The concept of Ishwara being one supreme being, Lord and God is used in Puranic and Modern Hinduism.

But was such a concept present in Vedas or authentic Upanishads?

This Wikipedia article says no

The word Īśvara does not appear in Rigveda.[15] However, the verb īś- does appear in Rig veda, where the context suggests that the meaning of it is "capable of, able to".[15] It is absent in Samaveda, is rare in Atharvaveda, but it appears in Samhitas of Yajurveda. The contextual meaning, however as the ancient Indian grammarian Pāṇini explains, is neither god nor supreme being.

Did the concept of Ishwara, the Single Supreme God exist in Vedas?

One can readily give example of Purusha Sukta, which is clearly Monotheistic, but again this Wikipedia article seems fo say that Purusha Sukta was a later addition.

Some scholars state that certain verses of Purusha Sukta are later interpolations to the Rigveda. One of the reasons given is that it is the only hymn in all the Vedas that mentions the four varnas by name - although the word "varṇa" itself is not mentioned in the hymn

This four varna-related verse is controversial and is believed by many scholars, such as Max Müller, to be a corruption and a medieval or modern era insertion into the text

Many 19th and early 20th century scholars questioned as to when parts or all of Purusha Sukta were composed, and whether some of these verses were present in the ancient version of Rigveda. They suggest it was interpolated in post-Vedic era[18] and is a relatively modern origin of Purusha Sukta

There can be little doubt, for instance, that the 90th hymn of the 10th book (Purusha Sukta) is modern both in its character and in its diction. (...) It mentions the three seasons in the order of the Vasanta, spring; Grishma, summer; and Sarad, autumn; it contains the only passage in the Rigveda where the four castes are enumerated. The evidence of language for the modern date of this composition is equally strong. Grishma, for instance, the name for the hot season, does not occur in any other hymn of the Rigveda; and Vasanta also does not belong to the earliest vocabulary of the Vedic poets.

— Max Müller

1. Is the concept of one Ishwara present in Vedas?

2. How old is Purusha sukta?

  • 1
    Ishavasya upanishad is named after and starts with Ishwara. Upanishads use the word Ishwara Mandukya calls prajna as Sarveshwara. Brihadaranyaka upanishad also cals the Self as Sarveshwara.
    – user23407
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 19:00
  • @zero Excellent. any idea regarding Purusha Sukta?
    – user22253
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 19:06
  • 1
    May be the wiki article is talking about the samhita portion of the vedas alone.
    – user23407
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 19:14
  • 1
    Purusha sukta is present in mandala 10 of Rig veda samhita. Modern indologists consider mandala 10 as relatively later day addition compared to other mandalas of RV. Though relatively later in this sense, it is considered to be composed well within the overall vedic period.
    – user23407
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 19:18
  • 1
    Fyi, main upanishads also refer to the supreme being as Purusha sometimes.
    – user23407
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 19:27

2 Answers 2


1. Is the concept of one Ishwara present in Vedas?

The term Isvara may not be there in the Rig Veda. The concept of monotheism, one Supreme, is in the Rig Veda.

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutman.

To what is One, sages give many a title, they call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan.

Rig Veda 1.164.46

To you I come with this mine adoration, and with a hymn I crave the Strong One's favor

A hymn that truly makes joyful, Maruts. Suppress your anger and unyoke your horses.

Rig Veda 1.171.1

Radhakrishnan, however, thinks that the Rig Veda monotheism is not the monotheism of the modern age.

Monotheism characterizes some of the hymns of the Rg-Veda. There is no doubt that sometimes the several gods were looked upon as the different names and expressions of the Universal Being. But this monotheism is not as yet the trenchant clear-cut monotheism of the modern world.

Indian Philosophy, The hymns of the Rg-Veda, by S. Radhakrishnan

2. How old is Purusha sukta?

The tenth mandala, where Purusa Sukta is found, is believed to be a later addition by scholars.

Mandala ten seems to be a later appendage. At any rate, it contains views current at the last period of the development of the Vedic hymns.

Indian Philosophy, The Hymns of the Rg-Veda, by S. Radhakrishnan

  • 3
    Please note: Purusha Sukta is not a latter day addition. The rishi of the hymn is Narayana Rishi who was even before Vyasa and Krishna. On what basis is it claimed that Purusha sukta is a latter day addition? It is found in all 4 samhitas. Just because something doesn’t go down well with indologist they’ll make anything latter day? Do you rely on indology (which generally makes conclusions without proof) or you’d rely on the rishis who wrote the hymns?
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 13:40
  • 2
    @Archit well put Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 15:16
  • 2
    I am posting the opinion of scholars. I think it was the 19th century German Rig Veda scholar Oldenburg who first stated that the mandala 10 is a later addition. I leave it to the reader to accept or reject scholarly opinion. Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 3:12

Iswara (loosely translated as God, Lord, Deity) is another word for Saguna Brahman. There are many, many instances of the description of Saguna Brahman in the vedas (Upanishads). But to address what I think is you specific question, the Svetasvatara Upanishad 4.10 uses the word Maheisvarah (Mahe - great or supreme, Isvarah - Lord) specifically. The verse says (Swami Gambhirananda translator):

One should know that Nature is surely Maya, and the supreme Lord is the Ruler of Maya to be sure. This whole universe is verily pervaded by what are His limbs.

Wikipedia articles on Hinduism are for the most part written by Western 'scholars' of Hinduism, not Hindus. Their (Western scholars) views are colored by their own preconceived views and should not be considered sources. All of what is considered Hinduism today is derived from Vyasa, the writings of the Rig veda are not considered the ultimate definition or measure of what is or is not Hindu theology. Jesus Christ does not appear in the Torah; should Christians reject Jesus Christ or Christian theology then?

  • I would totally agree with you except we seem to have a problen with historical Vyasa. The Mahabharata war seens to have happened somewhere between 2500 to 1600 BC. But Puranas and Brahmasutras which are attributed to Vyasa has been dated all over from 1000 BC to 500 CE. We can say reject those western scholars in dating but where the Hindu scholars arguing for date giving argument. Except for few tryibg to calculate using astronomy which is wide ranged.
    – user22253
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 13:21
  • Torah is Old testament, Christians follow New Testament which has Jesus Christ.
    – user22253
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 13:22
  • "the writings of the Rig veda" what happened to Apourusheyatva and Infallibility of Vedas by which all Vedantis stand by?? Vyasa cannot contradict Vedas. And he doesn't claim that.
    – user22253
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 13:25

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