Humans perform upasana for devi/devtha.

Humans attain devi/devtha using mantra. Mantra is sound form of devi/devtha for humans.

Humans can also attain devi/devtha using statue. Statue is a visual form of devi/devtha for humans.

Are there any other forms of devi/devtha that can be attainable by human for performing upasana as per scriptures?

  • Even when one worships in idols, mantra is needed. Because prana pratishtha is done before the Puja and it can't be done without using mantras and mudras.
    – Rickross
    Mar 23, 2020 at 6:22
  • @Rickross Yeah, we can use another forms to achieve a particular form.
    – hanugm
    Mar 23, 2020 at 10:06
  • Widely used forms are fire and idol. But in both these methods mantras are also used. Because mantras are not separate from the respective deities. Mantra is thus not "a form".
    – Rickross
    Mar 23, 2020 at 10:38

2 Answers 2


The chhAndogya upanishad lists a number of things that can be worshipped (upAsana is the word used) as brahman.

nāma vā ṛgvedo yajurvedaḥ sāmaveda ātharvaṇaścaturtha itihāsapurāṇaḥ pañcamo vedānāṃ vedaḥ pitryo rāśirdaivo nidhirvākovākyamekāyanaṃ devavidyā brahmavidyā bhūtavidyā kṣatravidyā nakṣatravidyā sarpadevajanavidyā nāmaivaitannāmopāssveti || 7.1.4 ||

  1. Name is the Ṛg Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sāma Veda, and the fourth—the Atharva Veda; then the fifth—history and the Purāṇas; also, grammar, funeral rites, mathematics, the science of omens, the science of underground resources, logic, moral science, astrology, Vedic knowledge, the science of the elements, archery, astronomy, the science relating to snakes, plus music, dance, and other fine arts. These are only names. Worship name.

sa yo nāma brahmetyupāste yāvannāmno gataṃ tatrāsya yathākāmacāro bhavati yo nāma brahmetyupāste'sti bhagavo nāmno bhūya iti nāmno vāva bhūyo'stīti tanme bhagavānbravītviti || 7.1.5 || || iti prathamaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

  1. ‘Anyone who worships name as Brahman can do what he pleases within the limits of the name.’ Nārada asked, ‘Sir, is there anything higher than name?’ ‘Of course there is something higher than name,’ replied Sanatkumāra. Nārada then said, ‘Sir, please explain that to me’.

7.2.1. Speech is certainly superior to name. ....Worship speech.

7.2.2. ‘Anyone who worships speech as Brahman can do what he pleases within the limits of speech.’ 

7.3.2. ‘Anyone who worships the mind as Brahman can do what he pleases within the limits of the mind.’

7.4.3. ‘One who worships saṅkalpa as Brahman can attain any world he wills.

7.5.3. ‘One who worships intelligence as Brahman attains worlds of intelligence

7.6.2. ‘One who worships meditation as Brahman can do what he pleases within the limits of meditation.’

7.7.2. ‘One who worships vijñāna as Brahman attains the vijñānamaya and jñānamaya worlds.

7.8.2. ‘One who worships strength as Brahman can do what he pleases within the limits of strength.’

7.9.2. ‘One who worships food as Brahman attains worlds full of food and drink.

7.10.2. ‘One who worships water as Brahman gets all he desires and is happy. 

7.11.2. ‘One who worships fire as Brahman becomes bright himself, and he attains worlds that are bright, shining, and without a hint of darkness.

7.12.2. ‘One who worships ākāśa [space] as Brahman attains worlds that are spacious, shining, free from all drawbacks, and extensive. 

7.13.2. ‘One who worships memory as Brahman has free movement as far as memory goes.’

7.14.2. ‘One who worships hope as Brahman has all his desires fulfilled.


Basically there are few options like 1. worshipping God in fire (Yajna) 2. in idols/images/Yantras etc. These are the most widely used ones.And, these are external worship, where aspirants imagine divine presence outside and separate from themselves.

Apart from these, there is antar-yajna or internal mode of worship, that is suitable for advanced level aspirants and it involves meditative techniques. A simpler version of this mode is called Manasa Puja.

God actually exists everywhere but depending on the person's spiritual level he becomes localised. For the benefit of the aspirant God assumes various forms.

That's why Lord Shiva says:

Agnou Tishtathi ViprAnam Hrudi Devo ManishinAm |
PratimAswapravuddhAnAm Sarvatra ViditAtmanAm ||

For the Brahmins God resides in fire, for the high-souled, he resides in the heart, for the unintelligent he resides in idols but for the self-realized he resides everywhere.

KulArnava Tantram 9.44

ChinmayasyAprameyasya nirgunasyA sharirinah |
SAdhakAnAm hithArthAya brahmano rupakalpanA ||

For the benefit of the spiritual aspirants, the conscious (chinmaya), immeasurable (aprameya), impersonal (nirguna) and bodiless (ashariri) Brahman has been assigned a form.

KulArnava Tantram 6.73

And, these various forms are fire, idols (which are energized with the help of Mantras).

A deity can be worshipped in various Adharas (object of worship) of which fire, water, idols, Yantras are few.

Iswara Uvacha:

Linga SthandilaVahnyamvusurpa Kubhyapateshu Cha |
Mandale Phalake Muddhni Hrudi VA Dasha KirtitA ||
Eshu SthAneshu Devesi Yajanthi Paramam ShivAm |
ArupAm Rupinim KritvA Karma KAndaratA NarAha ||

Lord Shiva said :

The worshiper visualizes the Formless Devi Parama ShivA in Form and adores Her in the linga, sign-symbol, altar, Fire, Water, winnowing fan, wall, image/idol , Mandala (diagram), plank, in the head or in the heart. These ten places are known to be the different places of worship.

Kularnava Tantram, Chapter 6, Verses 74-75.

Mantra is required in all forms of external worship like Pujas and Yajnas etc - without use of Mantras it is not possible to perform Yajna or Pujas. So, Mantra is not a form, it is a method. A Mantra is actually stated to be non-different from the respective deity.

Different forms of Upasana possible and a hierarchy is also given in the following verse (which is quoted in Yoga Vashishta Sara's 8th chapter ; I don't know the source):

prathamA pratimA-pujA japa-strotAni madhyamA |
uttamA mAnasi pujA sohaham pujottamottamA ||

The first level of worship is idol-worship, the second level ( which is of the medium kind) is recitation of mantra/stotra. Manasa puja is the third level but the highest form is where one worships the God thinking as not separate from him (Soham-I am HE).

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