Madana, Ananga
Sanskrit transliterationKāmadeva
16 more rows

Who is the daughter of Lord Shiva? ›

Ashokasundari (Sanskrit: अशोकसुन्दरी, Aśokasundarī) is a Hindu goddess and daughter of the deities Shiva and Parvati. She is referenced in the Padma Purana, which narrates her story. The goddess is mostly venerated in South India in the form of Bala Tripurasundari.

Who is the father of Lord Shiva? ›

A few days later, pleased by Vishwanar's devotion, Lord Shiva was born as Grihapati to the sage and his wife. This avatar of Lord Shiva was born to Sage Atri and his wife, Anasuya. He was known for being short-tempered and commanded respect both from the humans as well as the Devas.

Which Hindu God created everything? ›

Brahma is the Hindu god of creation. Also known as the grandfather, he was the original creator of the universe. Due to his elevated rank, Brahma rarely appears in the picturesque myths in which gods take on human form and character. Rather, he is generally presented more abstractly as the ideal of a great god.

How many gods are still alive in Hinduism? ›

Chiranjivi (Sanskrit: चिरञ्जीवि, IAST: ciranjīvi) are the eight or nine (if Jambavan included) immortals who are to remain alive on Earth until the end of the current Kali Yuga, according to Hinduism. The Sanskrit term Chiranjivi means “immortal”, even though it does not correspond with “eternal”.

Is Allah and Shiva same? ›

Some have argued that Lord Shiva is not Allah. Christians believe that Jesus is the true God. The god of Hinduism is Satan, all the gods in Hinduism are man-made gods. Similarly, Muslims ignore the fact that Allah is the true God, the God of Hinduism or Shiva is not Allah.

Which god can defeat Shiva? ›

Shiva engaged him in battle and pierced his heart, but Andhaka was able to recover and strike Shiva with his mace. The blood that fell on the ground from the wound gave rise to the eight forms of Bhairava.

Who is the biggest enemy of Lord Shiva? ›

Jalandhara (Sanskrit: जलन्धर, lit. he who holds water), also known as Chalantarana (Sanskrit: चलन्तरण, lit. he who walks and swims) is an asura in Hinduism. He was born when Shiva opened his third eye in his fury when Indra struck him with his thunderbolt.

What do Hindus think of Jesus? ›

Hindus have given Jesus a place among the teachers and gods of their own religion, seeing in his life something of the wisdom and mysticism that is so central to Hinduism.

What religion has 7 heavens? ›

In religious or mythological cosmology, the seven heavens refer to seven levels or divisions of the Heavens. The concept, also found in the ancient Mesopotamian religions, can be found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; a similar concept is also found in some other religions such as Hinduism.

Is Buddha a Hindu god? ›

In Hinduism, Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu (one of Hinduism's gods). In Buddhsim, nothing is equal or greater to Buddha.

What rules do Hindus follow? ›

Hindus strive to achieve dharma, which is a code of living that emphasizes good conduct and morality. Hindus revere all living creatures and consider the cow a sacred animal. Food is an important part of life for Hindus. Most don't eat beef or pork, and many are vegetarians.

How deities are created? ›

Deities are created by humans – usually in their image – to express our sense of where we came from and to express a sense of significance and protection. Deities are believed to be aware of us and our needs. They are ultimate progenitors and ultimate parent.

Who is the Hindu god of wind? ›

Vayu (Sanskrit pronunciation: [ʋaːjʊ], Sanskrit: वायु, IAST: Vāyu), also known as Vata and Pavana, is the Hindu god of the winds as well as the divine messenger of the gods.

What religion was Jesus? ›

He was born of a Jewish mother, in Galilee, a Jewish part of the world. All of his friends, associates, colleagues, disciples, all of them were Jews. He regularly worshipped in Jewish communal worship, what we call synagogues. He preached from Jewish text, from the Bible.

Who founded Hinduism? ›

Unlike Buddhism, Jainism, or Sikhism, Hinduism has no historical founder. Its authority rests instead upon a large body of sacred texts that provide Hindus with rules governing rituals, worship, pilgrimage, and daily activities, among many other things.

What is the oldest proof of Hinduism? ›

Of these, the Rig-Veda is the oldest, a collection of hymns composed between ca. 1500-1200 BCE.

Why is 108 a sacred number in Hinduism? ›

According to Vedic cosmology, 108 is the basis of creation, represents the universe and all our existence. In Hinduism, we believe that outer cosmology should mirror our inner spirituality because our ultimate realization is that we are one in the same.

What is the luckiest number in Hinduism? ›

The number 108 is considered sacred by the Dharmic Religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Who is the 10 headed demon in Hinduism? ›

Ravana, in Hinduism, the 10-headed king of the demons (rakshasas). His abduction of Sita and eventual defeat by her husband Rama are the central incidents of the popular epic the Ramayana (“Rama's Journey”).

Is Shiva mentioned in the Bible? ›

Another Biblical allusion to shiva is found in the Book of Amos (8:10). There, the prophet warns the people that if they do not change their ways, God will “turn your festivals into mourning.” The Talmud in Moed Katan (20a) points out that the festivals of Pesach and Succos are each seven days.

Is Shiva a female goddess? ›

Parvati is the goddess of masculine energy, while her husband, Shiva is the god of feminine energy.

