Vedic Religion and Philosophy

  • Some gods had also been worshipped during the Rig Vedic period, which were the personified powers of nature.

Categories of Gods

  • The Vedic Gods were classified into three categories as −

    • Terrestrial (Prithivisthana) e.g. Prithivi, Agni, Soma, Brihaspati, and Rivers.

    • Aerial or intermediate (Antarikshasthana), Indra, Apam-napat, Rudra, Vayu-Vata, Prujanya, and Apah (water).

    • Celestial (Dyusthana) e.g. Dyaus, Varuna, Mitra, Surya, Savitri, Pushan, Vishnu, the Adityas, Ushas, and the Asvins.

Indra and Varuna
  • Indra and Varuna (the supreme cosmic and moral ruler) stand out in that order, pre-eminent above the rest.

  • Agni and Soma were also popular deities. Agni was valued as the messenger between the earth and the heaven. Agni is the only God who is regarded as present among all the categories of Gods.

  • Gods are described as born yet they are immortal. In appearance, they are humans, though sometimes they are conceived as animals, e.g. Dyaus as a bull and Sun as a swift horse.

  • In the sacrifice to the God, ordinary food of men such as milk, grain, flesh, etc. were offered and it becomes the food of Gods.

  • The gods normally used to be kind; but some of them also had unkind traits, like Rudra and Maruta.

  • Splendor, strength, knowledge, possession, and truth are common attributes of all the deities.

  • Gayatri Mantra is recited daily by the pious Hindus even today.

  • The multiplicity of gods is due to the different designations that have been given to God.

  • The ultimate unity of the universe is asserted as the creation of one God to whom different designations applied.

  • The creation is deemed as the outcome of the sacrifice made by the Viratpurusha or of evolution from nonbeing manifested in the form of water.

  • It is mentioned that Hiranyagarbha arose from the great waters, pervading the universe, and thus created the waves out of eternally pre-existing matter.

  • The hymn devoted to Visvakarman tells us that the waters contained the floating world egg from which Visvakarman arises; the first born in the universe, the creator, and maker of the world. It is now confirmed by science that life first developed in water.