Note: By ‘God’ we imply Ishwar or the Supreme Entity and NOT ‘Devata’. ‘Devata’ is a different term but often wrongly considered to mean ‘Supreme Entity’.
While Ishwar is also a ‘Devata’, any entity – living or non-living – that helps us or is useful for us is termed ‘Devata’. But that does not mean every entity is Ishwar and should be worshipped. To avoid confusion, we shall use the term ‘Ishwar’ in this article.
The Supreme One who represents selflessness, controls the entire universe, is present everywhere and is the Devata of all Devatas, alone is source of bliss. Those who do not understand Him remain drenched in sorrow and those who realize Him achieve unconditional happiness. (Rigveda 1.164.39)
Q: How many Ishwar are there in Vedas? We heard there are huge number of Ishwar in Vedas.
A: You have heard from wrong sources. Vedas clearly specify that there is One and only One Ishwar. And there is no mantra in Vedas that can be interpreted to imply multiple Ishwars.
Not only this, Vedas also refuse existence of any angel or Prophet or incarnation who is necessarily required to act as an agent between You and Ishwar.
To give a rough analogy:
Ishwar of Vedas = God of Christianity minus the concept of Trinity minus the necessity to surrender to Jesus
Ishwar of Vedas = Allah of Islam minus the necessity to accept Muhammad as final Prophet.
In other words, If someone says first part of Shahada : lâ ilâha illallâh (There is no other God except one and only Allah) but rejects the second part : Muḥammadur rasûlullâh (Muhammad is his messenger), that is close to concept of Vedic God.
In Islam, it is Shirk or greatest sin to worship anything except Allah. If you take this concept further and also refuse to accept any Muhammad or Gabriel as necessary to be remembered apart from Allah, you are avoiding Shirk as per Vedas.
Q: What about the various Gods or Devatas mentioned in Vedas? What about 33 crore Gods?
1. As mentioned earlier, Devata refers to entities that are useful for us. But nowhere it is mentioned in Vedas that we should worship these entities. Of course, Ishwar is the Devata or Devatas and hence called ‘Mahadeva’. He alone is to be worshipped.
2. The Vedas refer to not 33 crore Devatas but 33 types (Koti in Sanskrit) of Devatas. They are explained in Shatpath Brahman very clearly. These include –
8 Vasus (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sky, Moon, Sun, Stars/ Planets) that form components of universe where we live,
10 Life Forces in our body or Prana (Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, Samaana, Naga, Kurma, Kukala, Devadatta) and 1 Soul called Rudra,
12 Aditya or months of year,
1 Vidyut or Electromagnetic force that is of tremendous use to us
1 Yajna or constant noble selfless deeds done by humans
The master of these 33 Devatas is the Mahadeva or Ishwar who alone is to be worshipped as per 14th Kanda of Shatpath Brahman.
The concept of 33 Devatas is a great research based subject in itself and requires in-depth study for proper understanding. However, it has been made very clear in all Vedic texts that they are NOT Ishwar and hence NOT to be worshipped.
3. Ishwar has huge number of properties. Ignorant people wrongly consider these properties of Ishwar to be different Ishwars. For example, in today’s newspaper there were 2 headlines – One referred to Dr Singh and other to Manmohan. That does not mean India has two Prime Ministers!
4. To dispel such confusions, there are several mantras in Vedas that clearly state that there is One and Only One Ishwar without any assistants, agents, prophets or juniors to liaison between Him and Us. For example:
This entire world is embedded within and managed by the One and Only One Ishwar. Never dare do any injustice or desire riches through unjust means. Instead follow the righteous path and enjoy His bliss. After all He alone is source of all bliss!
Ishwar alone is omnipresent and manager of entire universe. He alone provides victory and eternal cause of world. All souls should look up only to Him in same manner as children look up to their Father. He alone provides for our sustenance and bliss.
Ishwar enlightens the entire world. He is undefeated and undying. He is the creator of the world. All souls should seek bliss through seeking knowledge and acting thereupon. They should never shun the friendship of Ishwar.
Ishwar alone provides true knowledge to truth seekers. He alone is promoter of knowledge and motivates virtuous people into noble actions to seek bliss. He alone is the creator and manager of the world. Hence never worship anyone else except one and only Ishwar.
