Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism: Turning believers into non-believers and non-believers into believers by Swami AchuthanandaReligion is the opium of the people, said Karl Marx many centuries ago. For more than a billion people living in India and abroad, Hinduism is the religion and a way of life. In this book Swami Achuthananda cracks open the opium poppy pods, analyzes the causes for euphoria, and comes away with a deeper understanding of the people and their religion.This is a comprehensive book on Hinduism. It tells you why Hindus do the things they do - and dont. Written in a casual style, the book guides you through the fundamentals of the religion. It then goes further and debunks a number of long-standing myths, some of them coming from the academia (of all places). While most books shy away from contentious issues, this book plunges headlong by taking on controversies, like the Aryan Invasion Theory, idol worship, RISA scholarship and many more. In fact one-third of the book is just on controversies that you rarely find in any other literature.
Why does Hinduism have so many gods?
Hinduism, the world's third largest religion, is often considered a polytheistic faith, as the religion does not advocate the worship of one particular deity. However, the Hindu belief system includes a complex structure of deities that is not easily categorized. The full list of Hindu gods and goddesses includes thousands of deities, each one representing a certain aspect of the Supreme Absolute, which is known as Brahman. Because they are all manifestations of the same divine spirit, these forms of Brahman are different in essence from the gods of ancient Greek and Roman religion, two of the more famous examples of polytheism. Therefore, Hinduism is consistent with a variety of different belief systems, including monotheism, polytheism, and pantheism. In Hinduism, the impersonal Absolute, the underlying reality of all things, is also known as Brahman.
People often think that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. Hindus worship one Supreme Being called Brahman though by different names. This is because the peoples of India with many different languages and cultures have understood the one God in their own distinct way. Supreme God has uncountable divine powers. When God is formless, He is referred to by the term Brahman.
Question One: Why does Hinduism have so many Gods?
Hindu pantheon consists of the Brahman the Supreme God with the vice gods bhatara and vice goddesses bhatari as the main actors of the Brahman and the deities deva and devi in Hinduism as the holy rays of the Brahman. The pantheon of Hinduism have evolved from the Vedic era 2nd millennium BC through the medieval era 1st millennium AD , regionally within Nepal , India and in Southeast Asia , and across Hinduism's diverse traditions. These deities have distinct and complex personalities, yet are often viewed as aspects of the same Ultimate Reality called Brahman. Hindu deities are represented with various icons and anicons, in paintings and sculptures, called Murtis and Pratimas. In ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism, the human body is described as a temple,   and deities are described to be parts residing within it,   while the Brahman Absolute Reality, God   is described to be the same, or of similar nature, as the Atman self, soul , which Hindus believe is eternal and within every living being. Vice gods and vice goddesses in Hinduism are referred to as Bhatara masculine and Bhatari feminine who are the actors of the Brahman. Deities in Hinduism are referred to as Deva masculine and Devi feminine.
Why Hindus worship so many gods and goddesses is a real mystery for most people. In the West, where the mass majority of people are part of the Abrahamic faith tradition with one God, the concept of polytheism is nothing more than fantasy or mythology worthy of comic book material. The interesting thing is that one culture can see this as fiction while most Hindus, without a second thought, can walk into a temple with multiple deities, bow down and offer prayer and worship with devotion treating that deity as much like a person as you and me. The Bhakti tradition offers an explanation for this complicated theology of millions of gods. I find this explanation quite satisfying. For a country, state, or city to run properly, the government creates various departments and employs individuals within those departments -- teachers, postal workers, police and military personnel, construction works, doctors, politicians, and so many more.