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Symbolism Of Gods In Vedas


In the Vedas the rituals are symbolic and so is the language. Sometimes the symbolism is explained in the Vedic literature itself; at other times we have to infer it.

All the gods and goddesses in Hinduism represent one divine Power in different aspects; they are different forms of one Reality.
As the Rig Veda (I. 164.46) says, the one Sat is described variously by the different sages as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Yama and so on.

The Rig Veda makes it clear (1.164.39) that one who does not know that Sat (Reality) gains nothing by studying the Riks.

Agni

The Sukla Yajur-Veda (XXXII. 1) declares: That is Agni, That is Aditya, That is Vayu, That is Chandra, That is Sukra, That is Brahman, That is Prajapati.

Agni, Indra, Varuna and the other gods, with their various names and forms and functions, represent different aspects of the one Being, the one Principle or Power of Existence. Agni is power appearing as light and heat ; it is also the light of knowledge destroying the Vrtras (the powers of darkness or ignorance) (Sama Veda, Part I, I. 1. 4). It is also Pavaka, the power of purification (Sama Veda 1.3.9). As Vaisvanara or Visva Krishti (Sama Veda I. 59. 7), he is universal life. He is the immortal light within mortals (Sama Veda VI.9 4). Thus Agni is not only terrestrial fire, but a manifold divine Power with different functions.

Indra

Indra, the most famous deity of the Rig Veda, is the Creative Power (VIII. 36.4) which created Heaven and Earth: He is the Power of Victory, the power of control and many other powers.

Soma

Soma is the deity of sweetness and bliss; protector of divinity and destroyer of evil. (Rig Veda IX. 24. 7).

Varuna

Varuna represents the power of justice, because he is related to Rta or the moral law.
Prajapati is the power of procreation. 

Vishnu is the power immanent in everything. Rudra is the power of War and Peace, terrible in one aspect but benevolent in another, as Shiva and Shankara. Mitra is the power of friendship, Usha the power of beauty and light.

Source - Symbolism Of Gods In Vedas is an excerpt from the article titled Vedic Symbol And Language by Dr. R. D. Nirakari in the page 6 of January 1975 issue of The Mountain Path.



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