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Current time:0:00Total duration:8:09

Video transcript

Hinduism is often known for its large and complex pantheon of gods and the goal of this video is to give an overview of them and to think about how they are connected and how they are perceived so the Hindu Trinity as it is often called is made up of Shiva Vishnu and Brahma they are often considered to be the three most important gods in modern-day Hinduism Shiva and Vishnu have far more followership I guess you could say or more people view Shiva or Vishnu as the Supreme Being and there's more temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu then there are two Brahma followers of Shiva those who view him as the Supreme Being they're called Shiva's they're following Shaivism or sometimes referred to as shiva ism Shiva has multiple aspects and as we'll see many of these gods have multiple aspects and multiple connections but it's often referred to as the destroyer or the transformer Vishnu as I'd mentioned also has a significant following a significant chunk of Hindus are vaishnav us or followers of Vaishnavism or Vishnu ISM and Vishnu is considered the preserver Brahma as I mentioned does not have as much followership in modern-day Hinduism but he is considered to be the creator now in some narratives he is the creator and in other narratives he has been created by either Shiva or Vishnu now Brahma should not be confused with Brahman that we talked about in previous videos Brahman is considered the absolute reality the true nature of things and Brahma you could view as an aspect of it it is one God as part of this true nature of things in fact everything you see on this video in fact everything you see in reality all of these gods to a Hindu could be considered as just aspects of the true God or the true reality of Brahman now what's interesting in Hinduism is that gods are not view to have a strict gender for example vishnu has a female incarnation and there's also groups of Hindus who view God as taking a fundamentally female form one group are known as the followers of shaktism the shaktism god is female the supreme goddess it takes many forms parvati as you see listed here is referred to as the divine mother she's viewed as Shiva's consort or Shiva's wife but she has other forms like durga which is viewed as a stronger more aggressive form of parvati sometimes referred to as Devi or shucks the Shakti means strength or power and is warrior goddess you have Lakshmi who is the wife of Vishnu who represents or has aspects of wealth and prosperity you have Sheriff Swati who has aspects of knowledge music in the arts and is viewed as the consort or the wife of Brahma now these are some of the principal deities that we have on this top row but there's also many many other significant deities and as we will see depending on what part of India you're in and which group sub-sect of Hinduism you meet they will place different levels of emphasis on different deities and have different traditions and different rituals so Ganesh who is very recognizable because he has an elephant head he is often referred to as ganpathi he is viewed as the son of Shiva and Parvati and there's a great story about how he why he has this elephant head and he is viewed as the god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles and he has a lot of followers on he is revered in a lot of regions of western India and that's not the only places but he's known to be a principal God in some of these regions Durga similarly that I referred to in eastern India especially Bengal the place where my family comes from Durga Puja the puja for Durga the rituals for Durga are considered to be a very important part of the hindu religion if you go into the south for some hindus Karthikeya or also known as Morgan might be a significant deity that is the God of War Vishnu is known to have multiple incarnations that are very prominent the most prominent of which are Rama visnu's seventh incarnation he is the main protagonist in the Ramayana the famous Hindu epic you have Krishna who is Vishnu z-- eighth incarnation and he is a significant figure throughout Hinduism including the Maha bars and the subset of the maha part which is the bhagavad-gita now it's really interesting and I already alluded it to it if you have all of this diversity in Hinduism someone who worships Shiva you might see at a superficial level seems more different than their rituals and their beliefs from someone who worships Vishnu veinte a Protestant from a Catholic in Christianity or a Sunni from a Shia in Islam and what's fascinating about Hinduism is that you don't see these traditional schisms you don't see a lot of conflict between the Shiva's or the version of us because to Hindus even though you have this diversity of practice across India or across the Hindu tradition they're all viewed as aspects of Brahman they're all viewed as different ways to visualize or to connect with the fundamental reality or the fundamental God and because Hinduism has been able to merge these very diverse practices these very diverse rituals and it's believed this emerged because as Hinduism emerged it took traditions from the Indus Valley Civilisation it took significant traditions from the indo-aryans it took significant traditions from the Dravidians instead of saying hey our different traditions our different religions they merged over thousands of years into one religion and the word for this merging picking an amalgamation of multiple rituals multiple ideas multiple multiple practices and turning them into one is known as syncretism and Hinduism is perhaps the best example of syncretism or you have these incredibly diverse practices the gods that I show here are just a sample of them but they've been connected through this overarching very diverse religion called Hinduism and to a Hindu they're all ways of connecting with the fundamental Brahman and remind that we could just zoom out and we see the connection with Brahman which is viewed as this fundamental reality which raises an interesting question Hinduism is oftentimes cited as a polytheistic religion polytheism you have multiple gods and clearly I've cited multiple gods even in this video and this is a sample of all of the gods in Hinduism but at the same time they are all perceived by many or most Hindus as to being aspects or ways to connect with the fundamental reality of Brahman who many Hindus would call to be the true fundamental God and so based on that they would say these are just aspects of the One God and so they would argue that it is monotheistic so I'll let you decide how you view it or if it even matters to put apply a label like monotheism or polytheism to the idea of Hinduism the big picture is is that you have many gods and many practices and they are diverse across the Hindu world but they are all viewed as connected to this notion of a Brahman