How many wives did Shiva have? ›

Many believe that Lord Shiva always had two wives. The first of Lord Shiva's wives was the goddess Sati and the second of his wives was the goddess Parvati. Both of Lord Shiva's wives have many names they are referred to by: Shakti, Uma, Gauri, Kali, Annapurna, Dakshayani, etc.

Why is Shiva half woman? ›

It is believed that the God is Lord Shiva and the woman part is his consort Goddess Parvati or Shakti. The Ardhanareeshvara represents a constructive and generative power. Ardhanareeshvara symbolizes male and female principles cannot be separated. It conveys the unity of opposites in the universe.

Who was Shiva's favorite wife? ›

Parvati, (Sanskrit: “Daughter of the Mountain”) also called Uma, wife of the Hindu god Shiva. Parvati is a benevolent goddess. Born the daughter of a mountain called Himalaya, she won Shiva's affection only after undergoing severe ascetic discipline.

Did Shiva love Sati or Parvati? ›

A depressed Shiva returned to his ascetic world while Sati was reborn as Parvati, daughter of Himavat, king of the mountains and personification of the Himalayas, and his wife, Mena. Himavat appreciated Shiva ardently. Consequently, Parvati like Sati, won Shiva over by her penance and married him.

What is opposite of Shiva? ›

Shakti energy can be seen in everything that lives as the manifest, while Shiva energy is formless. Things that have already come into being are made of Shakti energy. These two divinely sacred energies are equal and opposite forces.

Is Lord Shiva a feminist? ›

A Feminist God

Shiva believed in equality of the sexes long before the word feminism was added to our vocabulary. His androgynous form, Ardhanarishvara, is depicted as half male and half female. It shows that the masculine energy and feminine energy are opposing yet complementary forces of the universe.

Who is equal to Shiva? ›

Vishnu is no one but Shiva, and he who is called Shiva is but identical with Vishnu. Both traditions include legends about who is superior, about Shiva paying homage to Vishnu, and Vishnu paying homage to Shiva.

What are the 3 forms of Brahman? ›

Brahman has three main forms, the Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the creator. Vishnu is the preserver/protector. Shiva is the destroyer.

Who is bigger Shiva or Vishnu? ›

In Hindu scriptures, there are 18 puranas – each dedicated to a particular name for God – and each establishing that name as supreme. The Shiva purana establishes Lord Shiva as the greatest. The Vishnu purana establishes Lord Vishnu as the greatest.

Who is the difference between Lord Shiva and Vishnu? ›

While Lord Brahma plays the role of a Creator and Lord Vishnu plays the role of the Preserver, Lord Shiva, is essentially the Destroyer. Together these three Lords symbolize nature's rules, which is everything that is created is eventually destroyed. The birth of these three Gods is a great mystery in itself.

Are Vishnu and Shiva the same? ›

Shiva is still regarded as being above the level of an ordinary jiva and 'the greatest of the Vaishnavas' by Vaishnavas who worship only Vishnu). Swaminarayan holds that Vishnu and Shiva are different aspects of the same God.

Is Shiva a Brahman? ›

Three of the most significant forms of Brahman are Brahma , Shiva and Vishnu . These three gods are key aspects of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality . The word 'trimurti' means 'three forms'. In the trimurti, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva is the destroyer.

Who is the most supreme god in Hinduism? ›

Shiva is the supreme God and performs all actions, of which destruction is only but one. Ergo, the Trimurti is a form of Shiva Himself for Shaivas.

Who is the ultimate god in Hinduism? ›

Hindus recognise one God, Brahman, the eternal origin who is the cause and foundation of all existence.

Who is the 1st God in the world? ›

Brahma the creator

In the beginning, Brahma sprang from the cosmic golden egg and he then created good and evil and light and dark from his own person. He also created the four types: gods, demons, ancestors and men, the first of whom was Manu. Brahma then made all the other living creatures upon the earth.

Which God can defeat Shiva? ›

Shiva engaged him in battle and pierced his heart, but Andhaka was able to recover and strike Shiva with his mace. The blood that fell on the ground from the wound gave rise to the eight forms of Bhairava.

Why is Vishnu blue? ›

Vishnu has a blue or dark complexion because he reflects the color of the cosmos. Vishnu's complexion is also understood to be the color of dark storm clouds and the color of the moon. Some scholars believe that Vishnu's “blueness” is a result of Krishna's dark complexion, as Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu.

Why is Shiva so powerful? ›

Shiva is the most powerful God. The entire Universe resides in Him, that is the reason Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, could not find the start and end of Him. Shiva is the in_destructible Cosmic energy. Shiva has the most powerful weapon Trishul, and He has killed many asuras with it.

Who is the biggest enemy of Lord Vishnu? ›

After Hiranyakashipu's younger brother Hiranyaksha's death at the hands of the Varaha avatar of Vishnu, Hiranyakashipu comes to hate Vishnu.

Are Kali and Shiva the same? ›

Kālī is the feminine form of Kāla (an epithet of Shiva) and thus the consort of Shiva.

Which god can defeat Lord Vishnu? ›

In Puranic literature, Sharabha is associated with the god Shiva and incarnates to subdue fierce manifestations of Vishnu.

Why am I attracted to Lord Shiva? ›

A big reason for feeling drawn to Lord Shiva is that he is 'asutosh', easily pleased. He doesn't seem to want much ritually, just bael leaves and water, if that. So he's not a high-maintenance aradhya (worshiped one) in terms of fuss and bother, you can be Shaiva without ever setting foot in a shivala.


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