Why does law of Karma not apply to absolute incarnation?


1. Who assumes an incarnation

‘Creation, sustenance and dissolution are the inherent qualities of Nature. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh respectively are considered to be the originators of these qualities. The responsibility of nurturing creation lies with Vishnu. Hence when there are disturbances in creation, the process of destruction is enhanced and there is a disruption of Righteousness (Dharma) in human society. At that time He stops the destruction, re-establishes Righteousness and leads man onto the path of Righteousness. To fulfil this mission Lord Vishnu incarnates in every yug (era).

2. Where is the incarnation born?

By Nature’s law an embodied soul should assume its body from its parents. In accordance with this law The Supreme God too chooses people who have the virtues of kindness, sacrifice, penance, etc. as parents to assume an incarnation.’(1)

‘Effort is not required to grow wild plants unlike the process of grafting an hybrid. Just as a farmer ploughs the land before sowing seeds so also after deciding where to take birth The Lord appears to inspire the chosen couple to perform some austerity. To cite examples from holy texts, before the birth of Rama, Dasharath His father, performed a sacrificial fire to acquire a son (putrakameshti yadnya), before Hanuman’s birth His mother Anjani too undertook severe austerities. Similarly the biographies of various great saints like Markandeya, Ramavallabhdas, Purandardas, Morya Gosavi, Chidambar Dikshit, Basaveshvar, etc. also quote that Their parents had undertaken austerities before giving birth to Them.’(2)

3. Number of incarnations

‘In the parables of Narayan from the Mahabharat (Mahabharat Shantiparva 399) there is a discussion on the six incarnations namely, Varaha (the boar), Nrusinha (the man-lion), Vaman (the dwarf), Bhargavrama, Dasharathirama and Vasudevkrushna. Further in the same chapter there is a mention of the Hansa (swan) incarnation. Thus by the exclusion of Buddha there are ten incarnations in all. In some books the number goes upto twelve. The twenty-four incarnations described in the Bhagvat Puran (6.2.7) are 1. Narayan [the Absolute Being (Virat Purush)], 2. Brahma, 3. Sanatkumars (constituted by four of Them), 4. Naranarayan, 5. Kapil, 6. Dattatreya, 7. Suyadnya, 8. Hayagriv, 9. Rushabh (the bull), 10. Pruthu, 11. Matsya (the fish), 12. Kurma (the tortoise), 13. Hansa, 14. Dhanvantari (the physician of deities), 15. Vaman, 16. Parshuram, 17. Mohini, 18. Nrusinha, 19. Vedavyas, 20. Vyas, 21. Balaram, 22. Krushna, 23. Buddha and 24. Kalki.

All these incarnations are famous as the lilavatar meaning the incarnations displaying The Lord’s divine sport. In the Purans which were written later the number of incarnations is fixed at ten. They are 1. Matsya, 2. Kurma, 3. Varaha, 4. Nrusinha, 5. Vaman, 6. Parshuram, 7. Rama, 8. Krushna, 9. Buddha and 10. Kalki.’ (3)

Of the 24 main incarnations 10 belong to Shankar, 10 to Vishnu and 4 to the female deity (devi).

‘The number of incarnations of Lord Vishnu are infinite. Based on this, the holy text Harivansha states “Lord Prajapati says that Lord Vishnu has assumed innumerable incarnations in the past and so will it be in the future”.’ (4)

4. Types of incarnations

4.1 According to the teachings of Saint

A. Internally the incarnations from points 1 to 4 are absolute but concepts about them are created based on their mission. (The percentages mentioned in brackets below have not been given by Saint.) Though the incarnations from points 2 to 4 possess the qualities of omniscience and omnipotence of The Lord their use is limited to the mission which they are supposed to accomplish.

  • 1. The absolute incarnation (paripurna avatar): In this incarnation omniscience and omnipotence of The Lord are fully manifest since birth, e.g. Lord Shrikrushna (God principle 100%).
  • 2. The complete incarnation (purna avatar) : In it, since birth omniscience and omnipotence are not as completely manifest as in the absolute incarnation. However with maturity it becomes more and more manifest, e.g. Shrirama (God principle 20-80%).
  • 3. The temporary incarnation (kala avatar) [distinguished saints] : Omniscience and omnipotence are obscure and manifest only to accomplish a mission, e.g. Samarth Ramdas Swami (God principle 5%).
  • 4. The partial incarnation (anshavatar) [saints] : Their lives are meant for the upliftment of those who come in Their proximity. Otherwise They serve as an ideal for the society, e.g. Shri Ramakrushna Paramhansa (God principle 3%).
  • 5. The incarnation of a less degree (anshaanshavatar) : All devotees of God and seekers (God principle 1/1000%)
  • 6. The incarnation of the least degree (anshaanshaanshavtar) or the obscure incarnation (gupta avatar) : Non-seekers (God principle 1/10,000 %)

B. Becoming an incarnation ourselves: Either because of the love for ignorance or the ignorance of love one feels that only ten incarnations of The Lord have been described. The eighth incarnation, Shri Krushna and the ninth, Buddha have already taken birth. The one remaining now is Kalki. But will we live to see an incarnation?

These ten incarnations have been described for the average man but if we view the concept of incarnation with an extraordinary perspective then we too are incarnations. We can be called obscure incarnations. Since we are obscure incarnations, we do not feel satisfied with ourselves. However if these obscure incarnations were to manifest would we not feel satisfied ? But how the manifestation will occur, is the question. This manifestation occurs by worship of manifest incarnations like Rama, Krushna, etc. that is by observing one’s own code of Righteousness (Dharma). A devotee does not feel the need for an incarnation because he is convinced that he himself is an incarnation of God. He considers his body to be that of The Lord’s and behaves in a manner worthy of God.

C. An incarnation from moment to moment: I say that God incarnates every moment. If one observes carefully one will note that whenever one’s attention gets drawn towards rajasik (raja predominant) and tamasik (tama predominant) objects an attempt to restrain it with the power to discriminate between right and wrong (vivek) and to convert it into the sattvik (sattva predominant) attitude is made. This too occurs because of Righteousness, that is God Himself does it through the medium of the power to discriminate between right and wrong. As one’s sattvik attitude gets polluted with raja-tama components The Lord Himself intervenes in the form of that power and makes the attitude sattvik and pure. Thus one can call this an incarnation of God at every moment.

D. Nature of different types

Incarnations are assumed with a mission,
Some manifest whereas others remain obscure.
Only the one who has realised Brahman recognises them.
What will the ignorant realise?

This is a verse from Shri Gurucharitra (3:78). It is believed that there are only ten incarnations, but this is said only grossly. If one views carefully then one will realise that the tradition of incarnations is continuous. The process of going from sattva to tama and consequent deterioration in Righteousness (Dharma) goes on constantly. That itself is the very nature of Prakruti (creation) just like water which has the inherent tendency to flow along a gradient. And when there is a possibility of the tama component reaching a peak, an absolute incarnation (purnavatar) manifests. Internally all saints are absolute. Though They possess the attributes of omniscience and omnipotence yet in accordance with the mission for that period (kal) they are used only limitedly. Hence the ignorant do not refer to Them as incarnations, that is all. Saints give Their close disciples an intense realisation that ‘I Myself am an incarnation of The Lord’. In this context, Saint Eknath says that only a liberated soul (jivanmukta) will recognise another. The Lord has said ‘सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि स योगी मयी वर्तते ।’ in the Shrimadbhagvadgita 6:31. This means that since the mode of speech (vani) of all saints and Their close disciples is in accordance with the Vedas, it is divine. So, irrespective of Their outward behaviour They have merged into Me. Saint Dnyaneshvar poses a question as to ‘why the chance utterance of words (disciples) of these saints may not be called the Vedas?’. Thus it can be said that as an individual becomes more and more sattvik (sattva predominant) The Lord Himself gets the mission of reinstatement of Righteousness (Dharma) accomplished from him. Considering the influence of the yug (era) and the passage of time the code of Righteousness in man constantly changes. Despite that, saints mould his mental state in such a way that he is able to realise the truth.

Buddha is the ninth incarnation in the Kaliyug and is going to continue in this yug. Here the Buddha incarnation does not refer to Goutam Buddha. It is just that the first (adi) Shankaracharya has considered Him as an incarnation because of His sattvik temperament based on the lines from the Gita ‘यद्‌ यद्‌ विभूतिमत्‌ सत्त्वम्‌’. The Buddha incarnation is the one whom one can recognise with pure intellect (buddhi) alone. One such description from the holy text Shri Gurucharitra says, ‘In the Kaliyug Buddha became a mouni (observer of silence). He discarded His garments and became nude’. Here Buddha is the one who can be recognised only with pure intellect. Mouni refers to the one who will not necessarily speak in accordance with the Vedas. Though His speech is in accordance with the Vedas, superficially it does not appear so. In the above quote the garments depict conduct and discarding them and becoming nude refers to not following the Vedic code of conduct. That is why it becomes difficult to recognise saints like Bhaktaraj Maharaj. Those who recognised Him were indeed very fortunate. Only such a fortunate one, the worthiest of devotees can recognise Bhaktaraj (King of devotees) Maharaj. Their spiritual practice is like that of the gopis (wives of the cowherds) towards Krushna. It is called non-Vedic spiritual practice of the Vedas. However it is not accomplished through the spiritual practice of love prescribed by the Vedas. It has progressed with the pace of a bird (vihangam marg). The vihangam path refers to acquiring the result instantly, like the bird. The path of attaining God very slowly like an ant is called the pipilika (ant) path. Even here it is a relative term. If the grace of the Guru is showered upon the one adopting the pipilika path in spiritual practice then he becomes eligible to undertake the non-Vedic spiritual practice of love and at that very moment reaches the zenith. Hence Bhaktaraj Maharaj is a Buddha incarnation or an absolute incarnation (purnavatar). Only with pure intellect acquired by the grace of the Guru, bestowed as a consequence of intense service rendered unto Him, while in satsang (holy company), can one recognise Him.

4.2 According to the Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh

A. ‘Absolute and partial incarnation

  • Absolute incarnations (purnavtar) : When The Supreme God assumes an incarnation along with His shaktivyuha (constellation of energies), in order to slay demons like Ravan and Kansa who grossly violate Righteousness (Dharma) and ethical codes and become a burden on Mother Earth and remains in the world for sometime even after the task is accomplished, the incarnation is known as an absolute incarnation. From this point of view Rama and Krushna are believed to be absolute incarnations. (Usually only Krushna is accepted as an absolute incarnation.) Rama’s brother, Lakshman is the incarnation of the divine serpent, Shesh and the monkeys are incarnations of the deities in heaven. Similarly Balaram is the incarnation of Shesh, Rukmini of Lakshmi and the gopas and gopis (cowherds and their wives) accompanying Krushna those of deities and celestial beauties. This is the energy constellation of Rama and Krushna.
  • Partial incarnations (anshavtar) : To pacify minor disruptions The Supreme God incarnates for a short period of time and disappears after completion of the task. This is referred to as a partial incarnation. In the Adiparva of the Mahabharat, chapters 54 to 64 enlist the partial incarnations. Such a list has also been given in the fourth skandha (volume) of the Devibhagvat quoting the incarnations assumed by different deities.
Incarnation Whose Incarnation? Incarnation Whose Incarnation?
A. In the context of Jai-Vijay (gatekeepers of Lord Vishnu)
Hiranyaksha Jai Hiranyakashipu Vijay
Ravan Hiranyaksha Kumbhakarna Hiranyakashipu
Shishupal Ravan Dantavakra Kumbhakarna
B. In the context of Krushna
Devak King of celestial
Vasudev Kashyap
Devaki Aditi Balaram Adishesh
Shrikrushna Vishnu, Sage
Gopal Subordinate
The cows Sages Radha Indra’s queen
Rukmini Adimaya Pradyumna Sanatkumar
Kansa Kalnemi Jarasandha Viprachitti
Kubja Manthara** Keshi Hayagriv
C. In the context of the Pandavs
Kunti Siddhi Madri Dhruti
Drupad Varun Dharma
Arjun Indra, Sage
Bhim Yayu (deity of
(physicians of
Droupadi Parvati
The five sons
of Panchali
Vishvedev Virat Marut
Dhrushtadyumna Pavak (Agni) Maruti The eleventh
Rudra, Shiva
D. In the context of Kauravs
Shantanu Varun Bhishma The eight vasus
(deities of
Vidur Dharma Dhrutarashtra Hansa (the swan)
Gandhari Mati Shakuni Dvaparyug (era)
Duryodhan Kaliyug (era) Dronacharya Bruhaspati (the
Guru of deities)
Attendants of
Marut and Rudra
Karna Surya (Sun deity)
Ashvatthama Shiva’s rage Shikhandi Amba
E. Others
Dhrushtaketu Anulhad Dhenuk Khar
Bhagadatta Bashkal Pralamb Lamb
Shalya Pralhad    
* She performed austerities so that Lord Vishnu would love her.
** Rama had cursed Manthara for her bad deeds. When she pleaded
for a mitigation of the curse Rama had told her, “I will uplift you in
My next incarnation”.

B. Eternal incarnations: According to the quote “Whenever I experience divinity I fold my hands in obeisance” wherever there is a manifestation of some qualities of God, to some extent, it is called an eternal incarnation.

C. Incarnations after a specific time interval

  • Incarnations in a kalpa (kalpavatar) [or incarnations displaying The Lord’s divine sport (lilavatar)] : In every kalpa (1000 turns of the four yugs) these incarnations occur, e.g. Sanatkumars, Sanandan, Sanatan, Narad, Varaha (the boar), Matsya (the fish), Yadnya, Nara-Narayan, Sage Kapil, Dattatreya, Hayagriv, Hansa (the swan), Prushnig, Rushabh (the bull), Pruthu, Nrusinha (the man-lion), Kurma (the tortoise), Dhanvantari (the physician of the deities), Mohini, Vaman (the dwarf), Parshuram, Rama, Sage Vyas, Baladev, Krushna, Buddha and Kalki.
  • Incarnations in a manvantar (manvantaravatar) : These incarnations occur in every manvantar (71 turns of the four yugs), e.g. Yadnya, Vibhu, Satyasen, Hari, Vaikunth, Ajit, Vaman, Sarvabhaum, Rushabh, Vishvaksen, Dharmasetu, Sudama, Yogeshvar and Bruhadbhanu.
  • Incarnations in a yug (era) [yugavatar] : These occur in every yug. Shukla, Rakta, Shyam and Krushna have been incarnating in succession from the Krutyug onwards in every yug.

D. Incarnations for worship (archavatar)

  • Idols of The Lord charged with energy (pranpratishtha) and worshipped by devotees are included in these.
  • Sudden assumption of the form of an idol by the unmanifest form, e.g. Lord Pandurang.

E. Internal incarnation: The Supreme Soul who resides in the hearts of all living beings and regulates all their activities (Shrimadbhagvadgita 18:61) is an example of an internal incarnation.

F. Manifestation: In some great souls there is manifestation of The Lord in the form of energy, knowledge or devotion. The divine serpent, Shesh is a manifestation of energy, Sages Sanak and Sanandan of knowledge and Sage Narad of devotion.

G. Incarnations of qualities (gunavatar) : Brahma, Shiva, Manu, Prajapati and saints are thought to be incarnations of qualities of The Lord.

H. Incarnations of personages (vibhavavatar): They are believed to be thirty-nine in number. Dhruv, Kapil, Madhusudan and Padmanabh are the personages included in them (Ahirbudhnya Sanhita 5.50).

I. Incarnations which symbolise Righteousness (sattvavatar) : Time, personality, work, intellect, mind, the five cosmic elements, ego, the three components (triguns), organs, the body composed of Brahman and animate and inanimate creation are included in these (Bhagvat Puran 6.2.7).’(5)

5. Vyuha (constellations of deities) and incarnations

‘The Shantiparva of the Mahabharat describes the Narayaniya sect. This sect was first propagated by The Lord to Arjun and then to Sage Narad (Mahabharat Shantiparva 346.10-11; 348.6- 8). Later Sage Narad formulated the doctrine of vyuha in the Narayaniya sect. Vasudev, Sankarshan, Pradyumna and Aniruddha together were the four elements of the doctrine. Here Vasudev is The Supreme God and The Creator of the universe. Sankarshan is His second form. He can be considered as the representative of living beings. Pradyumna who originated from Sankarshan symbolises the mind. It is from Pradyumna that Aniruddha who represents ego is generated. All these four are forms of Narayan. The doctrine of vyuha can be explained as follows.

At the beginning of a kalpa Lord Vasudev creates not only the unmanifest basic Great Illusion (mul Prakruti) but along with it also Sankarshan, a particular embodied soul or vyuha. The mind manifests through the union of Sankarshan and the Great Illusion and is represented by Pradyumna. It is from Aniruddha that the cosmic elements and their components are created. Lord Brahma too is created at the same time and with the help of the elements He creates the universe consisting of living beings.’ (6)


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
Second edition: Vol. 1,2   First edition: Vol 3 to 10.
[1]. Vol. 1, Pg. 286       [3]. Vol. 1, Pg. 289
[4]. Vol. 8, Pg. 794       [5]. Vol. 1, Pg. 290, 291
[6]. Vol. 1, Pg. 292

[2]. Siddharudh Vaibhav, Pg. 15, by (H.H. Ai) Kalavati Ai. Akshay Trutiya – 1984. Publisher: Shri Harimandir Publishing Sanstha, Belgaon and Thane.


Why does Muladhar chakra get activated by the chanting of the Name of family deity?


1. Deity of a forest (vanadevata)

Definition: This refers to a deity of a forest or a deity in the form of a forest.

Other Names: Deities with names of trees such as Amjai (deity of the mango tree), Nimjai (deity of the neem tree), etc.

Special features: It is said that this deity gets enraged and torments if it is not worshipped when crossing a forest or if one sings or whistles in its proximity.

Science behind the idol: These deities do not have specific idols like other deities. Branches of trees thrust into a heap of stones represent them.

Ritualistic worship: Tribals (adivasis) worship this deity in the form of stones and honour it by placing stones and branches of trees on it to prevent it from troubling them. A rooster, a billy goat or a piglet is offered as a sacrifice to it.

Woodcutters, shepherds, cowherds, tribals, etc. who constantly visit the forest receive tremendous psychological support from this deity.

2. Deity of water (jaladevata)

A. Definition and meaning: ‘Deities resembling spirits (pishach) dwelling in or around a reservoir of water or close to flowing water are referred to as deities of water. They are distinct from deities of water like Varun, Apadev, etc. They are seven in number.

B. Other Names: These seven deities of water are called “Sat Asara”. Asara is a corrupted form of the Sanskrut word apsara meaning celestial beauty. Apa (अप) means water (apa) and sru sar (सृ सर) means to play. Celestial beauties are women who play in water. The number of celestial beauties living in the clouds and indulging in play with water (jalakrida) as mentioned in the Vedas and the Purans is seven. It is the same according to the text Amarkosh as well.

घृताची मेनका रम्‍भा उर्वशी च तिलोत्तमा ।
सुकेशी मञ्‍जुघोषाद्या: कथ्‍यन्‍तेऽप्‍सरसो बुधै: ।।

       Meaning: The seven celestial beauties quoted by the scholars are 1. Ghrutachi, 2. Menaka, 3. Rambha, 4. Urvashi, 5. Tilottama, 6. Sukeshi and 7. Manjughosha. The seven asaras are named: Machi (Matsyi), Kurmi, Karkati, Darduri, Jatupi, Somapa and Makari. In different places they are considered as the seven sisters or seven matrukas (deities).’(1)

C. Special feature: They possess people specially young women and children who enter the water alone.

D. Science behind the idols: Their idols are not found anywhere. Seven lines drawn on a stone or seven stones painted with sindhur (a saffron coloured powder) near a reservoir of water depict the seven asaras.

E. Ritualistic worship: To appease them they are offered an animal sacrifice. If a woman is possessed by them then seven married women (suvasinis) are offered a meal and an oti with coconuts and material for a blouse. (Some spirits like Khavis, Zhoting, Jakhin, Lav, Hadal and Bapadev are also associated with water.)

Deities in the form of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Narmada are given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 9 B – Divine Energy (Shakti)’.

3. Guardian deities of the entrance (dvarpal)

A. Definition and meaning: ‘Those who guard the entrance of a premise by standing at the door are guardian deities of the entrance. They come from a class similar to deities. They stand on either side of the main entrance of a big temple or a cave.

B. Names: They have Names like Chand-Prachand, Jai-Vijay, Chand-Mahachand, Padmapani-Vajrapani and Harabhadra-Subhadra.

C. Mission and special features

  • Protecting a premise
  • According to the Vajrayan, a Buddhist sect, various parts of a door as given below are considered deities.

    1. Talika: Its symbol is a lock.

    2. Kunchi: Its symbol is a key.

    3. Kapat: Its symbol is a plank of wood.

    4. Patadharini: It holds a curtain in its hand.

D. Science behind the idol: Its idol stands with the right foot held erectly on the svastik (an auspicious symbol), the left foot bent slightly and the hands held on the hips in a slightly bent posture. In some places these deities support the entrance (gopur) of the temple with their four hands. They have two arms, rarely four and wield a mace. Depending upon the deity of the temple whose entrance they guard like Shiva or Vishnu, they bear symbols of the respective deities. They have buck teeth and an ugly countenance. In temples of female deities instead of male guardian deities there are female ones (dvarpalika).’ (2)

4. The family deity (kuladevata)

4.1 Origin and meaning

The word family deity is used with reference to both the female (kuladevi) as well as the male deity (kuladev).

  • Kula means to gather; to unite. The word kula is derived from the root word kul. A family (kula) is comprised of those people who are closely associated with each other or related by blood. The deity of such a family is the family deity (kuladevata).
  • In ‘कु: पृथ्‍वीतत्त्‍वं लीयते यस्‍मिन्‌ तदाधारचक्रं कुलम्‌ ।’ ku (कु) refers to the absolute earth (pruthvi) element and la (ल) to merge. Kula (कुल) thus means to merge with or to destroy the absolute earth element present in the Muladhar chakra. Hence, the family deity is the one by whose spiritual practice the Muladhar chakra can be activated.
  • Words such as kulin (eminent descent), kulastri (a lady belonging to a good family), kulavadhu (a bride from a spiritual family), etc. indicate that the basic meaning of the word kula is legitimate descent (shuddhavansha). Thus worship of the family deity came into practice so as to acquire pure descent.
  • The word ‘kula’ means both, people related to one another and their place of residence. One comes across the word ‘kulapa’ in the Rugveda (10.179.2). It means the guardian or head of a family.
  • The following two types of hierarchies prevail in a family.

