Do Vedas say that God is unique? How many Gods are there acc. to Vedas? What are his characteristics by which one says that God is unique?


1 Answer 1


Qualities of "God" are described in dRg dRzya viVeka by Sankaracharya

asti bhAti priyaM rUpaM nAma chetyaMshapaJNchakam.h |AdyatrayaM brahmarUpaM jagadrUpaM tato dvayam.h || 20 ||

Everything has five factors: 1) Existence, 2) Consciousness3) Bliss, 4) Name, and 5) Form. Of these, the first three are of the nature of Brahman and the last two (Name and Form) belong to the world.

khaMvAyvagnijalorvIshhu devatiryaN^.h narAdishhu |abhinnAssachchidAnandAH bhidyete rUpanAmanI || 21 ||

In the elements, space, air, fire, water, and earth, in Gods,animals, and humans, (and other things in the world) what isnon-different (constant, unchanging) are Existence, Consciousness,and Bliss. What are different (among all these things) are theName and Form aspects.

Note 1: sat-chit-ananda is synonymous with asti-bhati-priyam, the latter being the corresponding "cognizable attributes" of the former. This is nirguna brahman.

Further, bhagavan is explained as follows:

it is described by Parāśara Muni that

aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva ṣaṇṇāṁ bhagam itīṅganā (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47)

Bhagavān means who possesses these six opulences in full: all riches, all strength, all influence, all wisdom, all beauty, all renunciation.

These are the qualities of saguna brahman.

Note 2: Here aiswarya has been given a rather limited translation. In this context, the quality of being "Ishwara" i.e., lord and master (of all things - material and spiritual) is aishwaryam.

As for the question on how many gods do we have according to the vedas, someone who has read the vedas must answer. The upanishads, which are the concluding portions of the vedas, severally propound one nirguna brahman .

  • You are quite welcome. But the reminder is unnecessary. @LakshmiNarayanan
    – user1195
    Apr 22, 2018 at 5:36
  • I thanked you for your answer as well as tried to make a general observation to the layperson reading this answer that it is not a default view but emulates advaita. Apologies if it seemed like a reminder. Apr 22, 2018 at 6:42
  • @LakshmiNarayanan I understood your intent. My submission is that only those perspectives that are drawn from specialised philosophies - need be called out as such. Advaita is not a specialised or derivative philosophy.
    – user1195
    Apr 22, 2018 at 7:08
  • In my opinion, when one takes a holistic interpretation of the Vedas then advaita can be construed as specialised/derivative. Nevertheless, pointing out that an answer is from advaita perspective is acceptable given no such disclaimers occurs in the answer (when the question doesn't obviously preclude other perspectives) - It helps people understand that there are various viewpoints and that this is just one of them. Apr 22, 2018 at 8:18
  • What would you say the quote from Vishnu Purana is about? @LakshmiNarayanan
    – user1195
    Apr 22, 2018 at 12:52

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