Unlike other religions that have followers in a large number of countries, the Hindu gods are mostly worshipped in India, where their legends originated 4000 years ago, in the Indus Valley.

One of the most interesting differences in relation to other cultures is that Hindu gods are worshipped in everyday life; they are not seen as abstract figures but as an intrinsic part of families and community. Let us see which are the most representative Hindu gods of Hinduism and what is their associated mythology.

The most important Hindu gods

Hindu mythology has approximately more than 30 million gods, but evidently there are some deities that are more renowned than others and are more worshipped throughout India. Here we will give an overview of the best known Hindu gods

1. Brahma

The supreme creator of the universe for Hindus is the god Brahma, who can inhabit both living beings and inanimate objects. From this god two other Hindu gods are derived, called Deva and Devi, which represent one or several aspects of him.

Thus, Brahma is the creator and the first of the Hindu gods , responsible for having created everything known to man. He symbolizes a source of wisdom and represents intelligence.

In the images he is represented with four faces , which indicate his great capacity for knowledge, and four hands as a sign of the various aspects of human personality: mind, intellect, ego and consciousness.

2. Vishnu

Vishnu, the Preserver, is one of the most aesthetically beautiful Hindu Gods and is appreciated by the Hindu community. He is the Preserver in view of the fact that symbolizes order, peace, and universal love . His purpose is precisely to maintain these values in the world and therefore he motivates his faithful to be compassionate and kind to their peers. This deity is usually represented with blue skin.

After Brahma, Vishnu turns out to be the second of the Hindu gods of the main trilogy, and Shiva is the third deity.

3. Shiva

As mentioned earlier, Shiva is the third deity in the trinity of Hindu Gods, known as The Destroyer.

It represents the other side of the universe with respect to Vishnu. One is the beginning of life, the other is the end. But the end seen as the possibility of everything arising again, for there to be life there must also be death . This is how it should be understood in Hindu philosophy, as a positive energy for the balance of the universe.

Shiva is also recognized as the God of Dance, an art that for Hindus has great religious and spiritual significance. The snake around his neck symbolizes energy of life . He has 19 reincarnations.

4. Lakshmi

She is the wife of Vishnu, considered the goddess of fortune and beauty. She happens to be one of the deities to whom more prayers are given in homes and businesses in India.

Hindu mythology tells a magnificent love story between Lakshmi and Vishnu. It is said that when one reincarnates the other does so in order to stay together.

The Goddess Lakshmi is represented as a beautiful woman with four arms and rising in a lotus flower , and lives where there is industriousness, courage and virtue.

5. Krishna

Krishna is another of the Hindu gods that the inhabitants of South Asia love the most. According to Hindu mythology he is represented as a hero, leader, teacher and friend. That is why he is called the dweller of hearts.

If we take a trip all over India, we can see a lot of sculptures and works of art that present him in human form, almost always playing a flute , because he is very fond of music. It is said that Krishna is endowed with love, and has the power to destroy pain and sins.

6. Ganesha

Son of Shiva and his spouse Parvati, Ganesha joins Krishna and Hanuman as one of the most popular Hindu Gods in the Indian subcontinent.

He has an elephant’s head with a human body , and is considered the destroyer of obstacles and an envoy of good news. He is associated with art and science, and is even said to be the god of intelligence.

One of the most common religious practices among the Hindu population is to pray to Ganesha before marriage, or when a project is to be carried out.

7. Branch

Protagonist of one of the most famous works of Hindu literature, the text Ramayana , Rama represents an exemplary man with all his virtues: courage, goodness, devotion and piety. His function is to destroy evil and fight for good things.

He is the second most important avatar of Vishnu and his story has antecedents in the Indian tribal heroes that existed thousands of years ago. He’s considered a king and a god.

8. Hanuman

It represents a symbol of strength and constancy. The Hindus invoke it in difficult times, considering that it represents energy and courage. He is known as the Monkey King , because of his ape-like form.

Hanuman is also a very popular deity in India (and in the world). In Hindu mythology his fame originates through his great loyalty to the God Rama, to whom he is devoted and a fellow fighter.

He is also a scholar who knows all the grammars and sacred books, but is so humble that he never boasts of his knowledge.

9. Saraswati

The images show her as a beautiful woman playing the zither on a lotus flower. Her clothes are modest, showing her predilection for knowledge and sensitivity.

Of all the Gods of the Hindu pantheon Saraswati is the one who represents creativity , music and the arts, which is why she is known as the Goddess of Knowledge. Believers often invoke her to enhance their capacity for understanding and learning in times of study

10. Kali

It symbolizes the dark side in harmony with the positive side. It is dual in nature and is shown more as a destroyer of demons than as a ruthless and hostile being .

In comparison to other Hindu gods who possess goodness and good values, it is believed that the Goddess Kali was born from the wrath of Shiva and therefore represents a destructive force. That is why she is also known as the Dark Mother.

The image of the Goddess shows a strong woman with a necklace made from the skulls of her enemies defeated in combat. It is said to symbolize the death of the ego and the temporary condition of the human body.

Bibliographic references:

  • Bakker, F. L. (1997). “Balinese Hinduism and the Indonesian State: Recent Developments”. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. Brill. Deel 153, 1ste Afl.: 15-41.
  • Robinson, S. (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Routledge.
  • Williams, R. B. (2001). An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136-138.