Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, the Supreme Being or absolute truth in its Vaishnavism tradition. Vishnu is the "preserver" in the Hindu triad that includes Shiva. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is identical to the formless metaphysical concept called Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan, who takes various avatars as "the preserver, protector" whenever the world is threatened with evil and destructive forces, his avatars most notably include Rama in the Krishna in the Mahabharata. He is known as Narayana, Vasudeva and Hari, he is one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism. In Hindu iconography, Vishnu is depicted as having a pale or dark blue complexion and having four arms, he holds a padma in his lower left hand, Kaumodaki gada in his lower right hand, Panchajanya shankha in his upper left hand and the Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand. A traditional depiction is Vishnu reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, as he "dreams the universe into reality".
Yaska, the mid 1st-millennium BCE Vedanga scholar, in his Nirukta, defines Vishnu as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, "one who enters everywhere". He writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, "that, free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu"; the medieval Indian scholar Medhātithi suggested that the word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu is "one, everything and inside everything". Vishnu means "all pervasive". Vishnu is a Vedic deity, but not a prominent one when compared to Indra and others. Just 5 out of 1028 hymns of the Rigveda, a 2nd millennium BCE Hindu text, are dedicated to Vishnu, he finds minor mention in the other hymns. Vishnu is mentioned in the Brahmana layer of text in the Vedas, thereafter his profile rises and over the history of Indian mythology, states Jan Gonda, Vishnu becomes a divinity of the highest rank, one equivalent to the Supreme Being. Though a minor mention and with overlapping attributes in the Vedas, he has important characteristics in various hymns of Rig Veda, such as 1.154.5, 1.56.3 and 10.15.3.
In these hymns, the Vedic mythology asserts that Vishnu resides in that highest home where departed Atman reside, an assertion that may have been the reason for his increasing emphasis and popularity in Hindu soteriology. He is described in the Vedic literature as the one who supports heaven and earth. In the Vedic hymns, Vishnu is invoked alongside other deities Indra, whom he helps in killing the symbol of evil named Vritra, his distinguishing characteristic in Vedas is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in Mandala 7 refer to Vishnu. In section 7.99 of the Rgveda, Vishnu is addressed as the god who separates heaven and earth, a characteristic he shares with Indra. In the Vedic texts, the deity or god referred to as Vishnu is Surya or Savitr, who bears the name Suryanarayana. Again, this link to Surya is a characteristic Vishnu shares with fellow Vedic deities named Mitra and Agni, where in different hymns, they too "bring men together" and cause all living beings to rise up and impel them to go about their daily activities.
In hymn 7.99 of Rigveda, Indra-Vishnu are equivalent and produce the sun, with the verses asserting that this sun is the source of all energy and light for all. In other hymns of the Rigveda, Vishnu is a close friend of Indra. Elsewhere in Rigveda and Upanishadic texts, Vishnu is equivalent to Prajapati, both are described as the protector and preparer of the womb, according to Klaus Klostermaier, this may be the root behind post-Vedic fusion of all the attributes of the Vedic Prajapati unto the avatars of Vishnu. In the Yajurveda, Taittiriya Aranyaka, Narayana sukta, Narayana is mentioned as the supreme being; the first verse of Narayana Suktam mentions the words paramam padam, which mean highest post and may be understood as the supreme abode for all souls. This is known as Param Dhama, Paramapadam or Vaikuntha. Rig Veda 1.22.20 mentions the same paramam padam. In the Atharvaveda, the mythology of a boar who raises goddess earth from the depths of cosmic ocean appears, but without the word Vishnu or his alternate avatar names.
