In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, Verse 12 it is stated that:

Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world.

First of all can I know who is referred to as demigod? Are Ganapathi, Hanuman and Kartikeya demigods?

Is worshiping a demigod bad?

  • The word Devata does not translate to Demigod. This is a Greek concept. Apr 27, 2016 at 16:49
  • 1
    It depends :). Usually devata is translated as demigod, although this is a totally inaccurate translation, because demigod means half human and half God I guess. Who is a devata, depends on which sect you're in favor of. For Vaishnavas, every god except Vishnu and Lakshmi are demigods. For Shaivites, every god except Shiva, Shakti and sometimes His sons Ganesha and Karthikeya are demigods. For Advaitins, all gods are aspects of the One Ishvara and your Ishta Devata is the embodiment of Ishvara. All other gods, become various manifestations of your Ishta Devata. All the best!
    – Sai
    Apr 28, 2016 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


Worshiping Demigods is not bad at all. Demigods worship is however condemned in Bhagavad Geeta, It is not Forbidden.

Here in Gita Krishna says that Demigod worship is inferior to His worship.

Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.

Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.

Demigods are the celestial beings with some super natural powers. They are more powerful than human beings.However they can grant only material benefits. That is some comfort for the body; ex. Indra can give nice plentyful of rains, Vayu can give good strength to man etc. But they can not grant liberation to living entities(soul). As Shiva says(As quoted by Swami Prabhupada) 'Mukti Pradata sarvesham Vishnu eva na samshaiyaha' Only Lord Vishnu can grant liberation to soul.Of this there is no doubt.

Lord Vishnu is the supreme personality of Godhead(Vaishnavas believe this, Shaivas believe that Shiva is supreme). Vishnu being Absolute truth; He is non-different from His other incarnations and expansions. So all other celestial beings are demigods; but not Vishnu and His expansions(Since I'm Vaishnava I call Him supreme). So yes Ganapati, Kartikeya etc are demigods.

The reason why demigod worship is condemned is that; Bhagavad Geeta speaks about the highest perfection(liberation; which demigods cant give anyways). The Goal of Human life is to attain liberation from cycle of births and deaths. That this is the ultimate Goal of Human life is accepted by all the followers of Vedanta philosophy.

To give a crude ex. consider a university. In University there are different department Heads; also there are professors, clerks etc. So Departmental heads have some power which is more than that of professors, Power of clerks is still less than Professors. But principal is the authority in college. There is no one higher than him. similarly there is 1 supreme person(Krishna/Vishnu). Demigods are like HODs. They have some power but it is given by principal(supreme being). Principal can override any one's power if he wills . So its better to worship supreme than to worship His subordinates.

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    @Vishal prabhu lawande Shiva Purana doesn't contain that verse at all... It's from Harivamsha... and Shiva is telling that verse to Ghantakarna who had extreme hatred for Lord Vishnu.. that's why Shiva is speaking there... also the verse doesn't mean 'None except Vishnu can grant liberation' it just means 'Vishnu is granter if liberation to all"... There is huge difference between the two things... I discuss it here.
    – Tezz
    May 8, 2017 at 5:57
  • @Tezz Thanx .I have removed the shiva purana part. May 8, 2017 at 7:36
  • reference BG 7.20
    – zaxebo1
    Mar 8, 2018 at 22:03

Some Vaishnava authors use word "demigod" in their books to refer to the gods that are not identical with the Supreme Lord (Supreme God) which is Lord Krishna (also known as Narayana, Rama, Balarama, Ananta, Vishnu, Vasudeva, Nrisimha, Sankarshana, Matsya, Kurma, Madhusudana, Varaha, etc) per the Vaishnava understanding of the vedic knowledge.
There is nothing wrong with the word "demigod". Thus "demigod" just means "a god who is not the Supreme Lord Krishna, but is just a partial manifestation of Lord Krishna", and thus those gods that are demigods are subordinate to Lord Krishna. Actually all those demigods are servants of Lord Krishna, and are subordinate to Him. You can see usage of that word in the books of the Gaudiya vaishnava authors such as at the vedabase: http://www.vedabase.com/

Yes, we can say that the demigods are Ganapathi, Hanuman, Kartikeya, and gods in heaven such as Indra (the king of heaven), Vayu (god of wind), Varuna (god of waters), Rudra (destroyer of the universe), Brahma (creator of the universe), Yama (god of death), Agni (god of fire), etc.

The worship of the demigods is not bad, but is not the best thing you can do in life either, because they can not give you moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death called samsara. But Lord Krishna can give you moksha, and so to devote ourselves to Him is much, much better than to worship of any of the demigods.

The worship of the demigods is much encouraged in the Vedas such as in the Rig Veda. I talked about it at http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/28943582#28943582

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