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I have understood that primarily we have 33 gods and these gods are brahman attribute forms of parabrahman But if we go to any tiny village of the country, there will be some graam devta or the village deity. Some deities are installed and some deities are swayambhu. I have seen quite a few people claiming to have experienced the miracles of these devtas. Some even claim to have been possessed by these devtas. Some even go ahead and claim to have seen the deities in human or spiritual form. How is this possible?

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Brahman, Satchidananda, may be thought of as an infinite ocean of Existence, Consciousness and bliss. All the devatas are aspects of this infinite ocean.

The three main .. deities - the Trinity consisting of Brahma, Visnu and Siva - along with their consorts, form the first aspect. Here all the .. deities are considered to be different facets of God, the Supreme (Isvara). The minor deities like Ganesa and Kumara, form the second aspect. Though these deities also are sometimes described as the facets of God the Supreme, their position is usually inferior to that of the Trinity. They represent limited manifestations of the Supreme God. The Lokapalas ( protectors of world), also called as Dikpalas (protectors of the cardinal directions) like Indra, Varuna, Agni and others, comprise the third aspect. They are actually aspects of power in the cosmic scheme of creation and human beings who have acquired extraordinary religious merit necessary for getting these places, will occupy them in each cycles of creation. Then there are any number of village deities and demigods who can be regarded either as very limited manifestations of the Supreme God or as forces of nature deified or as human beings who by virtue of some special merit and power are elevated to godhood in course of time, after their death.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses by Swami Harshananda

How does one fit in this scheme the 33 gods mentioned in the Vedas?

The Rgveda Samhita forms the basic scripture of Hinduism and tradition accords it the highest place. The great book is full of hymns, Suktas as they are called, which attain supreme heights of poetical beauty and philosophical acumen, a rare combination indeed!

A major part of this work is devoted to prayers to gods like Indra, Agni, Varuna and others. These Vedic gods are usually enumerated as thirty three: eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati. These gods are assigned to the three regions of the earth (Prthvi), the heavens (Dyaus) and the intermediary space (Antariksha). ....

Who are these gods? Are they different aspects of the one Supreme God? Or, are they different deities competing and conflicting with one another like the Greek gods? Or are they just animals and totems masquerading as gods?! .... Suffice it to say that the famous statement in the Rgveda itself viz., 'ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti,' 'Truth is one; sages call it by different names' (I.164.46) sets the tone for the philosophy of the Vedas which is amplified later on by the Upanishads. Hence, though these deities appear to be different and independent, they are really facets of the same Brahman, the Supreme God.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses by Swami Harshananda

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