In post-Vedic mythology, this legend becomes one of the basis of many cosmogonic myth called the Varaha legend, with Varaha as an avatar of Vishnu. Several hymns of the Rigveda repeat the mighty deed of Vishnu called the Trivikrama, one of the lasting mythologies in Hinduism since the Vedic times, it is an inspiration for ancient artwork in numerous Hindu temples such as at the Ellora Caves, which depict the Trivikrama legend through the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Trivikrama refers to "three strides" of Vishnu. Starting as a small insignificant looking being, Vishnu undertakes a herculean task of establishing his reach and form with his first step covers the earth, with second the ether, the third entire heaven; the Vishnu Sukta 1.154 of Rigveda says that the first and second of Vishnu's strides are visible to the mortals and the third is the realm of the immortals. The Trivikrama describing hymns integrate salvific themes, stating Vishnu to symbolize that, freedom and life; the Shatapatha Brahmana elaborates this theme of Vishnu, as his herculean effort and sacrifice to create and gain powers that help others, one who realizes and defeats the evil symbolized by the Asuras after they had usurped the three worlds, thus Vishnu is the savior of the mortals and
Devī is the Sanskrit word for "goddess". Devi – the feminine form, Deva – the masculine form, mean "heavenly, anything of excellence", are gender specific terms for a deity in Hinduism; the concept and reverence for goddesses appears in the Vedas, which were composed in the 2nd millennium BCE. Goddesses such as Parvati and Durga have continued to be revered into the modern era; the medieval era Puranas witnessed a major expansion in mythology and literature associated with Devi, with texts such as the Devi Mahatmya, wherein she manifests as the ultimate truth and supreme power. She has inspired the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism; the divine feminine has the strongest presence as Devi in Hinduism, among major world religions, from the ancient times to the present. The goddess is viewed as central in Saiva Hindu traditions. Devi and Deva are Sanskrit terms found in Vedic literature of the 2nd millennium BCE. Deva is masculine, the related feminine equivalent is devi. Monier-Williams translates it as "heavenly, terrestrial things of high excellence, shining ones".
Etymologically, the cognates of Devi are Greek thea. When capitalized, Devi or Mata refers to goddess as divine mother in Hinduism. Deva is referred to as Devatā, Devi as Devika. According to Douglas Harper, the etymological root Dev- means "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus; the Devīsūkta of the Rigveda 10.125.1 through 10.125.8, is among the most studied hymns declaring that the ultimate reality is a goddess: The Vedas includes numerous goddesses including Parvati, Prithvi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. However, the goddesses are not discussed as as gods. Parvati, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Devi, the Supreme power.
Devi is the supreme being in the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, while in the Smarta Tradition, she is one of the five primary forms of Brahman, revered. In other Hindu traditions, Devi embodies the active energy and power of Deva, they always appear together complementing each other, such as Parvati with Shiva in Shaivism, Saraswati with Brahma in Brahmanism, Lakshmi with Vishnu in Vaishnavism; the Devi-inspired philosophy is propounded in many Hindu texts, such as the Devi Upanishad, which states that Shakti is Brahman, from her arise Prakṛti and Purusha, she is bliss and non-bliss, the Vedas and what is different from it, the born and the unborn, all of the universe. Shakthi is Shiva's wife, she is mentioned as the creative power of Shiva in Tripura Upanishad, Bahvricha Upanishad, Guhyakali Upanishad. Devi identifies herself in the Devi Upanishad as brahman in her reply to the gods stating that she rules the world, blesses devotees with riches, she is the supreme deity to whom all worship is to be offered, that she infuses Ātman in every soul.
Devi asserts that she resides there. Her creation of sky as father, seas as mother is reflected as the "Inner Supreme Self", her creations are not prompted by any Higher being and she resides in all her creations. She is, states Devi, the eternal and infinite consciousness engulfing earth and heaven, "all forms of bliss and non-bliss and ignorance, Brahman and Non-Brahman"; the tantric aspect in Devi Upanishad, states June McDaniel is the usage of the terms yantra, bija, mantra and chakra. Among the major world religions, the concept of goddess in Hinduism as the divine feminine, has had the strongest presence since the ancient times. Parvati is the Hindu goddess of love, purity and devotion, she is considered to be one of the greatest forms of Adi Parashakti. She is the nurturing aspect of Adi Parashakti, she has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu mythologies of India, including the popular name Gauri.
Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses. Parvati is the wife of Shiva - the destroyer and regenerator of universe and all life, she is the mother of Hindu gods Kartikeya. Rita Gross states, that the view of Parvati only as ideal wife and mother is incomplete symbolism of the power of the feminine in mythology of India. Parvati, along with other goddesses, are involved with the broad range of culturally valued goals and activities, her connection with motherhood and female sexuality does not confine the feminine or exhaust their significance and activities in Hindu literature. She is balanced by Durga, strong and capable without compromising her femaleness, she manifests in every activity, from water to mountains, from arts to inspiring warriors, from agriculture to dance. Parvati's numerous aspects, states Gross, reflects the Hindu belief that the feminine has universal range of activities, her gender is not a limiting condition. In Hindu belief, Parvati is th
Shaivism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being. The followers of Shaivism are called "Shaivites" or "Saivites", it is one of the largest sects that believe Shiva — worshipped as a creator and destroyer of worlds — is the supreme god over all. The Shaiva have many sub-traditions, ranging from devotional dualistic theism such as Shaiva Siddhanta to yoga-oriented monistic non-theism such as Kashmiri Shaivism, it considers the Agama texts as important sources of theology. The origin of Shaivism may be traced to the conception of Rudra in the Rig Veda. Shaivism has ancient roots, traceable in the Vedic literature of 2nd millennium BCE, but this is in the form of the Vedic deity Rudra; the ancient text Shvetashvatara Upanishad dated to late 1st millennium BCE mentions terms such as Rudra and Maheshwaram, but its interpretation as a theistic or monistic text of Shaivism is disputed. In the early centuries of the common era is the first clear evidence of Pāśupata Shaivism.
Both devotional and monistic Shaivism became popular in the 1st millennium CE becoming the dominant religious tradition of many Hindu kingdoms. It arrived in Southeast Asia shortly thereafter, leading to thousands of Shaiva temples on the islands of Indonesia as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, co-evolving with Buddhism in these regions. In the contemporary era, Shaivism is one of the major aspects of Hinduism. Shaivism theology ranges from Shiva being the creator, destroyer to being the same as the Atman within oneself and every living being, it is related to Shaktism, some Shaiva worship in Shiva and Shakti temples. It is the Hindu tradition that most accepts ascetic life and emphasizes yoga, like other Hindu traditions encourages an individual to discover and be one with Shiva within. Shaivism is one of the largest traditions within Hinduism. Shiva means kind, gracious, or auspicious; as a proper name, it means "The Auspicious One". The word Shiva is used as an adjective in the Rig Veda, as an epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra.
The term Shiva connotes "liberation, final emancipation" and "the auspicious one", this adjective sense of usage is addressed to many deities in Vedic layers of literature. The term evolved from the Vedic Rudra-Shiva to the noun Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas, as an auspicious deity, the "creator and dissolver"; the Sanskrit word śaiva or Shaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", while the related beliefs, history and sub-traditions constitute Shaivism. The reverence for Shiva is one of the pan-Hindu traditions, found across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. While Shiva is revered broadly, Hinduism itself is a complex religion and a way of life, with a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, it has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book. Shaivism is a major tradition within Hinduism, with a theology, predominantly related to the Hindu god Shiva. Shaivism has many different sub-traditions with regional differences in philosophy.
Shaivism has a vast literature with different philosophical schools, ranging from nondualism and mixed schools. The origins of Shaivism a matter of debate among scholars; some trace the origins to the Indus Valley civilization, which reached its peak around 2500–2000 BCE. Archeological discoveries show seals. Of these is the Pashupati seal, which early scholars interpreted as someone seated in a meditating yoga pose surrounded by animals, with horns; this "Pashupati" seal has been interpreted by these scholars as a prototype of Shiva. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that it is not clear from the seal if the figure has three faces, or is seated in a yoga posture, or that the shape is intended to represent a human figure. Other scholars state that the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered, the interpretation of the Pashupati seal is uncertain. According to Srinivasan, the proposal that it is proto-Shiva may be a case of projecting "later practices into archeological findings".
Asko Parpola states that other archaeological finds such as the early Elamite seals dated to 3000–2750 BCE show similar figures and these have been interpreted as "seated bull" and not a yogi, the bull interpretation is more accurate. The Rigveda has the earliest clear mention of Rudra in its hymns such as 2.33, 1.43 and 1.114. The text includes a Satarudriya, an influential hymn with embedded hundred epithets for Rudra, cited in many medieval era Shaiva texts as well as recited in major Shiva temples of Hindus in contemporary times. Yet, the Vedic literature only present scriptural theology, but does not attest to the existence of Shaivism; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad composed before the Bhagavad Gita about 4th century BCE contains the theistic foundations of Shaivism wrapped in a monistic structure. It contains the key terms and ideas of Shaivism, such as Shiva, Maheswara, Bhakti, Atman and self-knowledge. According to Gavin Flood, "the formation of Śaiva traditions as we understand them begins to occur during the period from 200 BC to 100 AD."
