Explain why Hindus might feel that many different gods and goddesses
Module 6 writing #3
Question: Explain why Hindus might feel that many different gods and goddesses are
necessary to provide different symbolic lenses for them to think about ultimate reality.
“There can be as many Hindu Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings,
emotions and social backgrounds of the devotees.” So in some ways Hinduism is a polytheistic
religion. There is an exceedingly wide variety of gods to choose from to worship with statues
and symbols to pay homage before. If one wants to pray for acquiring knowledge and
understanding, he would pray to the god, Sarasati, for example. One might pray to the god,
Moksha, to obtain God’s grace. Many Hindus worship their own village god or goddess.
However, to say that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion with an unknown and unnamed number
of Gods would be incorrect. Many Hindus view the religion as a monotheistic religion with only
one Supreme Being who is formless and impersonal. All other gods and goddesses are simply
facets of this one God. This Supreme Being is viewed as the god of all other religions and equal
to all existence or the ultimate reality. In the Hindu faith, there is a trinity as in the Christian
faith, where God is in three persons: Brahma: is the creator of all reality, Vishnu or Krishna is
the preserver of all of the creations, and Shiva is the destroyer. There are some major divisions in
the Hindu faith. Many see Brahman as the ultimate deity. Others see Vishnu or Krishna as the
Supreme Being and another sect see Shiva as their ultimate reality. Hinduism is a religion which
does recognize a single supreme deity but is tolerant of all other religions and gods or goddesses
as forms or manifestations of this one single deity or Supreme Being. Their philosophy is that,
although they believe there is but one truth, there are different “Sages” or spiritual leaders who
call the truth by different names.
Besides these Gods and Goddesses there are a number of other Gods and Goddesses. To
name a few of them, there is Ganesh; who has an elephant’s head and he is also a son of Shiva
and Parvati, Hanuman; who is an ape, Surya; Lord of sun, Ganga Ma; Goddess of river Ganges;
Samundra; Lord of the sea, Indra; king of the Gods (but he isn’t an important God), Prithvi;
Goddess of earth, Shakti; Goddess of strength. The Hindus call their Goddesses ‘Ma’ meaning
mother. Not all of these Gods are worshiped by all Hindus. Some Hindus worship only Vishnu.
Others worship only Shiva. Others worship only the Goddesses and call these Goddesses
collectively as Shakti meaning strength. Many of these Goddess worshipers worship Parvati in
her images as Kali or Durga. People who worship Shiva or Vishnu also worship characters and