YAMA – The God of DEATH

Yama came to be the god of death in later mythology, but he had wide range of roles in the earlier mythology. In the Rigveda Yama was one of the first pair. As such he was referred to as the first mortal (later being called the first human). His twin sister Yamî wanted him as … Read more

VISVAKARMAN, VISVAKARMA – The celestial architect

Vis´vakarman (omnificent) may originally have been an epithet for any powerful god, but it was used in the Rigveda most often for Indra and Sûrya. There are two Rigvedic hymns to Vis´vakarman praising him as the all-seeing god, the one who names the gods, and that one beyond the comprehension of mortals. He was said … Read more

VISHNU – One of Three Major Gods of Modern Hinduism

Vishnu rose from a minor role as a solar deity in the Rigveda to one of the Hindu Triad with Brahmâ and S´iva to the Absolute of the universe in Vaishnavism. Vishnu’s willingness to incarnate in time of need to restore righteousness (dharma) was the inspiring theme that made him both absolute and a compassionate … Read more

VÂYU – The Vedic Wind (Storm) God

Vâyu was the Vedic wind god. He fought alongside Indra and the Maruts (gods of storm) in defeating Vritra, the storm demon who held back the celestial waters. He was a charioteer of enormous power. Vâyu would be connected in the Upanishads with breath of life (prâna). By the time of the Purânas, however, Vâyu … Read more

VARUNA – Early Vedic God (Deva)

Varuna was one of the oldest of the Vedic deities. Varuna may have been part of the first triad of gods known in the Vedic period—along with Mitra and Aryaman. A little later but still within the early Vedic period, they were replaced by Agni, Indra, and Sûrya. Varuna was both an asura (demon) and … Read more

VARÂHA – Third of the Ten Incarnations of Vishnu

In the Padma Purâna the world order had again been disrupted. The fierce asura (demon) Hiranyâksha had gained a boon (vara) of invincibility. With his provisional immortality, he stormed around the three regions of the universe wanting to fight and kill the gods. He became bored when he could do no more evil, so he … Read more

VÂMANA – Fifth of the Ten Incarnations of Vishnu

Vâmana was the dwarf incarnation (avatâra) of Vishnu. The myth utilized the device of deceit, or outwitting the opponent, even though the struggle was between the supreme god Vishnu and a demon (asura) named Bali. Although an avatâra was required to restore the proper order and return righteousness to the world, Bali exhibited such high … Read more

VÂC – Vedic Goddess of Speech Consciousness

Vâc means “word” and “song,” as well as being the name of an early Vedic goddess. Vâc refers to both speech and speech-consciousness. Vâc enters into the seers (rishis). A Rigvedic hymn to Vâc stated that all actions and powers were grounded in speech. It was the primordial energy out of which all existence originated … Read more

USHAS – The Vedic Goddess of Dawn

In Vedic mythology Ushas was the goddess of dawn and the herald of all that was connected with the advent of the sun, Sûrya, supreme ruler of the heavens. She announced Sûrya, who brought along with her, light to make the pastures fertile, horses, chariots, wealth, and plenitude. The mighty sun god seemed unapproachable to … Read more

SÛRYA – The Vedic Hindu Sun God

Sûrya was a primary deity of the Aryans at the time of the earliest hymns of the Rigveda. The solar cult saw the sun as the most obvious symbol of life, consciousness, and divinity. For some time within each of the first three periods of Hindu mythology, Sûrya was acknowledged as the creator, the principle … Read more