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Sri Krishna, while equating himself with greatest among all living beings and non-living things among various sects, says in Srimad Bhagavad Gita as follows:

आदित्यानामहं विष्णुर्ज्योतिषां रविरंशुमान्।

मरीचिर्मरुतामस्मि नक्षत्राणामहं शशी।।10.21।।

Adityanam, among the twelve Adityas; aham, I; am the Aditya called Visnu. Jyotisam, among the luminaries; amsuman, the radiant; ravih, sun. Marutam, among the different gods called Maruts; asmi, I am; the one called Marici. Naksatranam, among the stars; I am sasi, the moon.

वेदानां सामवेदोऽस्मि देवानामस्मि वासवः।

इन्द्रियाणां मनश्चास्मि भूतानामस्मि चेतना।।10.22।।

Vedanam, among the Vedas; I am the Sama-veda. Devanam, among the gods-such as Rudras, Adityas and others; I am vasavah, Indra. Indriyanam, among the eleven organs, viz eye etc.; I am the manah, mind. I am the mind which is of the nature of reflection and doubt. And I am the cetana, intelligence [It is the medium for the manifestation of Consciousness.], the function of the intellect ever manifest in the aggregate of body and organs; bhtanam, in creatures.

रुद्राणां शङ्करश्चास्मि वित्तेशो यक्षरक्षसाम्।

वसूनां पावकश्चास्मि मेरुः शिखरिणामहम्।।10.23।।

Rudranam, among the eleven Rudras, I am Sankara; and yaksaraksasam, among the Yaksas and goblins; I am vittesah, Kubera. Vasunam, among the eight Vasus; I am pavakah, Fire; and sikharinam, among the peaked mountains, I am Meru.

Sri Krishna gave this discourse to Arjuna almost at the end of Dwaapara yuda, i.e, nearly 5000 years ago. He said that he is Indra among Devatas (33 Gods).

He also said that he is Vishnu among Adityas and Shankara among Rudras.

He did not say he is Vishnu or Shiva among Devatas.

Why?

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    Indra is the king of devatas. He did not say Vishnu or Shiva because they are Isvara not devatas. The highest level is Brahman, second is Isvara, third is Devatas. – Chinmay Sarupria Oct 23 '15 at 5:05
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    @ChinmaySarupria, : You are replying based on Sloka No.22 only. In slokas 21 & 23, Sri Krishna referred to Vishnu and Sankar also. Sri Krishna never said Vishnu and Sankara are Isvara. Wherever he wanted to mention about the ULTIMATE, he referred to ME only. For example : mAmekam saranam vraja - सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज। अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः।।18.66।। – srimannarayana k v Oct 23 '15 at 5:42
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    @srimannarayanakv from your above comment, it seems that Vishnu, Shankara and Indra belong to different groups. Maybe we see them today as all Gods or GODs but as per the verse, it seems that Indra is the head of Devtas, Lord Vishnu is the head of Adityas and Lord Shankar is head of Rudras. We had different other groupings referred in scriptures like Yakshas, Gandharvas, etc. He never said who is greater than whom but he is just referring to the head or most prominent personality out of the various groups. – Aby Oct 23 '15 at 7:46
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    @Aby: In one way, I agree with you. There is another aspect to this issue. As far as I know, the 33 Devatas consist of 12 Adityas ( Vishnu One among them), 11 Rudras (Shankara one among them) , 8 Vasus (Agni one among them) and Indra + Prajapati. .Some people say the last 2 are 2 Aswins and not Indra and Prajapati. Keshav Srinivasan in this form clarified today itself, that Indra is also one among Adityas. – srimannarayana k v Oct 23 '15 at 10:00
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    You're asking some really good fundamental questions by probing into seemingly straightfw statements of Ramayan and Mahabharat. These are things which we usually take for granted but you are having the vision to see deeper. Awesome! – Sai Oct 23 '15 at 15:26
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Brahmam in the Paramapadam (Nitya Vibhuthi) manifests as Sriman.Narayana (Param). He descends to Leela Vibhuthi (Created Universe) as MahaVishnu (Viewham) and incarnates taking many Avatars (Vibhavam). Lord Krishna is considered as one of them. In order to explain that He (Brahmam) permeates into every object-both animate (Chetana) and inanimate (Achetana)- and remains as Antaryami to control everything, He mentions several names of most important devathas, Mountains, trees and claims that He is dwelling in every such entity to substantiate His state of Vyapyam-permeation into everything to control everything as Antaryami. He is worshipped as Archa Murthy-his fifth expansion- in temples in the present Kali Yuga.

  • Swami, it is good answer indeed. However it appears to dull minds like me the answer is to the part of the question "why He said that he is Indra among Devatas?" But the other part "why He did not say he is Vishnu or Shiva among Devatas." seems unanswered. May be He is trying to highlight Indra? May be devatas are different from Adityas and Rudras? – Narayanan Oct 28 '15 at 4:04
  • Mahavishnu is not a Devata and is the expansion of Sriman Narayana Himself. While Mahavishnu completed Samashti Srushti (creation of infra-structure) Brahma is His first direct creation from His Naval lotus and Shiva is the first creation by Brahma during his Vyashti Srushti (creation of living entities). Hence Vishnu cannot identify himself with these two unique characters. Both Brahma and Shiva are Jivatmas/Devatas but Mahavishnu is Paramatma/Paradevata-Bhagawan/God – Sampath Kumaran Oct 29 '15 at 9:46
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Devtas are living entities just like us. But they have spiritually and physically advanced body. Devtas are not GODs. They are Demi-GODs. GODs are Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti. As Indra is the king of Devtas, hence it is the highest position. That's why Sri Krishna Said, "I am Indra among Devtas".

  • Sri Krishna said I am Agni among VASUs (23), I am Varuna among waters(29), Sankara among Rudras (23), who are all counted under 33 Devatas. And, he also said I am Vishnu among Adityas (21). So they are Demi-gods (the word used by you), but not Gods. Further, Shakti and Ganapati are no where mentioned in Bhagavad Gita. Please check – srimannarayana k v Oct 23 '15 at 7:37
  • Just for clarity: God is Paramatma/Paradevata and is only ONE and hence no plural should be used as "Gods" .The term demi-gods is used for all Devathas that inclde Brahma and Shiva also. All Devatas are Jivatmas with varying divinities in them. – Sampath Kumaran Oct 29 '15 at 10:06

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