According to Chakravarti, Shiva rose to prominence as he was identified to be the
Vahana denotes the being an animal or mythical entity, a particular Hindu deity is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vahana is called the deity's "mount". Upon the partnership between the deity and his vahana is woven much mythology. Deities are depicted riding the vahana. Other times, the vahana is depicted at the deity's side or symbolically represented as a divine attribute; the vahana may be considered an accoutrement of the deity: though the vahana may act independently, they are still functionally emblematic or syntagmatic of their "rider". The deity may be seen standing on the vahana, they may be riding on a saddle or bareback. Vah in Sanskrit means to transport. In Hindu iconography, positive aspects of the vehicle are emblematic of the deity that it carries. Nandi the bull, vehicle of Shiva, represents virility. Dinka the mouse, vehicle of Ganesha, represents sharpness. Parvani the peacock, vehicle of Skanda, represents majesty; the hamsa, vehicle of Saraswati, represents wisdom and beauty.
However, the vehicle animal symbolizes the evil forces over which the deity dominates. Mounted on Parvani, Skanda reins in the peacock's vanity. Seated on Dinka the rat, Ganesh crushes useless thoughts. Shani, protector of property, has a vulture, raven or crow in which he represses thieving tendencies. Under Shani's influence, the vahana can make malevolent events bring hope; the vehicle of a deity can vary according to the source, the time, the place. In popular tradition, the origin of each vehicle is told in thousands of different ways. Three examples: While the god Ganesha was still a child, a giant mouse began to terrorize all his friends. Ganesha made him his mount. Mushika was a gandharva, or celestial musician. After absent mindedly walking over the feet of a rishi named Vamadeva, Mushika was cursed and transformed into a mouse. However, after the rishi recovered his temper, he promised Mushika that one day, the gods themselves would bow down before him; the prophecy was fulfilled. Before becoming the vehicle of Shiva, Nandi was a deity called Nandikeshvara, lord of joy and master of music and dance.
Without warning, his name and his functions were transferred to the aspect of Shiva known as the deity Nataraja. From half-man, half-bull, he became a bull. Since that time, he has watched over each of Shiva's temples. Kartikeya, the war-god known as Murugan in Southern India, is mounted on a peacock; this peacock was a demon called Surapadma, while the rooster was called the angel. After provoking Murugan in combat, the demon repented at the moment, he began to pray. The tree was cut in two. From one half, Murugan pulled a rooster, which he made his emblem, from the other, a peacock, which he made his mount. In another version, Karthikeya was born to kill Tarakasura, he was led the divine armies when he was 6 days old. It is said that after defeating Tarakasura, the god forgave him and transformed him into his ride, the peacock; the vahana and deity to which they support are in a reciprocal relationship. Vahana are served in turn by those who engage them. Many vahana may have divine powers or a divine history of their own.
Case in point, the aforementioned Nataraja story, represents a conflation of Hindu gods with local gods, syncretizing their mythos as their territories began to overlap. According to one source, "they could be a synthesis between Vedic deities and autochthonous Dravidian totemic deities; the animal correspondences of Hindu vehicles are not consistent with Greek and Roman mythology, or other belief systems which may tie a particular animal to a particular deity. For example, the goddess Lakshmi of the Hindus has elephants, or an owl, or the lotus blossom as her vehicle; the goddess Athena of ancient Greece had an owl as her emblematic familiar, but the meanings invested in the owls by the two different belief systems are not the same, nor are the two goddesses themselves similar, despite their mutual identification with owls. Lakshmi is, among other things the goddess of wealth, her owl is a warning against distrust and isolationism selfishness. Athena, though a goddess of prosperity, is the goddess of wisdom, her owl symbolizes secret knowledge and scholarship.
