According to the popular belief, Hinduism consists of 33 crore Gods which are worshiped in various forms or other. But they really are of that huge number? I will start sweating till I reach a count of 50 or 60. Forget 33 crore..!!!!
|Different Gods at Vishvaroop Darshan. But are these 33 crore in number?|
The fact of the matter is, there exist NO 33 crore Gods.. The exact word that occurs in the Vedas for 'crore' is Koti (कोटी) which in many languages like Marathi literally indicate the numerical value of crore. But are we really to take that meaning?
If we go deep in the language of Sanskrit, we understand that the word Koti indeed does mean 'crore' but more correctly, it means 'types'. So 33 Koti Gods means 33 types or families of Gods.
Accepting this, then who are those 33 'families' of Gods which we have? Plus, do Gods like Durga, Gnpati, Skanda,etc have any place in that?
So here are the 33 families of Gods- 12 Adityas + 11 Rudras + 8 Vasus + 2 Ashwini Kumar = 33 Families
The last two families of Ashwini Kumar are replaced by Indra and Prajapati sometimes. But this seems improbable since Indra or Prajapati was a general post with many people being named as Indra or Prajapati at many times.
Let us see these people in detail-
12 Adityas or द्वादशादित्य are the sons of Aditi and hence called Adityas. The names of these 12 Adityas are Tvashta (त्वष्ट), Pusha (पूषा ), Vivasvan (विवस्वान), Mitra (मित्र ), Dhata (धाता), Vishnu (विष्णू), Bhaga (भग), Varuna (वरुण), Savitru (सवितृ ), Shakra (शक्र ), Ansha (अंश ) and Aryama (अर्यमा). The Rigveda has just eight of these Adityas with certain Brahmanas mentioning all 12 of them. The Puranas unanimously mention the number to be 12. Their mother Aditi along with these are praised in the Rigveda as proper Gods. These were the sons of Kashyapa rishi. One of these Aditya, Vivasvan was the father of Vaivasvat Manu from whom the genealogies of kings started.
11 Rudras or एकादशरुद्र are those Rudraganas who are said to have originated from Brahmadeva's anger. Their names are Manyu (मन्यु), Manu (मनु), Mahinas (महिनस ), Mahan (महान ), Shiv (शिव ), Rutudhvaj (ऋतुध्वज ), Ugrareta (उग्ररेता ), Bhava (भव), Kaal (काल ), Vamdev (वामदेव) and Dhrutavrat (धृतव्रत). Their names vary in different scriptures but the number remains same.
8 Vasus or अष्टवसू are sons bron from Dharma rishi and Vasu. Their names are Drona (द्रोण ), Pran (प्राण ), Dhruva (ध्रुव ), Aka (अक), Agni(अग्नी), Dosha (दोष), Vasu (वसू) and Vibhavasu (विभावसु ).
The 2 Ashwini Kumars were born from the Sun and were the doctors of the Devas. These tow had helped Chyavan Bhargav rishi to regain his youth.
If we see, many scriptures do clarify on the truth of these 33 families of Gods. If one observes, major Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Ganpati, Shakti,etc don't find place in here. It seems these 33 families of Gods were the oldest and were worshiped but got replaced by Gods having a larger role to play in our lives. But over time the meaning of 'koti' got changed and we started to believe that there were indeed 33 crore Gods.
|With time, we believed a cow has 33 crore Gods residing in it.|
But does that really matter ? Because looking at the current state, we have at least 100 Gods which are worshiped in some form or other. THAT is our real asset- Our Polytheism and the overwhelming tolerance of people worshiping different Gods. This ability of ours has led us to believe that the whole world is ours. Because, after all, Every type of worship leads to the same thing- Paramatma or Brahman..