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Gods and Goddesses of the Hindus

Adimurti An avatar of Vishnu.


Twelve sun gods who represent the twelve months of the year. They protect
Aditya against various diseases and belong to the Devas. They are Ansa, Aryman, Bhaga,
Daksha, Dhatri, Indra, Mitra, Ravi, Savitri, Surya, Varuna, and Yama.
Agastya Protector and companion of the god Rama.
Vedic god of the divine fire, both of real fire (in the hearth) and the fire that
consumes the soul and the food in the belly. He is the spark of life, and so a part of
him is in every living thing. He is red in color, with black eyes and wild, black
hair. He has two faces smeared with butter, seven fiery tongues and gold
sharpened teeth, seven arms, three legs and seven rays of light that emanate from
his body. He either rides on a ram or on a chariot, pulled by goats or sometimes
Agni
parrots. The proper offering to Agni is ghee, which is clarified butter. Agni also
has the power to impart immortality on mortals, as well as remove all sins at the
time of one's death. Agni is closely associated with Indra, and is sometimes said to
be his twin brother. Thus, Dyaus Pita and Prithvi are named as two of his parents.
He has many others as well. Kasyapa and Aditi are also his parents. Dawn and
Night are his sisters, his wife is Svaha, and he is the father of Karttikeya.
A form of Parvati, she lured demons to their death. She would announce that she
would not sleep with anyone who had not bested her in battle. The eager demons
Ambika
would agree to fight her, at which point she would transform into the fearsome
Kali and kill them.
Ancient goddess who existed from before the beginning of time. She laid an egg,
Ammavaru
which hatched the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Anala Attendant god. One of the eight Vasus who serve the god Indra.
Anantesa One of the eight Vasus who serve Indra.
Anila One of the eight Vasus who serve the god Indra.
Annamurti A form of the Hindu god Vishnu.
Annapurna An avatar of the goddess Durgha who ruled over food production.
Ansa One of the Adityas, minor sun gods who rule over the months.
A moon goddess whose name means "divine favor". She is a giver of wealth,
Anumati
prosperity, fertility and children.
Anuradha Goddess of fortune. She is the daughter of Daksha and wife of Chandra.
Apa One of the eight Vasus who serve the god Indra.
Apam Napat God of fresh water.
Apsaras Nature spirits and the mates of the Gandharvas. They were female, and all
depicted as very beautiful. They were beings of dance, and often performed for the
gods in their palaces. Seen as protector and inspirers of love.
Aranyani Woodland goddess.
Name for Shiva in his half-male, half-female aspect, signifying the his incarnation
Ardhanari
as both the male and female principles of the world.
Ardhanarisva
A Hindu composite deity of Shiva's male and female aspects.
ra
Ardra Goddess of misfortune.
Arundhati Astral goddess.
Aryman One of Adityas, the guardian deities of the months.
Aslesa Goddess of misfortune.
Astamatara A Puranic group of mother goddesses.
Asuras Sometimes called demons, another group of deities that often opposed the Devas.
Asvayujau Goddess of fortune.
Twin sons of Saranyu, Dawn, and Surya, the Sun, known as the "Divine
Asvins
Physicians". Represent the morning and evening stars.
Atri Bardic god, sage and son of Brahma.
Personifications of the god Vishnu who descended to Earth, usually to help
mankind. There have been nine avatars of Vishnu so far: Matsya; Kurma; Varaha;
Avatars of
Narasingh; Vaman; Parasuram; Rama; Balaram or Budha; Krishna; and Kalki. The
Vishnu
tenth avatar will be called Kalki Avatar, and will help to end this age of existence
and usher in the next.
Ayyappan God of growth, and the son of Shiva and Vishnu.
Bala Mother goddess.
Balakrishna The child form of Krishna.
God of agriculture and physical strength, and the eighth avatar of Vishnu. He is the
Balarama
brother of Krishna, and is white-skinned where Krishna is dark-skinned.
Demon and king of the Daityas. He was the god of the sky until Vishnu wrested it
Bali from him in the avatar Vamana, the dwarf. Since then he is ruler of the
Underworld.
Banka-Mundi Goddess of hunting.
Bhadra Goddess and attendant of Shiva.
Vedic god of prosperity, wealth and marriage. He is one of the Adityas, and the
Bhaga
month of March is dedicated to him.
Bharani Goddess of misfortune. Consort of Chandra.
Bharat Mata Mother goddess.
