11-Devtaa in Rig Ved
Culled from Message of the Vedas
See also God in Ved;
Devtaa in God;
What is the difference between Dev and Devtaa. The word Dev comes from
"Div" or "da" root. The word Devtaa also has the same
root. The Dev word indicates the masculine gender, whereas Devtaa indicated
the feminine gender. The feminine gender of Dev is Devee. Ved do mention
Devee, such as Aditi, Shraddhaa who are related charity, brightness and light.
The word Dev and Devtaa have the same meaning, but in the Vaidik Mantra,
the word Devtaa is connected with the subject matter.
The meaning of the word of Dev is that he gives something or the other to the
individual, a man or the Universe, means he is a natural power which does some
good to the world, for instance the Sun gives energy, heat and fire;
28-ved-god.htm Indra brings rain; in the
same way the Earth, star, sky all come in the category of Dev, because they all
give something or the other to the Earth. "Vidwaanso hi Devah" - means
the scholars offers the wit and wisdom to others through their knowledge, that
is why they also come ion the category of Dev. That is how Dev and Devtaa have
been differentiated in Ved. This difference is based upon their actions.
The Vaidic Devtaa were born from nature, and the Vaidik Rishi established many
Devtaa in the form of men out of their curiosity. They appeared with halo and
glow for the welfare of the people and are full of all sorts powers and strength.
Besides their names their number has also been given. According to Yask, there
are three main Devtaa (gods) - Prithvi (Earth), Indra (or the Wind) and the Sun
or the local Fire). According to Rig Ved, at their sources there are 11 gods with
each of them.
Ye Devaaso Divye Kadashasth Prithivya madhye kadashsthah
Apsukshito mahinaikadashsth tedeva yagyamiyam ju Shadhvam
According to this Shlok of the Rig Ved - "O gods, In Dyu Lok (arena of
light), you are eleven as per your strength. There are eleven on the Earth.
There are eleven gods in the space, Make use of this Yagya, means they (Dev)
are 33. In other Granth also 33 gods have been mentioned.
All gods are different forms of One Power. All have the same flow of life.
Vaidik Devtaa are --
(1) Varun -
He is the god of both water and the ocean. In the Ved, the description of
the sky is given in the form of North Sea. There are 12 Sookt for his Stuti,
but in 24 Sookt they appear in a joint form. They are called Raajaa also
due to the highest worship. They have been addressed with an adjective named
"Asur", which means Praan-mayee Shakti (life force) and not Raakshas
(demons). Varun Dev protects the perennial laws of nature, this is the reason
that the Earth, the sky, the Moon, the stars all are stable at their respective
places. If someone violates these laws Varun Dev punishes them by tying them in
His Paash. Those who are punished, then request Varun Dev to pardon them and he
pardons them because of his soft heart.
(2) The Sun -
He dispels darkness and spreads light all around. Soorya Dev is symbol of physical
Sun. He has been worshipped in 10 Sookt. the lesser number of the Sookt used in the
worship of the Sun does not mean that he is less important. He has been referred to
as Savitaa, Pooshan, Mitraa, Vishnu, Aaditya etc names and they provide a glimpse
of the light of the Sun and its various forms. Sun's light does not only dispels
darkness, it eliminates many diseases also. Vaidik Rishi had the knowledge of the 7
colors of the Sun, and the meaning the 7 horses of is these 7 colors.
(3) Savitaa -
Savitaa is the god of golden glow. He is used in Gayatri Mantra also. His name has
been used 170 times in Rig Ved. He has 11 Sookt in his name. This god had golden
eyes, golden arms, golden hair, golden dress, and all his accessories are of golden
hue. His chariot is golden and it is drawn by two golden horses. In the Gayatri
Mantra he has been referred to as Par Brahm. It is said that he wards off all troubles,
cures diseases and cleanse environment. He offers salvation.
Om Vishwaani Dev Savitar Duritaani Paraasuvah Yad Bhadram tanna Aasuvah
O Savitaa, God of the world, kindly destroy our evils, and grant us those
virtues which lead us to welfare.
Thus he destroys evils, he grants longevity, he is considered bets from
the point of view of health.
(4) Mitra -
Mitra has very close relationship with Varun Dev. Otherwise the Sun is
also called Mitra (friend). Stuti of Mitra is done through a separate
Sookt in Rig Ved -
Mitro Jananytayati Bruvano Mitro Dadhar Prithvi Mutdyam
Mitrah krishtiranimish amichshte Mitraya Havyam Ghrit avajju Hotam
According to this Shlok of Rig Ved one should give give Aahuti to such
Mitra (friends) who prompt men to do their best. The word Mitr comes from
the root "Mid". One who observes the fast and follows the rules of
friendship, is strong, prosperous and takes care of others. It is not only
difficult to defeat them, but also they are difficult to be killed. Mitra
has filled the Earth with food grains, he gives good intentioned wealth,
and his grace keeps a man free from diseases.