    A. Patriarchal hierarchy: Here there is a male family deity and / or a female family deity.

    B. Matriarchal hierarchy: Here there is only a female family deity which is suggestive of a matriarchal hierarchy.

Synonyms: Presiding male deity (kulasvami) or presiding female deity (kulasvamini) of a family

4.2 History

In Lord Krushna’s dynasty, the cowherds of the Satvat clan began the worship of Lord Krushna and since then He became their family deity. In the same way other male and female family deities came into existence. Since ancient times the tradition of worshipping the female family deity, the Guru and the founder of the family (mulpurush) has been handed down over the generations in some families.

Bahucharadevi: Once some women from the Charan community embarked on a journey. Bahuchara was their leader. On the way some lusty fishermen waylaid them and tried to outrage their modesty. Immediately Bahuchara removed her dagger and cut off both her breasts in one stroke. The next moment she dropped down dead. The same Bahuchara later became the family deity of the Charan community. Hundreds of such women from this community who have sacrificed their lives to preserve their chastity and honour have become their deities today.

4.3 Types

Family deities may be male or female or belonging to the Shaiva or Vaishnav sects. Some have both male and female family deities whereas others have only the male or the female deity. In the Shaiva sect if Shiva is the male family deity, then Parvati is the female family deity and in the Vaishnav sect if Vishnu is the male family deity then Lakshmi is the female family deity. In the Path of Devotion (Bhaktimarg) this pairing of deities is done because the frequencies of Shiva and Parvati and Vishnu and Lakshmi are complementary to each other as Parvati and Lakshmi are the Divine Energies (Shakti) of Shiva and Vishnu respectively. Sometimes however even if Shiva is the male family deity, Lakshmi is the female family deity. The reasons for this are given below.

  • Among worshippers of Divine Energy as in the Tantra sect, a greater generation of energy is desired, hence this tradition is adopted. Since frequencies of Shiva and Lakshmi are different the energy so generated with Their combination is greater than that produced with the combination of Shiva and Parvati.
  • If Shiva has been one’s family deity but upon someone’s advice one’s ancestors had commenced the worship of Lakshmi then Her idol is also placed in the temple at home and both the deities are worshipped by future generations.

4.4 Importance

A. When one falls ill one consults one’s family physician since he knows all about one’s constitution and illnesses. Similarly, when one has to get some work done in an office rather quickly, one contacts an acquaintance working there. In the same way, out of the thirty-three crores of deities one’s family deity is the closest, the one who will respond to one’s call and will uplift one spiritually.

B. When all the principles in the universe are imbibed into the subtle body, spiritual practice is said to be complete. Just as the cow is the only animal which has the ability to attract the frequencies of all the deities in the universe (that is why it is said that there are thirty-three crores of deities in a cow’s abdomen); so also chanting the Name of the family deity alone has the potential to attract all principles in the universe and increase them all upto 30%. Contrary to this, chanting of the Names of deities like Rama, Shankar, Ganapati, Lakshmi, etc. increases only that particular principle in which one is deficient. This is akin to taking vitamin A, B, etc. as a supplement to reduce the deficiency of that vitamin in the body. The Name of the family deity is like a general tonic which contains all the required minerals and vitamins.

C. Glory sung by saints: This is a verse in praise of the family deity sung by Saint Eknath.

The Guru is the mother, the Guru is the father,
The Guru is our kuladevata.
In the most difficult times,
He always protects us in every way.
The body, speech and mind, I offer at the Guru’s feet.
Eknath surrenders to Lord Janardan and considers
His Guru to be Lord Janardan Himself.

4.5 Spiritual practice

All seekers who have not been blessed by a Guru (guruprapti) should begin spiritual practice of the family deity. Importance of spiritual practice of the family deity is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 9 – Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga), point 9 B 3’.

4.6 Wrath of the family deity

At times, inspite of being intelligent when a student does not study, his teacher reprimands him. Akin to this, if a person has the potential to progress spiritually and yet does not undertake any spiritual practice then the family deity expresses its wrath. Since the individual is unable to perceive this, the deity creates obstacles in his worldly life. When he is unable to resolve them despite maximum efforts the individual seeks guidance from a saint who then recommends worship of the family deity. Once this worship is begun, the deity eliminates these obstacles and even facilitates his spiritual practice.

4.7 The Guru and the family deity

A. ‘A devotee’s sister was critically ill, yet was not breathing her last. So our Guru Maharaj told the devotee, “Your family deity is obstructing her death. Pray to it asking for her to be liberated. Then the deity will liberate her.” After the devotee prayed thus his sister soon passed away. Here the omnipotent Guru could very well induce death Himself, but He asked the devotee to pray to the family deity to make him realise its importance.’(3)

B. If a family deity troubles someone then Shri Malangshahababa of Mumbai tells that deity, ‘First grant him a vision in a dream and advise him to perform a particular ritual. Only if he does not comply then trouble him. Why do you trouble him straightaway?’

4.8 The founder person (mulpurush)

The founder of a family is known as the mulpurush of that family. For instance if a person from Maharashtra settles down in Indore and later dies there then four to five generations thereafter the family members of that person consider him as their founder. At times he is worshipped by them and included in their deities. At some places he is found in a crude form of stones or in the form of a metal plate. It is also customary in some families to offer food (naivedya) in the name of their founder person on a particular day.

If the founder of a family is not honoured by lighting a lamp, offering a monthly or annual meal according to family tradition, etc. then that family is neglected by him. That person laid down his life for the sake of the family and had earned wealth for it. When that wealth is squandered away he gets enraged and destroys that wealth completely.

5. The mother deity (matrudevata)

5.1 Origin and meaning

‘मां तुरीयते इति ।’ means the one who eliminates obstacles which one encounters beyond the states of waking, dream and deep sleep till attainment of the superconscious (turya) state, that is the one who takes one till the turya state is the mother (mata).

According to ethnology: The custom of worshipping the mother began with the ancient matriarchal society.

5.2 Types

राजपत्‍नी गुरुपत्‍नी मित्रपत्‍नी तथैव च ।
पत्‍नीमाता स्‍वमाता च पंचैते मातर: स्‍मृता: ।।

Meaning: The queen (king’s wife), Guru’s wife (gurupatni), friend’s wife, mother-in-law and one’s own mother are all considered as mothers.

5.3 Importance

 The following quotes expressing the importance of the mother are quite famous.

  • Shrirama has said ‘जननी जन्‍मभूमिश्च स्‍वर्गादपि गरीयसी ।’ meaning the mother who gives birth and the motherland are superior even to heaven.
  • Manu has said ‘सहस्त्रान्‍तु पितृन्‍माता गौरवेणातिरिच्‍यते ।’ which means that a mother is superior even to a thousand fathers.
  • The Vedic quote ‘मातृदेवो भव’ means the mother is a deity and ‘पितृदेवो भव’ means the father is a deity.
  • ‘न मातु: परमदैवतम्‌ ।’ means that there is no deity as great as the mother.
  • In the table in ‘Percentage of characteristics of The Supreme God and the three components in animate and inanimate creation’ the percentage of the principle of The Supreme God in the mother deity (mother) and the father deity (father) is given as 1% while that in a human being is 1/10,000%. Some may wonder how this can be possible when parents too are human beings. This difference is because of the spiritual emotion (bhav) that a child harbours towards its parents. If one considers even a stone as God then the percentage of the principle of The Supreme God in that stone rises accordingly. This is similar to that.
  • It is possible to undertake spiritual practice only because one is brought into this world by parents.

5.4 Practical suggestions

Once a severely ill psychiatric patient had come to H.H. Saint for treatment. When giving his history he remarked that he was blessed by a Guru. On inquiry about his Guru he stated that since a quote says that the mother is a deity he considered his mother as his Guru. Other Sadhak then requested him to bring her along on the next visit as He wished to speak to her not as his Guru, but as his parent. She accompanied him on the next visit. After conversing with her He realised that the mother herself was a psychiatric patient. Since he had been emulating his mother as his Guru he too had become a patient. Thus quotes like ‘the mother is a deity’ should be put into practice using common sense.

If a woman who drinks or consumes drugs conceives in that state or continues to drink or take drugs even after conception then these substances could have deleterious effects on the foetus in the womb. How can such parents be considered as deities?

If one’s parents are great souls like those of Pundalik or Shravan then God is really appeased if one serves them. Only if parents are spiritually evolved can they give birth to spiritually evolved progeny.

6. The father deity (pitrudev)

6.1 Origin and meaning

A. ‘रक्षति अपत्‍यं य: स पिता ।’ means the one who nurtures and protects one’s progeny is a father. The one who constantly gets the spiritual experience of God and guides others can be called a father in the true sense.

B. ‘तुरीयते पीयते यस्‍मिन्‌ रस: ।’ means the one who gives birth to sons and daughters providing them with the nectar within him to attain the superconscious (turya) state, is the father.

C. The one who teaches his children how to avoid hell and how to enter the region of ancestors (pitrulok) as suggested by ancestors is called the father deity.

D. पिता धर्म: पिता स्‍वर्ग: पिता हि परमं तप: ।
     पितरि प्रीतिमापन्‍ते सर्वा: प्रीणन्‍ति देवता: ।। 
                                                            – महाभारत शांतिपर्व २६६.२१

      Meaning: The father stands for Righteousness (Dharma). He is heaven itself and great penance too. If he is pleased then all the deities too are appeased. – Mahabharat Shantiparva 266.21

6.2 Types

जनिता च उपनेता च यस्तुविद्याम्‌ प्रयच्‍छति ।
अन्‍नदाता भयत्राता पंचैते पितर: स्‍मृता: ।।

Meaning: The one who gives birth to, the one who performs the spiritual rite (sanskar) of the thread ceremony, the one who imparts knowledge (the Guru), the one who provides food (and medicines) or the one who protects from fear is called a father.

6.3 Importance

The father is called the first Guru because he imparts the Gayatri mantra. The mother is considered a deity, but not a Guru.

6.4 The fivefold family of deities (daiva panchayatan)

The following deities constitute the family of five deities: 1. The family deity, 2. The deity of a place, 3. The deity of a premise, 4. The mother deity and 5. The father deity. All ancestors are included in the mother and father deities.

7. The teacher deity (acharyadev)

7.1 Origin, meaning and mission

A. ‘मन्‍त्रव्‍याख्‍याकृदाचार्य: ।’ means a teacher is one who defines a mantra.

B. ‘यस्‍माद्‌ धर्ममाचिनोति स आचार्य: ।’ means a teacher is the one from whom a disciple learns Righteousness (Dharma).

C. ‘आचार्य: कस्‍मादाचारं ग्राह्यनि आचिनोत्‍यथन्‍तिचिनोति बुद्घिमिति वा ।’ means a teacher is one who teaches good conduct, accumulates wealth (fees) or makes a disciple intellectually accomplished.

D. उपनीय तु य शिष्‍यं वेदमध्‍यापयेद्‌ व्‍दिज: ।
     सकल्‍पं सरहस्‍यं च तामाचार्य प्रचक्षते ।। – मनुस्‍मृति २.१४०

     Meaning: The Brahman (priest) who performs the rite of thread ceremony on a disciple and imparts the knowledge of the Vedas, rites of sacrificial fires (yadnyakarma) and the Upanishads to him is called a teacher. – Manusmruti 2.140

The teacher imparts education useful for worldly life, specially for the stage of the householder (gruhasthashram). His mission is like that of a school teacher or a professor.

7.2 Head of a school (kulapati)

मुनींना दशसहस्त्रं योऽन्‍नदानादिपोषणात्‌ ।
अध्‍यापयति विप्‍तर्षि: स वै कुलपति: स्‍मृत: ।।

Meaning: Kula means a group of students and pati means their guardian. An eminent Brahman who teaches ten thousand students, providing them with food, shelter, etc. is the head of a school.

Sometimes the word is used as a synonym for the family deity.

8. Benevolent deities (ishtadevata)

‘Before performing any important religious ritual or prior to any auspicious event to avert obstacles contemplation on some protector deities and their worship is done. Some of these deities are benevolent deities (ishtadevata). Just like family deities (kuladevata) they too are different for each family. Generally however deities which fulfill vows (navas) or are favourites are included among benevolent deities. The resolve (sankalpa) of every rite commences with offering obeisance to the benevolent deity as “ishtadevatabhyo namaha (इष्‍टदेवताभ्‍यो नम:)” Some rites are performed for benevolent deities annually.’(4)

9. The guest deity (atithidev)

Information on this is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 1 C, chapter – 1 B, point – The stage of the householder (gruhasthashram)’.

10. The deity liberating from the bondage of the cycle of birth: The Guru as a deity (Gurudev)

Refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 4 – Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga)’.


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition: Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition: Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 3, Pg. 564           [2]. Vol. 4, Pg. 532, 533
[4]. Vol. 1, Pg. 563


How does the growing of Tulsi help in making premise pleasant?


1. Deity of a premise (vastudevata)

1.1 Definition and meaning

A premise (vastu) refers to an open space enclosed by four walls irrespective of whether it has a roof. The presiding deity of this place is called the deity of the premise. Frequencies within a premise are not perceived outside it. For instance a subtle fragrance in a room is not experienced outside the threshold of that room.

Other Names: Vastudev, Vastupurush. The earth is the consort of the Vastupurush.

1.2 Mission

The deity of a premise is the centre of energy of the premise. Its mission is to endow energy to any pleasant or distressing event occurring there. It is believed that the deity of a premise says, ‘So be it (tathastu)’ to whatever is uttered there. Hence one should not utter abominable words in the house.

1.3 Energy of the deity of a premise

In the ancient times there were no houses. Man lived in the forest. As he began constructing houses he experienced that some houses brought good fortune and happiness while others caused distress. This is how the science of premises (vastushastra) came into existence. Before understanding the difference between pleasant and distressing frequencies generated in a premise let us first understand how these frequencies are created in it. There are three kinds of frequencies in an empty premise. [Detailed information on such frequencies is given in point ‘Guardian deity of a territory (kshetrapaldevata)’.]

A. Frequencies arising from the floor of a premise ascend towards the sky. Frequencies emitted from land shaped like a cow’s mouth (gomukhi), a tiger’s mouth (vyaghramukhi) or a donkey’s mouth (gardabhamukhi) correspond to the shape and its basic qualities.

B. The ‘360 frequencies’ travel in a premise in a circular fashion.

C. Frequencies due to thoughts of those constructing the premise, those visiting and residing in the premise, strike the walls and ceiling and get dispersed everywhere.

Refer to numbers 1, 2 and 3 in figure ‘A’.

vastu frequencies

Due to the interaction of these three types of frequencies the overall movement of frequencies in the premise becomes haphazard. The result is utter confusion. (Refer to figure ‘B’.)

1.4 The plot of land on which a house is constructed

A. The magnetic field: Any wall of a plot or a house should be facing north-south like the pointer of a compass.

B. Shape and its effects

Shape Effects Shape Effects
1. Quadrangular Opulence 2. Rectangular Serenity and
3. Triangular Problems
pertaining to
government or
legal matters
4. Circular Loss of
5. Pentagonal Distress 6. Rhomboid Distress
7. Like an oblong
   drum (mrudang)
8. Like a half
Fear of being
troubled by
9. Like a Buddhist
amount of
10. Like a
Death of a
11. Elliptical Difficulties in
12. Like an
     shaped drum
Illnesses of
the eyes

C. Length and breadth

  • Land influenced by the moon: The distance between the northern and southern borders is more than that between the eastern and western borders. This land brings fortune. Akin to the Moon channel (Chandra nadi) it bestows tranquility.
  • Land influenced by the sun: The distance between the northern and southern borders is less than that between the eastern and western borders. This land brings misfortune. Like the Sun channel (Surya nadi) it brings distress.

D. The mouth of a cow and that of a tiger

  • The mouth of a cow: The entrance to this plot of land is narrow while the hind part is broad. This land bestows opulence and mental peace.
  • The mouth of a tiger: The entrance to this plot of land is broad while the hind part is narrow. This land torments and destroys the owner.

E. Adjacent land: A small plot of land between two large plots causes distress because frequencies of the bigger plot affect the smaller one markedly.

F. Ascent and descent in the land

  • Favourable

    1. Ascent in the east – south-east and descent in the west -north-west

    2. Ascent in the south – south-east and descent in the north- west

    3. Ascent in the south-west – south and descent in the north – north-east

    4. Ascent in the west and descent in the north-east – east

    5. Ascent in the south-east and descent in the south-west – north

    6. Ascent in the north and descent in the south-east, north-west and south-west

    7. If the south, west, south-west and north-west directions have ascents then that land is called the back of an elephant (gajaprushtha). This land is perpetually inhabited by deity Lakshmi.

    8. When the land has an ascent in the centre and a descent in all other directions, the land is called the back of a tortoise (kurmaprushtha). This land always bestows opulence.

  • Distressing

    1. Ascent in the north-west – west and descent in the east – south-east

    2. Ascent in the north-west – north and descent in the south – south-east

    3. Ascent in the south and descent in the south-west

    4. Ascent in the north-east and descent in the west

    5. Ascent in the south-west, north-east and north-west and descent in the south-east

    6. Ascent in the north, south-east and west and descent in the south-west

    7. Ascent in the south-west, south-east, north and descent in the east

    8. Ascent in the south-west and descent in the south-east and north-west

    9. If the land has an ascent towards the east, south-east and north-east and descent towards the west it is referred to as the back of a demon (daityaprushtha). Such land is always poverty-stricken.

    10. If the land is longer in the east-west direction and there is an ascent between the north and the south then it is called the back of a serpent (nagaprushtha). Here fear of death is imminent.

G. Other physical aspects: Land which has ascents and descents, is thorny, has a polluted atmosphere and distressing surroundings proves distressing.

H. Roads and pathways

  • Favourable

    1. Surrounded by roads on all sides is the best

    2. Surrounded by roads on three sides

    3. With roads towards the west and the north

    4. With roads towards the east and the north

    5. With a road towards the north

  • Distressing

    1. With a road towards the south

    2. With roads towards the east and the south

     A road leading to a plot of land and ending before entering it is called vithishula. However if it turns instead of terminating then it is not called so. Preferably one should not choose a plot of land with an ascent.

I. Land on a mountain: Terrain at a high altitude can prove problematic. There can be shortage of water.

J. Temples: A temple should not be located opposite or close to a plot of land because the sattva component from it can make the raja predominant individual living there sattvik (sattva predominant). If this happens he could face losses in business ! However for a seeker a temple certainly proves beneficial.

K. Rivers, lakes and ponds: If a river or a well is situated in the north-eastern part then it is favourable. A continuous flow of water opposite the main door of the house causes loss of wealth. Open gutters too cause problems. A well should be situated behind and not in front of a house. Lakes or ponds should not be situated in the middle of a plot of land because if subordinate deities like the seven asaras come to inhabit it, then distress is experienced.

L. Trees and pillars: Since there are chances of spirits living on trees and pillars these should not exist opposite a house.

M. Hillocks: If a hillock is situated to the south-west then it is ideal. However if it is situated in the north-eastern direction then it causes spiritual descent.

N. Crematorium: If a crematorium is situated close to a dwelling then the spirits from there, sorcerers (tantriks) visiting it, etc. may be the cause for distress.

     If a road, tree, pillar, well, temple, rotating wheel (e.g. a water wheel), etc. are situated at a distance of more than twice the height of a premise then they are harmless.

O. Miscellaneous: Materials (such as bamboo, cement, etc.) used in construction, position of the tulsi plant in the courtyard of the house, the neighbours, etc. also affect the frequencies in a premise. Just as frequencies in a particular room of a house can be distressing so also frequencies in a particular region of a city can be so.

     This makes one thing clear that instead of performing the ritual of Vastushanti after construction of a house it would be wiser to consider the above factors before building it or arranging the furniture in it. Similarly it is important to decide what to build on which plot, for instance a school, a factory, etc.

P. Testing a plot of land

  • Gross

    1. Dig a small pit in the ground and fill it with water completely. If after approximately an hour water still remains in the pit then it is auspicious. Wealth is generated in that premise. If no water remains then the potential of the plot is moderate.

    2. Throw a small fragrant flower into the pit and pour water over it. If the flower continues to float and moves around then the land is auspicious.

    3. Fill the pit with the same mud dug from it earlier. If some mud remains after filling the pit then the land is auspicious whereas if the pit is not completely filled with that mud then it is inauspicious.

    4. Take a dog to the plot and let it loose. If the dog barks persistently or roams around sniffing the ground then the land is inauspicious.

    5. When walking on the plot if a small child falls down or cries continuously then the plot is inauspicious. On the other hand if the child plays continuously or moves around happily then it is auspicious.

    6. Land inhabited by animals like rabbits or mongooses is good while that inhabited by wild animals like tigers and lions is bad.

  • Subtle: If it is possible to consult someone who perceives subtle frequencies then one should listen to him. Then one need not consider the above gross factors.

     Thus when buying a plot of land one should choose one which is basically good. If when buying it, adjustments in measurements, etc. are made deliberately to fulfill the above criteria then it does not prove beneficial.

1.5 An actual premise

A. Material used in construction: Frequencies generated in a premise depend upon the building material such as stone, mud, cement, etc. used. Stone and mud have a greater potential to attract pleasant frequencies than cement.

B. Doors

  • The main door should preferably face eastwards, not southwards.
  • The main door should be attractive and well decorated.
  • The doors in a house should be even in number.
  • The other doors should be shorter and of a lower quality than the main door.
  • The doors should not be broken or infested by termites.
  • The main door should be decorated with auspicious symbols such as Om, Shri, svastik, the auspicious pot (kalash), etc. drawn with a mixture of turmeric, vermilion (kumkum), urine and dung of a cow. This prevents distressing energies from entering the house. Rangoli (designs with powder of soft, white stone) drawn in front of the door also bestows the same benefit.

C. The kitchen: This should face the south-east direction since it is the direction of Agni, the deity of fire. If situated in other directions the problems which may have to be faced are enumerated below.

  • East: Worries of moderate intensity
  • West: Residents of the house are constantly ill and sorrowful
  • South: Lord Yama’s direction. Fear of death for the man or the woman who is the head of the family
  • North: Constant quarrels in the house
  • South-west: Fear of thefts and remaining issueless
  • North-west: Sudden loss of wealth
  • North-east: Constant burden of debts

     To avert problems caused by such faulty directions the placement of rooms in the house should be as follows.

ईशान्‍यं देवतागेहं पूर्वस्‍य स्‍नानमंदिरम्‌ ।
आग्‍नेयं पाकसदनं भांडगारं च उत्तरे ।।

     Meaning: The temple in the house should be situated to the north-east, the bathroom to the east, the kitchen to the south-east and the storeroom to the north.

D. The toilet: It should be situated to the south.

E. Premises in the context of cities: In a city the presidential mansion should be situated in a prominent place towards the north-west of the city.

1.6 Idols

Neither idols nor the description of this deity is available.

