Who Are The Vedic Gods?
In particular Vedic Gods are the deities of the vedic times and different from the deities popular in modern times. Our sages and rishi from the ancient times were the awakened soul. They see the God all around and in all beings. Their logics, knowledge and wisdom is in depth to the root.
Sages transfers the wisdom by shruti and smriti (listening and remembering). But later when the culture of shruti and smriti was fading off then sages scripted knowledge and wisdom in the form of writings called Veda, upanishads, puranas and more. Some says they are not written, they are self created or by the Lord. Other believes they are the supreme knowledge and that is incarnated in the form of vedas. The total number of Vedas are four namely Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda.
In Vedas, medicine, music, deities, havan, geography, mathematics, astrology, rules of cosmic religion, customs, history are all available in detail. The evolution, maintenance and dissolution of the universe is explained in the four vedas and other texts. The mantras, the rituals and 33 vedic Gods are some of the important things we get to know in these. Especially all the solutions to problems of human beings are inside them.
Concept of 33 Crores Gods – Real or misunderstood?
You might have heard that there are 33 crores Gods in Hinduism. The reason behind is that scriptures used the term 33 Koti Gods and Goddesses. But the word “Koti” has another meaning and that is Supreme. So we can say there are 33 Supreme Gods and Goddesses among Hindus whom all people worship according to the purposes.
According to scriptures, upanishads, purana and veda, the 33 Vedic Gods of Vedic Times include eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Adityas, two Ashwini Kumaras. Though the list varies from text to text. For example in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati are the 33 Gods. On the other hand Rigveda, the oldest text says 11 Gods on earth, 11 in heaven, and 11 in mid-air. Likewise the Rigveda says Agni on earth, vayu in air and sun in sky. So thus 3 main Gods according to Rigveda are Agni (fire) Vayu(air) and Surya (Sun).
In brief 33 Vedic Gods are as follows:
Adityas are the protectors, guards, and maintain law. They are bright and pure as light. These vedic gods, adityas dispel darkness and spread light all around the universe. They are 12 in number hence called DvadashĀdityas. Besides they are the Gods personified and represents the 12 solar months. Therefore they are also called solar deities. 12 adityas rule 12 months and on the day of sankranti their positions changes. Sankranti is the day when the sun changes the zodiac sign.
Namely Vishnu, Aryaman, Indra, Tvashtar, Varuna, Bhaga, Savitr, Vivasvat, amsha or ansha, mitra, pushan, daksha are the 12 Adityas. But According to Bhagavad Purana Indra, Dhata, Parjanya, Tvashta Pusha, Aryaman, Bhaga, Vivasvan, Vishnu, Anshuman, Varuna, Mitra are the 12 Vedic Gods out of 33. Hence the list varies in particulars.
Vedic Gods Vasus are the deities of elements. They are popular as the ashta Vasus or the eight vasus representing the aspects of nature. Dhara or Pritivi (Earth), Anala or Agni (Fire), Anila or Vayu (Wind), Apa or Varuna (Water), Dayus or Akasha (space), Surya (Sun), Moon (Chandra), Dhruva or Nakshatra (star) are another 8 Vedic Gods known as Ashta Vasu.
The seven chakra system is related to seven vasu, the eighth vasu Sun or Surya is eternal.
Vasus and Chakras
|7 Chakra||Element (Vasu)|
|Mooladhara or or the root chakra||Prithvi, The Earth|
|Swadhisthana or the Sacral Chakra||Varuna, The Water|
|Manipura or the solar plexus chakra||Agni, The Fire|
|Anahata the fourth chakra, Heart Chakra||Vayu, The Wind|
|Vishuddhi or the throat chakra||Akasha, The Sky|
|Agya, ajna or the third eye chakra||Chandra, The Moon|
|And lastly the Sahasrara Chakra or the Crown Chakra||Nakshatras, The Stars|
They play important role in the universal work as included in 33 Vedic Gods. Rudra is the God of Gods and resides even in the heart of Gods and each being. He is the Lord of Universe and we pray to Him for the liberation or moksha.
- Mahakal, Tara, Bala Bhuvanesh, Shodash Srividyesh, Bhairava, Chinnamastak, Dhumwan, Baglamukh, Mathang, Kamal, Hanuman are the incarnations of Lord Rudra.
- In sanskrit Rud means to weep. There ten organs in the human body (5 gyanendriya – sense organs and 5 karmendriyas – motor organs), with the mind as the eleventh. These 11 are Rudra as when they leave a body they make people weep.
- Another school of thought says 11 rudras are the 10 pranas and eleventh is the soul.
- At the same time other school of thought says 11 Rudras consist of five abstractions, five are the names of Shiva and the self. Ānanda (bliss), Vijñāna (knowledge), Manas (thought), Prāṇa (Life force or breath), Vāc (speech) are the five abstractions. The five names of shiva are Isana – the Revealing grace, Tatpurusha – Concealing grace, Aghora – Dissolution/rejuvenation, Vamadeva – Preserving Aspect and Sadyojata – Born at once. Last is Atma, the self or soul.
Ashwini Kumars are not only God’s physician but they are the Gods who imparted the science of treatment or medicine to sages. Rigveda also mentions about the Ashwins. They are the saviour. From the many stories popular about them we can say they are vaidya, life restorers like the doctors. They themselves always stay young and travel very fast. Ashwin is not a single individual in fact they are two.
At the time of mahabharata they born as Nakul and Sahadeva. Nakul and sahadeva are the sons of Kunti, the mother of Pandavas. The twin gods are also referred to as Nā́satyā, which means to return home safely.
Another story in context of their birth says that they are the sons of Ashwini and called ashwini Kumara. Ashwini is the female name of ashwa, while ashwa in sanskrit means the horse. Story goes like this… The consort of Surya could not bear the heat of Lord and hence went to the forest. She took the form of Female horse, mare so that no one can recognize her. There she gave birth to the twins. Thus they are also the Son of Lord Surya, Sun.
In conclusion, there are a total of 33 Vedic Gods, including a total of 12 Adityas + 8 Vasus + 11 Rudras + 2 Ashwini Kumaras.