Bharati Goddess of sacrifices. Occasionally mentioned as the consort of Ganesha.
Bhavani One of the terrible aspects of Parvati.
Bhumidevi A fertility goddess and the second wife of Vishnu.
Bhumiya A fertility god, later regarded as a form of Vishnu.
Bhutamata A demon goddess, form of the goddess Parvati.
Bhuvanesvari Goddess, one of the ten mahavidyas.
Creator god and Cosmic Mind of the Hindu Trinity, the three major gods of
Hinduism that make up the whole of the godhead. He appears seated on a lotus,
Brahma
with four heads and four hands that hold a sacrificial tool, the Vedas, a water pot
and a rosary. His consort is Saraswati, the goddess of learning.
Brahmani Hindu mother goddess.
The lord of prayer, the celestial god who created the Universe and protects the
Brihaspati
gods with his magic formulae.
Founder and father of the Buddhist faith. He is said to be an avatar of Vishnu. He
was born an enchanted child and already full of wisdom. He received Enlightment
Buddha
under a Bo tree, and forsook Nirvana to remain on Earth and travel, preaching the
law.
Budha Astral god associated with the planet Mercury.
Budhi Pallien Forest goddess of northern India. She roamed the jungles in the form of a tiger.
Chaitanya Merchant god. Later believed to be an avatar of Vishnu.
Chama God of young love.
Chandanayik
A form of the goddess Durgha.
a
Chandika Goddess of desire.
The original Indian god of the moon. He was white in color, and drove the moon
Chandra chariot across the sky with ten white horses. Also a god of fertility, he was prayed
to when a couple desired children. Later merged with the god Soma.
Chinnamasta A terrifying goddess, portraled holding her head in one hand. Form of the goddess
ka Durgha.
Chitra Goddess of misfortune.
The recorder of the virtues and vices of men. The judge who sends people to
Chitragupta
heaven or hell.
Danu Goddess of the primordial waters.
Devaki Mother goddess, and the mother of Krishna and Balarama.
Devapurohita God associated with the planet Jupiter.
The 'divine mother', she is the mother of everything, including joy, pain, life and
Devi
death. She is the mother of life, and as such brings fertile rains.
Dhanistha Goddess of misfortune and malovent intent.
The divine physican. Originally a sun god, he is the carrier of Ambrosia from the
Dhanvantari
ocean and the teacher of the healing arts to mankind.
Dhara One of eight vasus who attended the god Indra.
God of the divine inner law (dharma). Originally, a creator god, he is now
Dharma
considered an avatar of Vishnu.
Dharti Mata Mother Goddess. She appears first in the Puranic texts.
Dhatar Sun god and one of the Adityas.
Dharti Sun god and one of the Adityas.
Dhisana Goddess of prosperity.
Dhruva God of the Pole Star. He is an avatar of Vishnu and one of the vasus.
A powerful form of Parvati. Durgha (goddess beyond reach) has eight hands and
great power and energy (Shakti). Durga rides on a tiger or a lion and is known as
Lalitha. The gods could not defeat the buffalo-demon Mahisha. So they turned to
Shiva who advised all the Devas to release their Shakti (spiritual prowess) locked
Durgha within their bodies. The Shakti's of the gods emerged in female form Shivani
from Shiva, Vaishnavi from Vishnu, Brahmani from Brahma, Aindri from Indra,
Kaumari from Kumara. These goddesses fused together in blinding light from
which arose a magnificent goddess with many arms. The gods called this goddess
Durga.
The original sky father of Vedic myth. He is the counterpart of the Earth goddess
Prthivi. The two were originally one deity known as Dyavaprthivi. He is pictured
Dyaus Pita
as a great red bull who bellows thunder, or as a black horse covered in pearls. In
this form, he is the night sky, with the pearls as stars.
The embodiment of the entire cosmos, the sky and the earth. Eventually split into
Dyavaprthivi
two deities, Dyaus Pita and Prthivi, by Varuna.
Male guardians of the air, forests and mountains. They were the mates of the
Gandharvas
Apsaras.
Ganesha God of wisdom and the remover of obstacles. He has four hands, elephant's head
and a big belly. His vehicle is a tiny mouse. In his hands he carries a rope (to carry
devotees to the truth), an axe (to cut devotees' attachments), and a sweet dessert
ball -laddoo- (to reward devotees for spiritual activity). His fourth hand's palm is
always extended to bless people. He represents wisdom, intelligence and presence
of mind.
