I found lot of questions with the world 'GODS', encapsulated, this world shows a more 'POLYTHEISTIC' type of 'HINDUISM', but we all know, hinduism is 'STRICTLY MONOTHEIST'.

Alongside I would also suggest not you use the world GOD for every Deva we discuss, we can use a word 'LORD' or simply 'DEVA'.

God is suffice for the TRINITY.


2 Answers 2


"I found lot of questions with the world 'GODS', encapsulated, this world shows a more 'POLYTHEISTIC' type of 'HINDUISM', but we all know, hinduism is 'STRICTLY MONOTHEIST'." No, we don't all know that. It's a matter of how you translate the word "god". I think that "deva" is a perfectly appropriate translation of "god", so I think it's fine to call Hinduism polytheistic. This answer I gave previously in Meta may clarify things:

The question of “god” is a complicated one in Hinduism, and depending on how the English word “god” is translated into Sanskrit, different ideas will emerge. If the word “god” is translated as “deva,” which refers to an individual deity, then there are literally millions of gods in Hinduism, most of whom are worshipped by some Hindu or the other. On a practical level, however, many devas are obscure, and any particular Hindu probably worships less than ten. These include Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer. In this sense, Hinduism can be described as polytheistic or even pantheistic religion. It should be noted that the devas do not correspond to the Judeo-Christian “angels;” since many individual devas have the attributes, such as immortality, omniscience, omnipresence, and the like, that are usually the hallmark of the one God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

If, however, the word “god” is instead translated as “Brahman,” which refers to divinity in the abstract, then there is only one god in Hinduism. Brahman is one of the three substances that exist in the universe. The other two are chit and achit. Achit refers to all physical matter. Chit refers to nonphysical essence. Humans and animals possess an atma, meaning soul or self, which is made of chit. Both chit and achit were created by and depend upon Brahman. Achit is constantly being created and destroyed, so our physical bodies are mortal and life always comes to an end. The atma, on the other hand, is eternal and unchanging because it is made of chit. The gods are also immortal because they are made of Brahman. Only achit is transitory and imperfect. Since humans were created by the gods, the purpose of life is to please them, and the end goal is Moksha, end of the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, where one can reunite with the Brahman from which we came.

  • By my knowledge of the Hinduism, I will comply with your statements, I know here GOD can be related to 'ESHWAR', but the world is not enough to describe 'PARAMESHWAR'. Yet, usability will cause a root conflict in many minds, the word POLYTHEIST, is majorly used by anti-hindu, people to discribe that hindus don't believe in one god, to make it clear to most of people its necessary to stick to a world which clearifies the MONOTHEISTIC nature of hinduism.
    – Mr. K
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 6:48
  • @KCloud Well, like I said in my answer, I think there's a genuine sense in which Judaism can be called monotheistic and Hinduism can be called polytheistic, because devas in Hinduism don't correspond to angels in Judaism and Christianity. Rather, they have attributes like omnipresence and immortality which are the hallmark of God in Judaism and Christianity. So I think it's fine to translate deva as god. Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 7:41
  • why you think that everyone has the same knowledge base as you have, there are numerous people who even don't know about Judaism or basic literate concepts of Chritianity. Secondly, how will you define PARAMESHWAR, what world would you use in its conjunction, DEVA is a known world now, hindus and non-hindus both comply with it. Thirdly I strictly would not like and even want other to preach non-monotheist perspection of hinduism. I remember someone asked me a question 'WHY THERE ARE SO MANY BHAGWAN IN YOUR RELIGION', and that's not good.
    – Mr. K
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 8:01
  • This link is good : huffingtonpost.com/ramdas-lamb/…
    – Mr. K
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 8:13
  • 2
    @KCloud I'm not disputing that there are some Hindus that think that Hinduism is a religion where different gods are really manifestations of only one god. But that is not a universally held belief among Hindus. Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 8:23
  • @KeshavSrinivasan The Devas are neither immortal nor necessarily omnipresent. They are Jivatmas destined to eventually perish and be reincarnated the same as any human. While they don't correspond to angels, they certainly do not correspond to "God" at least in the Abrahamic sense. That's why I believe we should just use the word "Deva" since it's such a unique concept in our religion.
    – Akshay
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 15:48
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    @KeshavSrinivasan Also your categorization of the Trinity as "Devas" is very problematic. Some consider Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva to together constitute Brahman Himself, and others (including myself) would characterize Vishnu as the supreme Paramatma. Either way we need some distinction between "Devas", the lesser mortal deities, and anyone that would be considered to have higher status. That's why I'm in favor of the original Sanksrit terms, as they're the most descriptive, and can be molded according to the poster's personal beliefs.
    – Akshay
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 15:54
  • 1
    @KeshavSrinivasan, again one thing on 'different gods are really manifestations of only one god', you know this and understand this, I know this understood this, but what about those who don't, they will be in utter confusion and dielema, we need to communicate to remove anti things which surrounds us, which are not created by us even. I know english language is not capable enough to deal with everything of ours, so why not preach our words. Like Ration, Avatar and other added words of english, these will be highlighted too, we need to give a start.
    – Mr. K
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 16:13

I agree with your sentiment. Hinduism is in fact a monotheistic religion (any discussion to the contrary belongs on the main site).

As such when referring to any mortal deities, it will probably be best to write "Deva" or "Nityasuri" where appropriate. These terms can be understood by everyone, and since Devas are neither immortal nor omnipotent, it would be inappropriate to equate them with "Gods".

When referring to the supreme deity, however, there can still be confusion if one uses the term "God". Technically the term "Deva" might translate to "God", and if one means the Trinity, the singular might be problematic.

Hence I propose that we exclusively use the original Sanksrit terms "Brahmam/n", "Paramatma", "Perumal", etc. when referring to the supreme deity. This will result in the most clarity as to Whom "God" refers to.

If someone uses the term "God" or "Gods" let's comment to indicate that such terms are ambiguous or suggest an edit to correct them.

  • Bhagwan might not be a right term to use, you can prefer lord/devi/devta/maata etc, but I think we should use lord because we are on the internet where people search from other countries too and not only India.
    – Mr. Alien
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 18:30
  • Bhagwan, yet is symbolic as it has become a common word now, yet we cannot use it here, people as many questions like, why gods have many hands?, they are not bhagwan they are just devas, to specifically name a deva we can use 'LORD' or 'DEVA', if in groups 'DEVAS' is a most appropriate word, I tried, but didn't found any similar word in English.
    – Mr. K
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 19:15
  • @KCloud I had meant only for "Baghawan" to be used when referring to the supreme deity.
    – Akshay
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 23:33

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