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Why do Hindus worship different avatars of Gods and aspects of nature like Sun, Snake, Cow etc if they believe in only God which is Parabrahma?

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    Parabrahma is not a God. – user11 Jul 23 '14 at 17:53
  • Do you know water cycle if yes then Imagine parabramha as oceans and other dieties as other small water bodies like river ponds wells etc!!! All lead to same one parabramha – Yogi Jul 23 '14 at 18:37
  • This question may already have an answer here. – Dharmaputhiran Jul 23 '14 at 19:21
  • Parabrahma is ekamevadvitiam (one without a second) according to the Upanishads. Shiva (destroyer), Vishnu (maintainer) & Brahmaa (creator) are 3 manifestations of Parabrahma. Indra, Surya, Chandra etc. are demigods live in Indra-loka for 4.32 billion years (1 Kalpa). – user2931 May 8 '15 at 1:31
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It is because, the one supreme God doesn't offer any material benefits to the worshipper. Rather, because material things cause attachment and bondage, He snatches away whatever material things his true devotee may have:

yasyāhamanugṛhṇāmi hariṣye taddhanaṃ śanaiḥ
tato'dhanaṃ tyajantyasya svajanā duḥkhaduḥkhitam
[SB - 10.88.8]

Meaning
I gradually take away his wealth whomever I show my favour and grace. Then due to poverty his friends and relatives abandon him and thus he suffers distress after distress.

Thus, in the heart of a devotee detachment towards this world grows and it becomes easier for him to think and concentrate on God more.

So people who are desrious of material benefits, instead of worshipping God, worship other demigods, bhutas (air, water, etc.), ghosts, manes, etc:

kāmaistaistairhṛtajñānāḥ prapadyante 'nyadevatāḥ
taṃ taṃ niyamamāsthāya prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā
[BG - 7.20]

Meaning
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.

And secondly, people are under the influence of the threefold material nature of satva(goodness), rajas(passion) and tamas (ignorance). Hence, driven by their primary nature they even though believe in one supreme God, worship many other beings:

yajante sāttvikā devānyakṣarakṣāṃsi rājasāḥ
pretānbhūtagaṇāṃścānye yajante tāmasā janāḥ
[BG - 17.4]

Meaning
Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in the mode of passion worship the demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits.

Only those whose minds are in pure goodness and who do not have any material desires worship the Supreme personality of Godhead.

Now the thing regarding worshipping avatars is that, Parambrahma has no material form. So for embodied beings like us who have a material form, it is very difficult to worship Parambrahma in His all pervading absolute formless form:

kleśo ’dhika-taras teṣām avyaktāsakta-cetasām
avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ dehavadbhir avāpyate
[BG - 12.5]

Meaning
For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.

So instead of worshipping Parambrahma, most people worship His different avatars. But then, as you know, there are followers of Advaita and many other sects who do not worship any avataras but revere and meditate upon the formless Parambrahma.

  • what's the meaning of [BG - 12.5] and other notations? – user13107 Jul 24 '14 at 4:50
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    @user13107 Here BG and SB are short forms for Bhagavad Gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam. 12.5 means the chapter number 12 and verse number 5. – Be Happy Jul 24 '14 at 4:56
  • That means can't a devotee do love marriage?? – user12458 Nov 12 '14 at 10:50
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The underlying premise of the question is faulty. There is no such thing as different gods since Parabrahmaa is ekamevadvitiam (one without a second) according to the Upanishads. The apparently different gods are simply different names and forms of Parabrahma.

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This question warrants two sub questions.

  1. What is God according to Hinduism?
  2. Why do Hindus worship differently?

The answer to the first question is that Hinduism considers God as the ultimate cause-effect relationship that binds the entire system - the universe and beyond. It is not something out of the system, but very much inherent and built into the system. To be more specific when you rub a matchstick against its case it lights up. You can find the cause- effect relationship by digging deep into its chemistry, may up to its subatomic levels or you can superficially say that the cause and effect is inherent in the matchstick- case system. (This is just an analogy to how a cause effect relationship is inherent in the system. Extrapolating it too much may cause mis-concepts).

Now for the second question, why do Hindus worship differently? People are of different make - different intelligence, different mindset , different tolerance levels, and so on. What ever be the make of the man, the intention of life is to refine ourselves. Refinement happens only through experience. Hinduism recognizes the inbuilt conscience of a man in correcting himself through experiences. Only oneself can judge his self. A matured person, with a noble view point on life can understand this virtuous system- the universe and beyond. Only a mature and noble man who believes in the self correcting nature of this huge system can afford to think of God as the cause-effect relation ship inherent in the system. This concept of God is very abstract. It is not quite simple as conceiving God as a person or object with the power to bless and punish at one's whims and fancies.

Now coming back to the question, Why do Hindus worship differently? let me tell you, most people need a God who can bless and punish. For most of us God with these qualities is a psycho-logic necessity. Hinduism allows this. Any man can choose his own form of God if that helps him to lead a refined way of life. And Hinduism hopes that at some point of time of his life (in this birth or in any other cycles of birth!) the person will realize the eternal truth that he along with the system is God! (A word of caution - Knowing something is very different from realizing something. This writer who writes as if he knows everything has not realized it. But certainly believes that he will realize at some point of time, just like every other)

What I mean by Hinduism is the Philosophy and spirit reflected from the VEDAS.

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Why do Hindus worship different Gods if they believe in only one God which is parabrahma?