1.7 Types of premises

1. A house, 2. A palace, 3. A hermitage (math), 4. An auditorium, 5. A godown, 6. A city with shopping centres, lanes, etc.

1.8 Science of premises (vastushastra)

According to this science the deity of a premise is referred to as the Vastupurush. In this context Vastupurush means the soul of the premise. It manifests in a specific gentle manner and has nine sensitive points. They should not be traumatised, that is appropriate frequencies should be present there. Mandal refers to an outline or a heavenly (subtle) design. The territory of a deity of a premise (vastupurushmandal) is constituted by the land, the deity of the premise and the mandal. In other words it is the imprint of demons who have fallen on the ground. (Generally since a premise is rajatama predominant the form of energy in it is akin to that of demons, not deities.) In the text Taittiriya Sanhita this is termed as ‘yadnyatanu’ meaning the body (tana) of the sacrificial fire (yadnya). It is also termed as the Universal Being (Vishvapurush). From the architectural point of view the territory of a deity of a premise has the following three layers.

  • The great absolute ether (maha akash): The absolute ether existing in the entire universe
  • Absolute ether in a house (gruha akash): The space enclosed within four walls and a roof
  • Absolute ether in a pot (ghata akash): The space enclosed in a vessel. The human body has also been referred to as a vessel.

These three layers of absolute ether should be concordant and proportionate. Ultimately the space taken from the great absolute ether, that is the house where one lives and works should have a definite proportion.

1.9 A premise and the four classes (varnas)

When constructing a premise the class of the person who is going to live there should also be considered. For example a premise proves favourable to a Brahman (priest) if it generates sattvik (sattva predominant) frequencies while for a Kshatriya (warrior) if it emits rajasik (raja predominant) ones.

1.10 Spiritual causes for distressing frequencies in a premise

If a visitor feels uncomfortable in someone’s house one can infer that at that point of time that premise is impure or that the resident of that house has been troubled in the past or will undergo severe distress in the future. Distressing frequencies are experienced in a hospital, police station, prison, a place where evil transactions are carried out, a place where a murder has occurred, a crematorium, etc. because the individuals there are either unhappy or with evil attitudes.

1.11 Comparative importance of the causes of distressing frequencies in a premise

  Importance %
1. Plot of land 2
2. Surroundings 1
3. Premise 2
4. Residents within
    the premise
5. Purpose of the
6. Others 20
Total 100

1.12 Distress experienced by those living in an improper premise

A. Physical illnesses such as disorders of the stomach, rheumatism, paralysis, etc.

B. Psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, etc.

C. Ill effects on the foetus

D. If the placement of rooms in a premise is wrong then the distress experienced is explained in point ‘1.5’.

1.13 Remedies to make a premise pleasant

A. The ritual of entering a plot of land (bhukhandpravesh vidhi): After buying a plot of land, that is after one procures the document of its legal ownership before entering the plot as its owner one should wholeheartedly offer obeisance to God using fragrant flowers, in the north-eastern direction. Thereafter circumambulating the entire plot one should enter it through the main entrance touching the right big toe to the ground. Such an entry is beneficial.

B. The ritual of Vastushanti: ‘Ritualistic worship of a premise performed to appease the deity of the premise (Vastupurush) and to make the constructed house propitious to the owner with respect to longevity, health, overcoming obstacles, wealth, etc. is called Vastushanti.’(1) During this ceremony sixty-four yoginis are installed in the vastumandal. Assuming that the deity of the premise is masculine various deities have to be installed in different parts of its body. During the worship, in the centre of the vastumandal, in the south-eastern direction of the house, in a large room a pit is dug and a box in which seven types of food grains, a mixture of rice and curds, flowers, moss and an idol of the deity of the premise are placed, is buried in it. Thereafter at a predetermined auspicious moment (muhurt) the house-warming is performed.

The gold or copper seal of the deity of the premise buried during the ritual of Vastushanti attracts frequencies which ascend through the floor of the house. As shown at number 1 in the figure below they unite at the deity of the premise and from there gain momentum as they are emitted collectively. That is why the ‘360 frequencies’ (as shown at number 2 in the figure) and frequencies of human thoughts (as shown at number 3 in the figure) travel rhythmically in a particular fashion in the premise. This converts the chaotic ‘noise’ generated by frequencies to ‘sound’. Thus these frequencies prove to be pleasant and are endowers of happiness and propitiousness.


Substances buried in the ground are referred to as nikshep. During the ritual of Vastushanti the idol of the deity of the premise is buried in the south-eastern direction. (When performing a ritual called Sthiralakshmi some people bury the idol, coins, etc. in the western direction.) ‘One should take care to see that the site of burial of the deity is not littered with garbage. The custom of paying obeisance to the deity of the premise during ritualistic worship should be observed. Whenever possible throughout the year ritualistic worship in five (panchopchar puja) or sixteen steps (shodashopchar puja) should be performed. On the day that the ritual of Vastushanti is performed the house should not be kept closed. One should stay there for some days. Ritualistic worship of the premise should be performed every ten years. At that time excluding burial of the deity of the premise, all other rituals should be performed.

‘The Matsya Puran (265.10/11) quotes that in the context of a house, a fire sacrifice of a premise (vastuyadnya) needs to be performed under the following five circumstances – 1. When laying the foundation of the house or planning the construction, 2. When raising the first pillar of the house, 3. When fixing the first door, 4. During the house-warming ceremony (Gruhapravesh), 5. When performing the ritual of Vastushanti to ward off evil or distressing energies.

In modern times the ritual of house-warming has been attributed a considerable amount of importance. It is performed at an auspicious moment (muhurt). The ritual of Vastushanti is performed on that day. Grahamakh is a part of the ritual of Vastushanti. It includes placing a box of burnt bricks in a pit dug in the north-eastern corner of the house. Seven types of food grain, moss, flowers, etc. are placed in that box. The owner of the house enters the house along with his wife, sons and Brahmans (priests) to the accompaniment of music, carrying a pot (kalash) filled with water. That pot is then placed on a heap of food grain. This is followed by the ritual of Punyahavachan. The Brahmans are served meals after they bless the host. The host then dines along with his close friends.’(2)

C. The ritual of Udakshanti: ‘Performing the ritual of Udakshanti along with or within a short period of performing Vastushanti is equally important. There are negative influences on water and food in the house due to various impurities such as seclusion due to a birth or death in the family (soyar-sutak) and menses of women in the family. Udakshanti should be performed to overcome them. The scriptures state that Udakshanti too should be performed atleast once a year.’(3)

D. The personalities of residents in a premise should be pleasing. If not they should improve themselves. 30% of the defects in a premise occur on account of the residents themselves.

E. Keeping the doors and windows open: The innermost sanctified room of a temple (gabhara) has no windows and even its entrance is very small. This is to prevent the pleasant frequencies inside the temple from escaping. Contrary to this in the present Kaliyug since in most families there are conflicts, to facilitate the escape of distressing frequencies created thereby it is advisable to leave the doors and windows open. One will be able to appreciate easily the distress experienced by staring at any of the walls in a house.

F. Substances possessing distressing frequencies or those which attract distressing energies should not be kept in the house, e.g. a black doll.

G. One should neither perform experiments such as the planchet with the help of subtle bodies nor of any distressing subtle energies as sometimes the subtle bodies or distressing energies might remain in the house. If at all one wishes to perform such experiments they should be done in the open air.

H. Eliminating defects in a premise: First look at each of the figures given below for a minute each and decide with which one you feel pleasant and with which one you feel distressed and then read the following section.

Eliminating defects in a premise

25% – 30% of the participants felt distressed looking at figure ‘A’ and did not feel so with figure ‘B’. The practical benefit of this is as follows. Often a room built at a corner where two roads intersect is of type ‘A’. Naturally distressing frequencies are created in it. Since the building is already constructed it is not possible to make any alteration in the shape of the room. If a cupboard is placed in the corner as shown in figure ‘B’ then the frequencies in that premise change.

Draw two figures as shown in figure ‘A’ on a white paper. Paint one pink. Look at each figure for one minute each. Decide with which one you feel pleasant or distressed and only then read the section ahead.

Twenty-two people were attending a satsang (spiritual meeting). Their answers in this experiment are given below in a tabular form.

Felt what? Figure on the
white paper
The pink figure
1. Pleasant 4 9
2. Distressed* 7 2
3. Nothing 11 11
Total 22 22

* Distress can appear in the form of heaviness of the head, discomfort, fear, aversion, tremors of the body, etc. This will make one realise that painting the premise with the right colours can transform the distressing frequencies from it into pleasant ones.

When such a change was made in someone’s house it became so sattvik (sattva predominant) that when a guest who used to drink alcohol in the same house earlier was offered a drink, he vomited it within ten minutes of consumption and said, ‘I don’t know why but today I do not feel like drinking alcohol at your place’. Such changes can at times eradicate distressing frequencies completely and at times only partially.

Further information on frequencies generated from various shapes is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 8 – Yantra’.

I. If the deity of a premise is tranquil then the frequencies there are pleasant. The proportion of both, vital energy (pranshakti) and oxygen in that premise is more. A tulsi plant assists in raising the vital energy and oxygen in the atmosphere.

J. Comparative importance of various remedies

Remedy Importance
1. Ritual of entering a plot of land 2
2. Ritual of Vastushanti 10
3. Ritual of Udakshanti 2
4. Keeping the doors and windows open 2
5. Eliminating defects in the premise 2
6. Not experimenting with energies 2
7. Residents within a premise having a
    pleasing personality
8. Spiritual practice of residents of the
9. Visits by saints 10
10. Others (growing plants like tulsi) 10
Total 100

1.14 Feeling distressed in a pleasant premise

An individual who was visiting us in Mumbai slept on a bed on the first night. After sometime due to discomfort he slept on the mattress spread out on the floor. The following night he had insomnia even on the floor. So on the third night he refused to stay with us. He was possessed by some distressing energy and hence could not tolerate the pleasant energy present in that premise.

1.15 Effects of spiritual practice on a premise

‘I used to meditate in a particular room for several years. Consequently that room became even more powerful than this room of yours. Of course that room of Mine is unique ! Anyone who meditates in that room can hear the chanting that I practised then, even today.’ – Swami Muktanand (4)

1.16 Effects of saints on a premise

There are immensely pleasant frequencies in places inhabited by saints such as Swami Svarupanand of Pavas, Gondavlekar Maharaj of Gondavle or at the samadhis (tombs) of saints (e.g. the samadhi of Shri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon).


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition: Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition: Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 8, Pg. 645

[2]. Dharmashastracha Itihas (first and second half). Second edition: 1980, Publisher: Secretary, Maharashtra State Literary And Cultural Society, Secretariat, Mumbai 400 034.

[3]. Shastra Ase Sangate. First edition, fifth reprint – October 1994, Page 110. Vedvani Publications, Kolhapur 416 010.

[4]. Kalpavrukshatali (Swami Muktanandachya Sahavasat). First compilation, 5th August 1986. Publisher: Gurudev Siddhapith, Ganeshpuri, District Thane, Maharashtra 401 206.


What is the difference in getting desires fulfilled frrom saint and subordinate deity?


1. Subordinate deities [(kshudradevata) – a superhuman species]

Subordinate deities are popular deities unlike Indra, Agni, etc. who are Vedic deities. One will become aware of their subordinate nature from the following.

1.1 Spiritual experiences

First chant the Names of various deities namely Kotavi, Nirruti, Arbhuti, Apsara (celestial beauty), Gandharva (celestial musician), Yaksha (demigod), Kinnar (celestial singer), Kuber (deity of wealth) and Hariti and Hakini His consorts for two minutes each. Note the spiritual experience each time. Then read the section ahead.

At one satsang (spiritual meeting) after chanting the Names of the above deities 31 seekers experienced the following.

Name of the deity
1. Kotavi 0 8 23
2. Nirruti 3 7 21
3. Arbhuti 0 20 11
4. Apsara 8 16 7
5. Gandharva 2 9 20
6. Yaksha 2 8 21
7. Kinnar 2 5 24
8. Kuber 6 6 19
9. Hariti 0 12 19
10. Hakini 0 11 20

* Distress is of the kinds described below.

  • Head: Ache, sensation of hammering, throbbing pain
  • Eyes: Pain, seeing black circles
  • Throat: Feeling thirsty
  • Chest: Palpitations, restlessness, heaviness, pressure on the chest, exhaustion
  • Mind: Not feeling like chanting at all, feeling like stopping the chanting, drowsiness, dizziness, feeling like chanting the Name of one’s deity of worship and its commencement, etc.

Apsara (celestial beauty), gandharva (celestial musician), yaksha (demigod) and Kuber (deity of wealth) are all familiar words. All were under the impression that these are benevolent deities. Despite knowing that celestial beauties are extremely beautiful women from the region of deities (devlok) and that Kuber is the master of wealth, when chanting their Names several individuals experienced distress, that is something beyond the psychological aspect. ‘Feeling nothing’ was expected in most as they could not perceive from the subtle dimension. Such individuals mostly do not get answers in such experiments from the subtle dimension.

Those chanting the Names of Kotavi, Nirruti, Arbhuti, Kinnar, Hariti and Hakini had also not heard them before. Kotavi is a nude, tormenting female deity. Hakini is one of the harassing yoginis. Missions of the rest are given further. As the mission of these deities is to cause distress according to the rule that ‘sound, touch, form, taste, odour and active energy coexist’, while chanting their Names seekers were actually able to experience their distressing energies.

1.2 Names

Their Names are usually different from common deities, e.g. Changaladevi, Jakhai, etc.

1.3 Types

‘Demigods (yakshas), celestial musicians (gandharvas), celestial singers (kinnars), confidants (guhyak), protectors (rakshak), vidyadhar, spirits (pishach), saints (siddha), snakes (sarpa) and serpents (nag) constitute the superhuman species. They are also referred to as divine species (dev yoni).

  • Celestial singers, musicians and demigods: They belong to the first category and are associated with heaven (svarga). The celestial beauties (apsaras) are also included in this group.
  • Serpents (nag) and demons (rakshasas): They fall in the second category, are considered to be associated with hell (patal) and are enemies of deities.
  • Confidants (guhyak), vidyadhars and saints: They constitute the third category.
  • Spirits: Theirs is the fourth category.

1.4 Abode

Some of them live away from human habitation in rivers, reservoirs of water, forests, caves, on trees, at crossroads, in crematoriums, etc.

1.5 Science behind the idol

The bodies, ornaments, flags, etc. of these deities are weird. For examples refer to the point below.

1.6 Tormenting nature

They are associated with death, sin, disease, etc.

  • Nirruti: The origin of the word nirruti is from ‘निर्गत: ऋत: यस्‍मात्‌ ।’ which means She is the one in whom the path to realise the ultimate truth is deficient. This deity wanders about in the nude, makes one fond of sleep, distracts the intellect and bestows conflict, suffering, poverty, misfortune and death.
  • Deities responsible for nightmares: Nirruti, Grahi, Arbhuti, Nibhuti, Devjami, etc.
  • Avadasa: She has a squint, is lame, has a hoarse voice and indulges in infanticide.
  • Krutya: She is bald, endows poverty, is ever ready to slay infants and cause misfortune, to induce laziness and still births.
  • Celestial beauties (apsaras): These beauties who cause distress and induce insanity inhabit banyan or fig trees. A celestial beauty, Rambha had demonstrated to a sage by cutting her body that fragrance is emitted by their bodies even if they are cut.
  • Celestial singers (kinnars): They are hairy and have adulterous tendencies.
  • Spirits and demons: They are ugly and love blood and flesh specially of a foetus. They become more powerful on new moon (amavasya) nights.
  • Demigods (yakshas): They live in forests and close to reservoirs of water. If not worshipped they torment one when crossing forests. Kuber is their king.
  • Demigoddesses (yakshinis): Cruel Hariti, the wife of Kuber is a demigoddess.
  • Skanda and Vinayak: They torment children, murder them, etc.
  • Shashthi: She is also called Satavi. To prevent Her from killing the newborn She is worshipped on the sixth day of its birth.

The serpent, Kuber, Jara, etc. also cause such distress.

1.7 Special features

‘1. Illusory supernatural powers, 2. Flying in the sky, 3. Becoming invisible and changing one’s appearance, 4. Mastery over the various arts of entertainment, 5. Ability to have sexual intercourse with men and women, 6. The resulting offsprings become human, 7. Liking for wandering at night and 8. Assistors or saboteurs of human destiny.’(1)

1.8 Ritualistic worship

A. Site: Vinayaks (One of the Names of Ganapati is Vinayak. However in this context Vinayak refers to subordinate deities not Ganapati.) are offered a sacrifice (bali) while a sacrificial fire (hom) is performed for spirits, demons, etc. at crossroads.

B. Demands made by a deity: Some deities appear in a dream and ask for a rooster, a goat, etc.

C. Substances used in ritualistic worship: Depending on the mission, a deity is offered gifts. For instance since Vetal roams in the village, He is offered a pair of slippers.

D. Touching water: Substances used in ritualistic worship are purified along with the uttering of the Name of a deity when offering the oblation (ahuti) or when performing any other ritual by touching water.

E. Never look behind: After performing some ritual for instance after moving substances like chillies all around the body of a person and discarding them one should not look behind. The intention behind this is to prevent the distressing energy dispelled through casting away of the object from attacking again.

F. Annual religious festivals: Mostly these festivals are celebrated in honour of subordinate deities.

G. Remedies to prevent distress: When travelling if one has to pass by huge trees, cross a crematorium, rivers, crossroads, etc. then one should continue one’s usual chanting or should contemplate on Lord Rudra.

H. Vows (navas): If one does not fulfill a vow made unto a subordinate deity then it torments the one who has made it. This does not hold good for superior deities.

1.9 Saints and subordinate deities (kshudradevata)

‘When anyone comes to pay his respects to a saint the latter does not bother to find out how happy or unhappy the former is in worldly life. Even a thought in this regard does not cross the saint’s mind. His attitude is “No matter what he is like; he has taken birth as a human being and has come to Me. So, he is definitely a meritorious soul.” This is because saints consider only good health and the company of saints as a blessing. Now the question arises that if his desires are worldly then will they not be fulfilled ? This depends on his emotional state, whether his spiritual emotion is with expectation or without it. In both circumstances, with regard to faith in the Absolute Truth, the same rules apply. The moment the Sadguru is appeased with his service a worldly person’s desires are fulfilled and one serving The Lord without any expectation realises Him. If a seeker who is a servitor has no expectations but is not totally deserving then his spiritual progress begins. The objective of fulfilling worldly desires is explained in the Eknathi Bhagvat as: “I fulfill the desires of devotees with expectations and transform them into those having no expectations”. That is why one getting his desires fulfilled through a saint or a Guru gradually develops detachment (vairagya) while experiencing object pleasure and the one with desires becomes worthy of following the spiritual path. This phenomenon does not occur when the same wishes are fulfilled by subordinate deities (kshudradevata).’ – Saint

2. Deity of a village (gramadevata)

Meaning: Gramadevata means the deity of a village

Some popular Names

  • Female deities: Bhagvati, Bhadrakali, Santeri, Jakhai, Yamai, Pavanai, Renuka, etc. In South India, deities known as the seven sisters are famous as village deities.
  • Male deities: Vetal, Nishkari, Siddha, etc. Female deities are commoner than male deities.

2.1 History

During ancient times various tribes established deities in every village that they settled. These deities are the village deities. In some instances wicked evildoers have become village deities after their death. Villagers worship them and celebrate their festivals to prevent them from harassing them. They are mostly female deities. However at some places they are male deities under the control of female deities. Male deities are generally found in North India. Some village deities first find their entry in some Pauranic or Tantrik sect. Then they gradually get incorporated in rites and rituals. Later they come to be considered as benevolent deities (ishtadevata) and family deities (kuladevata) and are installed in the temples in the homes of the higher classes. For instance Khandoba of Jejuri is basically the deity of the Dravidian tribals (adivasis) but today He is the family deity even of the Brahmans. The same is true in case of the deity Minakshi in South India. Temples in which tribals or untouchables have special privileges are later taken over by the higher classes who perform ritualistic worship according to the scriptures and relegate a few powers to the other classes.

2.2 Mission and special features

A. The main function is protection of the village. In the night, specially at midnight, when distressing energies are more active, the village deity patrols the entire village.

B. Protection of the villagers from various communicable diseases and eradication of those diseases.

C. Protection of cattle and crops from diseases.

D. Forms

  • Pleasant forms: When deities are pleased they grant a good harvest and rainfall in abundance.
  • Ferocious forms: When deities are enraged they destroy crops. There may also be epidemics of cholera, widespread infections, etc.

2.3 Science behind the idol

‘Temples of village deities are rare. If at all they exist then they are small. Village deities are given a place on the outskirts or in some corner of the village. At times only a stone slab is installed in their Names. At other times an earthen idol or one or more stone pillars represent the deity. Sometimes an idol is sculpted on a stone platform or a vessel with water or a branch of a neem tree is used to represent it. In some places seven brass vessels are arranged one on top of the other and a branch of the neem tree is inserted in the topmost vessel.’(2)

2.4 Ritualistic worship

A. Ritualistic worship of village deities has arisen more out of fear than devotion. The village deity is worshipped to prevent various illnesses.

B. Usually ritualistic worship of village deities is performed by Shudra (labourer) women. At times when performing rituals like sacrifice (bali) of animals, etc. the male worshipper is clad in a sari.

C. People of all classes and communities worship the village deity. During festivals of the deity, communities such as the washermen, carpenters, blacksmiths, etc. are accorded special honour and status.

D. Animal sacrifice: At the annual festival (jatra) of a deity, a rooster, a billy goat or a male buffalo is offered as a sacrifice. This deity likes flowers, coconut, liquor, honey, cannabis (bhang, ganja), tobacco and rice mixed with blood. Formerly there was a custom of sacrificing a human being. The head was severed and hung to the pandal. Nowadays a coconut is hung instead. For more information on animal sacrifices refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 9 B – Divine Energy (Shakti)’.

E. A new resident in a village should seek the blessings of the village deity by paying obeisance to it.

F. Tarang: This is a symbol of the village deity in the Konkan region and Goa. In the worship of deities like Santeri, Pavanabai, Ravalnath, Bhutnath, Damodar, etc. the ‘tarang’ has special significance. It is used in the context of a decorated wooden pillar four, six or eight feet tall. It is also called a flag (nishan) or a pillar (khamba). In most of the temples in the Konkan strip a deity named ‘Tarang’ exists. It is a smoothly chiselled cylindrical wooden shaft with the average height of a man. It has colourful stripes painted on it. It is also adorned with brass or silver faces of women or men. Basically a tarang, a wooden staff or a plough symbolises a man. Since a castrated individual becomes neuter in gender in Sanskrut this word too has a neuter gender.

