Ask A Hindu: How Many Gods?

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By Sreedharani Nandagopal 

How many Hindu gods are there?

Sanathana Dharma (in Sanskrit), meaning “eternal dharma” or “eternal order” is the original name of Hinduism. Sanatana Dharma was designed as a way of life to best ensure the continuity of humanity on this Earth and provide the entire population with spiritual sustenance.

Ahimsa Paramo Dharma, “is the eternal Dharma of Hinduism.” It means non-violence is the utmost duty. Parama Aathma (The great soul) in every living being is supreme and is a constant in this ever changing world.

India (called Bharatha Desha in Sanskrit which is the language of the Divine), is a very very ancient country and the spirituality has evolved over thousands of years. Each community has its own way of worshipping and rituals, which continue to this day in the world wherever Hindus are settled. Our way of spirituality is very individualistic as each individual can worship any one they want.

Our Divine Being reincarnates and says that for the sake of establishing Dharma in the world and destroy evil, he/she will be born again and again.

These reincarnations or Avataras (in Sanskrit) are worshipped as well.

Hindus worship anything and everything that is created by the Divine. This includes The Sun (Surya namaskara in Yoga), the moon, water, air, rivers, mountains, trees, flowers, animals, etc. Without these we cannot exist. Every living being has a reason to exist. Hinduism says that we should live in cooperation with the environment and not with competition.

So Hinduism is not a cult, but a way of living which started thousands of years ago with no beginning date. Neither do we know who started it.

With so many ways of worshipping including the reincarnated forms of the Divine, Mother Goddess, the animals, planets, things in nature, we do not have a count of how many Gods and Goddesses are there. We worship whomever we want depending on the day and/or the festival, etc.

About Sreedharani Nandagopal

Sreedharani Nandagopal followed her physician sister to Seattle in 1969. She attended University of Washington to get her Physics and engineering degree. Then, In 1975 went back to India and got married to an electrical engineering professor (Mallur Nandagopal, Ph.D.) and at the same time I received her immigrant visa. Together they returned to Seattle. In 1977 they moved to Spokane. Her husband has done some innovative things for the city of Spokane, one of them being rebuilding the Upriver Dam Hydroelectric project which produces annually
over $3 million in revenue to the city. Sreedharani taught for the Community Colleges of Spokane for 27 years and other colleges in this area including NIC. Together they do volunteer work for the schools and community at large by giving presentations about Indian culture, Hinduism, etc. They also try to educate the Spokane and the vicinity citizenry by bringing classical concerts and dance-dramas from India with the help of Rotary, Spokane Arts, Spokane city, Innovia Foundation, and many other organizations, and individual donors.

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