Due to their shared geography, the Greco-Roman interpretation is paralleled in Roman Catholic iconography, in which St. Jerome, most famed for editing the New Testament, is depicted with an owl as a symbol of wisdom and scholarship. Depending on the tribe, Native American religious iconography attributes a wide range of attributes to the owl, both positive and negative, as do the Ainu and Russian cultures, but none parallel the Hindu attributes assigned to the owl as Lakshmi's divine vehicle; some hold that similar analyses could be performed cross-culturally for any of the other Hindu divine vehicles, in each case, any parallels with the values assigned to animal totems in other cultures are to be either coincidence, or inevitable, rather than evidence of parallel development. In dialectic, this is countered by the retort that each totem or vahana, as an aspect of ishta-devata, has innumerable ineffable
Lakshmi or Laxmi, is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. She is the wife and shakti of Vishnu, one of the principal deities of Hinduism and the Supreme Being in the Vaishnavism Tradition. With Parvati and Saraswati, she forms the holy trinity. Lakshmi is an important deity in Jainism and found in Jain temples. Lakshmi has been a goddess of abundance and fortune for Buddhists, was represented on the oldest surviving stupas and cave temples of Buddhism. In Buddhist sects of Tibet and southeast Asia, goddess Vasudhara mirrors the characteristics and attributes of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi with minor iconographic differences. Lakshmi is called Sri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or gunas, is the divine strength of Vishnu. In Hindu religion, she was born from the churning of the primordial ocean and she chose Vishnu as her eternal consort; when Vishnu descended on the Earth as the avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi descended as his respective consort as Sita and Rukmini.
In the ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. The marriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband is the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings. Lakshmi is considered another aspect of the same supreme goddess principle in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism. Lakshmi is depicted in Indian art as an elegantly dressed, prosperity-showering golden-coloured woman with an owl as her vehicle, signifying the importance of economic activity in maintenance of life, her ability to move and prevail in confusing darkness, she stands or sits like a yogin on a lotus pedestal and holds lotus in her hand, a symbolism for fortune, self-knowledge and spiritual liberation. Her iconography shows her with four hands, which represent the four goals of human life considered important to the Hindu way of life: dharma, kāma, artha and moksha, she is depicted as part of the trinity consisting of Saraswati and Parvati.
Archaeological discoveries and ancient coins suggest the recognition and reverence for Lakshmi by the 1st millennium BCE. Lakshmi's iconography and statues have been found in Hindu temples throughout southeast Asia, estimated to be from the second half of the 1st millennium CE; the festivals of Diwali and Sharad Purnima are celebrated in her honor. Lakshmi is one of many Hindu deities whose meaning and significance evolved in ancient Sanskrit texts. Lakshmi is mentioned once in Rigveda, where it means kindred sign of auspicious fortune. भद्रैषां लक्ष्मीर्निहिताधि वाचिbhadraiṣāṁ lakṣmīrnihitādhi vāci"an auspicious fortune is attached to their words" In Atharvaveda, transcribed about 1000 BCE, Lakshmi evolves into a complex concept with plural manifestations. Book 7, Chapter 115 of Atharva Veda describes the plurality, asserting that a hundred Lakshmis are born with the body of a mortal at birth, some good and auspicious, while others bad and unfortunate; the good are welcomed. The concept and spirit of Lakshmi and her association with fortune and the good is significant enough that Atharva Veda mentions it in multiple books: for example, in Book 12, Chapter 5 as punya Lakshmi.
In some chapters of Atharva Veda, Lakshmi connotes the good, an auspicious sign, good luck, good fortune, prosperity and happiness. Lakshmi is referred to as the goddess of fortune, identified with Sri and regarded as wife of Viṣṇu. For example, in Shatapatha Brahmana, variously estimated to be composed between 800 BCE and 300 BCE, Sri is part of one of many theories, in ancient India, about the creation of universe. In Book 9 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Sri emerges from Prajapati, after his intense meditation on creation of life and nature of universe. Sri is described as a trembling woman at her birth with immense energy and powers; the gods were bewitched, desire her and become covetous of her. The gods approach Prajapati and request permission to kill her and take her powers and gifts. Prajapati refuses, tells the gods that males should not kill females and that they can seek her gifts without violence; the gods approach Lakshmi, deity Agni gets food, Soma gets kingly authority, Varuna gets imperial authority, Mitra acquires martial energy, Indra gets force, Brihaspati gets priestly authority, Savitri acquires dominion, Pushan gets splendour, Saraswati takes nourishment and Tvashtri gets forms.
