Concept of God in Hinduism

It is the biggest misconception about Hinduism that Hindus worship 330 million Gods making Hinduism a polytheistic religion, but in fact, Hinduism believes in only one God but allows its followers to worship the God in many forms such as nature (including trees, sun, idols, animals, etc.) and persons (Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, etc.). These persons are called devas (deities) and are often confused by calling Gods. Devas are celestial beings that control forces of nature such as fire, air, wind, etc., which is same as Christians worship Jesus and Buddhist worship Lord Buddha as messengers of God. They are not to be confused with the One and the Supreme God. The God is a different thing and deity is a different thing. These words should not be confused together.

In Vedic Hinduism, there were 33 devas, which later became exaggerated to 330 million devas. In fact, all the devas are themselves regarded as more mundane manifestations of the One and the Supreme Brahman (God) for devotional worship. The Hindus do not literally worship 330 million separate gods. The Sanskrit word for “ten million” also means “group”, and “330 million devas” originally meant “33 types of divine manifestation.

Concept of God by Hindu Scriptures:

Vedas and Bhagvad Gita are considered as most sacred scriptures of Hinduism. Following are a few lines where they talk about the God.

1. “Ekam evadvitiyam” meaning” He is One only without a second.

[Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1]

2. “Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah” meaning “Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.”

[Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]

3. “Na tasya pratima asti” meaning There is no likeness of Him.”

[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]

4. “Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam” meaning “His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.”

[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]

Vedas refer to God as “Brahman.” Brahman is the unchanging, infinite, immanet, and transcedent reality, which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and and everything beyond in this universe. It is the Supreme Cosmic Spirit or Absolute Reality (often confused as God Brahma) and is said to be eternal, genderless, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and ultimately indescribable in human language. Noteworthy thing is that Hindus believe that God is genderless whilst most of other religions generally believe God as male.

The Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is:

“Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan” which means

“There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit.”

But it is true that in practice, Hindus worship the Almighty in several different forms. Therefore, it is interesting to understand the concept of God in Hinduism and how the other Gods developed over the time and became popular.

According to Shiv Purana, The Brahman created Lord Shiva. Then, Lord Shiva created Lord Vishnu, and Lord Brahma was born from the lotus originated from the naval of Lord Vishnu. These three Gods were assigned three different jobs to run this universe systematically:

Lord Shiva – The Destroyer

Lord Vishnu – The Protector

Lord Brahma – The Creator

Lord Brahma created the universe and he recreates it after every destruction called Mahapralaya (Armageddon).

All other demi-Gods are creation or incarnation of these three. In the process of protecting the people, Lord Vishnu needs to reincarnate on the earth. Hindus worship these all 10 reincarnations of Lord Vishnu and their other forms also.

Concept of God according to Bhagvad Gita:

Bhagvad Gita is an important Hindu scripture according to which Lord Krishna is the incarnation of Supreme Being and hence everybody should worship Lord Krishna only. Worshiping other deities would give you worldly benefits and you would have to suffer for those gains afterwards.

 