    Several tarangs are decorated with a serpent, a palm (hand) or a pot (kalash). A tarang is dressed in dhotis, saris or an attire embellished with silk borders. Depending on the deity in some places there is only one tarang while in others three tarangs are worshipped.

    ‘In Goa tarangs of several such village deities are taken out in a procession amidst pomp and splendour to a kalamb tree and are worshipped there along with the tree on the festival of Dasra. Then carpenters and washermen holding daggers in their hands shout “Bhale re bhale (भले रे भले)” and circumambulate the tree in a bent posture.

    The one holding the tarang belongs to a non-Brahman priest (gurav), barber, washerman, carpenter or bhandari [a subclass of Shudras (labourers)] community. He is known as a mod. He is possessed by the respective deity and recommends remedies to people possessed by spirits. Holding a wedding curtain (antarpat) between the tarangs of the two deities Bhutnath and Pavanai the eight auspicious verses (mangalashtakas) are recited. This event is called Shivalagna – the wedding of Shiva. Those holding the tarang visit the villagers or people from other villages to give spiritual answers through communication with the deity (koul) and people honour them.’ (3)

2.5 Deities unworthy of worship

‘Lord Shri Krushna and saints have cautioned that since village deities are tamasik (tama predominant) in nature worshippers of such deities and spirits will also become tamasik and ultimately attain the status of spirits.’(4)

2.6 Some important village deities

A. Vetal: One comes across this deity mainly in Maharashtra and Karnataka in India. He is the master of all spirits. He may be represented with a stone two to three arms in height, buried outside the village. He is also surrounded by a stone fence.

B. Bahiroba or Bhairoba: He is the main village deity in Maharashtra. Almost every village has a temple of this deity. In the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Ravalnath is honoured as much as Bhairoba.

C. Brahmandev: He is also known as Brahmadev or Bapadev. His worship is prevalent mostly in the Konkan region of Maharashtra and in Gujarat.

D. Narsinha: As it is difficult to tolerate His fearsome form He is worshipped adopting the methods of sorcerers (tantriks) by adorning His back with eyes and a moustache.

3. Deity of a place (sthanadevata)

These endow either happiness or unhappiness.

A. Endowers of happiness: After the 108 frequencies descend onto the earth and bounce [refer point ‘Guardian deity of a territory (kshetrapaldevata)’], the deity acquires the name according to the place where they fall. For example if that strip of land lies under a mango tree, that energy is called Amjai (am means mango); if they fall under a neem tree it is called Nimjai (nim means lime).

B. Endowers of unhappiness: The spirit of a person who has been murdered or killed in an accident hovers around that place. Such a place or one inhabited by distressing energy induces unhappiness. This point will be clear from the following two examples.

  • Once when in exile in the forest, Rama was crossing a mountain. Lakshman, His brother who otherwise revered Him as The Lord suddenly began to criticise Him. Sita, Rama’s wife who was accompanying Them was astonished to see this. When She asked Rama the reason for this behaviour He replied “I will explain later”. After They crossed the mountain Lakshman began to serve Rama as before. Sita questioned as to how this change had occurred. In response Rama said, “Lakshman behaved like that on the mountain because he was influenced by the thoughts of the demons there and has now returned to his original self.”
  • To find out what his subjects felt about him King Vikramaditya would roam about in his kingdom in disguise. Once when on such a trip he asked a cowherd, “What is your king like?”. The latter replied “Our king is horrid. He harasses his subjects.” As he wandered about, the king met the same cowherd at another spot. To find out why he had called him a bad king he struck a conversation with him saying, “What is your king like?” Now the cowherd replied, “You will not find a king as excellent as ours in all the three worlds”. This confused the king. He was unable to comprehend why the same cowherd had given him two different answers. He narrated this incident to his prime ministers and asked for an explanation of the two different replies of the cowherd. The prime ministers dug up both the spots where the cowherd stood when answering the king. In the first they found bones, skulls, etc. while in the second, a throne studded with gems. Thereafter when meting out justice, Vikramaditya would sit on that throne.

C. Shape of the place: This too contributes towards generation of happiness or unhappiness.


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition: Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition: Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 1 Pg. 114           [2]. Vol. 3, Pg. 247
[3]. Vol. 4, Pg. 60            [4]. Vol. 3, Pg. 249


Why the chances of rebirth are less if one dies in a place of pilgrimage?


1. Guardian deity of a territory (kshetrapaldevata)

1.1 Meaning

Kshetra means a small or large plot of land and pal means to nurture or protect. Thus the guardian deity of a territory is the one which nurtures or protects a particular area of land.

1.2 Types

Places of pilgrimages are of various kinds like prayags (places where there is a confluence of two rivers), four dhams (holy places), seven puris (small cities), fifty-one shaktipiths (seats of Divine Energy), twelve jyotirlingas (divine phalluses), eight seats of worship of Lord Ganapati (ashtavinayak), places of worship of Lord Datta and those of the Sun deity (Bhaskar).

A. According to the prevailing time (kal): Some deities have been existing since times immemorial, for instance the seats of Divine Energy and the jyotirlingas. However some other deities have come into existence later. For instance samadhis (tombs) of saints. We shall refer to such a place where there is a samadhi of a saint as a deity of the place of pilgrimage (tirthakshetradevata).

B. Depending upon the amount of energy: The energy in a seat of Divine Energy and a jyotirlinga is tremendous in comparison to the energy of a guardian deity of a field. We shall refer to such a deity as a guardian deity of a territory (kshetrapal or kshetradevata).

C. Depending on whether devotion is with expectation (sakam) or without expectation (nishkam): Seats of Divine Energy, jyotirlingas, etc. existing since times immemorial are usually appropriate for devotion without expectation whereas guardian deities of territories, etc. having an origin are appropriate for devotion with expectation.

1.3 Deity of a place of pilgrimage (tirthakshetradevata)

The origin and meaning of the word tirthakshetra (तीर्थक्षेत्र), a place of pilgrimage is from two words – tirtha (तीर्थ) and kshetra (क्षेत्र). The word tirtha meaning a sacred place is said to be derived from the following concepts.

  • ‘तीर्थं करोति इति ।’ means that which purifies is a tirtha.
  • ‘तीर्यते स्‍थायते इति तीर्थ: ।’ means that which causes cessation of creation, sustenance and dissolution is a tirtha. Such a region (kshetra) is called a place of pilgrimage (tirthakshetra).
  • ‘तरति पापादिकं यस्‍मात्‌ ।’ means that due to which one can be salvated from sins, etc. is a tirtha.
  • ‘तीर्यते अनेन इति’ means a tirtha is a means of attaining salvation.

1.4 Creation of deities of places of pilgrimage and associated deities

A. Narayan and Vishnu: The Tantra text, Ganeshyamal states that each of the twenty-seven frequencies emanating from the twenty-seven lunar asterisms reaches the ajanaj region (ajanajlok) from the region of the lunar asterisms (nakshatralok / karmadevlok) and divides into four sections (charans). Thus 27 x 4 = 108 frequencies reach the earth. (Refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 25 – Composition of the Universe’.) These frequencies reach the earth through the media of absolute ether (akash), Aditya or Mitra (sun), clouds and air. Hence all these are considered as representatives of the dyu region (dyulok). These 108 frequencies are referred to as narayan. They divide further into four – yama, surya, prajapati and conjoint frequencies. They are identical in all aspects, that is with respect to speed, purity and spiritual knowledge and in combination are known as vishnu. Vishnu frequencies descend onto the earth and impregnate it. As a result, the earth gives birth to several offsprings. These four frequencies are referred to as providers of food (‘चतुर्महाभागा: ओषधं ददाति ।’) where ओषध means food. Hence Lord Vishnu is known as the ‘deity of nourishment (annarasadevata)’. Thus since the entire world is created from these four frequencies it is composed of Vishnu Himself.

The yama, surya, prajapati and conjoint frequencies of radiance which are emitted by the 27 lunar asterisms generally descend onto the earth with greater potential on certain days as mentioned in the table below


The month
to the
The closest
to the
as per
The proportion of
frequencies %
Surya Yama Conj-
1. Chaitra April First day
of the bright
fortnight of
Chaitra to the
third day of
the bright
fortnight of
32 Prajapati
& Surya
80 10 8 2
2. Vaishakh May Akshay truti-
ya to the full
moon day
of Ashadh
74 Surya 70 20 8 2
3. Jyeshtha June 65 20 13 2
4. Ashadh July Ashadh
paurnima to
120 Yama 60 20 18 2
5. Shravan August 50 20 28 2
6. Bhadra-
September 53 20 25 2
7. Ashvin October 55 20 23 2
8. Kartik November 58 20 20 2
9. Marga-
December Kartik paurn-
ma to the pa-
ssage of the
Sun into the
sign Caprico-
rn (Makar
72 Yama
60 20 18 2
10. Paush January 63 20 15 2
11. Magh February Makar sankr-
man to Chait-
ra Shuddha
62 Prajapati 67 20 11 2
12. Phalgun March 70 20 8 2

B. Shiva: There is dissolution of the four frequencies (vishnu frequencies) when they collectively unite with the earth.

C. The three components (triguns) and Shiva: When the confluence of the four frequencies strikes the earth, three types of particles are created. They are named sattva, raja and tama, the three components. Only one of the frequencies remains unchanged. Shiva supports these three components and hence He is associated with words like the trident (trishul), three-eyed (trinetra) and tripetalled (tridal). While rotating about their axes these three components travel in the eight directions everywhere in the atmosphere along with the 360 frequencies.

Triguns and Shiva

D. Shesh and Brahma: Of the four frequencies the conjoint frequencies directly reach the centre of the earth. The centre of the earth is known as shesh. When it is said that the divine serpent, Shesh supports the earth it is in this very context. When the four frequencies strike the earth simultaneously, at that point one gets a spiritual experience which is called Brahma. Frequencies of the three components sattva, raja and tama created by confluence with the earth and the fourth frequency of spiritual experience arising from the point of dissolution are called the four faces, four phalluses or four horns of Lord Brahma. Since spiritual experience results from contact of the vishnu frequencies with the earth and imparting such an experience is the function of Lord Brahma, He is said to have been born from the lotus arising from the navel of Lord Vishnu. Shiva is the central point of Lord Brahma, that is the central point of the three components and the spiritual experience. Hence He is also known as the centre of the tetrad, centre of the linga (divine phallus) or a jyotirlinga.

E. The hiranyagarbha and the 360 frequencies: Frequencies arising from shesh are referred to as hiranyagarbha frequencies. (This is how Sita was born from the womb of the earth.) They are also called ‘the mind of the earth’. When they reach the surface of the earth, they being 360 in number are called the ‘360 frequencies’. The following frequencies constitute the 360 frequencies.

Element Number of frequencies
1. Absolute earth (pruthvi) 56
2. Absolute water (apa) 52
3. Absolute fire (tej) 62
4. Absolute air (vayu) 54
5. Absolute ether (akash) 72
6. Mind (universal) 64
Total 360

The yama, surya, prajapati and conjoint frequencies of radiance are associated with the 360 frequencies arising from the various cosmic elements mentioned above. Ancient sages from this land of the Vedas have explained the importance of specific dates (tithis) through the media of sacrificial fires, ritualistic worship, vowed religious observances, the Shrutis, Smrutis and Purans. Their motive behind this was to emphasise that the effect of these radiant frequencies on the body is favourable and that they assist an embodied soul undertaking spiritual practice (jivatma) to make spiritual progress stepwise to the subtle soul (sukshmatma), divine soul (divyatma), purified soul (vishuddhatma) and liberated soul (muktatma) and to attain the Final Liberation from the cycles of birth and death.

These 360 frequencies revolve around the earth and exist in its atmosphere. They are dense near the earth and become sparse as one travels further. It is on account of these frequencies that the embodied soul remains bound to the earth and is born again and again.

Hiranyagarbha frequencies

F. Pure particles (pavitraks) and pure sub-particles (upapavitraks): Pure particles are created at the point of confluence of the hiranyagarbha frequencies arising from the centre of the earth and the 360 frequencies revolving around the earth. In the upper portion of the 360 frequencies more sattvik (sattva predominant) pure particles and superior deities are created. In the middle portion the sattvik nature of the pure particles and the deities decreases and in the lower portion both are the least. [The deity of a place (sthanadevata) is of the lowest cadre.] When the hiranyagarbha frequencies arising from the earth intersect the 360 frequencies in the lowermost stratum, pure sub-particles are generated from them.

Pure particles

G. Path of the Great Illusion (Prakruti) and that of its controller: The 360 frequencies resemble the serpents in a game of snakes and ladders. They envelop the one leaving the atmosphere of the earth and keep him in bondage. Due to the velocity of these 360 frequencies, the subtle body leaving the earth gets trapped in the atmosphere of the earth. This is known as ‘the path of destiny’. Contrary to this, the hiranyagarbha frequencies travel from below upwards with great intensity. At the point where they intersect the 360 frequencies the intensity of the latter is reduced. Taking advantage of this, that is using the points of intersection as sort of ladders the subtle body can cross this bondage of 360 frequencies and go beyond the earth. Within a moment Sage Narad would travel from the earth to heaven using the same ladder. This ladder is referred to as the ‘path of the Creator’, that is the ‘path of zero stress nature’. The influence of the Creator is important in places of pilgrimage, elsewhere destiny predominates.

In destiny, the eightfold Great Illusion (ashtadha Prakruti), that is upheaval of emotions is important. Destiny, that is absolute earth (pruthvi) tries to incorporate everyone into itself. People under the influence of destiny (those trapped in destined actions) feel ‘I am (aham)’ whereas those in constant communion with the Creator (seekers) say ‘He is I (So’ham)’. Shaivites who believe in the 360 frequencies apply holy ash (bhasma) in three horizontal stripes while Vaishnavites who believe in the 108 frequencies apply sandalwood paste (gandha) in three vertical stripes.

H. Angles of directions (dishakon): At the point where the hiranyagarbha frequencies leave the surface of the earth they make varied angles with it. These angles are called the angles of directions. (As jatu frequencies arise from these angles, the earth is called jataved. Jataved refers to the one who comprehends the meaning of the Vedas since birth. The 108 frequencies can be viewed separately due to the spiritual practice of the jataved fire as fire arises from these very frequencies.) Samyak (saman), tiryak and visphutit jatu frequencies are produced from these angles of directions. They are all closely associated with the earth. They are associated with the sattva, raja and tama components respectively.

All thoughts are borne by directions. In other words they reach us through the medium of directions. Samyak frequencies arise from the eastern, western, southern and northern directions. Thoughts from them are mainly sattvik (sattva predominant). Tiryak frequencies arise from the sub-directions, that is the angles of direction – the north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west. Thoughts from them are mainly rajasik (raja predominant). Mostly tamasik (tama predominant) thoughts arise from visphutit frequencies.


The 108 and 360 frequencies are of the samyak type. Heaven (svargalok) has samyak, the earth has tiryak and hell (patal) has visphutit frequencies.

1.5 Do locations of places of pilgrimages (tirthakshetras) change?

A. Sites on the earth where the 108 frequencies intersect it at right angles are places of pilgrimage. Due to continuous rotation of the earth bands of these frequencies should have been created. However this does not occur because the speed of rotation of the earth and the timing of descent of frequencies onto it coincide so that the frequencies reach the same place. Frequencies do not reach the earth continuously.

B. Modern astronomers state that the axis of the earth is changing. Consequently the places of pilgrimages and the adjacent territories do not change because according to the influence of time the points from where the frequencies originate also change.

1.6 Importance of a deity of a place of pilgrimage (tirthakshetradevata)

A. The 108 frequencies that reach the earth are of three types namely creation, sustenance and dissolution (prajapati, surya and yama). Conjoint frequencies (a combination of the three) are also included in the 108 frequencies. Since these conjoint frequencies contain the three frequencies, that is components of creation, sustenance and dissolution, the cycles of birth and death continue. However only three frequencies reach a place of pilgrimage. The guardian deities there prevent the entry of the conjoint frequencies. That is why if one dies in a place of pilgrimage the chances of rebirth are less in comparison to death occurring elsewhere.

The site where the three types of frequencies strike is known as a tirtha (sacred place). The word tirtha could also mean effulgence, semen, the ability to procreate, etc. The area extending from the tirtha till the point where conjoint frequencies strike is known as a kshetrapith. The area between both these points is called a place of pilgrimage (tirthakshetra).


Conjoint frequencies cannot reach a place of pilgrimage due to the hiranyagarbha frequencies. In short the place where 108 frequencies strike the earth is believed to be masculine and is called a tirtha. The adjacent area where hiranyagarbha frequencies are emitted by the earth is said to be feminine in nature and is called a kshetra. The area between these two places is called a tirthakshetra. The distance between a tirtha and kshetra can vary from a few metres to twenty-five kilometres.

The body means a territory (kshetra) and the soul the knower of divinity (kshetradnya). The words body and its knower are mostly used in this context. (Acquiring knowledge about the energy in a place of pilgrimage is based on the principle of the body and the knower of divinity.)

Places where the four frequencies strike the ground and bounce are pure. If there is a mango tree at such a place then that deity is called Amjai (deity of a mango tree). If a house is built in such a place then the deity of that premise (vastudevata) is more powerful than that of a mediocre premise.

B. When studying at a place of pilgrimage if one is inspired by one thought then that place generates ten more thoughts.

C. Since there are 108 pure frequencies at a place of pilgrimage, spiritual practice done there is far more rewarding. This is precisely the reason why formerly schools of Spirituality were established at places of pilgrimage.

D. A sacred place (tirtha) is meant for accomplishment of spiritual progress while a territory fulfills materialistic aspirations.

E. Saint Tukaram says, ‘Concentrate the mind remaining seated in one place where you live and contemplate on The Lord’. This quote might raise a doubt in the minds of some whether one should undertake pilgrimages. After fulfilling all worldly tasks instead of wasting one’s leisure one should undertake chanting, meditation, etc. Obviously for this one requires a liking for spiritual practice, concentration and a peaceful mind. In the absence of these one should go on pilgrimages, pay obeisance to saints by placing one’s head on Their feet and return home with the same spiritual emotion (bhav), foster it and let it grow.

F. Bestower of progeny: Since it distributes the 108 frequencies coming from Isham, everywhere, it is said to be a bestower of progeny.

1.7 To which sect does a place of pilgrimage belong?

The one who experienced either Shiva, Vishnu or Divine Energy (Shakti) in a place of pilgrimage for the first time considered that place as belonging to his sect. In sects such as the Shaiva, Vaishnav, etc. which are male dominant a sacred place is considered more important than a territory. However in the Shakti sect the converse is true. Hence at times, a place of pilgrimage has two names – one masculine and the other feminine. Male guardian deities of a territory are related to female deities by relationships such as the father, husband, son, servitor, charioteer, friend, assistant, etc. A territory is known as asthan and the guardian deity of that territory as asthanak. Such a deity of a place of pilgrimage has the following special features.

  • Capacity to endow the spiritual experience due to Brahma
  • Purity due to Shiva
  • A mind ‘that is pleased with a devotee’ due to the hiranyagarbha frequencies
  • Steadiness due to the earth

Seats of Divine Energy (shaktipiths) are mostly in the context of creation and dissolution. Tripur Sundari is a form in between creation and dissolution. She is a deity bestowing sexual pleasure. [Refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 9 B – Divine Energy (Shakti)’.]

1.8 Importance of India with respect to deities of places of pilgrimage

Shri Parshuram circumambulated the earth twenty-one times and discovered 108 places of pilgrimage. In the Gita in the Kshetrakshetradnyayoga a mention of the gross body (kshetra) and the knower of divinity (kshetradnya) is made. According to one school of thought, kshetra refers to places of pilgrimage, that is 108 places of pilgrimage and kshetradnya to those who discovered them. The earth is linked with the energy system of the universe through the centres in India and the Alpine mountain ranges.

Of the 108 centres, 52 are in India. Their prominent feature is that they are activated synchronously. They have remained active in India because of religious rites and the presence of saints. The centres from Kanyakumari in South India to Kashmir in North India are elliptical in shape and resemble the birth passage (yoni).

52 places of pilgrimage in India

Out of centres 53 to 108, half are devoid of energy as their activity has not been maintained. Besides other centres do not get activated synchronously.

1.9 The five great places of pilgrimage

They are 1. The earth (bhumi), 2. Clouds (megh), 3. The Sun deity (Aditya), 4. The phallus (father) and 5. The birth passage (mother). At times the earth is said to be the first territory and the sun and the clouds, the guardian deities of the territory.

1.10 Sub-places of pilgrimage (upatirthakshetras)

  • A reservoir of water surrounding the territory of a guardian deity (kshetrapaldev) of a place of pilgrimage
  • A site prepared for a sacrificial fire, etc.
  • A place used for teaching e.g. a hermitage (ashram) of a sage
  • Kapaliks and other sub-sects from the Shaivite sect consider the crematorium itself to be sacred.

1.11 Ancient and newly created places of pilgrimage

Ancient seats of Divine Energy (shaktipiths), jyotirlingas and places of pilgrimage such as Badrinath receive the 108 frequencies continuously and will continue to remain places of pilgrimage till eternity. As against this, places of pilgrimage created by saints do not remain so after two to three centuries of their creation according to the rule that ‘whatever is created has to undergo dissolution’.

1.12 The attitude while visiting places of pilgrimage

Before the advent of the foremost (adi) Shankaracharya people used to embark on a pilgrimage to three places Kashi, Prayag and Gaya (tristhali yatra). It was only later that Shankaracharya began the concept of pilgrimage to four places Kedarnath, Rameshvar, Jagannath and Dvarka (chardham yatra). When undertaking such pilgrimages one can visit all the places of pilgrimage in India and study the entire country as well.

A. What should the attitude be like?: If a visitor to a place of pilgrimage has the following qualities then they prove beneficial to him.

     The qualities are 1. Yearning to know the truth, 2. Dedication unto scholarly pursuits, 3. Realising that there is still a lot to learn even after extensive study.

B. What should the attitude not be like?: A common man carries the following when visiting places of pilgrimage.

  • Self-pride (atmaishana)

    Pride with regard to one’s birthplace.

    Pride with regard to one’s birth.

    Vanity that one is going to accomplish something.

  • Desire for respect (lokaishana)

    People visit and respect me, I respect them, so everyone else should respect me.

    One who does not respect me is mean and hypocritical.

  • Desire for money (vittaishana): Desire to acquire money as well as things which endow money.
  • Supremacy (vidvesh): Feeling that I am right, what I do is the most appropriate, I am more meritorious than others and that God exists in me alone.

These four attributes illustrate that man is indeed a four-legged animal!