The hymns of Shatapatha Brahmana thus describe Sri as a goddess born with and personifying a diverse range of talents and powers. According to another legend, she emerges during the creation of universe, floating over the water on the expanded petals of a lotus flower. In the Epics of Hinduism, such as in Mahabharata, Lakshmi personifies wealth, happiness, grace and splendour. In another Hindu legend, about the creation of universe as described in Ramayana, Lakshmi springs with other precious things from the foam of the ocean of milk when it is churned by the gods and demons for the recovery of Amṛta, she appeared with a lotus in her hand and so she is called Padmā. Root of the wordLakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from the root word lakṣ and lakṣa, meaning to perceive, know and goal, objective respectively; these roots give Lakshmi the symbolism: know and understand
Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism. The terms and epithets for deity within the diverse traditions of Hinduism vary, include Deva, Ishvara, Bhagavān and Bhagavati; the deities of Hinduism have evolved from the Vedic era through the medieval era, regionally within Nepal, India and in southeast Asia, across Hinduism's diverse traditions. The Hindu deity concept varies from a personal god as in Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, to 33 Vedic deities, to hundreds of Puranics of Hinduism. Illustrations of major deities include Parvati, Sri, Sati and Saraswati; these deities have distinct and complex personalities, yet are viewed as aspects of the same Ultimate Reality called Brahman. From ancient times, the idea of equivalence has been cherished for all Hindus, in its texts and in early 1st millennium sculpture with concepts such as Harihara, Ardhanārīshvara, with myths and temples that feature them together, declaring they are the same. Major deities have inspired their own Hindu traditions, such as Vaishnavism and Shaktism, but with shared mythology, ritual grammar, theosophy and polycentrism.
Some Hindu traditions such as Smartism from mid 1st millennium AD, have included multiple major deities as henotheistic manifestations of Saguna Brahman, as a means to realizing Nirguna Brahman. Hindu deities are represented with various icons and anicons, in paintings and sculptures, called Murtis and Pratimas; some Hindu traditions, such as ancient Charvakas rejected all deities and concept of god or goddess, while 19th-century British colonial era movements such as the Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj rejected deities and adopted monotheistic concepts similar to Abrahamic religions. Hindu deities have been adopted in other religions such as Jainism, in regions outside India such as predominantly Buddhist Thailand and Japan where they continue to be revered in regional temples or arts. In ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism, the human body is described as a temple, deities are described to be parts residing within it, while the Brahman is described to be the same, or of similar nature, as the Atman, which Hindus believe is eternal and within every living being.
Deities in Hinduism are as diverse as its traditions, a Hindu can choose to be polytheistic, monotheistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist. Deities in Hinduism are referred to as Devi; the root of these terms mean "heavenly, anything of excellence". According to Douglas Harper, the etymological roots of Deva mean "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus. In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras. By the late Vedic period, benevolent supernatural beings are referred to as Deva-Asuras. In post-Vedic texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas of Hinduism, the Devas represent the good, the Asuras the bad. In some medieval Indian literature, Devas are referred to as Suras and contrasted with their powerful, but malevolent half-brothers referred to as the Asuras. Hindu deities are part of Indian mythology, both Devas and Devis feature in one of many cosmological theories in Hinduism. In Vedic literature and Devis represent the forces of nature and some represent moral values, each symbolizing the epitome of a specialized knowledge, creative energy and magical powers.
The most referred to Devas in the Rig Veda are Indra and Soma, with "fire deity" called the friend of all humanity, it and Soma being the two celebrated in a yajna fire ritual that marks major Hindu ceremonies. Savitr, Vishnu and Prajapati are gods and hence Devas; the Vedas describes a number of significant Devis such as Ushas, Aditi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. Sri called Lakshmi, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts, in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Brahman, the Supreme power. Ananda Coomaraswamy states that Devas and Asuras in the Vedic lore are similar to Angels-Theoi-Gods and Titans of Greek mythology, both are powerful but have different orientations and inclinations, the Devas representing the powers of Light and the Asuras representing the powers of Darkness in Hindu mythology.
According to Coomaraswamy's interpretation of Devas and Asuras, both these natures exist in each human being, the tyrant and the angel is within each being, the best and the worst within each person struggles before choices and one's own nature, the Hindu formulation of Devas and Asuras is an eternal dance between these within each person. The Devas and Asuras and Titans, powers of Light and powers of Darkness in Rigveda, although distinct and opposite in operation, are in essence consubstantial, their distinction being a matter not of essence but of orientation, revolution or transformation. In this case, the Titan is an Angel, the Angel still by nature a Titan.