9 thoughts on “Concept of God in Hinduism

  1. There is only one God, not the second….
    Without any prejudice, Om is the best name of Brahman or Ishwara or Existence. Om is “Mine of Infinite Attributes / Potentialities. Om is “whole” or ‘Poorna”. There is nothing beyond Om. Everything is within the envelope of Om. This is a very mysterious “Mine” pervading “everywhere” and “nowhere”. “Everywhere” refers to all those points in space-time continuum evolved after big-bang or so called Creation. “No-where” refers to domain outside the realm of space-time prevailing prior to big-bang and continue to prevail even after big-crunch. The “Mine” contains infinite attributes/potentialities each co-existing with their exact opposites. The vector sum from integrated perspective is thus ZERO, Shunya. So some people may perceive Om as ZERO or “Nothing” while others may perceive HIM as ” Infinite Ocean of Attributes / Potentialities”. Essentially both are the same. Great poet Rumi said the world is spinning out from nothingness. He is referring to this “Mine” in his own way.
    Various idols, deities in Hindu system of belief are characterized by different sets of virtues belonging to almighty Brahman WHO is “Mine of Infinite Attributes/Potentialities”. All these deities or idols are essentially subsets of “Mine of Infinite Attributes / Potentialities”. Based on liking or need, Hindus select a set of virtues from this ” Mine” to worship and praise God. In doing so, these virtues flow in you. Example: Worship Lord Ganesha… prosperity flows towards you; worship & praise Laxmi… opulence flow towards you. For those who don’t know, Hanuman may look like a langoor of India. But if you worship Lord Hanuman, then virtues of celibacy coupled with mental strength is bound to flow in you. It is NOT important if these deities ever existed from historical & physical perspectives. One may perhaps know what happens when one watches blue films or porno graphical articles. It disturbs the chemistry of whole body-mind complex. Different kinds of chemicals are produced to defeat you. On the contrary, if you visit a holy place like temple, mosque or church & pray there…now different kind of chemicals are produced. You will feel different…cool, calm, composed. In fact Existence is waiting for our call to flow in us. All possibilities exist outside of us waiting for our call to rush-in. We are choosers and finally responsible for our choice we make consciously or unconsciously. Hindus use this law to best of their materialistic advantages. Man is an intelligent species or human being. He needs material wealth also to live in this world comfortably.
    Hindus worship Existence through idols to fulfill their materialistic desires like power, position, money or whatever of materialistic nature.

    But a time must come in your life when you must not worship Ishwara this way else you will keep on cycling in the cycle of death and rebirth. Desire is the seed by which we keep on recycling again and again in to this world. If you want to come out from this vicious cycle, then you must not use this kind of worship. We should love Existence just for the sake of pure LOVE without desire. However, in Hindu system of belief, a freedom is given to a person to choose. Let an individual opt what he or she really wants out of this life from time to time. Let him or her realize the truth one day, that this is enough and it is the time to change. When you are saturated & get frustrated with materialistic achievements, one day you change & change immediately.
    It is NOT possible in one sitting, one’s life-time and even thousands life-time to worship infinite attributes. And it is also dangerous to worship all the attributes of this “Mine of Infinite Attributes”. because as I said before, each attribute co-exists with its exact opposite. If God is kind (virtue) who is cruel (opposite). In fact HE is both. Rishis of Vedas touched and evoked positive virtues from this “Mine” & similarly so…all messengers of God in Islam, Jesus in Christianity or any other religion. This is practical wisdom. We all pray Existence by HIS positive virtues. Some schools of Tantra or Aghoris invoke negative virtues (vices) from this “Mine” which is not socially acceptable and desirable. In nutshell irrespective of faith or religion, while praying, people build up with reverence various kinds of images of divinity in their mind characterized by HIS greatness, power, kindness, etc, etc ? The images built thus may be mental but image is an image, does not matter whether it is physical (idol) or mental (psychic).

    Therefore, we all pray “one without a second” in numerous ways by different sets of HIS virtues we can imagine or our mind is capable of imagining.
    Om namah shivay… I pray & salute God…May HE do my welfare.

    Regards
    Deepak

    • Thanx for commenting on this article. Your comment was very good and gives a good insight on Concept of God in Hinduism.

  2. Concept of Hinduism or Eastern God is different from the western God.
    Concept of Western God is like a Painter who paints beautiful painings of the nature and many things(Humans ,Plants ,Animals) on a drawing borad(Earth) and rests. If any thing has gone in the Painting,He has to wipe and draw again with new a paintings(Judgement day).
    He is always Separate from the Nature and Human just as a painter is separate from his painting. God is Static.

    But in Eastern(Hinduism) concept of God is a Dynamic Dancer(Nataraja)
    Dancer is not separate from the Dance, When Dancer dances then only it is called Dance,when He stops ther is No dance. So Universe is continous process of vibration of Creation and Destruction,God is not separate from the nature
    and humans. He is in everything that exist, a vibration.
    Dance of Nataraja(Shiva) is called Dance of Sub-atomic particles in Tao of Physics.
    So concpet of Hindu God is a Cosmic Dancer who continuously dances for the creation and Destruction.
    The source of all movement,
    Shiva’s dance,
    Gives rhythm to the universe.
    He creates and preserves,
    Destroys and releases.
    We are part of this dance
    This eternal rhythm
    This cosmic dance of Shiva is called ‘Anandatandava,’ meaning the Dance of Bliss, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion.
    The dance of Shiva also represents his five activities: ‘Shrishti’ (creation, evolution); ‘Sthiti’ (preservation, support); ‘Samhara’ (destruction, evolution); ‘Tirobhava’ (illusion); and ‘Anugraha’ (release, emancipation, grace.

