In Hinduism, what are the 33 Koti (types) of God? – In Hindu Vedic religion there is only one Supreme God which exist at two different levels of reality. Vedas call it by the name of “Brahman”, “Parabrahma”,” Paramatma” Hindus worship this Supreme God both in personal & impersonal form.

Vedas mostly mention impersonal God Brahman which is only ultimate true reality & original nature of God from the absolute point of view (Paramarthika Satya) and Puranas mention Trimurti who are three personal manifestations of Brahman(Cosmic spirit/space consciousness) and are only empirical truth (Vyavaharika or Samvriti-Satya).

Brahman is ever present root/real consciousness of Trimurtis and by using infinite Brahman consciousness Trimurti create, sustain and destroy the world of illusion. Brahman is real, root and source consciousness of all the existence and non-existence as well as all that is manifest and hidden.

Main Supreme God:-

 Main God in Hinduism is Supreme Brahman/Para Brahman/Paramatma. The Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) & their avatars are the manifestation of one Supreme Brahman. Even though Trinity & their Avatars have different divine bodies but they have same single Atman/Soul (innermost core/root and essence ) that is Supreme Brahman. Trinity and their Avatars are not different from each other.

They are one but have manifested in different divine bodies. Normal human being considers divine bodies as Supreme God because they wrongly identify divine bodies of Trinity and their avatars with spiritual body/space consciousness of Supreme Brahman which pervades & resides in (not diametrically but as a level of reality and real consciousness) divine body of Trinity as Atman/Soul.

There are mainly four denominations in Hinduism they are: –

1) VaishnavismLord Vishnu is considered as Supreme Brahman. Followers of Vaishnavism worship Vishnu and his ten incarnations. Two most-worshipped incarnations of Vishnu are Krishna & Rama.

2) Shaivism – Shaivas or Shaivites are those who primarily worship Shiva as the Supreme Brahman, both immanent and transcendent.

3) Shaktism – Shaktas worship goddess as Mother Shakti. Mother Shakti is considered as Supreme Brahman as well as Prakriti (Maya/ illusive energy) of Brahman which is not separate from Brahman itself. In Shaktism, the goddess is presented as both the Brahman & Prakriti. These forms may include Durga, Kali, Parvati, Lakshmi, Saraswati.

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4) Smartism Smartas treat all deities as same, & their temples include five deities (Pancopasana) or Panchadevata. It is nonsectarian as it encourages the worship of any personal god along with others such as Ganesha, Shiva, Devi (Shakti), Vishnu, Surya.

Minor gods/Devas in Hinduism and Misconception of 33 Crore/330 Million gods:

There is no such concept like 330 million gods. There are only 33 Koti/types (Literal meaning of Koti is a type) of gods/Devas whose function is to sustain the world. Each living being consist of the fraction of Devas. They are not able to give any living being Moksha/Nirvana (freedom from Samsara/cycle of death & birth) so they are not be worshipped. They are just creation of Supreme Brahman.

In the Vedic period, Devas were only worshipped only to get temporary heaven/Swarg. One who seeks liberation & freedom from Samsara/cycle of birth of death they should not worship them. They should be revered only by considering the presence of Supreme Brahman within them in the form of Atman/soul/Root consciousness.

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(“Those who devote themselves to the Devas have only small intelligence and obtain (only) fruits that are temporary (invariably subject to destruction). The worshipers of the Devas go the (abode of) the Devas, but my devotees come to me (My eternal spiritual abode).” (Srimad Bhagavad-Gita: 7.23)

“Persons whose conscience is stolen by material desires worship other devas (gods other than Myself) and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship which correspond to the ends they desire, being governed by their own (conditioned) natures.”(Srimad Bhagavad-Gita: 7.20)

With Supreme God’s influence, this thirty-three (supporting Devata) sustain the world) (Atharva Veda 10-7-13)

There are only thirty-three devas/demigods (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3:9:2)

They are explained in Shatpath Brahman and many other scriptures very clearly.

“Yasya Trayastrinshad Devaa Ange Sarve Samaahitaa, Skamma Tam Bruhi Katamah Swideva Sah”. ~(Atharva Veda 10-7-13)

Which means: with God’s influence, this thirty-three (supporting devta) sustain the world.

In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad while discussing Brahman, Yajnavalkya is asked how many gods are there. He says that there are three hundred and three and three thousand and three gods. When the question is repeated? He says, thirty-three. When the question is again repeated he says six. Finally, after several repetitions, he says ONE. (Chapter I, hymn 9, verse 1)

The number 33 koti comes from the number of Vedic gods explained by Yajnavalkya in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad – the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati. (Chapter I, hymn 9, verse 2)

In Hinduism, what are the 33 Koti (types) of God?

They are 8-Vasu, 11-Rudra, and 12-Aaditya, 1-Indra and 1-Prajapati.

8-Vasus: They are called Vasus because they are an abode of all that lives, moves or exists. (also mentioned in Mahabharat, 1/66/18)

  • Earth
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Air
  • Ether
  • Moon
  • Sun,
  • Star

11. Rudras (10 Pranas and 1 human body): These are called ‘Rudras’ because when they desert the body, it becomes dead and the relations of the deceased, consequently, begin to weep. Rudra means one who makes a person weep. { also mentioned in Harivansha 13/51-52})

The ten Pranas: i.e. nervauric forces which live in the human body.

  1. Praana
  2. Apaana
  3. Vyaana
  4. Samaana
  5. Udaana
  6. Naag
  7. Kurma
  8. Krikal
  9. Devadutta
  10. Dhananjay

The eleventh is the human soul.

12. Adityaas —the twelve months of a year called Adityaas, they cause the lapse of the term of existence of each object or being. { also mentioned in Mahabharat 1/65/15-16})

1. Indra which is also known as the (all-pervading) electricity, as it is productive of great force.

1. Prajapati, also called the “Yajna” because it benefits mankind by the purification of air, water, rain and vegetables and because it aids the development of various arts, and in it, the honour is accorded to the learned and the wise.

The master of these 33 Koti Devatas is the Mahadeva or Ishwar who alone is to be worshipped as per 14th Kanda of Shatpath Brahman.

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