Saturday, 26 March 2011

Vedic Concept of Gods


Early Indian religious literature developed in four areas, namely,

1.  Veda
2.  BrAhmaNa
3.   ĀraNyaka
4.  üpaniSad

The first religious belief in the Vedic literature is related to natural phenomena. When the early people encountered themselves with the natural disasters also with the blessings of it they started to think them as super normal forces and later this idea further was developed that it came to be believed of the existence of individual Gods behind each natural force. So their early Gods were sUrya (sun), soma (moon), agni (fire), vAyu (air), pRthavi (earth), Usas (morning sun) and marut (wind). Each of these Gods was believed to be the controller of corresponding natural force. There are some other Gods who are difficult to trace. They are îndra, VaruNa, µitra, åditi, PūSan, ®udra, Parjanya, Aśvin and ViSNu. In this manner they believed in many Gods. This stage of belief in God in Vedic religion is called Polytheism. Polytheism later gradually removed natural phenomena behind each Gods and only the Gods were prevalent for worship. Later another new idea developed that is the belief that there must be one God who is the leader of all these Gods. Thu, this period of emerging one single almighty God who is omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present is called Monotheism. He is also the ruler of world order (ratasya gopa), his duty is to control and conduct nature, morality and world order. In the process of the development of this concept some Gods were identified with special qualities.

1.  îndra – The God of war
2.  Varuna – The God of morality
3.  Prajapati – The God of blessings (who accept sacrifices)

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