  3. I am in love with one roman chatholic girl from philipins we both love each other blindly but i was confused due to our family and society will not accept our marriage thats why i told her to marry with other guy when she got married now i feel guilty and i cant forget her and i feel that i had made mistake she was trying to be hindu but i did not allow her to be hindu now her husband work in saudi and he is having doubt on her if we are talking again i think it will make her future problem and i am thinking to get marry with her again if he give her divorce i am praying to lord Shri Krishna and Shri Radha to bring my love back to me again plz help me to get my love again.

  4. With reference to “Concept of God according to Bhagvad Gita:

    Bhagvad Gita is an important Hindu scripture according to which Lord Krishna is the incarnation of Supreme Being and hence everybody should worship Lord Krishna only. Worshiping other deities would give you worldly benefits and you would have to suffer for those gains afterwards.”

    I don’t understand why you people say this but surly lord Krishna didn’t said this at all
    he said “you may come to me in whichever form, i would be there listening to you in that form only, if anyone don’t believe in my existence than I don’t exist for him/her ”

    so basically he didn’t said that you need to worship only me or any other form in particular

    why are you spreading misconception about Hinduism

    • Bhagvadgita is an extract of Vedas, Upnishadas, and to some extent Puranas. You can confirm this from the last pages of it where it is clearly mentioned. Hence, Vedas and Upnishadas are more authoritative than Bhagvadgita. There is nothing such as misconception. Hinduism was modified from time to time. In Bhagavadgita Krishna represents Almighty. Even the followers of Mahanubhav Panth believe that Krishna was incarnation of God and not of Vishnu.

  5. I must say, this article is well explained about the mention of only one GOD in Hinduism with many references that clearly explains that there is only one GOD to be worshiped in Hinduism. And good point is that the author has clearly explained the difference between a GOD and the deities. Then what amazes to me about the Hindus is, why they do not maintain the difference as well in worshiping the GOD and worshiping the deity(which is not really needed). They bow their head to the GOD. Then they also bow their head to the deity. When in need, they ask the only one GOD. Also they ask the deity. This is illogic.

    ANDHATAMA PRAVISHANTI YE ASAMBHUTI MUPASTE” “THEY ENTER DARKNESS, THOSE WHO WORSHIP THE NATURAL ELEMENTS” (AIR, WATER, FIRE, ETC.). “THEY SINK DEEPER IN DARKNESS, THOSE WHO WORSHIP SAMBHUTI (CREATED THINGS).” [YAJURVEDA 40:9]

    “THOSE, WHOSE INTELLIGENCE HAS BEEN STOLEN BY MATERIAL DESIRES SURRENDER UNTO DEMI-GODS AND FOLLOW THE PARTICULAR RULES AND REGULATIONS OF WORSHIP ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN NATURES.”
    [BHAGAVAD GITA 7:20]

    My conclusion is that all the human beings of the universe must worship only the one GOD in all the valid ways of worshipping and keep the deities as non worshipable entities. Just respect them but do not worship them as they are the created entities. This is the only method that makes a person to be following, what GOD has mentioned in all the various true scriptures.

  6. “…which is same as Christians worship Jesus … as messenger of God.”

    There is one correction in the line above.

    It’s for Muslims that Jesus Christ is a messenger, but they do not worship Jesus Christ. On the contrary, for Christians, Jesus Christ is God himself, and that’s why they worship Jesus. Christians worship one God, but the meaning of ‘one God’ is different from what Jews or Islam understand by ‘one God’. In Judaism and Islam, ‘one God’ refers to one person. However in Christianity, ‘one God’ is oneness in essence and principle. And there are three persons in God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit – called Holy Trinity. God in three persons is the only infinite, uncreated, and creator of all.

    In the fullness of time, the second person of God, became man, so that the sins of all mankind can be remitted by him.

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