1.13 How much time should one spend at a place of pilgrimage?

The duration of one’s stay at a place of pilgrimage is not important, but the capacity to grasp Spirituality is and it is this which determines that duration. No matter how painstakingly a Guru teaches His disciple at a place of pilgrimage, when the disciple returns to the Great Illusion, he forgets what he is taught. However after acquiring absolute knowledge no matter where a disciple goes he can attract the 108 frequencies as he can create absolute ether (akash) [vacuum]. Once this occurs frequencies at a place of pilgrimage can reduce. Diverting a deity’s energy elsewhere in this way is referred to in the Konkan region in India as ‘keeping a deity in bondage’. However such a deity can ‘free’ itself from the bondage and help an earnest devotee.

1.14 Importance of maintaining sanctity of places of pilgrimage

Trustees along with priests and devotees should strive to maintain the sanctity of places of pilgrimage. Otherwise they remain as namesake places of pilgrimage and later since devotees do not get spiritual experiences there they lose their faith in them. The following examples will illustrate what happens if sanctity is not maintained.

  • Deities’ abandoning a place of pilgrimage – ‘Shri Datta Maharaj: Nowadays unrighteousness at Gangapur has increased tremendously. That is why I am fed up and am living at the confluence of the Bhima and Amarja rivers. Hence you could not meet Me in the hermitage (math). I suggest that you too should not stay at Gangapur.’
  • Saints abandoning Their samadhis (tombs): The sanctity and pleasant vibrations that are experienced at Shegaon, at the samadhi of Gajanan Maharaj are not experienced at Shirdi (the samadhi of Saibaba). This is because on account of commercialisation, beggars, politics, etc. the sanctity of these places has been destroyed. Consequently as many saints say, Saibaba has abandoned Shirdi. He may visit these places for the sake of some devotees, but only temporarily.

1.15 Guardian deity of a field

A. This deity is classified in the bhairav class of Lord Shiva’s retinue. Many a time it holds a lotus in its hand and is associated with a serpent. The lotus represents Brahma and the serpent, Vishnu and Shiva thus illustrating the relationship of the guardian deities with superior deities.

B. Other Names: In the Konkan region in India it is known as Khetri. Some people also consider deities such as Jotiba, Ravalnath, serpents, etc. as guardian deities.

C. Mission

  • Protection of a field.
  • According to some, apart from fields, the sex organs of a woman also constitute a territory. So the guardian deity protects and nurtures these organs and ensures proper growth of progeny. In this context a snake hole is a territory as it represents the reproductive organ of the earth, the serpent being its guardian deity.

D. Science behind the idol and instruments

  • The guardian deity of a territory is usually nude. Its idol is seen with a serpent wound around the waist, a mace in the right hand and a skull in the left. In some places the idol exists in the form of a serpent.
  • When it is ritualistically worshipped as a deity which bestows progeny, symbols like the serpent and the lotus are also used. The serpent is also considered an instrument.
  • Bhairav, the guardian deity of the earth being from the Shaiva sect, the territories of most of the guardian deities display a divine phallus (pinda) of Lord Shiva or the entire area has the shape of a Shivalinga and a shalunka (base of a linga) or simply a Shivalinga.

E. Family: A guardian deity is accompanied by a dog.

F. Vehicle: The vehicle of many guardian deities is a horse or a serpent.

G. Ritualistic worship (puja)

  • Various forms of the foremost deity Shiva are worthy of worship. In that too the guardian deities of territories and the bhairavs are specially glorified. Sorcerers (tantriks) first worship the guardian deities and then Shiva during ritualistic worship. Some tantras recommend a rice cake (pinda) and even an animal sacrifice (bali) for such guardian deities. These deities are deities of the populace.
  • During their festivals seashells, particular types of musical instruments, batons, palanquins, crowns, weapons, etc. are used. In some places this deity is offered liquor as an offering (prasad).
  • Norms of the guardian deity: A guardian deity has an independent existence. Though indirectly ritualistic worship of a guardian deity of a territory is worship of Bhairav, yet it is considered as that of only that particular guardian deity.

1.16 Guardian deities of a higher spiritual level in India

A. South Konkan and Goa
     Male deity: Ravalnath (raval means snake hole). Parshuram is the creator and not the guardian deity of the Konkan region.
     Female deities: Bhumika, Santeri, Shantadurga, etc. are worshipped in the form of snake holes.

B. Western Maharashtra

  • The Shaiva sect: Jotiba and Yamai, Khandoba and Mahalsa. [Jotiba means one born of accumulation of radiance (tej) or a farmer’s plough (jot).] Balaram too sports a plough on His shoulder.

    Ravaleshvar (Ravalnath): He is called so because He was born from the fire of Sage Jamadagni’s wrath (ravagni).

    The tortoise, horse and serpent are their main vehicles. The deities Bhairavnath, Ravalnath, Kartikeya and Jotiba Themselves are also seen in the form of serpents. It is also believed that these deities are capable of nullifying the effect of snake venom.

  • The Vishnu sect: Vithoba and Rai (a particle of the earth) and Rakhumai (Rakshamai), Balaji (Vyankoba, Vyankatesh) and Padmavati (womb) and Rukmini
  • India and the earth: Bhairavnath


Why is every mantra chanted with ‘svaha’ while offering oblation in sacrificial fires?


Main deities associated with life on the earth

The deities of absolute ether (akash), absolute air (vayu), absolute fire (tej), absolute water (apa) and absolute earth (pruthvi) given below represent the five main cosmic elements. More information on them is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 24 – Creation of the Universe’.

1. Akashdevata (deity of absolute ether)

A. Mission and special features

  • Absolute ether (akash) is one of the five cosmic elements. All the cosmic elements originate from the absolute ether element and finally merge into it.
  • Rainfall and its effects on the earth is the first function of the deity of absolute ether. It is because of rainfall that creation occurs. In other words the deity of absolute ether is life-endowing. It is mainly considered as the deity of creation.
  • Death occurs when lightning strikes. Thus it is also the bestower of death.
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability : Creation 75%, sustenance 20% and dissolution 5%
    Manifest energy : 10%

B. The idol : Idols of this deity are not found anywhere. This is but natural because absolute ether is colourless and formless.

2. Vayudevata (deity of absolute air)

A. Creation : The Rugveda (10.95) states that absolute air (vayu) was created from the first breath of the Absolute Being. Absolute air originated from absolute ether (akash). It is the deity of the cosmos (antariksha). The words absolute air (vayu) and air (vata) are used synonymously. Nevertheless absolute air is the deity and air is one of the five cosmic elements. Absolute air is always associated with Lord Indra and air with rain.

B. Mission and special features

  • The absolute air element is the symbol of the principle of speed as well as the principle of vital energy and the regulator of the energy of action (kriyashakti). The five vital energies and five sub-units of vital energy are considered the ten forms of absolute air (Yogadarshan). It is because of its velocity that this deity is believed to possess the speed of the mind.
  • Creation of food, nurturing creation and bestowing all living beings with strength, etc.
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability : Creation 60%, sustenance 10% and dissolution 30%
    Manifest energy : 10%

C. Science behind the idol : According to the Vishnudharmottar Puran the idol of the deity of absolute air should have two arms, a scarf draped around the neck with each end held in either hand, clothes blown by the impact of air, a gaping mouth and dishevelled hair. Other holy texts state that the idol possesses four arms. Sometimes the deity appears seated on a throne or a deer. It has a thousand beautiful eyes and an effulgent chariot. A thousand horses draw the chariot. It holds a flag, a staff or a goad in the hand. In some idols the upper two arms hold a fan and a flag and the lower two are held in postures (mudras) depicting a blessing and assuring protection.

3. Tejdevata (deity of absolute fire)

The deity of absolute fire has three forms, the sun in the sky, lightning in the atmosphere and fire on the earth. (Indra is considered the deity of the sky, Varun the deity of the atmosphere and Agni the deity of the earth.) Of these the Sun deity and the fire deity are the two main forms worthy of worship.

3.1 The Sun deity

This deity is not the sun in the sky, but is the one from which the basic absolute fire element is created. Some contexts also refer to the visible sun which symbolises the subtle sun.

A. Other Names: The Sun deity has several Names. Twelve of them are names of the adityas. When performing suryanamaskar (the solar bent posture) the following twelve Names are chanted : 1. Mitra, 2. Ravi, 3. Surya, 4. Bhanu, 5. Khaga, 6. Pushna, 7. Hiranyagarbha, 8. Marichi, 9. Aditya, 10. Savitru, 11. Arka and 12. Bhaskar.

The word aditya (आदित्‍य) is derived from adi (आदि) and atya (अत्‍य). Adi means from the beginning and atya means till the present moment.

The table below gives the Names of the Sun deity suitable for chanting in different months. If the Name of the Sun deity which matches the month is considered as 100%, then in comparison the other Names are of only 95% importance for that month.

Season Month Name of the Sun deity
1. Summer Chaitra Dhata
  Vaishakh Aryama*
2. Monsoon Jyeshtha Mitra
  Ashadh Varun
  Shravan Indra
  Bhadrapad Trivasvan
3. Winter Ashvin Parjanya
  Kartik Pusha
  Margashirsha Anshuman
  Poush Bhag
1. Summer Magh Tvashta
  Phalgun Vishnu

* Aryama is the deity which endows eyes with the radiance of the sun.

B. Creation: There are several references about His birth as the son of Indra, the son of Mitra-Varun, the son of Som, the son of Indra-Som, the son of Indra-Vishnu, the son of Indra-Varun, the son of Agni and Dhata and that of Agniras.

C. Mission and special features

  • Priest of the deities
  • Creation of the universe
  • The life of all living beings is dependent on the sun as it gives both radiance and light.
  • The Sun deity eliminates physical illnesses and endows longevity.
  • The chariot of the Sun deity has one wheel and seven horses. Serpents are the reins. The chariot flies through the sky without touching the ground. Its charioteer, Arun does not have legs. Despite this due to His sattva component the Sun deity is constantly able to travel through the entire sky, that is why poets have praised Him. When the chariot of the Sun deity approaches the earth the charioteer is seen first and only then the Sun deity. That is why the advent of dawn that is rise of Arun (arunoday) occurs before sunrise (suryoday) !
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability : Creation 40%, sustenance 10% and dissolution 50%

    The rotation of the sun is akin to this. Its stage of ‘sustenance’ of 12 noon lasts only for a short period. The stage of ‘creation’ preceding it and the stage of ‘dissolution’ following it lasts for a longer duration.

    Manifest energy : 10%
    Information on surya frequencies is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 20 – Holy festivals, point – Gudhipadva’.

D. Science behind the idol: In the ancient times the image of the sun was represented by carving or drawing a round dish with rays of sunlight. It was during the reign of the Mouryas and the Shrungas that idols in a human form began to be used in ritualistic worship. Temples of the Sun deity were mostly constructed during the reign of the Gupta dynasty. One comes across these temples in Gvalior, Mandasaur, Indore, Multan, Konark, Kashmir, Khadayat (Gujarat), Patan, Gaya, Jhashi, Nashik, Aurangabad, etc.

E. Family

  • Consorts: According to the Rugveda – Usha, Pratyusha, Sandnya and Chaya

    According to the Matsya Puran – Radnyi, Savarna, Chaya and Suvarchasa

  • Sons : Nasatya, Dastra (Ashvinikumars), Revant, Vaivasvat Manu [deity of making an offering to ancestors (shraddhadev)], Yama, Yamuna, Savarni Manu, Shani, Tapati, Vishti, Prabhat and Revat
  • Charioteer and elder brother : Arun
  • The one who carries a staff : Raja and Shrosh
  • Writer : Pingal
  • Guardian deities of the entrance (dvarpal) : Kalmash and various birds from creation
  • Adityas : The twelve months of the year have one aditya each and they assist the sun in governing the cycle of Nature. (Aditya is also a Name of the Sun deity.)
  • Deities in the retinue: ‘Mitra is a Vedic deity. Based on the quality of “governing the path of the sun”, in the Brahman holy text Mitra is associated with the day and Varun (deity of rain) with the night. In literature on rituals of five sacrifices (yadnyas) Mitra is referred to as the white and Varun as the black animal. This will illustrate how Mitra and Varun were considered as deities of the day and night respectively. The indistinct statement in the Vedic texts which states that Mitra is the Sun deity is supported by the holy text, Avestya of the Zoroastrians.’(1) The sun seen on the earth is referred to as Mitra. Mitra acquires frequencies of radiance through a series of suns beginning from the basic Sun deity. All the satellites of the sun acquire vital energy (pran) or radiance (tej) from the Sun deity.

F. Spiritual practice of the Sun deity

1. Intolerable: First chant any Name of the Sun deity and then the Name of any superior deity which one has not chanted before, each for two minutes. Record both the spiritual experiences. Then read the section below.

At two satsangs (spiritual meetings) there was no seeker who had been chanting Lord Pandurang’s Name. After chanting the Names Pandurang (of a superior deity) and Ravi (of the Sun deity) the resultant spiritual experiences are recorded in the table below.

Satsang Chanting of
which Name?
First Ravi 7 7 10 24
Pandurang 7 0 17 24
Second Ravi 8 8 9 25
Pandurang 6 1 18 25

* Palpitations, exhaustion, feeling radiance or burning in the eyes, inability to concentrate, etc.

The reason for distress after chanting the Name of the Sun deity in contrast to that of Pandurang is that the former is spiritual practice of the absolute fire (tej) element. One is not distressed by undertaking spiritual practice of the absolute fire element and spiritual progress occurs successfully only if spiritual practice of the absolute earth (pruthvi) and absolute water (apa) elements is completed before it.

2. Worship of the sun and moon : Before reading the section below chant Chandra (a Name of the Moon deity) and Surya (a Name of the Sun deity) each for two minutes and record your experience.

At a satsang seekers experienced the following after chanting Surya and Chandra.

Chanting of
which Name?
Surya 29 2 10 41
Chandra 4 4 33 41

The table above will illustrate that the moon is not a deity worthy of worship. This is because the moon is the deity which activates the mind whereas a seeker wants exactly the opposite, the dissolution of the mind. For that, worship of the sun proves beneficial.

3. Other types : The Samba Puran provides information on spiritual practice of the sun. Akin to the Shaiva and Vaishnav sects a sect of worshippers of the sun had been founded. Later this sect adopted the attitude of sorcerers (tantriks). The ritual of sandhya performed in the morning and mystic prayers (upasthan) are types of spiritual practice of the sun. Suryanamaskar (the solar bent posture) is also performed. When performing it, along with the posture (asan) and pranayam (regulated breathing) one also acquires the benefit of chanting the Names of the Sun deity simultaneously. The Gayatri mantra is also a form of worship of the Sun deity.

3.2 Agnidev (deity of fire)

A. Mission and special features

  • Providing the path for dispersion of deities from the absolute ether (akash) element to the site of the fire sacrifice (yadnya).
  • Every spiritual rite (sanskar) is performed in the presence of fire. In the Indian scriptures of deities, Agni is accorded status only next to Indra, the king of deities. In the Rugveda, Agni is referred to as the presiding deity of the home (gruhapati) and an excellent guest. He is the liason between deities and man. Since it is He who delivers the oblations offered in the fire (havi) by man to deities in every spiritual rite He is invoked on the altar (sthandil) first. The Name of Agni used in every spiritual rite varies. After the ritual of invoking Agni, oblations are offered to the principal deities through it and then the respective spiritual rites are performed.
  • Presiding deity of the south-western direction

B. Science behind the idol: The idol has three eyes, four teeth and four arms. It sports a beard and smoky grey clothing and is red in complexion.

C. Family

  • Consorts : Svaha and Svadha

    ‘Svaha : She is one of the consorts of Lord Agni. When performing a sacrificial fire (hom), at the end of a mantra an oblation is offered after chanting svaha because it is believed that a sacrificial fire bestows benefits only if svaha is uttered in this way. When praying to Agni, Sage Grutsamad says, “O Agni deliver the oblation offered through the fire amidst chanting of the word svaha to deities” (Rugveda 2.3.11).

    Svaha is the daughter of Daksha and Prasuti and the consort of Agni. She acquired the ability to deliver food to deities because of Her austerities. She gave birth to four sons namely the three fires Pavak, Pavaman and Shuchi and Svarochish Manu (Brahmavaivarta Puran 2.40).

    The Devibhagvat narrates Her story as – Lord Vishnu manifested in the form of a sacrificial fire so that deities would get food. Brahmans began to offer oblations in that sacrificial fire. However Agni would not deliver that part of the oblation to the respective deity. Hence the deities approached Lord Brahma once again. Then He meditated upon the female deity (devi) and She manifested Herself in the form of a woman. Lord Brahma named Her Svaha and instructed Her to deliver oblations which were offered in the fire amidst chanting of Her Name to the deities. She accepted the task. Then Agni married Her and She bore three sons, their names being Garhapatya (the fire worshipped in the home), Dakshinagni (the fire placed in the south) and Ahavaniya (the sacred fire lit for a specific spiritual purpose). Since then Brahmans began to offer oblations suffixing svaha to the mantra and deities began to receive their share of oblations. When offering an oblation the Name of the deity is chanted along with the dative case. For example ‘Indraya svaha’ means ‘I offer this oblation to Indra’. It is said that Svaha should be worshipped with the mantraOm rhim shrim, vahnijayayai devyai Svaha’ (ॐ र्‍हीं श्रीं वह्निजायायै देव्‍यै स्‍वाहा ।)”.’(2)

  • Vehicle : A chariot drawn by four parrots

D. Spiritual practice: Hindus and Zoroastrians worship Agni.
Agnihotri : He is the one who performs the ritual of agnihotra, that is concentrates on Agni and keeps a fire lit in his home throughout his life. He ritualistically worships the Garhapatya, Ahavaniya and Dakshinagni fires everyday in the morning and evening. Some agnihotris offer oblations to the Garhapatya fire in the morning and evening and to the Ahavaniya and Dakshinagni only during the day. The sacred fire is offered oblations twice, at sunrise in the morning and after sunset in the evening. In the morning, an oblation is offered to the Sun deity and in the evening to Agni. Agnihotris also give offerings to all living beings and the seven great sages (saptarshis) along with the fire. An agnihotri couple has to carry the fire with it even during travel. An oblation offered to it consists of sacrificial firewood (samidha), milk and water.

4.1 Apadevata (deity of absolute water)

4.1 Meaning

Absolute water (apa) is one of the five cosmic elements. It is considered as a deity. Its visible forms are water, a river or a fluid.

4.2 Mission

  • Creation of animate and inanimate Nature
  • Overcoming disease
  • Cleansing and purifying others, washing away dirt
  • It is invoked to liberate oneself from immoral acts, demerits and curses.

4.3 Idols

Idols of this Vedic deity are not found anywhere.

4.4 Associated deity : Varun (deity of rain)

A. Origin and meaning: Sayanacharya has derived this word Varun (वरुण) from vru (वृ) meaning to encompass or envelope. Varun is the one who entraps sinners in bondage or envelopes them like darkness.

B. Other Names: Pracheta, Pashi, Yadsampati, Appati (master of water).

C. Mission and special features

  • Control over reservoirs of water
  • ‘Not only is the Vedic word asur (असुर) meaning demon far more ancient than the Sanskrut word sur (सुर), but is also the root word. Asur is derived from two words asu (असु) and r (र). R means the one who has mastery over something. He is thus the one who possesses asu, the element of supernatural power which is fluid in nature. Deities, man, animals and all other objects in the universe possess this emotion (rasa) of supernatural power and on account of it all of them are able to sustain themselves and carry out activities. This energy of emotion of supernatural power itself is the Great Illusion (Maya) of Varun. This illusion is the energy possessing the qualities of planning, liberating (nirvan) and creating.’(3)
  • According to the Purans Varun is the presiding deity of the western direction and of the region of serpents (naglok).
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability : Creation 50%, sustenance 40% and dissolution 10%
    Manifest energy : 10%

D. Science behind the idol : He is depicted as big bellied, has four arms and is seated on a chariot drawn by seven swans. He holds a lotus and a noose in the two right hands and a conch and a casket filled with gems in the left. His consort, Gouri is seated on His left lap and Ganga and Yamuna, the two rivers are depicted standing on His either side (Vishnudharmottar Puran).

E. Family

  • Consorts : Varuni, Jyeshtha and Shitatoya
  • Son : Maharshi Bhrugu. Bhrugu acquired knowledge about the principle because of which spirits survive and into which they merge, from His father. At that time though actually it was nightfall, it appeared like twilight. Hence Varun is considered as the deity of the night or the deity of the apan vital energy.

F. Ritualistic worship : ‘During ritualistic worship of any deity, Varun is invoked onto a pot (kalash). It is customary to invoke Varun after installation of a pot and to worship Him at the beginning of various spiritual rites such as Punyahavachan and several other rituals performed to avert evil or to acquire good fortune.’(4)

5. Pruthvidevata (deity of absolute earth)

5.1 Origin and meaning

Prath (प्रथ्‌) meaning pervasive is the root from which the word pruthvi (पृथ्‍वी) has been derived. “प्रथते विस्‍तारं याति इति” meaning “that which is pervasive is the pruthvi” is how the absolute earth has been defined.’(5) Pruth (पृथ्) means particles. Thus the earth, pruthvi (पृथ्‍वी) is the one which is composed of several particles. Absolute earth is one of the five cosmic elements and is considered a deity.

5.2 Some other Names

Bhu, Bhuma, Bhumi, Vishvambhara, Dharitri, Kshiti, Vasudha, Mahi, etc. are some of its Names. Bhuma is the one who expands and nurtures. Since this phenomenon occurs on the earth she is called Bhuma.

5.3 Special features

A. Qualities: Tolerance and forgiveness. The earth endures the cruel acts of evildoers, pardons them and even nurtures them. In the context of evildoers it is said, ‘ते मृत्‍युलोके भूमिभारभूता मनुष्‍यरुपेण मृगाश्चरन्‍ति ।’ meaning animals in human form (unrighteous people) on the earth (mrutyulok) become a burden to it.

B. Fragrance: This is a feature of the earth.

5.4 Ability and manifest energy

Ability : Creation 10%, sustenance 20% and dissolution 70%
Manifest energy : 10%

5.5 Idols

One does not come across idols of this deity.

5.6 Spiritual practice

A. The earth is worshipped in the form of snake holes. This form of the earth is referred to as Santeri. The form of the earth as Bhumaka is ritualistically worshipped by performing ritualistic worship of the kitchen platform.

B. Although we consider the earth as a deity we touch Her with our feet, walk over Her, dirty Her, etc. Hence every morning after waking up, before placing the feet on the ground the following prayer is recited.

‘समुद्रवसने देवी पर्वतस्‍तनमण्‍डले ।
विष्‍णुपत्‍नि नमस्‍तुभ्‍यं पादस्‍पर्शं क्षमस्‍व मे ।

     Meaning : I offer obeisance to You O deity of the earth, the consort of Lord Vishnu who is donned with clothes in the form of the sea and has breasts in the form of mountains. Forgive me for touching You with my feet.’(6)

C. Lord Vishnu is the sustainer. The earth too performs the same function. Hence She is considered as Vishnu’s consort. At times Shridevi (Lakshmi) and Bhudevi (deity of the earth) are depicted on either side of the idol of Lord Vishnu.