The goddess of the sacred Ganges river in India. She is literally the river, and her
Ganga
waters will wash away one's sins.
This deity is a provider of courage, hope, knowledge, intellect and devotion. He is
pictured as a robust monkey holding a mace (gada) which is a sign of bravery and
having a picture of Lord Rama tattooed on his chest which is a sign of his
Hanuman
devotion to Lord Rama. He is also called Mahaveera (the great hero) or Pavan-
suta (son of air). The monkey god, a patron of learning and the epitome of the
ideal warrior, humble yet brave.
Harihara A deity who represents the combination of the gods Shiva and Vishnu.
Hiranyagarbh
God of creation and the Hindu primordial being. He was the progenitor of Indra.
a
Ida Goddess of prayer and devotion.
Imra The Supreme god of Kafirstan in Hindu Kush.
In Vedic myths, the supreme god and lord of the thunder and lightning. He was the
ruler of the gods, and wielded his weapon, a lightning to protect them and the
Indra humans from the forces of evil. In later eras, his supremacy was supplanted by
Vishnu and Shiva, and he became simply a weather god and the ruler of the lesser
deities.
Wife of Indra, originally just a feminine form of that god. Came to personify
Indrani
jealousy and wrath.
A mother goddess and the symbol of dissolution and destruction. She destroys
ignorance and maintains the world order, as well as blessing those who strive for
knowledge. Kali is depicted with black skin and a hideous tusked face, the
forehead bearing a third eye like Shiva's. She has four arms. One holds a weapon,
Kali
another a giant's slain head. The other two are raised to bless her worshippers. Her
body is naked except for ornaments that include earrings and necklaces of skulls
and belt from which hang demon's hands. This belt signifies Karma (action and
deed).
The tenth and final Avatar of Vishnu, who will come to earth to destroy the wicked
Kalki
and renew creation.
Kama God of love. Seen as a winged youth carrying a bow and arrows.
Kartikeya War god and bestower of knowledge and power. He has six faces and carries a
spear. Kartikeya, the second son of Lord Shiva, is also known as Subramaniam
and represents a person of perfection. In one hand, he carries a spear called sakti,
which symbolizes the destruction of negative tendencies in humans. With his other
hand, he always blesses devotees. The Lord's vehicle is a peacock, which is
capable of destroying harmful serpents (symbolizing harmful ego and bad desires
of people). He is the most masculine and fiery of the Hindu gods.
God of war and the general of the celestial armies. He is pictured with six arms
Karttikeya
and six legs.
The eighth avatar of Vishnu, Krishna is one of the most popular gods of India. He
is seen as the defender of people and the symbol of love between gods and men.
He is often depicted playing the flute. He is also shown with his childhood devotee
Krishna
Radha. The Lord is usually remembered and worshipped as Radha-Krishna. The
pair symbolizes the eternal love between people and god. Lord Krishna is also
shown with his pet cow, his childhood favorite.
Kubera God of wealth.
The cosmic tortoise, on which the world sits in Vedic myths. Second avatar of
Kurma
Vishnu.
The goddess of prosperity, purity, happiness and generosity. She has four arms,
representing the four spiritual virtues. She sits on a fully blossomed lotus, a
Lakshmi symbol of divine truth. Her palm is always outstretched to bless those in need. She
has an aura of divine happiness, mental and spiritual satisfaction and prosperity.
She is the wife of Vishnu.
Maitreya The Buddha who is to come in the future.
Manasa-Devi Serpent goddess.
Maruts Minor storm deities, aggressive and violent in temperament.
Matarisvan Messenger of the gods in Vedic times.
The first incarnation of Vishnu. A fish that saved Manu from the great flood in the
Matsya
Indian version of the Noah's Ark story.
God of the sun and brother of Varuna. He is the good-natured god of friendships
Mitra and contracts. One of the Adityas. His worship survived in the Near East and
ancient Rome as the god Mithras.
Nakshatras The stars and the divine attendants of Indra.
Naryana The original supreme being. Associated with the original man and with Vishnu.
Nirriti Vedic goddess of evil, deceit and destruction. Sometimes associated with Kali.
Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva and exists in various divine (both friendly and
fearful) forms, including Kali and Durga. A mountain goddess. Parvati is also the
Parvati
mother of the beloved deity, Ganesh, the potbellied god with the head of an
elephant and Karttikeya, the god of war.
Prajapati Lord of creation.
Prisni Goddess of the earth and darkness.
