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Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with over 900 million hindus worldwide, hinduism has no original founder and originates back to over 4,000 years ago, being the oldest religion in the world. Hinduism is known for their Gods/Goddesses that are worshipped, there is one God but also millions of Gods that Hindus follow, and this is a difficult concept to understand.
Hinduism is known as a Polytheistic religion as Polytheism is ‘the belief in many Gods’ (Smart, 2017) and Monotheism is the ‘belief in the existence of one God, or in the oneness of God’ (Baaren, 2016) In many aspects, Hinduism can be a monotheistic religion, as the Vedas speaks only of one God but with many different names, and the different names of the deities have their own personal qualities that distinguish them as a singular deity, but they are all just one God. However, Hinduism is mainly known as a polytheistic religion because there are many references to millions of Gods/Goddesses within the religion.
There are many different Gods as there are aspects of creation’ (Danielou, 1964) Hindus worship different type of deities which makes them all separate from each other as the deities can be classed as different beings. The complexity of Hindu polytheism is due to the number of attempts at explaining the universal laws and the nature laws from which the universe may have risen from (Danielou, 1964) Because of the attempts of Hindus trying to explain the law of the universe, many deities have been recovered and created, just to try and get answers to why the world exists.
The multiple Gods/Goddesses of Hinduism have been created and drawn from ancient texts that hold an important significance to Hinduism, there are the three main sacred texts where deities can be described; The Vedas, The Epics and The Puranas. It is from these texts where the different deities have been established.
The Vedic deities were created and belonged to the ancient period of the Arayans that were prominent in 1700-700 B.C.E and a lot of the deities of this region were found in Greek mythology also, and there are a lot of similarities between both Greek and Hindu deities of this period. It is known to be said that perhaps both type of deities may have been the same ones, just with different names, similarities between both deities include Indra and Zeus; Indra is known to be the king of the heavens and one of this most known symbol is the lightning bolt, Indra is also associated with the weather such as the rain, wind and storms.
Zeus is known by Greek mythology to also be a weather god who can control weather aspects, he is the kind of the Gods/Goddesses of Olympus within Greek history and similarly, he has a lightning bolt as his symbol including both Gods symbolising power and authority. The Vedic Gods were established because of the combination of ideas that were brought to India by the Arayans, there are known to be 33 Vedic Gods all together which all include descriptions that are intended to bring a benefit to the material world for the Hindus, so they could worship them and devote their life to them, the deities were visualised as having both animal and human forms that they are able to transform into.
After the Aryans invaded India, the old Vedic religion underwent some changes that would affect the deities of the religion, as the changes happened the deities were known to become concerned at the fact that they were not being worshipped and because of this, the deities changed their functions and lost their prestige. (Mitchell, 1982)
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