Are There Really 33 Crore Gods in Hinduism?

33 Crore

Are There Really 33 Crore Gods in Hinduism?

33 koti means 33 types. Not 33 crores. Many hindus don’t even have knowledge about our own dharma. Sad.

The concept of 33 koti devata:

The Vedas refer to not 33 crore Devatas but 33 types (Koti in Sanskrit) of Devatas. They are explained in Shatpath Brahman and many other scriptures very clearly.

“Yasya Trayastrinshad Devaa Ange Sarve Samaahitaa, Skamma Tam Bruhi Katamah Swideva Sah”. ~(Atharva Veda 10-7-13)

Which means: with God’s influence, these thirty-three (supporting devta) sustain the world.

The number 33 comes from the number of Vedic gods explained by Yajnavalkya in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad – the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati. (Chapter I, hymn 9, verse 2)

They are: 8-Vasu, 11-Rudra, and 12-Aaditya, 1-Indra and 1-Prajaapati.

8. Vasus are: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, Moon, Sun, and Star. They are called Vasus, because they are abode of all that lives, moves or exists. (also mentioned in Mahabharat, 1/66/18)

11. Rudras: The ten Pranas (Praana, Apaana, Vyaana, Samaana, Udaana, Naag, Kurma, Krikal, Devadutta and Dhananjaya) i.e. nervauric forces which live in the human body. The eleventh is the human soul. These are called ‘Rudras’ because when they desert the body, it becomes dead and the relations of the deceased, consequently, begin to weep. Rudra means one who makes a person to weep. { also mentioned in Harivansha 13/51-52})

12. Adityaas —the twelve months of a year called Adityaas, they cause the lapse of the term of existence of each object or being. { also mentioned in Mahabharat 1/65/15-16})

1. Indra which is also known as the (all-pervading) electricity, as it is productive of great force.

1. Prajaapati , also called the “Yajna” because it benefits mankind by the purification of air, water, rain and vegetables and because it aids the development of various arts, and in it the honor is accorded to the learned and the wise.

The master of these 33 Devatas is the Mahadeva or Ishwar who alone is to be worshipped as per 14th Kanda of Shatpath Brahman.

So, what does the Vedas tell about the Hindu Gods 

To start with, the Rig Veda mentions 3 Gods –  Agni, on earth; Vayu in the air and Surya in the sky. However, further in the Rig-Veda itself this number is increased to thirty-three, of which 11 are said to be on earth, 11 in  heaven, and 11 in mid-air.

agni vayu jal hinduism Are There Really 33 Crore Gods in Hinduism?

Yes ’33 Crore Gods’ is a highly misinterpreted fact. The term ‘trayastrimsati koti’ mentioned in Atharva Veda, Yajur Veda, and Satapatha-brahmana, was misunderstood as 33 Crores. The term koti in Sanskrit has two meaning, one is ‘supreme’ and the other is Crore. So, somewhere in translation, we missed the basic fact that Hinduism has 33 Supreme Gods and not 33 Crore Gods.

Not just here, Translation also hampered Buddhist texts where Chinese Translated ‘Sapta Koti Buddha’ as 7 Crore Buddha whereas in its original form it meant 7 Supreme Buddhas, and not 7 Crore Buddhas. However, Tibetian text mentioned the word ‘Koti’ rightly sorting out the confusion.33 Crores

But, who are these 33 Gods in Hinduism – What are Their Names?

According to Vedas there are 33 Devas. These Gods are seperated in the following pattern : 12 + 11 + 8 + 2. 12 is the number of Adityas, 11 are the number of Rudras, 8 is the number of Vasus and out of the two left, one is Prajapati, the Master of Gods, and other is a Supereme Ruler who is very powerful. This is not a made up theory but is well documented in Chapter 3, Part 9 of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad where Sage Yajnavalkya is questioned by Sage Sakalya,

Here is the Conversation as taken  from PDF Version

rudra aditya prajapati hindu gods Are There Really 33 Crore Gods in Hinduism?

Chapter IX—Yajnavalkya and Vidaghdha

Then Vidaghdha, the son of Sakala, asked him: “How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?” “How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?”


“Very good,” said Sakalya and asked again:”How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?”


“Very good,” said Sakalya and asked again:”How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?”


“Very good,” said Sakalya and asked again:”How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?”


“Very good,” said Sakalya and asked again:”How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?”

“One and a half.“

“Very good,” said Sakalya and asked again:”How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?”

“One.” “Very good,” said Sakalya and asked:”Which are those thirty three gods?”

“The eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras and the twelve Adityas—these are thirty—one. And Indra and Prajapati make up the thirty—three.”

“Which are the Vasus?” asked Sakalya.

“Fire, the earth, the air, the sky, the sun, heaven, the moon and the stars—these are the Vasus; for inthem all this universe is placed (vasavah). Therefore they are called Vasus.”

“Which are the Rudras?” asked Sakalya.

“The ten organs in the human body, with the mind as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make one’s relatives weep. Because they make them weep (rud),therefore they are called Rudras.”

“Which are the Adityas?” asked Sakalya.

“There are twelve months in the year. These are the Adityas, because they move along carrying (adadanah) all this with them; therefore they are called Adityas.”

“Which is Indra and which is Prajapati?” asked Sakalya.

The thunderclap is Indra and the sacrifice is Prajapati.”

“Which is the thunderclap?”

“The thunderbolt.”

“Which is the sacrifice?”

“The animals.”


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