The Rig Vaidik word Mitra is used in worldly Sanskrit and in Hindi too.
In Hindi it means Sakhaa (friend). Mitra occupies the first rank in 12
Aaditya. As a genuine friend takes care of his friend, the god also takes
care to help people. Sun and Mitra, both help all.
(5) Rudra -
His individual Stuti is in three Sookt, but he has been worshipped many
times with other Devtaa. Surprisingly Rudra is a Devtaa of both well being
and destruction. His form is like that of a human being. His body is very
strong, his hair are in a very heavy cluster, his body is smeared with
ashes, he wears a Rudraaksh Maalaa and he is called the father of Marut.
According to Pauraanik tradition Rudra is another form of Shiv and has
three eyes. The specialties of Rudra are described in Rudra Adhyaaya of
Yajur Ved. In the Rig Ved the topmost Mantra to pray Rudra is Mahaa
Mrityunjaya Mantra --
Om Trayambakam yajaamahe sugandhi Pushti Vardhanam
Urvaa Rukmiva Bandhanaan Mrityormuksheeya Maamritaat
In this Shlok Trayambak refers to three eyes as well three Maatraa. Rig
Ved refers to b oth form of Rudra - Shiv and A-Shiv. Agni has also two
forms - Ghor Tanu and A-Ghor Tanu. In Ghor form Devtaa destroy and in A-Ghor
Roop they bless, sustain and nourish, Although Shiv's angry form has been
mentioned several time but he is benevolent too.
(6) Vishnu -
Vishnu has been worshipped through 5 Sookt In Rig Ved, though He has been
mentioned at several other places too. He is one of the Trinity of Brahmaa,
Vishnu and Mahesh. Vishnu is more connected to incarnations. Among these
three he is the sustainer, that is why his rank is the highest among the
three. All the three worlds are under Vishnu's three long steps. Vishnu
knows what is going on in people's minds. he saves embryos.
Na Te Vishnu Jayamano na Jato Dev mahimanah Paramantamap
No one can fathom your greatness and depth. We know your two worlds, but
not the other world. You alone know it. O Vishnu, Shower such grace of
yours on us which is free from blemish and is good for all.
Vishnu comes from the "Vish" root, then it means something that is
excessively active and dynamic.
Idam Vishnurvee Chakrame Tredha Nidadhipadham Samurhamasya Pansure
Actually His chief characteristic is dynamism. Vishnu in the form of the
Chakra rotates 90 horses (days) with four names (four seasons), which hint
365 days of a year. We get it in a Shlok. Tha is what this Shlok says. The
beauty of Vishnu has been shown in Rig Ved through symbols too. It is the
Vishnu without whom you cannot conceive the existence of any object on
Earth; and it is He only who sustains them all. Vishnu and Indra are friends,
that is why they are worshipped together.
(7) Som -
Som Devtaa hold an important position among the Devtaa of Rig Ved. the 9th
Mandal of the Rig Ved is fully dedicated to Som Devtaa. he has been worshipped
in 6 Sookt. Besides his Stuti is done in other Mandal and in other Sookt with
other gods also. The word Som has the root in "Sa" which means the
Ras (juice got from grinding something). Som has two meanings - one, a god of
the Earth; and second, something related to a plant which was nourishing. In
the Vaidik period juices were prepared by grinding plants or creepers which
was nourishing and it was used as a medicine. Som Ras is not a wine, in Vaidik
period it was considered as an Amrit. Som Ras is the favorite drink of Indra.
Som sustains the senses. Stuti to Som is n the 9th Mandal of Rig Ved. It is not
known as which plant was used to extract Som Juice, because that plant has not
been identified so far. There was a plant which was pounded and ground, its juice
was extracted. That juice was stored in leaves, later it was used mixed with water,
milk or yogurt.
(8) Aaditya -
Aaditya Devtaa has been identified as the son of Aditi, but he has been
synonym for the Sun. There is no independent Sookt for this Devtaa in Rig
Ved, but it has been considered for others in a group. Mitraa and Varun
give light. Aaditya is also like them. So Aaditya is not a separate god;
while in Rig Ved Aaditya is the mention of the group of Aaditya Gan -
Aryamaa, Bhag, Varun, Daksh. Aaditya Gan are soft spoken and pleasant.
They hold all the three worlds - the Earth, the sky and the Heaven; and
the halo of Agni, Vaayu, Soorya. Aaditya is considered science, he is
considered the dispenser of justice.
(9) Ashwinee Kumaar -
Ashwinee Kumaar are mentioned more often in Rig Ved after Indra, Agni and
Som. There are 50 independent Sookt for them, and they are prayed partially
in others. According to Pauraanik belief, they are called Ashwinee Kumaar
and are duo gods. They are in pair and are called the gods of medicines.
