Why are there so many Gods in Hinduism?

The ancient seers of India recognized that all of God’s creation does not just center around man, but that man shares the universe with numerous life forms. Some life forms have less powers and abilities than humans while others have more. God grants some of these various higher beings cosmic powers and assigns them the responsibilities of running the “machinery of the universe.” These higher beings are also known as devtãs, devãs or Gods. While Hindus respect these gods to be higher than humans, and even propitiate them in times of need, Hindus also readily acknowledge that these gods are clearly subservient to and have their origin and sustenance in one Supreme God. Hindus are thus monotheists, worshippers of one Supreme God, in every sense of the word.

Historically, many groups have been unwilling or unable to understand the true position and function of the various Gods within Hinduism. Consequently, out of misunderstanding or prejudice, they have incorrectly labeled Hinduism as polytheistic in the sense of the ancient Roman or Greek pantheon. However, this is incorrect. Just as other religions consider themselves monotheistic while still accepting the existence of “angels” and other superhuman divinities, Hinduism should be considered monotheistic in the same sense.

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