5.7 Forms

The earth becomes a mother only after becoming ‘moist’. Hence in the verse (stotra) Shrisukta with reference to mud and moisture it is said “because of you She bore progeny and became a mother”. The lotus is associated with both muck and moisture.

  • The menstruating woman (ambuvachi) : Rajaha (रज:) means minute particles and rajasvala (रजस्‍वला) means the woman undergoing menses. According to the Krushiparashar (6th century A.D.) a farmer who wishes to grow a crop is prohibited from sowing seeds for three and a half days between the end of the Hindu lunar month of Jyeshtha and the beginning of Ashadh because at that time the earth is menstruating. If this rule is violated then it amounts to a sin and that individual gets destroyed. Based on the date (tithi) during the period between the end of the Mruga and the beginning of the Ardra lunar asterisms (nakshatras) for three days, the earth is in Her menstrual cycle. This state is referred to as ‘ambuvachi’. According to the regional variation these days vary.

    1. In the Indian state of Assam the temple of the female deity Kamakshi is kept closed for three days from the sixth (shashthi) / seventh (saptami) day till the tenth (dashami) / eleventh (ekadashi) day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashadh. On the fourth day after ritualistic worship the temple doors are opened. To signify menstruation of the deity, on that day, devotees are given a piece of red cloth as offering (prasad). The ‘Sat’ [seventh day (saptami)] festival is celebrated here.

    2. In Kashmir the festival of radnyisnapan, bathing of the earth, the consort of the Sun deity after Her menstruation, is celebrated from the fifth (panchami) to the eighth (ashtami) day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra.

    3. In Keral in India the rituals of Tripukharattu and Ucharal are performed in the month of January or February in which for three days the house, courtyard and garden are neither swept nor watered or smeared with cowdung.

    4. In Orissa in India in the last few days of the Hindu lunar month of Jyeshtha or the first one or two days of Ashadh the festival of rajotsav (menstruation) is celebrated.

  • The mother / nurturer: Obeying the directives of Sage Jamadagni, Parshuram beheaded His mother, Renuka. The head is worshipped as the female deity Yallama and the body as Bhudevi, Lajjagouri, Lanjika, Yogambika, Nitambini, Kotavi (kot means nude), Chinnamasta, etc. Lanjika refers to the great birth passage (mahayoni) of the entire universe. Only the body represents creation and the organs of sustenance. The female deity is primarily the deity of Nature and its nurturer too. That is why She is worshipped in the form of the birth passage which represents creation and the breasts which represent nurture.
  • Nirruti : ‘निर्गत: ऋत: यस्‍मात्‌’ means Nirruti is the one in whom the path to know the ultimate truth is deficient. She is the deity of death. She exists in the form of a pot (kumbha). Formerly a dead child used to be buried in a pot. A pot resembles an uterus. It suggests that birth occurs through the womb and that after death once again one has to return to the womb.

5.8 Spiritual experience

‘Baba (Saint): Spiritually the moon too is considered a great deity. The moon is the deity of the mind and imparts tremendous amount of Serenity (Shanti). Your trip to the moon must have had a great impact on your mind.

Edgar Mitchell: Of course the moon makes the mind tranquil. But in this journey to the moon the most fascinating experience that I had was the vision of the earth from the moon.

Baba: What effect did that have on you?

Edgar Mitchell: I think I can describe that vision as “a glimpse of an experience of the soul, an experience of non-duality between the soul and the universe”. I experienced that for approximately three hours.’(7)

6. Guardian deities of the directions (dikpal)

6.1 Origin and meaning

The word dikpal (दिक्‍पाल) has been derived from two words dik (दिक्‌ ) meaning direction and pal (पाल) meaning sustainer and protector. Dikpal is thus the deity who guards and protects the directions. Origin and meaning of the word disha (दिशा) is given below.

  • Dish danayati (दिश्‌ दानयति) – the medium through which one gets what one desires.
  • Da dan (द दान) – that which endows
  • Di druk (दि दृक्‌) – the medium through which one can view.

To understand what one gets from a direction let us see what it generally consists of.

  • Sattva frequencies come from the main directions – north, south, east and west and consist of pure particles (pavitraks).
  • Raja frequencies come from the north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west sub-directions.
  • Tama frequencies are emitted by the downward direction arising from the centre of the earth.

Things associated with frequencies are obtained from the respective directions.

6.2 Other Names

Dishasvami and Lokpal

6.3 Directions and their guardian deities

The table given below gives information on the eight main directions and their guardian deities (dikpal). According to some schools of thought the downward and upward directions are also included in the directions taking their number to ten. They have their own guardian deities. At times the eight directions are spoken of in the context of the eightfold Prakruti and pure particles arising from the eight directions.

Direction Guardian
deity of
Complexion Arms What does
the hand
Main directions
1. East Indra Yellow Two A vajra and
Airavat (the
divine white
2. West Varun White Two A noose of
serpents and
a conch
3. South Yama Black Two A staff and
a spear
4. North Kuber Yellow Two A goad and
a mace
Intermediate directions
1. South-east
Agni Crimson Two A wooden
and a water
Billy goat
2. South-west
Nirruti** Blue Two A sword
and a staff
3. North-west
Vayu Deer
4. North-east
Ishan Two A skull and
a trident

* It is used in a sacrificial fire (yadnya).
** Refer ‘Nirruti’

6.4 Mission and special features

Though sattva frequencies are emitted by all the eight directions, their proportion varies. Stand facing each of the four walls of a room, not knowing the directions for one minute each. Record your experience and then read the following paragraph.

There were 34 seekers at a satsang (spiritual meeting). When they performed this experiment the following spiritual experiences were recorded.

Felt what? East West South North
1. Pleasant 15 11 3 24
2. Distressed 8 6 10 2
3. Nothing 11 17 21 8
Total 34 34 34 34

This will explain why a seeker should not face southwards during spiritual practice. Due to frequencies coming from the southern direction the master of which is Yamaraj (deity of death), distress is experienced and spiritual progress does not occur smoothly. Contrary to this, since facing the east or north makes one feel pleasant, spiritual progress also occurs smoothly.

If an individual finds all directions distressing then most probably he is a psychiatric patient and if he finds all of them pleasant then his spiritual level is more than 60%. (The spiritual level of an average individual is 20%.)

Mission and special features of guardian deities of various directions are given below.

  • East: Light, heat, life, happiness and prosperity
  • West : Darkness, cold, death and destruction
  • South : The direction of Lord Yama and inauspiciousness
  • North : Spirituality and attainment of heaven (svargalok) after death

6.5 Science behind the idol

Eight guardian deities of the directions have been described in the Purans and Tantra texts. They do not have temples of their own.

7. Grahadevata (deities of planets)

Origin : ‘गृह्णाति गतिविशेषान्‌ इति’ or ‘गृह्णाति फलदातृत्‍वेन जीवान्‌ इति’ means planets (graha) are those which adopt specific velocities or afflict embodied souls with the motive of endowing them with auspicious or inauspicious results. Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangal (Mars), Budh (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (the dragon’s head) and Ketu (the dragon’s tail) are the nine main planets. Although according to the physical sciences the sun is a star, in astrology from the point of view of bestowing results, it is considered as a planet. The moon is a satellite of the earth. Rahu and Ketu are not separate planets, but the points of intersection of the orbits of the earth and the moon. After the three planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were discovered they were named Prajapati, Varun and Indra respectively and their auspicious and inauspicious results were also described.

Information on planets

  Sun Moon Mars Merc-
Jupiter Venus Saturn Dragon-
’s head
’s tail
Parents Aditi-
Atri Bhumi-
Chandra Angiras Bhrugu Surya Sinhika In
Kaling Chur-
ning of
Avanti Magadh Sindhu Bhoj-
Paithan Kush-
Gender Masc-
Neuter Masc-
Neuter Feminine Neuter
Red White Red Green Yellow White Black Smoky Smoky
Attire Kusu-
White Crim-
Blue Yellow Multi-
Black Blue Black
Vaishya Brah-
Shudra Shudra
Fire Water Fire Earth Ether Water Air
Sattva Sattva Tama Raja Sattva Raja Tama Tama Tama
Taste Pung-
Salty Bitter Mixed Sweet Sour Insipid
Metal Copp-
Gems Gold Alloy Silver Pearl Iron Lead Bronze
ion of
Day Day
Night Day
Day Night
of time
6 mo-
Day Season Month Fort-
East North
South North North-
West South-
Deity Agni Jal Skan-
Keshav Indra Indrani Brah-
Mace Divine
, mace
Staff Staff Bow,
with p-
arts of
Bones Blood Nerves Skin Fat Semen Musc-
cious /
Ruby Pearl Coral Emerald Topaz Diam-
Gomed Lasanya
nt of
y three
dies to
ill effe-
cts of
as of
as of
of the
of the
of the
dic re-
of the
tra &
as of
ng the
mya on
day &
tic wo-
ied by
of spr-
as of
ns to a
dual of
a low
ns to a

Spiritual practice: Temples of the nine planets are found in Bangal, Orissa and other places in India.


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition: Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition: Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 7, Pg. 370           [2]. Vol. 10, Pg. 234
[3]. Vol. 8, Pg. 497           [4]. Vol. 8, Pg. 498
[5]. Vol. 5, Pg. 650           [6]. Vol. 5, Pg. 653

[7]. Kalpavrukshatali (Swami Muktanandachya Sahavasat). First compilation, 5th August 1986. Publisher : Gurudev Siddhapith, Ganeshpuri, District Thane, Maharashtra 401 206.


Why is Bruhaspati called deity of intellect?


1. Main deities concerned with creation of living beings: Kamadev (deity of sensual desire)

1.1 Some other Names

A. ‘Madan (मदन): When desire develops in a woman or man they become vain [mad (मद)].

B. Manmath: He is so named because since birth He churned (manthan) the minds of Lord Brahma and sages like Marichi.

C. Anang: As Shiva was performing austerities Kama, the deity of sensual desire shot Him with an arrow. When the former realised this He opened His third eye and released flames of fire which reduced Kama to ashes. Consequently when Rati, His wife began to lament, Shankar was full of compassion for Her and blessed Her that “Her husband would dwell without a body (anang) in the mind of man”. Since then Kama became all pervading in the form of an attitude or a spiritual emotion (bhav).

D. Panchaban (the five arrows): Sugarcane sticks (ikshudand) make up deity Kama’s bow. His five arrows have been described in the Amarkosh as follows –

अरविन्‍दमशोकं च चूतं च नवमल्‍लिका ।
नीलोत्‍पलं च पञ्‍चैते पञ्चबाणस्‍य सायका: ।।

Meaning: The white lotus, the ashok flower, the mango blossom, the white jasmine and the blue lotus are the five arrows of deity Kama. The varying imaginary forms of Kama’s five arrows are gross, subtle, composed of the Great Illusion and spiritual emotion. Intoxication (unmadan), excitement (tapan), paralysis (shoshan), suppression (stambhan) and enticement (sammohan) are the respective emotional forms of the five arrows.

E. Pradyumna: Madan (Kamadev) who was reduced to ashes with Shiva’s fiery eye was later born in Dvarka as Shrikrushna’s son and was named Pradyumna.

F. Makardhvaj: Kamadev’s flag (dhvaj) adorns the picture of a crocodile (makar) on it.

G. Manasij (मनसिज): Desire manifests in the minds (मन) of living beings. They experience desire within themselves. When man becomes obsessed with desire he forgets the faculty of discriminating between right and wrong (vivek) and becomes arrogant. A quote says that one lured by desire is neither afraid nor ashamed (कामातुराणां न भयं न लज्‍जा). The Purans narrate several stories about deities, sages and men who were seduced by women. In addition He is also referred to as Mar, Minketan, Kandarp, Darpak, Smar, Pushpadhanva, Ratipati and Atmabhu.

1.2 Mission

A. “Generation of feelings of sensual desire in the minds of women and men for each other.

B. He is considered the presiding deity of celestial beauties (apsaras) and seasons (rutus)” (Brahmand Puran 3.8.15).

C. Ability and manifest energy
     Energy: Creation 65%, sustenance 30% and dissolution 5%
     Manifest energy: 10%

1.3 Science behind the idol

The idol should be created so that it is the most handsome in the whole world. It should have eight arms and should hold a conch, a lotus, a bow and arrow in its hands. Its eyes should be enticing. Rati, Priti, Shakti and Madashakti, the four consorts of Kama should be beside the idol. They should be beautiful and lustrous. Kama’s four hands should be placed on the breasts of the four women. His flag should depict a large crocodile with a face constituted by five arrows.

1.4 Spiritual practice

Hemadri says that since Kamadev is the deity of worship of prostitutes and courtesans they should ritualistically worship Him and offer Him their bodies.’(1)

2. Deities concerned with sustenance of living beings

2.1 Bestower of intellect: Bruhaspati

A. Origin, meaning and definition: The word Bruhaspati (बृहस्‍पति) is formed from two words, bruhat (बृहत्‌) meaning vast and pati (पति) meaning nurturer. Bruhaspati is the one who nurtures the entire intellect, spiritual knowledge and progress; the one who decides the code of conduct. The complete potent form of Prajapati which is worthy of spiritual experience and the conjoint state of reproduction, that is the conjoint state of Brahman and Prajapati is Bruhaspati.

B. Another Name: Brahmanaspati. Variation: ‘In the period when the Hindu religion was blossoming they began to call Bruhaspati, Ganapati (the master of attendants) because He is the presiding deity of attendants (gans) of deities.’(2)

C. Mission and special features

  • The deity of intellect: When the subtle embodied soul advances towards spiritual knowledge to a greater extent it means progress. Decision regarding conduct (karma) on the basis of knowledge (dnyan) and transforming action into behaviour is facilitated by Bruhaspati. Thus framing of rules and their compilation with regard to knowledge and action is done by Bruhaspati. Bruhaspati augments knowledge and action.
  • The main advisor and preceptor in the assembly of deities.
  • The officiating family priest of deities: His presence is essential for performing a sacrificial fire (yadnya) appropriately.
  • The presiding deity of mantras or prayers: ‘Brahman means a prayer or a mantra. Thus Brahmanspati is the presiding deity of mantras or prayers. He creates all mantras and recites them.’(3)
  • The presiding deity of birth through the birth passage and out of a resolve: Bruhaspati is born through both the routes – the physical union of Prajapati and His twenty-seven daughters and out of a resolve, that is through the spiritual experience at that moment. That is why He became the presiding deity of both these forms of birth.
  • He corrects defects in thought and in spiritual experience.
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability: Creation 2%, sustenance 85% and dissolution 13%
    Manifest energy: 10%
    He is a deity who bestows alertness. He also teaches how to magnify or reduce the size of an object.

D. Idols: His idols are not found anywhere.

E. Spiritual practice: Bruhaspati is not worshipped. At a satsang (spiritual meeting) when Bruhaspati was chanted for two minutes out of the 31 people present 3 felt pleasant, 2 felt distressed and the remaining 26 felt nothing.

2.2 Nurturer and protector: Indra

A. Origin and meaning: Yaska has given the origin of the word Indra (इंद्र) in different ways as ‘इंद्र: इरां दृणातीति वा । इरां ददातीति वा ।
इरां दधातीति वा । इरां दारयत इति वा । इरां धारयत इति वा । इन्‍द्रवे द्रवतीति वा ।
इन्‍दौ रमत इति वा ।’ – निरुक्त १०.८

     Meaning: Indra extracts grain by breaking open the seed or He is the one who provides food or the one who nurtures food or creates furrows in the earth or sustains the earth. Indra enjoys divine wine (somras) – (Nirukta 10.8).

     According to Aitareyopanishad (3.13.14) the name Idandra (इदंद्र) was derived from ‘idam darsham (इदम्‌ दर्शम्‌)’ meaning ‘I saw this’ and later became popular as Indra. Indra is great but not the oldest. He is called great because He is the chief of the celestial deities. The oldest is the one born first and He is Prajapati (ज्‍येष्‍ठ: श्रेष्‍ठ: प्रजापति: ।).

B. Other Names: Devendra [the greatest among deities (देवानाम्‌ इंद्र: इति देवेंद्र: ।)], Shambarari (enemy of Shambar), Pushan (the one who nurtures), Somapa (the one who has intense desire for divine wine), Marutvan (the one associated with attendants of the marut class), Shatakratu (the one who performs a hundred sacrificial fires), etc.

C. Abode: Heaven (svargalok). Other deities reside in the dyu region (dyulok).

D. Energy

  • Indrani: Indra’s consort
  • Indrayani: The river Indrayani is the one created by Indra by the release of water after performing austerities.

E. Mission and special features

  • Chief of the celestial deities: The deities in Indra’s court are at the level of the Anahat and Vishuddha chakras.
  • Controller of the eastern direction, heaven and the cosmos (antariksha)
  • Nurturer: Vishnu is called the deity of nourishment (annarasadevata) because He is the one who creates food. Indra carries out the function of delivering this food to all living beings. As soon as a baby is born Indra creates milk in its mother’s breasts. This stream of milk is connected to the birth passage. Indra nurtures in the following three ways (tripushti).

    1. Bhukti – mukti: Indra is the deity who bestows bhukti and mukti. Bhukti refers to acquiring food when hungry or medicine when sick (the root word is ‘ओषधम्‌ – अन्‍नम्‌’ meaning medicine and food). Mukti means clean, pure, sacred, unblemished, untainted or liberation from the concept of birth and death.

    2. Srushti – pushti: Srushti means creating and pushti means growth.

    3. Individual – collective: He bestows both the individual and the masses with nourishment and the Final Liberation, as well as birth and the opportunity to grow.

  • The king of organs: Radiance in the body of a living organism exists in the form of a subtle flame. Such flames are evenly distributed in human beings (living organisms). ‘ज्‍योतिरिति नक्षत्रेषु इति मानुषी समाहिता ।’ means just as the sun, moon and stars possess radiance (tej) so does every living organism possess the fire (radiance) named Vaishvanar. Every living being possesses this moon principle, sun principle (arka) and Vaishvanar. All the three, the moon principle, the sun principle and Vaishvanar perform the function of imparting radiance. The radiance of these three is not derived from Indra as they are born before Him and hence are referred to as those who know the Vedas since birth (jataveda). The moon principle, the sun principle and Vaishvanar have been created according to the rules of the five Creators Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi and are referred to as the Samabhukti. Indra gets work done through Them. They acquire radiance using Indra as the medium and transmit it to creation.Lord Indra is the deity of organs, that is He is present everywhere in the body. So He is not worshipped.
  • Imparting strength to living organisms: Here strength refers to the ultimate goal of life or vidyuti (बलमिति विद्युति). Vidyuti (विद्युति) is derived from vi (वि) and dyuti (द्युति) and means special radiance.
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability: Creation 10%, sustenance 80% and dissolution 10%
    Manifest energy: 10%

F. Weapon: The vajra (divine thunderbolt)


  • Shape: It is said that it either has four or hundred angles and a thousand spikes (Rugveda 4.22.2, 4.17.10, 8.6.6).
  • It is made of mercury. After being struck by the vajra the mercury from it penetrates the body. If it enters through the head then it is emitted through the feet and leads to death.
  • It can travel at any speed.

G. Science behind the idol: ‘In His book Chaturvarga Chintamani, Hemadri describes how an idol of Indra is to be sculpted. Indra’s idol should have four arms and Shachi (His consort) should have two. His left and right hands should hold a lotus and a goad respectively. Indra’s other left hand should lean on Shachi’s back and His other right hand should wield the vajra. Shachi should be holding a bunch of blooming flowers of the tulsi plant (manjari) in Her left hand and Her right arm should be resting on Indra’s back.’(4)

2.3 Those curing physical and psychological illnesses: Ashvinikumars

A. Twin brothers: They being twins Their pair is inseparable (Rugveda 3.39.3).

B. Mission and special features

  • They are the physicians of deities. They treat physical and psychological illnesses whereas Bruhaspati alleviates doubts about Spirituality and creates awareness about false spiritual experiences.
  • They control the pran and apan vital energies.
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability: Creation 10%, sustenance 90%, dissolution 0%
    Manifest energy: 10%

C. Science behind the idol: Idols of these deities are not found anywhere. ‘Their idols should be sculpted as given in the Vishnudharmottar Puran with a complexion as lustrous as a lotus leaf, two arms, beautiful eyes and garments and should be embellished with ornaments. They should hold a book in Their right hands. Two women should be created in the background.’ (5)

D. Dhanvantari: Founder of the Ayurveda, Dhanvantari was taught the science of Ayurveda by the Ashvinikumars (physicians of deities).

Ability: Creation 10%, sustenance 70% and dissolution 20%
Manifest energy: 10%

2.4 The one associated with wealth: Kuber

A. Other Names: Tryambakasakh, Yaksharaj (king of demigods), Gruhyakeshvar, Manushyadharma, Dhanad, Rajraj, Dhanadhip, Kinnaresh, Vaishravan, Pailastya, Naravahan, Yaksha, Ekapinga, Ailvil, Shrid, Punyajaneshvar

B. Abode: The city of Alka

C. Energy: Kouberi (His consort)

D. Mission and special features

  • Presiding deity of the northern direction.
  • Presiding deity of the confidants (guhyak), demigods (yakshas) and celestial singers (kinnars).
  • The Lord of wealth: Kuber is also called Navanidhi (the nine types of wealth). Wealth is measured in terms of 1. Mahapadma, 2. Padma, 3. Shankha, 4. Makar, 5. Kachchap, 6. Mukund, 7. Kund, 8. Nil and 9. Kharva.
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability: Creation 10%, sustenance 80% and dissolution 10%
    Manifest energy: 10%

E. Science behind the idol: The idol of Kuber is always depicted as obese with its right leg dangling and a lotus situated below it. Its eyes are depicted as pebbles from the ocean. This signifies that despite having eyes He is blind, that is although He sees poverty everywhere He does not part with His wealth.

F. Spiritual practice: In the holy verse, the mantrapushpanjali which is chanted after ritualistic worship (puja), obeisance is offered to Kuber chanting His names Rajadhiraj, Maharaj, Kameshvar, etc.

3. Main deities associated with dissolution of living beings

3.1 The one who maintains records of all transactions: Chitragupta

A. Origin and meaning: The word Chitragupta (चित्रगुप्‍त) has been derived from two words chitra (चित्र) and gupta (गुप्‍त). The one who secretly (gupta) maintains an account of all transactions and merits and demerits of living beings is Chitragupta. The language of living beings is that of sound (nadabhasha) while that of deities is that of light (prakashbhasha). That is why deities maintain accounts in the language of light as a pictorial (chitra) record.