There is One and only One Creator and Maintainer of the entire world. He alone is sustaining the earth, sky and other heavenly bodies. He is Bliss Himself! He alone deserves to be worshipped by us.
He is neither two, nor three, nor four, nor five, nor six, nor seven, nor eight, nor nine, nor ten. He is, on contrary, One and Only One. There is no Ishwar except Him. All devatas reside within Him and are controlled by Him. So He alone should be worshipped, none else.
Ishwar alone is greatest and worth being worshipped. He is the source of all knowledge and activities.
Ishwar resides at each point in universe. No space is devoid of Him. He is self-sustaining and does not need help of any agent, angel, prophet or incarnation to perform His duties. The soul which is able to realize this One and only One Ishwar achieves Him and enjoys unconditional ultimate bliss or Moksha.
There are innumerable such mantras in Vedas that explain One and Only One Ishwar and instructs us to worship Him directly without invoking any other entity – Incarnation, Prophet, Angel or Agent.
Q: How do you establish existence of Ishwar?
A: Through direct and indirect evidences.
Q: But direct evidence of Ishwar cannot be possible. How do you then establish Ishwar?
1. Evidence means the clear knowledge determined through stimuli received from sense organs. But note that sense organs capture the properties and not the ’cause of these properties’.
For example, when you read this article, you do not capture existence of Agniveer, but only certain images coming on your screen that you interpret into meaningful knowledge. And then you conclude that there has to be some writer of this article and claim that you have evidence of existence of Agniveer. So this is ‘indirect evidence’ even though it appears ‘direct’.
Similarly, this whole creation that we observe via its properties through sense organs imply existence of Ishwar.
2. When you can link a sensory input directly to an entity, you claim to have ‘direct evidence’. For example when you eat a mango, you feel the property of sweetness and associate it with the mango that you consumed. What is important is that you can associate such ‘direct evidence’ ONLY with specific sense organ that was used to observe that property.
Thus in previous example, you cannot have ‘direct evidence’ of mango through ‘ears’ but only through ‘tongue’ or ‘nose’ or ‘eyes’.
Also in reality this is also ‘indirect evidence’ though we term it ‘direct evidence’ for sake of simplicity.
Now since Ishwar is the most subtle entity existing, it is impossible to have ‘direct evidence’ of Ishwar through coarse sense organs like eyes, nose, tongue, skin or ears. For example we cannot see subatomic particles even through most powerful microscopes, we cannot hear ultrasonic sound, we cannot feel the touch of each individual molecule.
In other words, Ishwar is impossible to be evidenced through these coarse and weak sense organs just as mango cannot be sensed through ears or subatomic particles cannot be sensed through any sense organ for that matter.
3. The only organ that can sense Ishwar is mind or Mana. When mind is fully controlled and devoid of involuntary disturbances (like thousands of thoughts coming all the time) and adequate knowledge about properties of Ishwar has been obtained through study and practice, Ishwar can be evidenced directly through intellect in same manner as a mango is evidenced through its taste.
This is the goal of life and this is what a Yogi attempts to do through all the various methods of mind control that include cultivating traits like non-violence, truth-seeking, compassion, seeking bliss for all, high moral character, fighting against injustice, unity among people, etc etc.
4. In a way we get hints of direct evidence of Ishwar everyday in our life. When we try to indulge in any wrong act like theft, cheating, brutality, we hear that faint ‘inner voice’ in form of fear, shame, doubt etc. And when we indulge in noble deeds like helping others, blessing a child etc, we again hear that ‘inner voice’ in form of fearlessless, sense of satisfaction, enthusiasm and feeling of bliss.
This ‘inner voice’ is from Ishwar. Often we reduce its audibility by trying to silence it through loud DJ Music of stupid tendencies around. But then we all at times feel this ‘inner voice’ getting louder now and then, when things are relatively silent.
5. And when the soul purifies itself from mental disturbances and gets away from the DJ club, it is able to directly evidence itself as well as Ishwar.
Hence both through direct and indirect evidence, Ishwar is established as clearly as other entities witnessed by us.
Q: Where does Ishwar live?
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