Episode # 121 – Why do we have DIFFERENT DEITIES in our Sanatana Dharma? An important answer!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the extension of the discussion on how all the “Atmans” in this world are “Bhagawad-Daasas” and cannot be “Svatantras” (Free in nature). As per our Sanaatana Dharma, no “Atmans’ ‘ can be “free” by nature, and are all abided by Bhagawan, who is the universal leader. Hence, rather than thinking it as something that is being forced upon us, if we take it in the right spirit, this is what blossoms into real “Bhakti” or “Ardent devotion” towards Bhagawan. In these lines, we had also witnessed a beautiful illustration as to how Hanuman walked this path alongside Bhagawan Rama and how he stood firmly as an epitome of being a “Bhagawad-Dasa”. We had witnessed how Hanuman accepted Bhagawan Rama to be his “Hero” and “Master”, the moment he saw both Bhagawan Rama and Lakshmana at Kishkinta. Although this episode is a very emotion-packed and a beautiful one for us to cherish, there is this message that is important for all of us to understand and implement in our lives as well. Just like how Hanuman accepted to be the “Bhagawad Dasa” of Bhagawan Rama, we should also accept to be the Bhagawad Dasa of whatever is our “Ishta-Devata” (Favourite Deity). 

Readers should understand clearly here that we’re not talking about a specific deity in this context. In fact, this is the beauty of our Sanaatana Dharma. It would never force or compel anyone to follow any particular deity, unlike several other religions. Our Sanaatana Dharma would only explain the principles of Bhakti, procedures of following the spiritual path, etc. However, it would never ever say at any instance that we should follow only Bhagawan Shiva or Bhagawan Vishnu or Goddess Devi, etc. All the deities are various forms of a single entity called Bhagawan, and our Sanaatana Dharma is very clear on that. I’m emphasizing on this point today because there is a huge misconception amidst many people that Hinduism has many deities and is very misleading in nature. It is a myth and has to be busted out. Yes, it is true that our Sanaatana Dharma talks about various deities like Bhagawan Ganesha, Bhagawan Muruga, Bhagawan Shiva, Bhagawan Vishnu, etc. however, it also clearly explains that all these deities are different forms of the universal “Cosmos”, or the “Cosmic energy”. 

A beautiful analogy to this point that I can think of is something called “Allotropy” in Chemistry. Carbon as a chemical has a beautiful and perhaps a unique property of exhibiting this phenomenon called “Allotropy”. Of course, readers who are familiar with some aspects of Chemistry might be able to relate this concept very well, however, I shall explain this with my limited knowledge. Allotropy is a property wherein an “element” can manifest itself in different forms at different times. For instance, Carbon can manifest itself into “Graphite”, “Diamond”, etc. Thus, Graphite and Diamond are the same carbon only, but in various forms. This is why we would see that if we heat up Graphite or Diamond beyond a certain temperature, it would be converted into ashes, which is carbon again! This is the same principle that we’re talking about in this context as well, with regards to Bhagawan too. In a way, Bhagawan Ganesha, Bhagawan Muruga, Bhagawan Shiva, etc. are all “Allotropes” of a single universal “Cosmic energy” called Bhagawan. This cosmic energy manifests itself in different forms at different time periods and these manifestations is what we refer to as the different deities. 

In fact, even during our earlier episodes I’ve emphasized one point – With regards to Bhagawan Vishnu Himself, it is not just that He has taken only ten “Avataras” (Incarnations). As we commonly know, right from the “Matsya Avatara” till the “Kalki Avatara”, Bhagawan Vishnu is well known for the ten different “Avataras”. But is that all? The answer is “No”! Bhagawan Vishnu has taken innumerable more “Avataras” and in fact, they run into several hundreds or thousands of them. For instance, Sage Veda Vyaasa who had authored the Mahabharata text is also considered to be one of Bhagawan Vishnu, and this is why we have this sloka as follows: 

“Vyaasaaya vishnu roopaaya vyaasa roopaaya vishnave!!”

In similar lines, Sage Kapilaachaarya too is highly regarded as another incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu. Like this, we can keep on expanding the various “Avataras” of Bhagawan Vishnu in this world. Thus, the point here is that, there needn’t be any confusion as to why we have different deities in our Sanaatana Dharma. Ultimately we should understand that all the different deities are “unique manifestations” of one single universal “Cosmic Energy”, just like how Diamond is an allotropic manifestation of Carbon.

So for today, let us understand this important point, and let us realize that all the “Jeevatmas” in this world are associated closely with the universal “Paramatma”, which is nothing but Bhagawan. This is exactly what Sage Jada-Bharata is also referring to in this context, and we shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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