B. Birth: According to a legend He was born of Lord Brahma’s body (kaya). Hence He is also called Kayastha. He accepted this task of maintaining a record of merits and demerits upon the directives of Lord Brahma. According to another legend He is born from the body (kayastha) of a man named Mitra. He worshipped the Sun deity and acquired spiritual knowledge. Impressed by His spiritual knowledge Yama appointed Him to keep an account of merits and demerits.

C. Mission

  • The one who keeps an account of merits and demerits: He functions as an officer who maintains records of all transactions and the accounts of merits and demerits of all living beings in the court of Lord Yama (deity of death).
  • Ability and manifest energy
    Ability: Creation 10%, sustenance 40% and dissolution 50%
    Manifest energy: 10%.

C. Science behind the idol: One of His hands adorns a pen made of reeds and the other an inkwell. They symbolise His task of maintaining records.

D. His sons: He has nine sons namely Ambashtha, Mathur, Goud, etc.

E. Ritualistic worship (puja): On the second day (dvitiya) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik (i.e. Yamadvitiya of Divali), He is worshipped along with Yama. People of the Kayastha community worship Him with the belief that He is their ancestor. It was Chitragupta who bestowed Bhishmacharya with a boon of a wishful death.

3.2 The one who takes away life and accords one the appropriate status after death: Yama

A. Other Names: Dharmaraj (king of Righteousness), Pitrupati (nurturer of ancestors), Samavarti, Pretaraj (king of corpses), Krutanta, Yamunabhrata (brother of Yamuna), Shaman, Kal, Dandadhar (the one who metes out punishment), Shraddhadev (deity of the ritual of shraddha offered to ancestors), Vaivasvat, Antak, Yamaraj, Yamadharma and Oudumbar.

B. Family: Vivasvan (the Sun deity) is Yama’s father and Saranyu, the daughter of Tvashta (or Sandnya according to the Purans) is His mother. Yami is His twin sister. She was the first one to perform the ritual of waving lit lamps (ovalani) for Yama on the second day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik. Since then that day is referred to as Yamadvitiya or Bhaubij (bhau means brother).

C. Abode: Yama’s region (Yamalok).

D. Mission and special features

According to the Vedas

  • He is the first dead man to tread the path which is taken by subtle bodies after death.
  • The one who unites human beings, guides them and is the path finder.
  • The monarch of ancestors.

According to the post-Vedic period

  • Lord Brahma has endowed Him with the task of monitoring merits and demerits in the world.
  • He is the Guru who rules the righteous and the king who punishes evildoers. However the ones who secretly commit sins are punished only by Yama, the son of Vivasvan – (Mahabharat 5.35.71).
  • Taking away life
  • He does not display His fearsome form to souls coming from the three directions other than the south. To the souls coming from the south He shows His terrifying form with thirty-six arms wielding various weapons. The remaining souls from the three directions are treated based on His code of Righteousness according to their actions (karma).
  • Yama being the master of hell sends sinners to the mild or harsh parts of hell (narak) where they experience sorrow in accordance with their sins.

Ability and manifest energy
Ability: Creation 0%, sustenance 20% and dissolution 80%
Manifest energy: 70%

Yama frequencies: Yamai attracts yama frequencies. Information on them is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 20 – Holy festivals, point Gudhipadva’.

The seven immortal souls (saptachiranjivas) also possess the same amount of manifest energy. Hence they are immortal.

E. Science behind the idol inclusive of His family and instruments

  • According to the holy text ‘Devatamurtiprakaranam’: He rides a huge male buffalo, is coal black in complexion and holds a pen of reeds, a book, a rooster and a staff, one in each of His four hands.
  • According to the Vishnudharmottar Puran: He is seated on a huge male buffalo, along with His wife Dhumrorna seated on His left lap, wielding a staff with a face emitting fire on its tip and a sword respectively in both His right hands and a burning trident and a rosary (japamala) in His left hands, a crippled leg, Chitragupta standing on His right hand side with a reed pen and a birch bark and Kal (time) fearful in appearance, standing to His left with a noose in His hand.

F. Temples: They are located at Mathura (that of Yama and Yami), Pahadpur, Chidambaram, etc. in India.

G. Family

  • Chitragupta.
  • Kal
  • Messengers of Yama (Yamadut): They appear very ferocious, are dark in complexion, have red eyes, wield a trident, a staff and several nooses in their hands. When the life of a sinner ends, messengers of Lord Yama take him to hell. However they cannot take away meritorious souls which are escorted by messengers of Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu instead.
  • Messengers: Owls, pigeons and crows
  • Dogs: The four-eyed dogs named Shabal and Shyam
  • Cavaliers: Hiranyaksha and Ayasakhur


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition: Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition: Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 2, Pg. 256, 257           [2]. Vol. 6, Pg. 216
[3]. Vol. 6, Pg. 216                   [4]. Vol. 1, Pg. 536
[5]. Vol. 1, Pg. 327


How are deities associated with various organs in Human body?


1. Battles between deities and demons

‘Vedic sages have explained the spiritual meaning of battles between deities and demons as the fight of deities against the evil attitudes within themselves and the triumph over them. Later in the vast literature from the Brahman holy texts to the Purans they were described as true incidents and live battles enacted between the two classes of deities and demons. Several instances are quoted in the Purans in which demons acquire from Lord Shiva or God a boon of invincibility or victory over all the three regions (triloks), as a result of intense austerities and then along with it conquer heaven. Often deities have been terrorised by demons. One can learn from the Purans how Indra and other deities sought refuge in Lord Vishnu and fought the demons after Lord Vishnu granted them protection. The fact that Indra was the ruler of heaven piqued the demons. That is why when they acquired power, after undertaking austerities they first attacked heaven and then conquered the earth and hell (patal). In mythological texts such as the Ramayan, Mahabharat and Bhagvat, Devibhagvat, Vaman Puran and others one comes across several such rival couples of deities and demons. Some of them are Vrutra, Andhak, etc. versus Indra; Mahish, Shumbh-Nishumbh, Chand-Mund, etc. versus the female deity (devi); Virochan versus Varun; Maya versus Agni; Jambh versus Kuber; Sauchchar versus Vayu; Tripur versus Rudra; Tarak versus Skanda; Sindhur, Vighna versus Ganapati; Madhu, Kaitabh versus Vishnu; Ravan versus Rama; Narak, Dhenuk, Agha, etc. versus Krushna.’(1)

2. Assistant deities (ganadevata) and their number

According to the science of origin, gana means a small army of soldiers or a group of fellowmen. According to the Amarkosh, gana means trustworthy, originating from all directions or a group of pure particles (pavitraks). Assistant deities and their numbers are as follows.

Assistant deities Number Assistant deities Number
1. Maharajik 220 6. Aditya 12
2. Abhasvar 64 7. Sadhya 12
3. Anil 49 8. Vishvedev 10
4. Ya 36 9. Rudra 10
5. Tushit 26(63) 10. Vasav or Vasu 8

Attendants of the marut class (Marudgan) : ‘Maruts always live as attendants. They are either a hundred and eighty or twenty-one in number. That is why they are always referred to in the plural. They all look alike. Their chests are adorned with medals and necks with glittering necklaces. Their feet too are embellished with ornaments. Their weapons are also similar. They all wield an axe and a bow in the hand and spears on the shoulder. Golden crowns decorate their heads. Their chariots are of four kinds. Some of them are drawn by horses or deer. Some however travel with great velocity even without horses while others fly through space.

Maruts are the soldiers of deities and annihilate enemies of deities completely. They are knowledgeable, farsighted and poetic.

Rudra is their father and Prushni, their mother. Rodasi is their consort. One important mission of the maruts is to provide rainfall. They ascend from the ocean and cause rainfall. They are closely associated with clouds, lightning and raging winds.

During the post-Vedic period the maruts came to be considered as the sons of Diti and Kashyap. Their strength is forty-nine.’ (2)

3. Messengers of deities (devdut)

A messenger of a deity is a link between God and man. A mention of messengers of deities is made in all religions. The Purans describe messengers of the deities Shiva, Vishnu and Yama. These transport the subtle bodies of dead people to various regions depending on their sins and merits. The amount of Shiva principle in messengers of Shiva is 10% and that of Vishnu in His messengers is also the same. From the point of view of the average man even these messengers are like deities as the quantity of The Supreme God principle in him is only 0.0001%.

4. Yoginis

In the temple of the female deity, Kamakshi there are idols of yoginis. ‘Their total number is sixty-four. Sixty-three of them lie within the subtle body. The name of the sixty-fourth yogini is Saudamini. She is the supernatural power of the absolute form of Rama and Krushna. Nine out of the sixty-three yoginis are within the control of Lord Indra (king of the deities) and fifty-four are under the control of Lord Shiva.’ – H.H. Anna Karandikar, Dahanu

5. God and man

5.1 Chanting The Lord’s Name and being blessed with His vision

‘When a devotee who loves to worship some deity / incarnation chants the Name of any other deity and follows the respective norms of the Path of Devotion, he is able to get a vision only of that deity towards whom he fosters devotion in his mind (antahkaran). Even if one undertakes thirteen crores of chanting of Rama one gets a vision of Datta, Krushna or any other deity unto whom one is devoted.’(3)

5.2 Love or hatred shown towards God is reflected tenfold

Refer to point H – ‘The one who loves His devotees’.

5.3 Missions of some deities

Deity Mission
1. Family deity
Fufillment of materialistic desires
and spiritual progress
2. Dhanvantari,
    Ashvinikumars, Surya
Physical health
3. Parvati Marriage, marital happiness
4. Kamadev Sexual pleasure
5. Prajapati Progeny
6. Lakshmi, Kuber, Agni,
    the eight vasus
Money, wealth
7. Indra Power
8. Vishvakarma Architecture
9. Chitrasen Music
10. Nataraj Dance
11. Sarasvati, Ganapati,
Numbers, alphabets, intellect
12. Janardan Final Liberation (Moksha)
[according to the Vaishnav sect]
13. Shiva Final Liberation (Moksha)
[according to the Shaiva sect]

5.4 Organs and mantras of deities

Every bodily action requires energy. Every energy has a specific name, for instance the energy which induces sneezing is called deity Chakpadi. To understand the association between organs and deities first chant the word ‘arka’ for one minute and note in which sense organs namely, the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose some sensation is felt. Only then read the following paragraph.

Thirty-one seekers attended a workshop on Spirituality. None of them knew the meaning of the word arka. After chanting the word ‘arka’ they experienced sensations in various sense organs as follows : 19 seekers – in the eyes, 4 – in the ears, 4 – in the tongue, 3 – in the nose and 1 – on the skin. From this, one can deduce that there exists some relationship between the word ‘arka’ and the eyes. Arka is one of the Names of the Sun deity (Surya). The Sun deity and the eyes both being associated with the absolute fire (tej) element, after chanting arka, a majority of seekers felt the sensation in the eyes.

The following table illustrates the relationship of various organs with deities and also how the Name of a particular deity should be chanted to improve the function of a particular organ. The point to be noted here is that specific chanting will be beneficial only if the function of an organ is impaired due to a spiritual factor, that is a reduction of vital energy (pranshakti) and not if the cause is physical or psychological.

Organ Mantra of the deity
‘A. Sense Organs
   1. Ears Om Dikdevatabhyo         (ॐ दिक्‌देवताभ्‍यो नम: ।)
   2. Skin Om Samirnaya namaha    (ॐ समीरणाय नम: ।)
   3. Eyes Om Arkaya namaha         (ॐ अर्काय नम: ।)
   4. Tongue Om Varunaya namaha      (ॐ वरुणाय नम: ।)
   5. Nose Om Ashvinikumarabhyam (ॐ अश्विनीकुमाराभ्‍यां नम: ।)
B. Motor Organs
   1. Organs of
Om Agnaye namaha         (ॐ अग्नये नम: ।)
   2. Hands Om Indraya namaha         (ॐ इंद्राय नम: ।)
   3. Legs Om Upendraya namaha,   (ॐ उपेंद्राय नम: ।,
Om Vishnave namaha        ॐ विष्‍णवे नम: ।)
   4. Anus Om Yamaya namaha        (ॐ यमाय नम: ।)
   5. Sex organs Om Prajapataye namaha, (ॐ प्रजापतये नम: ।
Om Brahmadevaya           ॐ ब्रह्मदेवाय नम: ।)
C. Antahkaran
   1. Conscious
Om Chandraya namaha    (ॐ चंद्राय नम: ।)
   2. Subconscious
Om Achyutaya namaha     (ॐ अच्‍युताय नम: ।)
   3. Intellect Om Chaturmukhaya          (ॐ चतुर्मुखाय नम: ।)
   4. Ego Om Shankaraya namaha    (ॐ शंकराय नम: ।)’(4)

5.5 Names of Vishnu and parts of the body associated with them

Name of Vishnu Part of
the body
Name of Vishnu Part of
the body
1. Govind Right arm 10. Aniruddha Right eye
2. Trivikram Both lips 11. Purushottam Left eye
3. Shridhar Left arm 12. Adhokshaj Right ear
4. Hrushikesh Right leg 13. Narsinha Left ear
5. Padmanabh Left leg 14. Achyut Navel
6. Damodar Anterior part
of the head
15. Janardan Heart
7. Sankarshan Upper lip 16. Upendra Posterior part
of the head
8. Vasudev Right nostril 17. Hari Right shoulder
9. Pradyumna Left nostril 18. Shrikrushna Left shoulder

5.6 Deities of organs

These are referred to as presiding deities (adhidaivat) in the Vedas. They are : Indra of the hands, Vishnu of the feet, Surya (Sun deity) of the eyes, etc. Functions of the respective organs occur due to these deities.

5.7 Organs and the five cosmic elements

The five cosmic elements namely pruthvi (absolute earth), apa (absolute water), tej (absolute fire), vayu (absolute air) and akash (absolute ether) are also referred to as the deities of absolute earth, absolute water, absolute fire, absolute air and absolute ether respectively.

First chant vayu, the name of one of the cosmic elements, for one minute and note which sense organ is affected. Then read the following discussion.

At a workshop after chanting vayu, 10 out of 28 people felt a sensation in the skin and 3 people experienced some fragrance. No one experienced anything in the eyes, ears and tongue. Since the skin originates from the vayu element most people experienced a sensation in the skin.

The following table gives the element from the five cosmic elements, its characteristic and relationship with organs.

Cosmic element / deities Characteristic Organ
1. Akash (absolute ether) Word (sound) Ear
2. Vayu (absolute air) Touch Skin
3. Tej (absolute fire) Form Eye
4. Apa (absolute water) Taste Tongue
5. Pruthvi (absolute earth) Fragrance Nose

5.8 The three humours in the body (tridosh) and deities

Wind (vata), bile (pitta) and phlegm (kapha) are the three humours in the body.

Hanuman is the deity of wind and phlegm and Shiva and Ganapati are the deities of bile.

5.9 Deities of illnesses

They are termed as deities instead of distressing energies because illness supervenes when merits in one’s destiny decrease. Thus there is no question of deities causing the distress.

5.10 Deities and destiny of man

A. Deities of organs itself mean fate or destiny. If the deities are pleased with physical, verbal and psychological actions then destiny is favourable but if actions are unrighteous it is unfavourable. Pleasing deities with spiritual practice itself means nullifying destiny.

B. The universe is under the control of deities. When deities are appeased they endow happiness to man and if displeased they give sorrow.

C. Man nullifies his destiny by experiencing it while Lord Brahma nullifies His destiny by giving rise to creation.

5.11 Alphabets, deities and benefits

In the Devanagari script alphabets have been divided into eight categories, that is a (अ) – k (क) – ch (च) – t (ट) – t (त) – p (प) – y (य) – sh (श). Every category has a specific deity. If any poetic composition is begun with an alphabet from a particular category of alphabets then benefits are derived as given in the table below.

Category Deity Benefit
A Som (Moon) Longevity
K Angarak Fame
Ch Budh (Mercury) Acquisition of
T Guru (Jupiter) Fortune
T Shukra (Venus) Fame
P Shanaishchar Slowing
Y Surya (Sun) Death
Sh Rahu (dragon’s head),
Ketu (dragon’s tail)
The null state

5.12 Asking the deity for answers (the ritual of taking koul or prasad)

Information on this is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 5 – Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga)’.

5.13 Deities, God and man

स्त्रीणां चरित्र: पुरुषस्‍य भाग्‍यम्‌ ।
देवो न जानाति कुतो मनुष्‍य: ।।

Meaning: If deities do not perceive the character of women and the destiny of man then how will man perceive it ?

This is because deities can only see man’s actions but God knows even his thoughts.


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition : Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 4, Pg. 441           [2]. Vol. 7, Pg. 88

[3]. Shri Brahmachaitanya Maharaj Gondavlekar Yanchi Pravachane. Compiler : G. S. Gokhale. Publisher : R. B.Ghanekar. Secretary, Shri Sadguru Brahmachaitanya Maharaj Gondavlekar (Sansthan), Chaitanyopasana, P. O. Gondavle Budruk 415 508, Taluka Man, District Satara.

[4]. The Vedantasar of Sadanand, Ed. 1934. Edited by Colonel G. A. Jacob. Publisher : Pandurang Javaji. Nirnay Sagar Press, Mumbai 400 002.


Why is active Divine Energy on ashtami equivalent to an odd date (tithi)?


1. Types of Deities

1.1 Benevolent and harmful

A deity who favours spiritual progress like the family deity (kuladevata) or the Name of a deity given by a Guru as initiation (gurumantra) is called a benevolent deity. However an average individual considers a favourite deity or a deity which endows worldly benefits as a benevolent one. Deities who cause harm are called harmful. Shankar, Vishnu, Parvati, etc. are benevolent deities whereas spirits, demons, etc. are harmful ones.

1.2 Deities worthy of worship and those unworthy of it

Chant Shankar, Ganapati or any one of the Names of Vishnu like Narayan, Keshav, etc. for one minute. Repeat the same with Prajapati or Brahma. Decide with which Name you feel pleasant or distressed. Only then read further.

At a workshop, after chanting Shankar 12 out of 30 seekers felt pleasant and none experienced distress. As against this, after chanting Prajapati only 6 seekers felt pleasant and 3 were distressed with headache, felt like stopping the chanting, etc.

At another workshop after chanting Narayan, 4 out of 28 felt pleasant and none experienced distress. As against this, by chanting Prajapati none felt pleasant and 3 experienced distress.

At yet another workshop 5 out of 22 felt pleasant chanting Keshav and none experienced any distress. As against this by chanting Brahma none felt pleasant and 5 experienced distress.

Since each one’s spiritual level is not such that he can give answers from the subtle dimension everyone cannot participate in such experiments. These experiments reiterate the fact that chanting of the Names of Vishnu, Shankar and Ganapati generally does not cause distress while that of Prajapati and Brahma does. Hence Vishnu, Shankar and Ganapati are deities worthy of worship whereas Prajapati and Brahma are not. Generally temples of Prajapati and Brahma are not built. One may say that no one worships Prajapati and Brahma because They entrapped man in the Great Illusion (Maya) by creating him!

1.3 Living and non-living

Deities like Shankar, Vishnu, Parvati, etc. are living whereas those from Nature like the sun, mountains, rivers, etc. are non-living.

1.4 Superior and subordinate

Chant Vishnu, Shankar or Ganapati for one minute. Then chant anyone of the following yaksha (demigod), gandharva (celestial musician), kinnar (celestial singer) or the name of one of the apsaras (celestial beauties) Menaka, Rambha, Urvashi, Tilottama, etc. for one minute. Note with which Name you feel pleasant or experience distress. Only then read further.

At one workshop 20 out of 35 seekers felt pleasant after chanting Shankar and none felt any distress. Contrary to this after chanting yaksha 1 felt pleasant and 6 experienced distress.

At another workshop 21 out of 41 seekers felt pleasant after chanting Vishnu and only 1 experienced slight discomfort. As against this after chanting Menaka, Rambha, Urvashi, Tilottama, etc. none felt pleasant (although 24 out of the 41 were males!) on the contrary 10 experienced discomfort.

Since everyone cannot give answers from the subtle dimension all the people at the workshop cannot participate in such experiments. Yet one thing that it emphasises is why Vishnu, Shiva, Ganapati, etc. are called superior deities and yakshas, gandharvas, kinnars, apsaras, etc. are called subordinate deities. Undertaking spiritual practice of such subordinate deities can cause distress. That is why temples of these deities are generally not constructed.

1.5 Vedic and Pauranic

Based on references in holy texts one can determine when a deity has originated, in the Vedic, post-Vedic or Pauranic period.

  • ‘The Yajurveda: Though the Yajurveda has created some new deities of the second and third order like Skanda, Shukra, Ven, Marka, Manthi, Rutu (season), Mas (month), Divas (day), etc. yet it accepts the thirty-three deities mentioned in the Rugveda.
  • The Atharvaveda: The Atharvaveda has bestowed divinity upon some members of various classes such as demons, spirits, celestial musicians (gandharvas), etc. e.g. Arbud, Alik, Rukshagriv, Kimidin, Chitrarath, Takshak, Nagnak, etc. Some emotions like desire (kama), sleep (nidra), faith (shraddha), desire to harm others (druh), etc. too have been granted the status of deities by the Atharvaveda.
  • The Brahman texts: Prajapati created deities from His mouth and demons with the apan vital energy situated lower in His body (Shatpath Brahman
  • Deities from the Upanishads: The Upanishads consider the centres or seats of energy comprising of divine consciousness (chaitanya) which exist in both the embodied soul and the universe as forms of deities. The energies directing this cycle of the universe are countless. However scribes of the Upanishads have classified them into three groups – the accumulator, illuminator and director. Accumulation means nurture and sustenance of animate and inanimate creation in the universe. The five cosmic elements such as absolute ether (akash) are deities which nurture and sustain the subjects, that is Nature beginning from the embodied soul to the universe. The manifest energy or worldly activities which are observed in the universe or in the human body are supported by an internal energy. This energy is known as vital energy (pranshakti). Vital energy is the illuminator deity. The prowess of illumination of vital energy manifests in the form of the Sun deity, the Moon deity, Indra and Rudra. Generating knowledge and realisation is in itself the power of illumination. The collection of the body, organs, mind, intellect and the embodied soul (jiva) is called the soul (atma). All activities in the universe are dependent on this energy of the soul. The soul itself is the chief active energy in the universe and hence should be considered as the supreme deity.
  • Deities from the Purans: In the Pauranic period one sees most of the important Vedic deities assuming the position of presiding deities of directions (dikpal). Simultaneously the Vedic Vishnu and Rudra are highly glorified. In comparison to Vedic deities, the Pauranic deities established personal relationships with their devotees.

