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Why so many Hindu Gods and Goddesses?

One of the main criticisms leveled against Hinduism is that Hindu religion has numerous Gods and Goddesses. But little do these people realize that the greatest strength of Hinduism is the worship of a multiplicity of gods and goddesses. This myriad of murtis is in fact a celebration of freedom.

There are numerous paths to reach the Supreme Truth or God or Brahman. The gods and goddesses represent these paths.

Brahman (Supreme Truth or God) in its true form cannot be captured in words or in graphic. Everything is Brahman. This is something hard to practice and only great souls have been able to digest it.

Ordinary humans have numerous problems and fears and they have existed for thousands of years. These problems and fears are different for different people. If today, you fear a virus attack on your computer, thousands of years ago a person feared the death of his cattle or the forces of nature. Now this person found a refuge for his fear in supernatural forces (god). The person started worshipping all that he/she feared.

Then man developed more civilized way of living and every clan and village had their own god. Now each village had a particular problem or fear and the god they worshipped often had the characteristics to alleviate those problems. As we civilized more and more, there was change in the shape, characteristics and form of the gods and goddesses.

Then someone wanted to know ‘Who am I?’ He/She enquired and cultivated the culture of enquiry. This led to Brahman that we find in the Upanishads and Vedas.

Now there are only few souls that are interested in this ‘Who am I?’ Rest of the people either doesn’t have time or can’t digest the Brahman concept. So they want Gods and Goddesses who can alleviate their fear and find solutions to their problems.

Depending on the nature of a person, he/she worships a particular god or goddesses. Some worship all gods and goddesses.

But the worshipper and the worshipped all are part of Brahman or supreme truth.