Are There Really 33 Crore Gods in Hinduism?

TNN Bureau. Updated: 7/7/2016 4:50:12 PM Art and Culture

’33 Crore Gods’ is a completely misinterpreted fact due to wrong translation of Vedic Sanskrit by certain foreign 'scholars'.

The term ‘trayastrimsati koti’ mentioned in Atharva Veda, Yajur Veda, and Satapatha-brahmana, is rightly translated as 33 Gods.

The term koti in Sanskrit has two meaning, one is ‘type’ and the other is Crore.

So, somewhere in translation, they missed the basic fact that Sanatana Dharma/Hinduism has 33 Supreme Gods and not 33 Crore Gods.

According to Vedas there are 33 Gods/Devas. These Gods are separated in the following pattern : 12 + 11 + 8 + 2.

12 is the number of Adityas, 11 are the number of Rudras, 8 is the number of Vasus, 1 is Prajapati, the Master of Gods, and 1 is the Supreme Ruler who is very powerful.

Names of all 33 Vedic deities:

12 Adityas (personified deities) correspond to the 12 Solar months and represent different attributes of social life. The Vedic sages especially venerated the Adityas and Vedas are full of hymns dedicated to Indra, Agni, Surya, Varun and the like. These are:

1. Indra/Shakra (eldest and the undoubted leader of other Adityas)

2. Ansh (due share),

3. Aryaman (nobility),

4. Bhaag (due inheritance),

5. Dhatri (ritual skill),

6. Tvashtar (skill in crafting),

7. Mitra (friendship),

8. Pushan/Ravi (prosperity),

9. Savitra/Parjanya (power of word),

10. Surya/Vivasvan (social law),

11. Varun (fate),

12. Vaman (cosmic law).

8 Vasus are attendant deities of Indra and comprise of eight elemental gods that represent the different aspects of Nature. They are:

1. Anil (Wind),

2. Apas (Water),

3. Antariksh/Dyaus (Space),

4. Dhara (Earth),

5. Dhruv (Pole Star),

6. Anal (Fire),

7. Prabhas (Dawn),

8. Soma (Moon).

11 Rudras:

· 5 abstractions – Ānanda (bliss), Vijñāna (knowledge), Manas (thought), Prāṇa (breath/ life), Vāc (speech),

· 5 names of Śiva – Īśāna (ruler), Tatpuruṣa (that person), Aghora (not terrible), Vāmadeva (pleasant god), Sadyojāta (born at once)

· 1 - Ātmā (spiritual self)

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the 11 Rudras are represented by ten vital energies (rudra-prana) in the body and the eleventh one being the Ātman (the soul):

katame rudrA iti |

dasheme purushhe prANA


te yadA.asmAchchharIrAnmartyAdutkrAmanty

atha rodayanti


tasmAdrudrA iti || 4 ||

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