    Concept of the trinity of deities : During the Pauranic era the three deities Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh assumed exceptional significance. They became famous respectively as the creator, sustainer and annihilator of the universe.

    Concept of the fivefold family of deities (panchayatan) : The Purans propagated the path of ritualistic worship of deities in the form of the fivefold family of deities. Vishnu, Shiva, Divine Energy (Shakti), Ganapati and the Sun deity (Surya) were the five deities included in it.’(1)

1.6 Groups of deities

The Vedic range of deities includes groups of deities some of which are more elaborately described than the others. All of them however are associated with a specific deity. The largest and most important group among these is that of the maruts. In the Rugveda they are said to be either 21 or 180 in number. The maruts are associated with Indra and Rudra. The attendants of Rudra (rudragans) also form a group of deities and are 11 in number. The group of adityas consists of 7, 8 or 12 members and is seen accompanying its mother, Aditi. The Brahman texts say that three groups of deities namely – vasus, rudras and adityas reside on the earth, in absolute ether (akash) and heaven respectively. Apart from these there is a group of angiras’ and rubhus. The Rugveda mentions another expansive group of deities called Vishvedev.(2)

1.7 According to the mission

A. Those controlling activities in the universe.

B. Those content with their own lives.

C. Those who do not participate in controlling the universe, yet help man because of their love for him.

1.8 Undefined deities

The Rugveda classifies two categories of deities based on an undefined concept or spiritual emotion (bhav). The first category includes the deities Kama, Manyu, Shraddha, Aditi, Diti, etc. In the mandals of the Rugveda created during a later period even idols of these deities have been created. The second category is of deities with names ending in the case tru, e.g. Dhatru, Tvashtru, etc. The second category is larger than the first.

1.9 Pairs of deities

In Vedic spiritual practice a special type of worship consists of praise of two basically independent deities who are believed to form a pair. About twenty such pairs of deities are included in the Rugveda and there are atleast sixty aphorisms (suktas) in praise of these pairs of deities, e.g. Indragni, Mitra-Varun, etc. Some examples of such pairs created during the Pauranic period are Brahma-Prajapati, Shiva-Vaishravan, Sankarshan-Vasudev, Nara-Narayan, Skanda-Vishakh, etc.

1.10 Retinue of deities

A retinue of deities is a group of deities associated with the main deity and which if required serve the main deity. Lakshmi, Bhudevi, Shridevi, Garud, Vishvaksen and the instruments in Vishnu’s hands have been accorded the status of members of Vishnu’s retinue. Similarly Skanda, Ganesh, Nandi, Chandesh, Virabhadra, Bhairav and guardian deities (kshetrapal) are members of Lord Shiva’s retinue. The seven matrukas such as Brahmya, etc. as well as several fearsome deities are included in the family of the female deity (devi) or Divine Energy (Shakti).

1.11 Superhuman deities

There is a concept of a species in between man and deities. There are several sub-groups in this species namely vidyadhar, celestial beauties (apsaras), demigods (yakshas), demons (rakshasas), celestial musicians (gandharvas), celestial singers (kinnars), confidants (guhyak), spirits (pishach), saints (siddhas) and ghosts (bhut). These beings are less powerful than deities but have miraculous powers and are more powerful than man. That is why they are referred to as superhuman. These groups of deities live in between deities and man and maintain contacts with both. The common features of these groups of superhuman deities are –

  • They possess two kinds of powers – divine and illusory.
  • Most of the groups function in the vicinity of the region of deities (devlok).
  • They can fly in the sky without wings, briskly.
  • They can easily perform acts such as manifesting anywhere or sudden disappearance.
  • They are experts in fine arts such as dance, singing and music.
  • It is possible for their males and females to have a sexual relationship with their human counterparts on the earth.
  • They can disguise themselves and function on the earth.
  • They are very fond of wandering at night.
  • They are very well versed in herbal medicine.
  • Generally Lord Shiva is their deity of worship.’(3)

1.12 Other types

A. ‘Divine deities : The deities Dyauhu, Varun, Mitra, Surya, Savita, Pusha, Vishnu, Vivasvan, Adityagan, Usha and Ashvi are included in this group. Dyauhu is the deity of the absolute ether (akash) element. She has been associated with the earth. Dyava-Pruthivi is a word which symbolises the parents of the universe.

B. Deities from the cosmos (antariksha) : Indra, Trit Aptya, Apam Napat, Matarishva, Ahirbudhnya, Aja Ekapad, Rudra, deities from the marut class (marudgan), Vayu – Vat, Parjanya and Apa are deities from the cosmos.

C. Earthly deities : Rivers, Agni (deity of fire), Bruhaspati and Som are considered as earthly deities. Sindhu, Sarasvati, Ganga, Yamuna, etc. are rivers who are considered as deities with unblemished purity. Among them river Sarasvati is especially renowned.’(4)

2. Deities and the worlds

The universe has infinite worlds (brahmandas). When there is dissolution of one brahmanda there is creation or sustenance of another. Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and other deities of each brahmanda are different. However, all the worlds have the same Supreme God (Parameshvar) and God (Ishvar).

3. Deities and the five cosmic elements

Element Deity Element Deity
Absolute ether Vishnu Absolute water Divine Energy (Devi)
Absolute air Shiva Absolute earth Ganapati
Absolute fire Surya    

4. Time and deities

4.1 Days of the week (var) and deities

Monday      : Shankar (Som
(Somvar)      means the Moon)     
Tuesday  : Parvati / Lakshmi/
                 Ganapati / Maruti
Wednesday : Pandurang Thursday : Datta
Friday         : Parvati / Lakshmi Saturday :  Maruti
Sunday        : Ravi (means Surya,
(Ravivar)       the Sun deity)

4.2 Dates (tithis) and their respective presiding deities

Pratipada    : Agnidev (deity
(1st)              of fire )     
Dvitiya        : Brahma (deity
(2nd)             of creation
Trutiya        : Gouri
Chaturthi      : Ganesh
Panchami    : Sarpa (serpent)
Shashthi       : Kartik
Saptami      : Surya (Sun)
Ashtami       : Bhairav (Shiva)
Navami      : Durga
Dashami      : Antak [Yamaraj
(10th)            (deity of death)]
Ekadashi    : Vishvedev
Dvadashi     : Hari (Vishnu)
Trayodashi : Kamadev
Chaturdashi : Shiva
Paurnima    : Chandra (Moon)
(full moon
Amavasya   : Pitar (ancestors)
(new moon

4.3 Time, deities and spiritual practice

If on some day of the week one chants the Name of a deity other than the deity of that day or the presiding deity of that date (tithi) then the benefit obtained is less. For instance if on the first day (pratipada) if other deities are worshipped instead of Agni (deity of fire) the benefit obtained is as given in the table below.

The deity Proportion
of the
obtained %
The deity Proportion
of the
obtained %
1. Agnidev (deity
    of fire)
100 2. Brahma 40
3. Gouri 70 4. Ganesh 40
5. Sarpa (serpent) 70 6. Kartik 40
7. Surya 70 8. Bhairav
9. Durga 70 10. Antak
11. Vishvedev 70 12. Hari
13. Kamadev 70 14. Shiva 40
15. Chandra
70 16. Pitar

4.4 Even and odd numbers of dates (tithis) and manifestation of energy

Even dates are associated with Shiva (Brahman) while odd ones are associated with Divine Energy (Shakti) [the Great Illusion (Maya)]. That is why on odd dates Divine Energy is twice as active as on even dates.

Despite this, on the even dates of chaturthi (fourth day) and dashami (tenth day) of the Hindu lunar fortnight, Divine Energy is more active. On chaturthi, ashtami (eighth day), dashami and paurnima (full moon day) the 360 and 108 frequencies form a specific angle; hence frequencies of deities reach the earth in greater amounts. Ashtami is one such date when the active Divine Energy is equivalent to that on an odd date. This is a special feature of ashtami. Though Krushna, an incarnation of The Lord was born on ashtami the Divine Energy in Him was completely manifest. [On ashtami in Maharashtra the female deity manifests in some ladies and they perform the ritual of ghagari phunkane (blowing pots)]. The fact that Divine Energy is more active on odd dates will be clear from the following two illustrations.

  • During the festival of Navaratri a seeker used to light a lamp at night. The lamp would get extinguished when the oil was exhausted around 1 to 1.30 in the morning. One year, the lamp would continue to burn till dawn on alternate days. The nights on which it burnt longer were odd dates (1, 3, 5, 7 and 9). Among the even dates the lamp burnt throughout the night only on ashtami.
  • At another seeker’s house for almost a fortnight, on odd dates and on ashtami the strong fragrance of vermilion (kumkum) emanated from the entire house. On even dates there was no fragrance at all.

4.5 Active deities in the Kaliyug

The female deity (devi), Datta and Maruti are active deities in the Kaliyug. Hence distressing energies are ineffective at Their seats of worship.

4.6 Standard measurement of time according to deities

The day and the bright fortnight of the month are places of shelter for deities (Shatpath Brahman, One year (sanvatsar) of man is equivalant to one day of deities (Taittiriya Brahman


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition : Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 1, Pg. 438-442            [2]. Vol. 4, Pg. 437
[3]. Vol. 4, Pg. 437- 444           [4]. Vol. 4, Pg. 435, 436


Why is a particular holy sacrament offered to a deity?


1. Origin and meaning of Deities

A. ‘A class of those who have divine bodies. The definition given by Yaska is as follows:

देव: दानात्‌ वा दीपनात्‌ वा द्योतनात्‌ वा ।
द्युस्‍थानो भवति इति वा । यो देव: सा देवता । – निरुक्‍त ७:१५

     Meaning: The word dev (देव) is derived from da (दा), dip (दीप्‌) or dyut (द्युत्‌) which mean to give an offering, to shine or to enlighten respectively. Since they reside in the dyu region (dyulok), they are called dev (deities). – Nirukta 7:15

B. Sayan when writing a commentary on the hymn “Agnimile….” has also given a similar definition.

C. In “देवशब्‍दो दानदीपनद्योतनानामन्‍यतममर्थमाचष्‍टे ।” the word dev either means offering, to shine or to give light.’(1)

The word deity is used with reference to both a male and a female deity.

2. The female deity (devi)

2.1 Meaning

The female deity has the following meanings.

  • Feminine deity: For example the sixty-four yoginis
  • Consort of a deity: For example, Shiva’s consort is Parvati. In reality, male and female deities have a separate existence. It is the devotees who do the matchmaking between them !
  • Manifest form of the energy of a deity: A male deity is the bija while the female deity is the energy. A female deity (devi) is an idol of energy created from the Divine Energy (Shakti) of male deities. In the Shakta sect this form of Divine Energy is considered the supreme deity, e.g. Adimaya.

2.2 Types of Divine Energy

A. Pleasant and fearsome

  • Pleasant: Parvati, Amba, Gouri, Uma, etc.
  • Fearsome: Kali, Chandi, Chamunda, Durga, etc.

B. Saviour and destroyer

  • Saviour: It is used for protection of devotees.
  • Destroyer: It is used for destruction of evildoers.

For more information on the female deity (devi) refer ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 9 B – Divine Energy (Shakti)’. For details on the form and weapons used by the female deity refer point 3.3 D – ‘Form of His weapons and their use’.

3. Names of male deities

Male deities have several Names due to the following reasons.

A. There are various Names describing different qualities of deities, for instance Lambodar (the big bellied one), Hari (the vanquisher of evil), Shiva (the pure one), etc. (Human beings are named based on the liking of those naming them.)

B. If according to the constitution of a devotee he is going to benefit more by chanting a particular Name of a deity then such a Name should be available. [Refer ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 9 – Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’.]

4. Origin

The origin of deities occurs in the four ways given below.

  • A. Through a resolve (sankalpa) : Just as the origin of the universe itself has occurred by God’s wish so also the majority of deities are created through a resolve.
  • B. Through the medium of the Primal Mother – Aditi, Prajapati created radiance (tej), that is deities (Rugveda).
  • C. Saints can create deities as well as mantras to attract deities, keep them in bondage and destroy them.
  • D. Sometimes frequencies of two energies (deities) interact with each other and in the process a new deity (energy) may be created.

5. Abodes of deities

Heaven (svargalok): This is the abode of Lord Indra, the king of deities.

The dyu region (dyulok): Thirty-three crores of deities reside here. Information on heaven is given in the book ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 25 – Composition of the Universe’. The dyu region is a part of heaven.

According to the Vedas: The Rugveda and the Atharvaveda believe in thirty-three main deities of which eleven each live in absolute ether (akash), on absolute earth (pruthvi) and in absolute water (apa) (Rugveda 1.139.11). The (Atharvaveda 10.9.12) quotes that some reside in heaven, some in the cosmos (antariksha) and the others on the earth.

Implied meaning of a humourous sentence in this context: How meaningful the following humourous sentence is !

God is nowhere.

A. Here ‘nowhere’ means that ‘God is non-existent’.

B. If the word nowhere is split then the sentence becomes ‘God is now here’, that is present here this very moment. The real meaning is that He is all pervading.

6. Number

Though male and female deities have different Names according to the philosophy of qualified non-duality (Ekeshvarvad) there is only one God it is believed that these deities are not distinct from Him but are His varied manifest forms created to perform different missions. For instance devotees of deity Kali believe that only Kali is the Supreme deity and that deities Sarasvati and Lakshmi are but Her other forms.

Generally it is said that there are thirty-three crores of deities. This means that there are thirty-three main deities and each has one crore (ten million) assistants, messengers, etc. Kot is the singular of koti (crores). As discussed in point ‘4’ earlier since there is creation and dissolution of new deities, their number cannot be determined. Yet the number of the basic thirty-three crores of deities remains constant.

According to various schools of thought the thirty-three crores of deities are constituted in the following way :

The thirty-three main deities are as follows.

  • 12 adityas, 11 rudras, 8 vasus (masters of the eight directions), Indra and Prajapati. At times in the thirty-three deities two Vishvedev are included instead of Indra and Prajapati. Other variations of these thirty-three deities are inclusion of Prajapati and Vashatkar or Vak and God (Ishvar) instead of Indra and Prajapati.
  • 11 crore deities are associated with each of the three main deities Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
  • The thirty-three deities are as follows – 7 male deities, 7 female deities, 7 infant deities and 7 as vehicle deities. The remaining 5 deities which comprise the five centres (kendra) – Vayu, Agni, Varun, Indra and Aryama were worshipped without a definite form (a definite form could not be decided). They are referred to as adhibhut deities or adhidev.

6.1 Other meanings of the word kot [kot is the singular of koti (crores)]

A. Types: Deities are classified in various ways as benevolent and harmful, worthy and unworthy of worship, living and non-living, superior and subordinate and Vedic and Pauranic.

B. Nude: A quote says ‘कोटरी सा महामाया’. This means that the Primal Mother is nude. Deities are also referred to as digambar. The word digambar (दिगंबर) is derived from dik (दिक्‌) and ambaraha (अंबर:). Dik means direction and ambaraha is clothing. So deities are those with the directions as their attire. Deities do not have clothing on their bodies but in order to please their devotees, when granting them a vision they don clothes. The colour of the clothing of every deity too is predetermined. For instance Lord Indra (king of deities) wears red clothing, Yama (deity of death) wears yellow, Varun (deity of rain) dons black and Kuber (deity of wealth) is adorned with white robes. [Saints of a high spiritual order (Paramhansas) too may be nude.] The reasons for nudity of deities are given below.

  • They are without any or beyond bondages (vishrunkhal).
  • A covering is needed only to hide fallacies. Since deities are the Truth there is no need for them to wear robes.
  • Deities of Nature for example the earth, mountains and rivers are nude.

C. Those created in a cave, a hollow or in darkness: A hollow is the space between the union of two different frequencies.

D. Those residing in a valley.

E. Radiance

F. Incomprehensible: Attendants (gans), spiritual particles (pavitraks), etc. are things beyond the comprehension of the intellect.

7. Special features

A. Devoid of a moustache and a beard: Deities do not have a beard and a moustache.

B. Fragrance: Their bodies emit fragrance. At times without any apparent reason a seeker experiences fragrance. This is due to the manifestation of a deity over there, at that time. Their bodies emit a fragrance even if they are cut.

C. Food: Bodies of deities are composed of the fire element hence they are able to partake of the offering of food (naivedya) after converting it into an aerial form. As against this, since bodies of ghosts are aerial in nature they are unable to convert food into the aerial form and thus remain hungry. Consequently their desires remain unfulfilled.

D. Sexual life: Deities have a sexual life but no progeny. Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi (Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati) however are deities who do not have a sexual life. According to their qualities they are referred to as male deities (dev) or female deities (devi). Progeny of deities are only symbolic.

E. Personality: Since deities also have defects such as jealousy, envy, etc. in their personality they too experience unhappiness to some extent and have to face the consequences of the actions which they perform. Even the king of deities, Lord Indra had to undergo punishment for His mistakes.

    ‘Vedic deities are believed to behave righteously. It is opined that all deities are righteous, refrain from deceit and protect veracious and righteous men. The Rugveda attributes more importance to the energy and prowess of deities than to their qualities of Righteousness and honesty. Deities mainly survive on sacrificial fires (yadnyas); hence they maintain a friendly relationship with people who perform them.’(2)

    ‘The Brahman period displays the humanisation of deities with greater propensity. Deities from the Rugveda were in human form but did not possess all the qualities of man. This shortcoming was overcome during the Brahman period. Deities too developed multifold relationships like man. Relationships like parents, children and siblings were established. This led to arguments and conflicts between them. That is why it is said that deities should be worshipped for acquisition of opulence or for fulfillment of desires but that one should not try to emulate their behaviour (न देवचरितं चरेत्‌).’(3)

F. Immortality: Initially deities were not immortal.

  • They performed a sacrifice called Somyag to appease Agni (deity of fire) and the Sun deity, Savita. These deities then blessed them with immortality. Deities are sons of the Primal Mother, Aditi. The book Shatpath Brahman states that ‘som’ is a drink endowing them with immortality.
  • Deities conquered death by observing celibacy (brahmacharya) and undertaking austerities (Atharvaveda 11.5.19).
  • Deities exist in each and everyone. So, even if one being perishes, the deity survives in the others. Thus deities are immortal.

G. No spiritual practice: Deities do not undertake spiritual practice. That is why they permanently remain in the dyu region (dyulok). Man however can undertake spiritual practice and attain the Final Liberation (Moksha).

H. Favourite fragrance: Favourite fragrances of some deities are enlisted below. That is why they are offered incense sticks accordingly.

  • Ganapati: Kevada (a fragrant flower)
  • Vishnu: Rose
  • Datta: Panadi (a fragrant creeper) and vala (a grass with fragrant roots)
  • The female deity (devi): Mogra (a white fragrant flower) [for a benevolent cause] and henna (for destroying evil)

I. Music: Letters and musical modes (ragas) associated with some deities are given below.

  • Brahma: Vowels
  • Shiva: Five musical modes including Bhairav, Shri, Hindol, etc.
  • Parvati: The Malkansa raga.

J. Holy sacrament (prasad) : The holy sacrament offered to each deity is also fixed. The chosen sacrament can absorb the energy of that particular deity in a greater quantity and can retain it for a longer period. Thus the person who partakes of that offering is benefitted.

K. Holy ash (vibhuti): The deity from which maximum energy will be absorbed by holy ash depends on the substance from which the ash has been obtained. Hence the holy ash used for a particular deity is made from a particular substance, for instance holy ash for Lord Shankar is made from human ash obtained from the crematorium.

L. Manifestation of a deity: The word manifestation is used in the context of becoming visible. Deities do have a form but one cannot perceive it with ordinary (gross) vision. ‘Why does the formless assume a form?’ This is discussed in point 3.3 A ‘Why does the formless assume a form ?’. In spiritual literature one comes across more examples of female deities like Narmada, Ganga, etc. assuming a form than of male deities like Himalay.

Some special features of a deity seen even after its manifestation are given below.

  • The feet do not touch the ground.
  • There is no blinking.
  • The body does not become dirty.
  • There is no sweating.
  • The body does not cast a shadow.
  • Floral garlands on the body do not wither.

M. Form : The number of heads, hands, feet, etc. in deities varies according to the degree of the superhuman nature. For instance Lord Datta has three while Shadanan has six heads.

N. Instruments : Most of the male deities are associated with Shiva and Vishnu while majority of the female deities are associated with Parvati. Hence they wield weapons of Shiva, Vishnu and Parvati in their hands. Some main instruments and their implied meanings are given below.

Deity Instrument Implied meaning
A. Associated with
Trident (trishul) Dissolution of the three
components (triguns)
B. Associated with
1. Conch

2. Discus

3. Mace

4. Lotus

Absolute ether (akash)
Absolute air (vayu) and
absolute fire (tej) elements
Absolute earth (pruthvi)
A symbol of procreation,
the fruit bearing flower
C. Associated with
     Divine Energy
Bow and arrow Concentration
Name Associated element Function
1. Parjanyastra Absolute water (apa) Causing rainfall
2. Agnyastra Absolute fire (tej) Burning
3. Vayvastra Absolute air (vayu) Causing stormy weather
4. Brahmastra The Great Illusion
The ultimate destruction

8. Vehicles (vahan)

The word vahan (वाहन) has been derived from वृ वह वाहणे which means to transport.

Shape : In the ancient times as seekers began to perceive a little from the subtle dimension, after undertaking spiritual practice they realised that specific frequencies of the deities were coming from somewhere. As they progressed further they realised that these frequencies had the form of an animal/bird, e.g. of Nandi (the divine bull), Garud (the divine eagle), etc. Consequently seekers began to consider animals like Nandi, Garud, etc. as deities. Later as they understood more of the subtle dimension they perceived that Nandi and Garud were the vehicles of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively and that instead of Nandi and Garud the frequencies came from those deities. They then concluded that animals and birds like Nandi and Garud were vehicles of deities.

Speed : The speed of vehicles of deities is known as rhansa. Rhansa is the speed which can continue with the same pace despite obstacles. It is accelerated whenever there is an obstacle. Hence no matter how many obstacles there are, vehicles of deities travel with a constant speed. (The other meanings of the word rhansa are the tandav dance, opening of the third eye of Lord Shankar, a wind blowing at a high speed, etc.)

Nature of the vehicles : Vehicles of deities are not real; they are the gross forms of energy of a deity used by it to travel from one place to another. This is akin to a female deity (devi) being the gross form of the total energy of a male deity. Actually deities can travel anywhere by a mere resolve (sankalpa). They do not require vehicles.

Invoking deities (avahan) : Deities do not manifest witout an invitation except if a devotee is in crisis. The implied meaning of invoking a deity is inviting it to come quickly along with its vehicle (vahan).


Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition : Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 4, Pg. 421           [2]. Vol. 4, Pg. 434
[3]. Vol. 4, Pg. 439, 440