Ayurveda is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. Globalized and modernized practices derived from Ayurveda traditions are a type of alternative medicine. In countries beyond India, Ayurvedic therapies and practices have been integrated in general wellness applications and in some cases in medical use; the main classical Ayurveda texts begin with accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the Gods to sages, to human physicians. In Sushruta Samhita, Sushruta wrote that Dhanvantari, Hindu god of Ayurveda, incarnated himself as a king of Varanasi and taught medicine to a group of physicians, including Sushruta. Ayurveda therapies have evolved over more than two millennia. Therapies are based on complex herbal compounds and metal substances. Ancient Ayurveda texts taught surgical techniques, including rhinoplasty, kidney stone extractions and the extraction of foreign objects. Although laboratory experiments suggest it is possible that some substances used in Ayurveda might be developed into effective treatments, there is no scientific evidence that any are effective as practiced.
Ayurveda medicine is considered pseudoscientific. Other researchers consider it a trans-science system instead. In a 2008 study, close to 21% of Ayurveda U. S. and Indian-manufactured patent medicines sold through the Internet were found to contain toxic levels of heavy metals lead and arsenic. The public health implications of such metallic contaminants in India are unknown; some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times, that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or earlier. Ayurveda developed during the Vedic period and some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts. Doṣa balance is emphasized, suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness. Ayurveda treatises describe three elemental doṣas viz. vāta, pitta and kapha, state that equality of the doṣas results in health, while inequality results in disease.
Ayurveda treatises divide medicine into eight canonical components. Ayurveda practitioners had developed various medicinal preparations and surgical procedures from at least the beginning of the common era; the earliest classical Sanskrit works on Ayurveda describe medicine as being divided into eight components. This characterization of the physicians' art, "the medicine that has eight components", is first found in the Sanskrit epic the Mahābhārata, ca 4th century BCE; the components are: Kāyachikitsā: general medicine, medicine of the body Kaumāra-bhṛtya: the treatment of children, pediatrics Śalyatantra: surgical techniques and the extraction of foreign objects Śhālākyatantra: treatment of ailments affecting ears, nose, etc. Bhūtavidyā: pacification of possessing spirits, the people whose minds are affected by such possession Agadatantra: toxicology Rasāyantantra: rejuvenation and tonics for increasing lifespan and strength Vājīkaraṇatantra: aphrodisiacs and treatments for increasing the volume and viability of semen and sexual pleasure.
The word "ayurveda" is Sanskrit: Āyurveda, meaning knowledge of life and longevity. The central theoretical ideas of Ayurveda developed in the mid-first millennium BCE, show parallels with Sāṅkhya and Vaiśeṣika philosophies, as well as with Buddhism and Jainism. Balance is emphasized, suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness. For example, to suppress sneezing is said to give rise to shoulder pain. However, people are cautioned to stay within the limits of reasonable balance and measure when following nature's urges. For example, emphasis is placed on moderation of food intake and sexual intercourse. Ayurveda names seven basic tissues, which are plasma, muscles, bone and semen. Like the medicine of classical antiquity, Ayurveda has divided bodily substances into five classical elements, viz. earth, fire and ether. There are twenty gunas which are considered to be inherent in all matter; these are organized in ten pairs: heavy/light, cold/hot, unctuous/dry, dull/sharp, stable/mobile, soft/hard, non-slimy/slimy, smooth/coarse, minute/gross, viscous/liquid.
Ama is used to refer to the concept of anything. With regards to oral hygiene, it is claimed to be a toxic byproduct generated by improper or incomplete digestion; the concept has no equivalent in standard medicine. Ayurveda names three elemental bodily humors, the doshas, states that a balance of the doshas results in health, while imbalance results in disease. One Ayurvedic view is that the doshas are balanced when they are equal to each other, while another view is that each human possesses a unique combination of the doshas which define this person's temperament and characteristics. In either case, it says that each person should modulate their behavior or environment to increase or decrease the doshas and maintain their natural state. In medieval taxonomies of the Sanskrit knowledge systems, Ayurveda is assigned a place as a subsidiary Veda; some medicinal plant names from the Atharvaveda and other Ve