Wednesday, 10 June 2015

33 Vedic Devas

According to Vedas there are 33 Gods/Devas. These deities are separated in the following pattern : 12 + 11 + 8 + 2. 

12 is the number of Adityas, 11 are the number of Rudras, 8 is the number of Vasus, one is Prajapati, the Master of Gods, and one is a Supreme Ruler who is very powerful. 

12 Adityas (personified deities) correspond to the 12 Solar months and represent different attributes of social life. The ancients especially venerated the Adityas and Vedas are full of hymns dedicated to Indra, Agni, Surya, Varun and the like. These are:

1.       Indra/Shakra (eldest and the undoubted leader of other Adityas)
2.       Ansh (due share),
3.       Aryaman (nobility),
4.       Bhaag (due inheritance),
5.       Dhatri (ritual skill),
6.       Tvashtar (skill in crafting),
7.       Mitra (friendship),
8.       Pushan/Ravi (prosperity),
9.       Savitra/Parjanya (power of word),
10.   Surya/Vivasvan (social law),
11.   Varun (fate),
12.  Vaman (cosmic law).

8 Vasus are attendant deities of Indra and comprise of eight elemental gods that represent the different aspects of Nature. They are:

1.       Anil (Wind),
2.       Apas (Water),
3.       Antariksh/Dyaus (Space),
4.       Dhara (Earth),
5.       Dhruv (Pole Star),
6.       Anal (Fire),
7.       Prabhas (Dawn),
8.       Soma (Moon).

11 Rudras:
·         5 abstractions – Ānanda (bliss), Vijñāna (knowledge), Manas (thought), Prāṇa (breath/ life), Vāc (speech),
·         5 names of Shiva – Isana (ruler), Tatpuruṣa (that person), Aghora (not terrible), Vāmadeva (pleasant god), Sadyojāta (born at once)
·         1 - Aatman (spiritual self)

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the 11 Rudras are represented by ten vital energies (rudra-prana) in the body and the eleventh one being the Aatman:

katame rudrA iti |
dasheme purushhe prANA
te yadA.asmAchchharIrAnmartyAdutkrAmanty
atha rodayanti
tasmAdrudrA iti || 4 ||

- ‘Which are the Rudras ?’ ‘The ten organs in the human body, with the prana as the tenth and the Aatma as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make (one’s relatives) weep. Because they then make them weep, therefore they are called Rudras.’ -  Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III-ix-4: ‘

There is a prevalent myth that Hindus have 33 million Gods and Goddesses. ’33 Crore Gods’ is a completely misinterpreted fact due to wrong translation of Vedas by certain foreign 'scholars'.

The term ‘trayastrimsati koti’ mentioned in Atharva Veda, Yajur Veda, and Satapatha-brahmana, is rightly translated as 33 Gods.

The term koti in Sanskrit has two meaning, one is ‘type’ and the other is crore.

So, somewhere in translation, they missed the basic fact that Sanatana Dharma/Hinduism has 33 Supreme Gods and not 33 Crore Gods.

But because 1). the 33 names are listed, and 2). 33 Deva figure is repeated in various other scriptures like the Ramayana, Mahabharata (Bhagwad Gita) as well; hence there is no room for confusion.

Nevertheless, it is true that the Vedic Sanskrit is different from the normal spoken Sanskrit, hence the major (both intentional & unintentional) mistakes happen in interpreting the Vedas.

It is sad that even basic words are wrongly translated by some western 'scholars' and we Indians have no interest in our own scriptures. We respect the western scholars even more than our Vedic scholars.

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