Shiva known as Mahadeva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. Shiva is known as "The Destroyer" within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu. In Shaivism tradition, Shiva is the supreme being who creates and transforms the universe. In the tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism, the Goddess, or Devi, is described as supreme, yet Shiva is revered along with Vishnu and Brahma. A goddess is stated to be the energy and creative power of each, with Parvati the equal complementary partner of Shiva, he is one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism. According to the Shaivism sect, the highest form of Shiva is formless, limitless and unchanging absolute Brahman, the primal Atman of the universe. There are many both fearsome depictions of Shiva. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children and Kartikeya.
In his fierce aspects, he is depicted slaying demons. Shiva is known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts; the iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula or trident, as his weapon, the damaru drum. He is worshipped in the aniconic form of Lingam. Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity, revered by Hindus, in India and Sri Lanka. Shiva is called as Bhramhan which can be said as Parabhramhan. Shiva means nothingness; the word shivoham means the consciousness of one individual, lord says that he is omnipotent, omnipresent, as he is present in the form of one's consciousness. In Tamil, he was called by different names other than Sivan. Nataraaja Rudra and Dhakshinamoorthy. Nataraja is the only form of Shiva worshipped in a human figure format. Elsewhere he is worshipped in Lingam figure. Pancha bootha temples are located in south India. Pancha Bhoota Stalam.
Tamil literature is enriched by Shiva devotees called 63 Nayanmars The Sanskrit word "Śiva" means, states Monier Monier-Williams, "auspicious, gracious, kind, friendly". The roots of Śiva in folk etymology are śī which means "in whom all things lie, pervasiveness" and va which means "embodiment of grace"; 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". Sharva, sharabha presents another etymology with the Sanskrit root śarv-, which means "to injure" or "to kill", interprets the name to connote "one who can kill the forces of darkness"; the Sanskrit word śaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", this term is the Sanskrit name both for one of the principal sects of Hinduism and for a member of that sect.
It is used as an adjective to characterize certain practices, such as Shaivism. Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word śivappu meaning "red", noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun and that Rudra is called Babhru in the Rigveda; the Vishnu sahasranama interprets Shiva to have multiple meanings: "The Pure One", "the One, not affected by three Guṇas of Prakṛti". Shiva is known by many names such as Viswanatha, Mahandeo, Mahesha, Shankara, Rudra, Trilochana, Neelakanta, Subhankara and Ghrneshwar; the highest reverence for Shiva in Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahādeva, Maheśvara, Parameśvara. Sahasranama are medieval Indian texts that list a thousand names derived from aspects and epithets of a deity. There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns listing many names of Shiva; the version appearing in Book 13 of the Mahabharata provides one such list. Shiva has Dasha-Sahasranamas that are found in the Mahanyasa; the Shri Rudram Chamakam known as the Śatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.
The Shiva-related tradition is a major part of Hinduism, found all over India, Sri Lanka, Bali. Scholars have interpreted early prehistoric paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters, carbon dated to be from pre-10,000 BCE period, as Shiva dancing, Shiva's trident, his mount Nandi. Rock paintings from Bhimbetka, depicting a figure with a trishul, have been described as Nataraja by Erwin Neumayer, who dates them to the mesolithic. Of several Indus valley seals that show animals, one seal that has attracted attention shows a large central figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and ithyphallic, seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position, surrounded by animals; this figure was named by early excavators of Mohenjo-daro as Pashupati (Lord of Animals, Sansk
Vishvakarman is the deity of the creative power that holds the universe together according to the Rigveda and is considered to be the architect, divine engineer of the universe from before the advent of time. Vishvakarman was used as an epithet for any supreme god and as an attribute of Indra and the Sun; the name Vishvakarman occurs five times in the tenth book of the Rigveda. The two hymns of the Rigveda identify Vishvakarman as all-seeing, having eyes, faces and feet on every side and has wings. Brahma, the god of creation, four-faced and four-armed resembles him in these aspects, he is represented as being the source of all prosperity, as swift as thought and titled a seer, lord of speech. The parts of the Rigveda reveals efforts to find a satisfactory answer to the mysteries regarding the origin of the universe, the creation hymns present in these parts of the Rigveda mention individual creator gods as opposed to the collection of gods and their chiefs creating the world. Vishwakarma is visualised as the Ultimate Reality in the Rig Veda, from whose navel all visible things Hiranyagarbha emanate.