The earth goddess of the Vedas, counterpart of the Sky Father Dyaus. They were
Prthivi
originally one being, Dyavaprthivi.
Puchan God of meeting.
Purusha Male half of Brahma, of which Satrap is the female half.
Pushan God of fertility, wealth and cattle. He is also the guide of travelers and the dead.
Raktavija General of the demon army.
The ideal man and hero of the Ramayana, he is the protector of the family and
Rama destroyer of evils. He is pictured holding a bow, usually among his family.
Seventh avatar of Vishnu. Considered the perfect hero warrior.
Rati Goddess of sexual desire.
Ratri Goddess of night.
Ravi One of the Adityas, the guardians of the months.
Rhibus Group of deities who watch over crafts, equestrian pursuits and the sun.
God of storms, winds and Death. He is the personification of the uncultured force,
Rudra causing destruction and disarray. Gradually became seen as a gentle protector of
hunters and animals, and eventually his name changed to Shiva.
Rukmini Wife of Krishna.
Sadhyas Minor gods who guard the rites and prayers to more important deities.
Saranyu Wife of the sun god Surya and sometimes seen as goddess of the dawn.
The goddess of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four arms, representing the
four facets of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego.
Saraswati
She holds sacred scriptures in one hand, a lotus in another, and plays the veena
(violin) with the remaining two. She is the wife of Brahma.
A form of Vishnu, he is a god of the home and is often worshipped there. He has
Sathyanaraya
four hands as does Vishnu, but his fourth hand is extended upwards to bless
na
people.
Sun god who urges men and beasts into action. Rides a golden chariot across the
Savitar
sky.
Savitri One of the Adityas, possibly the same as Surya.
Shasti Goddess of the protection of children.
Shiva Transcendent god and lord of the calmness and victory of humanity of the Hindu
Trinity of Gods. Shiva is the destroyer and destroys all of the old or useless so that
new can be created. He is part of the on-going circle of life and one of the three
main gods. He is also known as Lord of the Dance and is often portrayed as the
image of the dancer in red. Shiva was married to Parvati and together they created
another of the most well known Hindu gods: Ganesh. He is often pictured in a
meditating position, with ashes covering his body and matted, flowing hair, which
contains the Ganges River and a crescent moon. He has a snake coiled about his
neck and a trident in his hand. His consort is Parvati.
Wife of Rama and an incarnation of Lakshmi. Seen as the personification of
Sita
female fertility.
The 'sap of life', god of inspiration, poetry and the life force. He is a drink, the
Soma
Ambrosia of the Vedic gods.
Surya The personified deity of the sun, much like the Greek god Helios.
Celestial deity and the goddess of the Pole Star. Seen in some areas as an
Tara
important aspect of the Mother Goddess.
The triad of deities who embody all aspects of the Universe: Brahma, the Creator;
Trimurti
Vishnu, the Preserver; and Shiva, the Destroyer.
Artisan and creator god of the Vedas, he created the sun, moon and the three
Tvashtri
worlds.
Uma A name of the goddess Parvati, embodying the divine light and wisdom.
Urvasi One of the Apsaras, the goddess of success in love.
Ushas Goddess of Dawn and the breath of life.
Vach Goddess of speech and eloquence. Later identified with Saraswati.
Fifth avatar of Vishnu. A dwarf who claimed the heavens and earth back from
Vamana
Bali.
Vanadevatas Tree spirits of the Vedic myths.
Vedic god of the sky and keeper of the divine order of things, known as rta. With
Varuna
the rise of Indra as supreme deity, he became the lord of the rivers and oceans.
Vasus Eight attendants of Indra in Vedic times later became the attendants of Vishnu.
Vayu Deity of the wind.
The preserver and Cosmic Lord of the Hindu Trinity of gods, Vishnu is seen as the
universal principle of order and justice. He is pictured as a man of a dark (or blue)
Vishnu color with four hands, holding a conch shell, a disk or chakra, a lotus and a mace.
He is also known as Hari, the remover. His consort is Lakshmi, goddess of beauty,
happiness and wealth.
Visvakarma The god of artistry, crafts, and smiths.
Vivasvat The divine architect who built the cities of the gods.
Yaksha Semi-divine beings who live under the Himalayas, guarding the riches of the
earth. Led by Kubera, the god of riches.
God of the Dead. He is pictured as a green man in red clothing riding a black bull.
Yama
He holds a loop with which he pulls the soul from the body of the deceased.