September 23, 2014

List of Hindu Deities

Hindu Deities

List of Hindu Deities

A brief list of Hindu Gods And Goddesses

Introduction to Hindu Gods

I have compiled the following list by popular request and have tried to classify the deities that appear in Hindu culture and belief. In various periods of long Hindu history, the different deities have assumed prominence. For example, in today's India, Lord Brahma is rarely worshipped, while Swami Ayyappa (a form of Lord Kartikeya) is very popular. The rise and fall of popularity of each deity is an interesting study to take up. 

Please remember that a deity might be known by another name or form -- like Goddess Kali is worshipped as an angry form of Parvati; Lord Vishnu is worshipped as both Krishna and Rama;

I often receive complaints that I have not listed a specific deity. After all, "Who can list thy names, forms, or mysteries?!"

The Great Gods

These deities form the essential core of Hindu belief, regardless of the many schools of belief. Even in dedicated cults (like Shakti or Naga cults), we see reference to other deities and hence I have called them the Great Gods:
  • Brahma, the Creator (pictures)
  • Vishnu (a.k.a. Hari, the root of all avatars), the Protector  (pictures)
  • Goddess Laxmi (a.k.a. Lakshmi ),  Vishnu's wife and Provider (pictures)
  • Shiva (a.k.a. Hara, Ishwar, Shambhu etc.), the Powerful God (pictures)
  • Goddess Parvati (a.k.a. Uma, Shakti, Durga etc.), Shiva's Consort (pictures)
  • Goddess Saraswati (a.k.a. Sharada), the Deity of Knowledge and Learning (pictures)

The Vedic Gods

During the Vedic period (1000 B.C.),  when great sages and scholars engaged in development of philosophy and metaphysics, it gave way to a refined concepts of divinity, with heavens, truth, sacrifice, and sanctity of birth.
Some of the deities listed in the Vedas (Hindu texts believed to be of divine origin):

  • Indra -- the administrator in chief of Heaven (pictures)
  • Surya the Sun God (pictures)
  • Agni the Fire (pictures)
  • Vayu the Wind (pictures)
  • Varuna, the God of Rains (pictures)
  • Yama, the God of Death (pictures)
  • Kubera, the God of Material Wealth (pictures)
  • Soma the Moon (pictures)

Sons and Relatives

Many great leaders (like Shivaji, Tilak), in order to preserve the ancient culture and tradition, popularized deities. The inherently plural nature of Hinduism could easily accommodate the new forms of Gods and Indians took to their worship in great numbers.
  • Ganesh (son of Shiva and Parvati) (topics, pictures)
  • Kartikeya (a.k.a. Subramaynan,Shanmuga) -- son of Shiva and Parvati (pictures)
  • Krishna (son of Vasudeva, brother of Balarama) (pictures)
  • Balarama (pictures)
  • Ramachandra and Sitadevi (topics, pictures)
  • Hanuman (son of Vayu) (pictures)
  • Vasudeva (pictures)

Vishnu's Incarnations

In medieval India, many saints fought against the evils of casteism and gave rise to immensely popular cults of Vaishnavism, or worship of Vishnu (see: The Bhakti Movement). The following are the various forms or avatars of  Lord Vishnu is said to have taken to rescue his followers.
  • Matsyavatara (Vishnu as a fish)
  • Kurmavatara (Vushnu as a tortoise)
  • Varahavatar (Vishnu as a boar)
  • Narasimhavatara (the lion-man)
  • Vamanavatara (the dwarf)
  • Parasurama (Rama with an axe)
  • Rama (the prince of Ayodhya)
  • Krishna (black tribal)
  • Buddha (the completely enlightened one)
  • Kalki ( the incarnation to come)

Background information on the main Hindu Gods and Goddesses :
(Direct access to our pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses )

Goddess Dhumavati
goddess sita mata-devi
goddess lakshmi

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