The same imagery is seen in Yajurveda purusha sukta, in which the divine smith Tvastar emerges from Vishwakarma. In the puranic period this concept paved the way to the imagery of Brahma and Sadasiva, he is sometimes referred to as Tvastar. In the Vedic period the term first appeared as an epithet of Indra and Agni. In that time the developed creator concept of Brahma might have been intertwined with the concept of Vastospati and Bṛhaspati, or Brahmanaspathi In the last phase of vedic period and during the growth of monotheism, this realistic God concept becoming more abstract and one can see Vishwakarma emerged as the supreme god, perceived as a hotar, the unborn creator and name giver of all other gods who have lot of faces and feet on every side, he sacrificed himself to himself for the evolution of this visible world, thus he is Purusha or Narayana His attributes like Vachaspathy connect him with Brahaspathi. Again, Yajurveda pictured him as the Prajapati and in the Atharva veda he is mentioned as Pashupati.
Shwethashwatharopanishad described him as Rudrasiva, the one, dwelling in all living forms. Na Bhoomir Na Jalam Chaiva Na Teejo Nacha Vaayavaha Na chakasam na chitthasha Na budhi khrana gocharam Nacha Brahmaa Na Vishnuscha Na Rudrascha Taarakaaha Sarvashoonya niralambam Swayambhu Viswakarmana. According to the above hymn, from Moolastambha purana, something similar to Nasadeeya suktha It/He was the one who created himself from himself when there was no earth, light and akasha, the Thrimurthies Later in the post vedic and brahmanic period, the term Vishwakarma is appeared both as the Rsi and the Silpi. In yajurveda the term is seen as one of names of pancha risis. Though the term is an epithet of suryanarayana, one of the seven rays of Surya is known as Viswakarma. Bhauvana Vishwakarma is a vedic Rsi, the author of Rg 10–81,82 suktha, was a silpi and the son of Prabhas, the eighth hermit of the legendary Astam vasu and Yogasiddha, sister of Brihaspati, he is said to have revealed the Sthapatya Veda / Vastu Shastra or fourth Upa-veda, presides over the sixty-four mechanical arts.
Vishvakarma created five prajapathies – from his five faces such as Sadyojāta, Vāmadeva, Tatpuruṣha, Īsāna. They are Manu, Twosta, Silpy and their respective Rishis Sānaga Brahma Rishi Sanāthana Brahma Rishi Ahabhuna Brahma Rishi Prathna Brahma Rishi Suparna Brahma Rishi In puranas he is sometimes identified with vedic Tvastar. Silpi Vishwakarma is the designer of all the flying chariots of the gods, all their weapons and divine attributes. Vishwakarma/Tvostar is credited with creating the missiles used in the mythological era, including the Vajra, the sacred weapon of Lord Indra, from the bones of sage Dadhichi, he is regarded as the supreme worker, the essence of excellence and quality in craftsmanship. Since Vishwakarma is the divine engineer of the world, as a mark of reverence, he is not only worshiped by the engineering and architectural community but by all professionals, it is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in his name. Silpy Vishwakarma is attributed a putative birthday by the Hindu religion.
The more philosophical minded argue that it is impossible for the original Creator of everything to be born on a particular day. In Rig veda he is described as Swayambhu So it is a contradiction in terms since that presupposes another creator for Vishwakarma; the Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated in all parts of India. Among those who believe that there is a birthday there is no agreement as to when it occurs. Visvakarma birthday is celebrated on two days under different names: Vishwakarma Puja. "Vishwakarma Puja" always celebrated in India on the 17th September of every Year. Rishi Panchami Dinam. "Rishi Panchami Dinam" means ‘the day of the solidarity of five rishis.’ Those who celebrate this day believe that Vishwakarma did not have a birthday like the mortals but only a commemoration day in which his five children came together to declare their solidarity and pray to their illustrious father. This day follows the rules of the Hindu calendar and changes with every ye
The Yajurveda is the Veda of prose mantras for worship rituals. An ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, it is a compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the yajna fire. Yajurveda is one of the four Vedas, one of the scriptures of Hinduism; the exact century of Yajurveda's composition is unknown, estimated by scholars to be around 1200 to 1000 BCE, contemporaneous with Samaveda and Atharvaveda. The Yajurveda is broadly grouped into two – the "black" or "dark" Yajurveda and the "white" or "bright" Yajurveda; the term "black" implies "the un-arranged, motley collection" of verses in Yajurveda, in contrast to the "white" which implies the "well arranged, clear" Yajurveda. The black Yajurveda has survived in four recensions, while two recensions of white Yajurveda have survived into the modern times; the earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda samhita includes about 1,875 verses, that are distinct yet borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda.
