ONE GOD IN VEDAS ?
During the meeting at the residence of Shri Hasmatrai Vakil—Bombay.
A question was posed by a sanskrit scholar regarding the many Gods in the Vedas to our Gurudev.
Swamiji gave appropriate explanations a regarding the above topic .
Q.We have read in many English books that in the Veda people have found the principle of one God as against the multiple Gods theory believed earlier.
A. Look Professor sahib, you read and believe what the foreign authors and scholars say but what the Veda itself have to say ,why don’t you read that?
- Bhagwan,the Vedas Mention Agni,Indra,Marut and other Devtas.
A.Yes,certainly they are mentioned,but the Veda also says –
EKAMSADVIPRA BAHUDA VADANTI AGNIM YAM MATARISVANMAHU— Rig Ved(1-164-46)
EKAM SANT BAHUDA KALPAYANTI—(Rig Ved 10-114-5)
MAHADEVAANAMASURATAVAMEKAM—(Rig Ved 3-55-1)
Now let us see what Yajur Ved says-
TADEVA SHUKRAM TAD BRAHM TA AAPAH SAH PRAJAPATIHI (Yajur Ved 32-1)
Atharva Ved also announces the One God principle.
YASYA TRAYSTRISHADEVA ANGE GAATRA VIBHEDIRE
TANVAYEE TRASTRISHADEVAHAANEKE BRAHM VIDO VIDHOO (Atharva Ved 10-7-27)
The Vedic literature very specifically elaborates the principle of ONE GOD.
A.Maharishi Yaskacharya (Nirukta 7-4) and Maharishi Shaunakacharya also say the same.
But the question is since all devtas like Agni, Indra, Som, Marut, Pusha are mentioned in the Vedas how can we then still make the claim of ONE GOD?
We have to understand that with an idea (yukti) .We use words like VANN (Forest).It is a singular word but refers to MANY(a collective noun) . When we say Vrikshah(trees) it is a plural word meaning the same. At that time we visualize trees like neem, babool, mango, shesham etc.(Vriksh=1tree ,Vrikshah=many trees)
Let us take another word Rashtra is a collective noun and Manushya is a singular noun.
In the same way EKO DEVAH is the collective word (samashti).The main feature in the Vedas is this principle that there is only ONE GOD.
Q.But Max Mueller speaks about Henotheism!
(Wikepedia dictionary gives the meaning as-HENOTHEISM-
Devotion to a single God while accepting the existence of many Gods).
A.What does that indicate?(asked Gurudev)
Q.It means that each Devta is to be given importance and considered supreme as and when we pray to them. When a Rishi prays to Agni the Agni Devta is important, when he prays to the Sun then Surya Devta becomes important.
A.That is O.K. there is no problem in that but people with less intelligence do not understand this.Now for instance-
We call the leader of the nation patriotic and when another one comes we say the same for him. There is no conflict in the statement here as Patriotism is the most essential quality of a leader.
To be ‘adored’ is one important requirement for a devta. So if we adore one, two , three or many Devtas there should be no problem. We have to understand that properly.
31st December 1974