Vedic Gods

The Vedic Gods

- April 4, 2023


By Malini Saigal

The earliest Hindu scriptures are the Vedas, which have hymns to many gods or devas, most of whom were linked to natural phenomena such as Indra (god of thunder and rain), Vayu (god of wind), Agni (god of fire), Surya (sun god), Chandra (moon god), and so on. These gods were also the Dikpalas or guardians of the eight directions.

Indra
Illustration: Sanjay Valecha, Durgesh Velhal

Indra is the king of the Vedic gods. He carries a thunderbolt and brings rain or life to the world. He rides on Airavata, the white elephant, and presides over a sumptuous court in Indralok, with beautiful apsaras in attendance. He is also the guardian of the eastern direction and the husband of the beautiful Shachi or Indrani.

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Agni
Illustration: Sanjay Valecha, Durgesh Velhal

Agni is the god of fire. He is associated with the domestic cooking fire and also with the fire lit at yagnas. So, his is often shown with two flames around his crown. He is the one who carries all the offerings to the various gods (as the offerings are given into the fire). Agni rides a ram and is also the lord of the southeast direction. In later times, he also becomes the foster father to Kartikeya, the son of Shiva.

Vayu
Illustration: Sanjay Valecha, Durgesh Velhal

Vayu is the Vedic god of wind. He is also the lord of prana or breath. His is the guardian of the northwest direction.

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