The middle layer includes the Satapatha Brahmana, one of the largest Brahmana texts in the Vedic collection. The youngest layer of Yajurveda text includes the largest collection of primary Upanishads, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy; these include the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the Isha Upanishad, the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Katha Upanishad, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad and the Maitri Upanishad. Yajurveda is a compound Sanskrit word, composed of yajus and veda. Monier-Williams translates yajus as "religious reverence, worship, sacrifice, a sacrificial prayer, formula mantras muttered in a peculiar manner at a sacrifice". Veda means "knowledge". Johnson states yajus means " prose formulae or mantras, contained in the Yajur Veda, which are muttered". Michael Witzel interprets Yajurveda to mean a "knowledge text of prose mantras" used in Vedic rituals. Ralph Griffith interprets the name to mean "knowledge of sacrifice or sacrificial texts and formulas". Carl Olson states that Yajurveda is a text of "mantras that are repeated and used in rituals".
The Yajurveda text includes Shukla Yajurveda of which about 16 recensions are known, while the Krishna Yajurveda may have had as many as 86 recensions. Only two recensions of the Shukla Yajurveda have survived and Kanva, others are known by name only because they are mentioned in other texts; these two recensions are nearly the same, except for a few differences. In contrast to Shukla Yajurveda, the four surviving recensions of Krishna Yajurveda are different versions; the samhita in the Shukla Yajurveda is called the Vajasaneyi Samhita. The name Vajasaneyi is derived from Vajasaneya, patronymic of sage Yajnavalkya, the founder of the Vajasaneyi branch. There are two surviving recensions of the Vajasaneyi Samhita: Vajasaneyi Madhyandina and Vajasaneyi Kanva; the lost recensions of White Yajurveda, mentioned in other texts of ancient India, include Jabala, Sapeyi, Kapola, Avati, Parasara, Vaidheya and Vaijayavapa. There are four surviving recensions of the Krishna Yajurveda – Taittirīya saṃhitā, Maitrayani saṃhitā, Kaṭha saṃhitā and Kapiṣṭhala saṃhitā.
A total of eighty six recensions are mentioned to exist in Vayu Purana, however vast majority of them are believed to be lost. The Katha school is referred to as a sub-school of Carakas in some ancient texts of India, because they did their scholarship as they wandered from place to place; the best known and best preserved of these recensions is the Taittirīya saṃhitā. Some mentioned by Panini; the text is associated with the Taittiriya school of the Yajurveda, attributed to the pupils of sage Tittiri. The Maitrayani saṃhitā is the oldest Yajurveda Samhita that has survived, it differs in content from the Taittiriyas, as well as in some different arrangement of chapters, but is much more detailed; the Kāṭhaka saṃhitā or the Caraka-Kaṭha saṃhitā, according to tradition was compiled by Katha, a disciple of Vaisampayana. Like the Maitrayani Samhita, it offers much more detailed discussion of some rituals than the younger Taittiriya samhita that summarizes such accounts; the Kapiṣṭhala saṃhitā or the Kapiṣṭhala-Kaṭha saṃhitā, named after the sage Kapisthala is extant only in some large fragments and edited without accent marks.
This text is a variant of the Kāṭhaka saṃhitā. Each regional edition of Yajurveda had Samhita, Aranyakas, Upanishads as part of the text, with Shrautasutras and Pratishakhya attached to the text. In Shukla Yajurveda, the text organization is same for both Kanva shakhas; the texts attached to Shukla Yajurveda include the Katyayana Shrautasutra, Paraskara Grhyasutra and Shukla Yajurveda Pratishakhya. In Krishna Yajurveda, each of the recensions has or had their Brahmana text mixed into the Samhita text, thus creating a motley of the prose and verses, making it unclear, disorganized; the core text of the Yajurveda falls within the classical Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit at the end of the 2nd millennium BCE - younger than the Rigveda, contemporary with the Atharvaveda, the Rigvedic Khilani, the Sāmaveda. The scholarly consensus dates the bulk of the Yajurveda and Atharvaveda hymns to the early Indian Iron Age, c. 1200 or 1000 BC, corresponding to the early Kuru Kingdom. The Vedas are notoriously hard to date as they are compilations and were traditionally preserved through oral tradition leaving no archaeolo
Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions. Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language; as one of the oldest documented members of the Indo-European family of languages, Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies. It is related to Greek and Latin, as well as Hittite, Old Avestan and many other extinct languages with historical significance to Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, it traces its linguistic ancestry to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, Proto-Indo-Iranian and the Proto-Indo-European languages.
Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as the Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest known composition. A more refined and standardized grammatical form called the Classical Sanskrit emerged in mid-1st millennium BCE with the Aṣṭādhyāyī treatise of Pāṇini. Sanskrit, though not Classical Sanskrit, is the root language of many Prakrit languages. Examples include numerous modern daughter Northern Indian subcontinental languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Nepali; the body of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, drama, scientific and other texts. In the ancient era, Sanskrit compositions were orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity and fidelity; the earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit are from the 1st-century BCE, such as the few discovered in Ayodhya and Ghosundi-Hathibada. Sanskrit texts dated to the 1st millennium CE were written in the Brahmi script, the Nāgarī script, the historic South Indian scripts and their derivative scripts.
Sanskrit is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It continues to be used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hinduism and some Buddhist practices such as hymns and chants; the Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- is a compound word consisting of sam and krta-. It connotes a work, "well prepared and perfect, sacred". According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal qualities, rather than semantic. Sound and oral transmission were valued quality in ancient India, its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit. From late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic and religious literature" in India; the sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself, the "mysterious magnum" of the Hindu thought.
The search for perfection in thought and of salvation was one of the dimensions of sacred sound, the common thread to weave all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit. Sanskrit as a language competed with numerous less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages; the term prakrta means "original, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth. The relationship between Prakrit and Sanskrit is found in the Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Patanjali acknowledged that Prakrit is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding; the purifying structure of the Sanskrit language removes these imperfections. The early Sanskrit grammarian Dandin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar".
Dandin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit that thrive independent of Sanskrit. This view is found in the writing of the author of the ancient Natyasastra text; the early Jain scholar Namisadhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Namisadhu stated that the Prakrit language was the purvam and they came to women and children, that Sanskrit was a refinement of the Prakrit through a "purification by grammar". Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, it is one of the three ancient documented languages that arose from a common root language now referred to as the Proto-Indo-European language: Vedic Sanskrit. Mycenaean Greek and Ancient Greek. Mycenaean Greek is the older recorded form of Greek, but the limited material that has survived has a ambiguous writing system. More important to Indo-European studies is Ancient Greek, documented extensively beginning with the two Homeric poems. Hittite.
This is the earliest-recorded of all Indo-European languages, distinguishable into Old Hittite, Middle Hittite and Neo-Hittite. I
The Vedas are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". Vedas are called śruti literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti; the Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, texts that have been more preserved since ancient times. In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma; the Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis, after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot. According to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas, who arranged the four kinds of mantras into four Samhitas. There are four Vedas: the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.
Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas, the Aranyakas, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads. Some scholars add a fifth category – the Upasanas; the various Indian philosophies and denominations have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox". Other śramaṇa traditions, such as Lokayata, Ajivika and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities, are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" schools. Despite their differences, just like the texts of the śramaṇa traditions, the layers of texts in the Vedas discuss similar ideas and concepts; the Sanskrit word véda "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯eid-, meaning "see" or "know", cognate to Greek εἶδος "aspect", "form"; this is not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense véda, cognate to Greek οἶδα oida "I know".
Root cognates are English wit, etc.. Latin videō "I see", etc; the Sanskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge". The term in some contexts, such as hymn 10.93.11 of the Rigveda, means "obtaining or finding wealth, property", while in some others it means "a bunch of grass together" as in a broom or for ritual fire. A related word Vedena appears in hymn 8.19.5 of the Rigveda. It was translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith as "ritual lore", as "studying the Veda" by the 14th-century Indian scholar Sayana, as "bundle of grass" by Max Müller, as "with the Veda" by H. H. Wilson. Vedas are called Vaymoli in parts of South India. Marai means "hidden, a secret, mystery", but Tamil Naanmarai mentioned in Tholkappiam isn't Sanskrit Vedas. In some south Indian communities such as Iyengars, the word Veda includes the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints, such as Divya Prabandham, for example Tiruvaymoli; the Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The Samhitas date to 1700–1100 BCE, the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c.
