Hinduism is not a religion but a culture or a way of life. This Hinduism is said to have almost 30 million gods in worship.
This is an amazing figure to read. But in fact, it is said that these real gods and goddesses were born and lived in human form before they left. So Hindus never worship non-existent or imaginative gods.
The term Hindu or Hinduism is coined to denote some name beside other religions.
So this religion or sect of people who follow this way of life worships many gods.
But most of them have one or rarely more than one god as their home deity.
And further, they are free to pray whomever they want.
Among Hindu gods, we can see males, females and even animal forms. Even nature and mother earth is considered a god. So this religion gives great respect to even nature around.
Hindu deities: features of Hindu gods and goddesses
a. Shakti: The mother of the universe and the actual god from whom the three fundamental gods emerged. These three are Bramha, Vishnu, and Maheshwari. They are responsible for all the worldly deeds.
She is the powerful goddess and represented as a fierce kali with weapons and many arms (hands) seating over a lion.
b. Bramha: The god who is said to create everything in the world. Since he creates everything, he is the father of creation. He can create any person, animal, weapon, or anything, whichever is needed. He has married goddess Saraswathi. Since the goddess also is his creation, it is considered a sin as a father can’t marry a daughter. Hence he is least worshiped. One can rarely find temples for him. He is said to have emerged from the navel of Lord Vishnu.
c. Vishnu: The most famous and powerful of gods. He is the most peaceful of the Hindu gods and yields pleasant blessings to his devotees. He is said to be taking forms regularly as a human to keep society on the right path. He is the one who has come to earth as Lord Ram, Krishna, Venkateshwara (Balaji), panduranga, Kalki, etc. He is worshiped prominently by many people among Hindus. He is said to be a calm, pleasant and luxurious gods. His wife is Goddess Laxmi. While Bramha is said to be the creator of the universe, Lord Vishnu is said to be its maintainer.
d. Shiva: Lord Shiva is considered the greatest among the gods. Hence named as maha dev (largest/ biggest god). He is married to goddess Parvathi who is a form of Goddess Shakti. Since she is the mother of the universe, Lord Shiva is considered the universe’s father. Lord Shiva is considered as the destroyer among the three gods. So the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar ( Shiva), make up the trio of Hindu basic gods.
e. Rama: Lord Rama is said to be one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He is married to goddess Sita. He was the son of king Dasaratha. He defeated the demon king Ravana who was king of Lanka. Ravana is said to have carried away (kidnapped) goddess Sita in deceit.
Lord Rama temple can be found in almost all the villages and towns with decent Hindu populations. He is regarded for his great values like devotion to parents, teachers, noble king, and other excellent characters.
Lord Krishna, the next incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was the brother of Balaram, the king of Dwaraka. He is one of the most prayed gods as a symbol of wisdom, romance, intelligence, and purity. His spiritual teachings and divine knowledge can be found in the Bhagavad Gita. Every human should read it once in a lifetime for peace and prosperity in the world.
g. Balaji: The lord Balaji is quite famous and is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His temple in Tirupathi is said to be the richest in the world. After the Vatican, it is believed to be the second largest.
He is married to goddess Padmavati.
She is the goddess of wealth and luck. If one is an ardent devotee of this goddess, he will be rid of poverty and bad luck. She is the wife of Lord Vishnu. She is also said to be the sister of the moon lord.
Goddess Saraswathi is the deity of education and learning. As mentioned before, she is the wife of Lord Brahma. Anyone who worships with devotion gets the blessing of comprehension and memory. Students in education should worship her for better performance in education.
j. Ganesh: The son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. He is said to have given an elephant head by his father, Lord Shiva. Interestingly he is made out of clay by goddess Parvathi and given life. He is the God who can remove any obstacles in your path to success. One is even blessed with wealth and wisdom due to him.
The most powerful gods yet in monkey form always near the foot of Lord Sri Ram. You will be amazed to see his temples in every nook and corner of villages and towns. Even one can find his statues and idols under trees, on hills and mountains. He is said to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva to help Lord Rama. He believed to be present even today in his physical form, and one can find at places where there is bhajan of Lord Shri Ram. For benefits of praying him to read how to pray lord hanuman.
l. Murugan: He is also another famed deity. He is the brother of Lord Ganesha. His other name is Kumara Swamy. His vehicle is a peacock. He is said to have been born to kill demons with exceptional powers.
m. Ayyappa Swamy: He is born to Mohini, an avatar of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. He is born to kill a demon who had the blessing to be killed by one who is not born to a male and female parent. Hence, by combining the Mohini avatar of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, he is born to two males. This god is quite famous and has a number of devotees growing every year.
n. Sai Baba: He is a saint with a godly figure who lived in Shirdi, India, during British rule. He has left his human form in the year 1918. Many British officers were lucky to witness his miracles and hence did not restrict him. He has millions of devotees, and they experience his miracles even today.
o. Narasimha: The Avatar of Lord Vishnu born to kill the demon king hiranykashyap. This avatar has a lion’s face with the human body. Devotees worship this form of Vishnu to overcome fear and develop courage. Many believe this form of Vishnu removes all evils in life.
q. Pandu ranga. This god is also a form of Lord Vishnu.
r. The 9 planets: As per Hinduism, a person on earth is influenced by other celestial bodies neighboring the earth. These include the Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Rahu and Ketu. The Rahu and Ketu are shadow entities and related to the time of eclipses. All these planets are worshipped as gods and these bodies seem to have an immense effect on humans. Even Hindu astrology also describes the personality traits based on these planets’ arrangement in the birth chart. One can foretell a person’s life course well by this chart. Also, there are astrological remedies to overcome the ill effects of these plants in one’s life.
s. Rivers: In Hinduism, nature is also part of god. Hence, rivers and seas are considered gods. Only the difference is rivers are treated as female gods or goddesses. While the seas and oceans as male gods are, i.e., gods.
t. Fire: Even fire is god and is considered an important contributor to life in the form of energy.
u. Trees and plants. Some plants are considered especially sacred and worshipped as gods. They are said to be dwelling places of certain gods like shakti or kali.
The list is not exhaustive and there are many gods who are worshipped in different places and have a huge number of devotees.