This question it self is STUPID one, Worshiping is for MAINTAIN good Healthy Body (Neutral) and Pure the Mind (Negative), Like Universe, Like Electricity Our Human Body is concerned with Param Atma or Para Brahman as The Supreme God EXISTS in ALL as ONE in ALL and ALL in ONE in FORMLESS Status and Who does not belong to any Individual and WHO is COMMON to all, EQUAL to All, and IMPARTIAL to All, When An Independent Positive Energy (Shiv) ATTRACTS and INTER ACT and If Energy (Shiv) is transformed into Neutral (Vishnu) of Negative (Shakti) then at certain point of time (approximately 45 days after Female Nensus Period stopped) Life Force (Supreme God) enters through Navel Point Hole (Body=Vishnu or Neutral)into Neutral(Uterus or Womb = Vishnu) and for Human Female it can be confirmed through Urine Test as Positive (means Pregnant and Life Force Entered), In Neutral (Vishnu - Uterus or Womb) itself the Rest of the Formalities are going on as Preserved, Generated and Converted and FORMED as a Child and it means, While at the time of Life Force Entered from that time Brahma(life force of universe)is Incarnated and on the same time the Contrast Nature of Rudra (mind of universe) is Incarnated and once the Vishnu (Body of the Universe) Formed (approximately 10 months or 300 days for growth for human child) and at the time of Delivery Mind Force (Shakti) activates Indirectly or Negatively electric charged the Rudra (Mind) and Neutral Force (Vishnu = Body it self its own Neutral force) Activating the Body and Both Mind Force & Neutral Force are Attached with each other as Inter=Dependent, Inter-Related and Inseparable as TWINS, Where Vishnu is Elder Brother and Shakti is Younger Sister.

So Firstly, Param Shiv (Energy)an independent positive energy= Male Gender God's Energy is Transformed First into Neutral (Vishnu) of Negative (Shakti) = Female Gender God and then only at certain point of time The Supreme God (Life Force) into Vishnu (Neutral) an attachment of Shakti(Negative) and Brahma = Universal Life Force, Rudra = Universal Mind and Maha Vishnu = Universal Body are all Incarnated in the Neutral (Vishnu) of Negative (Shakti)

The Universal Body as Maha Vishnu Formed with Brahma (Formless) as Universal Life Force and Rudra (Formless Negative) as Universal Mind (Destiny)

Brahma (Universal Soul) is Directly Activated by Param Shiv (Positive Energy) and Rudra (Universal Mind is Indirectly activated by Para Shakti (Mind FOrce) and Maha Vishnu being the Universal Body and Neutral Force on his own Neutralize or Balance Both positive (SHiv) and Negative (Shakti), Kindly Refer Medical Science for How Human Babies or CHild are formed? and Vedas is Traditional Science and its duty to Unleash the truth and done it.
past 4000 years ago all of us were following Vedas or Sanatana Dharma and there was no religion at all, suddenly One Individual Formed Judaism as one Religion and in that updated the Following Points Which are False, Fabricated and Devoid from the Truths :

  1. The Supreme God is One and Only One Yes The Supreme God as Para Brahman or Param Atman (as the Life Force) is One and Only One and that makes the difference as Who is Life Force as One and Only to all. Can Universe, All its existing Bodies and we the Humans etc., etc., can Exist and Formed with Visible or Physical Bodies? The Universe, All its Existing Things, We the Humans etc., etc., are Existing with Life Force (Supreme God) since Who is the Supreme Nature of Ever Existing Life Force, but that alone can not make the said above thing into Live and Visible Conditions, and Mind & Body (Formed Physical or Visible Body) attached together for Existence and either if Mind or Body collapse then The Universe or Human Body is Destroyed, and Mind Departures to Uncertainty.

So The Vedas clearly says The Supreme God is one as the Supreme Life Force, but Positive Energy or Spiritual Energy(Shiv) is also One as the Universal Father and Negative Energy(Mind Force) or Material Energy (Para Shakti & Vishnu attached together with two different Nature of Formless Negative & Formed Body) and when Shive Transformed his Positive Energy into Neutral (Vishnu) an attachment of Shakti (Negative) then First Life Force (Brahma) Enters and so Brahma is Incarnated, then Rudra Contrast to Life Force as Mind is Incarnated and finally Maha Vishnu (Greater Body) is Formed and delivered as the Universe.

  1. So The Universe ( Matter) is Not Created by The Supreme God, but Formed by Anti Matter (Energy (+ve) = Param Shiv) and Matter (Parashakti & Vishnu attached - Negative & Neutral). The Universal Truth is MALE GENDER CAN ONLY TRANSFORM ENERGY BUT CAN NOT FORM CREATE ANYTHING ON ITS OWN, AND FEMALE GENDER DOES NOT OWN ANY ENERGY EXCEPT IF IT IS TRANSFORMED INTO ITS NEUTRAL THEN IT CAN FORM AND DELIVER THE MATTER,
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    Welcome to Hinduism.SE! You should cite sources (preferably scripture). Also, scientific speculation isn't allowed on this site, so you should take those parts out of your answer. – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 20 '15 at 17:01
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Hindus worship many Gods because they know that many Gods are the manifestations of single God - the one without a second (Ekamevadityiam).

Rig Veda I.164.46 "Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti."

Though it is one, inspired poets speak of it in many ways (or, The poets give many names to that which is only one).

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