1000–500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas. Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 to c. 500–400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BCE, the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period, he gives 150 BCE as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, 1200 BCE as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda. Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. A literary tradition is traceable in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE.
Witzel suggests the possibility of written Vedic texts towards the end of 1st millennium BCE. Some scholars such as Jack Goody state that "the Vedas are not the product of an oral society", basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek and other cultures noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down. However, adds Goody, the Vedic texts involved both a written and oral tradition, calling it a "parallel products of a literate society". Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material, surviving manuscripts surpass an age of a few hundred years; the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century. The Vedas, Vedic rituals and its ancillary sciences called the Vedangas, were part of the curriculum at ancient universities such as at Ta
Deva means "heavenly, anything of excellence", is one of the terms for a deity in Hinduism. Deva is a masculine term. In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras; the concepts and legends evolve in ancient Indian literature, 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. Devas, along with Asuras and Rakshasas are part of Indian mythology, Devas feature in one of many cosmological theories in Hinduism. Deva is a Sanskrit word found in Vedic literature of 2nd millennium BCE. Monier-Williams translates it as "heavenly, terrestrial things of high excellence, shining ones"; the concept is used to refer to deity or god. The Sanskrit deva- derives from Indo-Iranian *daiv- which in turn descends from the Proto-Indo-European word, *deiwo- an adjective meaning "celestial" or "shining", a vrddhi derivative from the root *diw meaning "to shine" as the day-lit sky.
The feminine form of *deiwos is *deiwih2, which descends into Indic languages as devi, in that context meaning "female deity". Deriving from *deiwos, thus cognates of deva, are Lithuanian Dievas, Germanic Tiwaz and the related Old Norse Tivar, Latin deus "god" and divus "divine", from which the English words "divine", "deity", French "dieu", Portuguese "deus", Spanish "dios" and Italian "dio" "Zeys/Ζεύς" - "Dias/Δίας", the Greek father of the gods, are derived, it is related to *Dyeus which while from the same root, may have referred to the "heavenly shining father", hence to "Father Sky", the chief God of the Indo-European pantheon, continued in Sanskrit Dyaus. The bode of the Devas is Dyuloka. 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 "god". Deva is masculine, the related feminine equivalent is devi. 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, while Devi as Devika. The word Deva is a proper name or part of name in Indian culture, where it refers to "one who wishes to excel, overcome" or the "seeker of, master of or a best among"; the Samhitas, which are the oldest layer of text in Vedas enumerate 33 devas, either 11 each for the three worlds, or as 12 Adityas, 11 Rudras, 8 Vasus and 2 Asvins in the Brahmanas layer of Vedic texts. The Rigveda states in hymn 1.139.11, Some devas 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. Parvati and Durga are some goddesses. Many of the deities taken together are worshiped as the Vishvedevas. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer, Ganesha the god of intelligence, Hanuman the god of protector and bhakti, Kartikeya the god of wars, Narada the god of news, Vishwakarma the god of architect, Dhanvantari the god of doctors and ayurveda, Kubera the god of wealth, Dyaus the god of sky, Vayu the god of wind, Varuna the god of water, Agni the god of fire, Samudra the god of sea, Kamadeva the god of love, Bariyadeva the god of diseases, Chitradeva the god of art, Indra the king of gods and rain, Surya the god of sun and light, Chandra the god of moon and night, Mangala the god of Mars Budha the god of Mercury, Brihaspati the god of Jupiter and teacher of gods, Shukra the god of Venus and worship, Shani the god of Saturn and deeds, Rahu the god of Neptune, Ketu the god of Uranus, Yamaraja the god of Pluto and death and one of the shivagana.
In Vedic literature, Deva is not a monotheistic God, rather a "supernatural, divine" concept manifesting in various ideas and knowledge, in a form that combine excellence in some aspects, wrestling with weakness and questions in other aspects, heroic in their outlook and actions, yet tied up with emotions and desires. Max Muller states that the Vedic hymns are remarkable in calling every single of different devas as "the only one, the supreme, the greatest". Muller concluded that the Vedic ideas about devas is best understood neither as polytheism nor as monotheism, but as henotheism where gods are equivalent, different perspective, different aspects of reverence and spirituality, unified by principles of Ṛta and Dharma. Ananda Coomaraswamy states that Devas and Asuras in the Vedic lore are similar to the Olympian gods and Titans of Greek mythology. Both are powerful but have different orientations and inclinations, with 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, both the tyrant and the angel. The best and the worst within each person struggles
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th