They are compared in a pair form like eyes, legs, hands etc. According to
Yaskaachaarya Ashwin means the twin time before dawn - when it is half light
and half dark. The word Ashwin comes from the root "Ash" - like
the Sun and the dawn. Ashwin are at all places. They are the Sun of the sky,
and the ocean is their mother. They are the husbands of the daughter of Soorya -
Sooryaa. Their favorite drink is honey. they are the Vaidya (traditional doctors)
of Devtaa. They are prayed to take away their troubles. They offer longevity
and healthy life.
(10) Marud Gan -
They are the group of Devtaa. Their Stuti is done in 33 Sookt independently,
and in 7 others along with other gods. The number of Marud Gan is given as
100, and other places 21. Their number in Yajur Ved and Shraut Granth is 49.
The word Marud is formed from "Mar" root and means to light up the
trample. Since their characteristics are of destruction they have affinity with
storm and gales. According to Rig Ved they shake like wind, they are like flames
of fire as the warriors put on their armor. They obey their parents and give
charity. They are described in hymns as warriors who ride their chariots moving
fast and making loud noise. Their main job is to make rains. In the Rig Ved they
are considered as the gods of war. Thus they are both destructive and benevolent.
(11) Parjanya -
Parjanya god has been worshipped by 3 independent Sookt. Parjanya means rains and
clouds. Parjanya makes the trees green and kills demons. Parjanya is called Par
Janya - means born to work for others, so his activities include the happiness
and well being of the whole world.
(12) Dev Raaj Indra -
Stuti is done for this Devtaa in 250 Sookt independently; and in 50 Sookt with other
gods in the Rig Ved. Indra has been conceived in the form of water and rains. From
the spiritual point of view Indra stands for heart, and from Adhi-Daivik (godly) point
of view he is Indra Devtaa. As heart is the center of the body, he is the King of senses
of knowledge and action. Dyau is the father and Gau (cow) is the mother of Indra in the
Rig Ved. His wife is Indraane. His weapon is Vajra made by Twashtaa.
Indra is called the producer of the Earth and the sky. He is the cause of
activities of Creation of the world. He maintains the Earth and the mountains.
He creates space, he has created Sun and the dawn. In the Vaidik activities
he is the protector of war. A friend of Indra neither loses nor dies. This is
the reason that he is the main god. As Pauraanik tradition, Indra is always
afraid, because anybody who could do 100 Yagya, he could ascend the throne
of Heaven. That is why he sends Apsaraa to disturb his Tapasyaa, so that he
cannot ascend the throne. He always watch dance, hears music, but the Vaidik
Indra is different from Pauraanik Indra.
Although Deviyaan are worshipped less in Rig Ved but it is not like that
they were not respected or worshipped in Rig Ved. They were considered
Maatri Shakti (mother power), and were respected fully. That is why females'
names are put before males' names - Seetaa-Raam, Raadhaa-Krishn,
Raadhe-Shyaam, Laksmee-Naaraayan, Gauree-Shankar.
(1) Ushaa Devee -
She has been worshipped in 20 Sookt in Rig Ved. and Ushaa Kaal (dawn) has
been shown in Ushaas Devee. According to Rig Ved, Ushaa is like Praan as a
mother is for an infant. Ushaa breaks into the East in her dress of light
and entrances everybody with excessively charmingly looks. One Shlok says
- Ushaa came and she scattered and spread all around. The place and time
of origin of Ushaa is night. Night gave her place to glowing Ushaa, the
mother of the Sun. Ushaa awakens some for wealth, some for Yagya and
others for some other freasons. As barber cuts the hair, Ushaa cuts the
darkness. Ushaa is the Laalimaa of the morning. From the Adhi-Daivik point
of view she is considered Ushaa Devee. Usha fills people with new zeal and
consciousness. This Amrit Belaa is called Brahm Muhoort. One who gets up
at this time, he not only grows rich and prosperous, he grows healthy
also. He becomes Karm Yogee (laborious and active). Ushaa is known as
Dhanavatee (giver of wealth), Saubhaagyavatee (lucky, married, Amartya
(immortal), Hiranyavarnaa (lady of golden glow).
(2) Aditi -
Aditi is called the Devee of Anant in Rig Ved. She is present in every
particle. She is related to the sky and the Earth, but later on she
connected herself with the whole creation. She is the mother of Devtaa and
Devtaa are accepted as the sons for Amrit. She is the mother of 8 sons,
Importance, Ego, the Sun and the five senses. Her father is Daksh, but at
places he is called her son also. Daksh means an skilled and expert person.
She bestows luxury and good luck, she helps us progress. She is the goddess
of salvation. Her grace washes away the sins of life. Aditi is the mother of
Varun who is the god of seasons and fasts. That is why she is called Ritaavaree
Maatrikaa in Rig Ved
Rig Ved (9.102.4) speaks of a group of seven Mothers who control the
preparation of Som,