Hindu pantheon

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Jai Ganesha!

This is a little better than a stub. Let's consider it a spark?

About the Hindu Pantheon

The Hindu pantheon is huge: the figure of 33 million gods is often mentioned. Documented over a period of five thousand years, roughly one billion people worship these entities in one set of forms or another, and many of them appear not just in Hinduism, but in Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhism.

A quick approach to understanding the Hindu gods is to compare them with the Greek or Roman pagan pantheons. Like the Greek/Roman gods, the Hindu gods are "people" - gendered beings with life stories. Unlike the Greek/Romon gods, the Hindu gods are "enlightened" - that is, they are said to have transcended their personalities to become expressions of the divine nature of the universe. There are many stories about the Hindu gods performing spiritual practices to purify themselves and better unify with the absolute divine.

Many of the Hindu gods represent specific aspects of the universe. More are "Patron Deities" - beings said to watch over particular classes of spiritual persuit. Over time, gods have come into and fallen from favor, and entirely new forms and styles of worship have come into existence. Of particular note is the Bhakti Movement of the 13th century, from which we get most modern Hindu practice.

The Hindu metaphysic is radically different to Christianity in dealing with good and evil. All beings are understood to reincarnate over extremely long time periods, accumulating good or evil deeds as time passes. There is no "absolute evil" or "source of suffering in the universe" corresponding to Satan. Rather, there is simply cause-and-effect played out over cosmic timespans. Even the lowest of demons can, through spiritual efforts to purify their being, rise to be born as a human being.

Finally, the Hindu gods who are commonly worshipped are fundamentally benign. They appear to be willing to help more or less any being who approaches them respectfully, including those from other cultures or traditions, or those who do not "believe" in them other than as abstractions. However, it is strongly recommended that Ganesh is always worshiped first, as this is a fundamental and traditional rite which opens the path to safe communion with the other dieties in the pantheon.

The Gods



Creator of the material universe. No longer worshipped much. Neglected for several thousand years.


Maintainers of the universe. Most widely known incarnations include Krishna/Radha, Ram, and Kalki. Vishnu typically takes the form of strong warrior figures who stand against the demons (remember - no absolute evil, just people who've become corrupted, greedy etc). The perfect king, the perfect leader, the perfect father, the perfect lover are all Vishnu properties. He who rights wrongs, defends the weak, slays the unjust, helps at a social and political level, safeguards humanity from their own vice and stupidity. Ram, particularly, is said to have made earth into heaven for the 10,000 years of his rule, according to the Ramayana.

Lakshmi is his Vishnu's "wife" but it's better to think of the two as male/female emanations of a single being, co-equal. Lakshmi is the goddess of material wealth or wellbeing, of plenty. She grants prosperity.

For some ideas about recent manifestations of Vishnu, see The Four Horsemen Theory


Shiva is the destroyer of the material universe. However, this is not destruction in the form of the nuclear flash, in the sense of mere laying-waste. Imagine you are in a dark room see a snake. You become afraid or hostile, approach, and suddenly realize the snake is a piece of rope lying on the ground. Where is the snake? Destroyed by knowledge. Shiva destroys the universe by showing it's true nature, which abolishes all previous understandings of the universe, leaving an enlightened mind. Shiva is the lord of yoga, and is often seen as a pale skinned yogi covered in ashes, or as an effeminate man with blue skin. Shiva is said to maintain a physical presence in the world in the from of Mahavatar Babaji, an immortal yogi who has allegedly maintained a continuous physical body since before Christ.

Shakti is the absolute primal power of the universe, the material universe, all prana (energy) - everything except pure consciousness (Shiva) is said to be her body. That is: the entire creation is said to be a game of Shakti, creating the universe, and all of us, from her thought and whim. Parvati (a form of Shakti) won the love of Shiva by yogic austerity, and when enraged took the form of Kali, the Devouress of the Universe, the darkest goddess in the Hindu pantheon, who was (is?) occasionally worshipped with human sacrifices.

Shiva and Shakti are typical of Hindu gods, in that they have many different levels of concepts: individuals with life stories, cosmic prinicples, places, people... all can be reflected by these concepts/beings/entities. All are simultaniously true, even when contradictory.



Second son of Shiva, created parthenogenically by Parvati as a guard of her doorway. Head struck off by his father in a misunderstanding, replaced with an Elephant's Head. Worshipped by King Mob of The Invisibles and very common in other Chaos workings. Worship of Ganesh before worship of other Hindu dieties is near-compulsory. It's also recommended before important undertakings, as Ganesh is the lord of obstacles - both creating and removing. Ganesh is attended by a mouse, Mushika, representing cunning, finesse and stealth in deeds.

Ganesha Banishing Ritual


Goddess of knowledge, learning and wisdom. Patroness of music, the arts, and all intellectual activities. Incredibly beautiful, luminous, and helpful beyond imagining to those who wish to learn, understand or teach.


A female goddess created by the Big Three in an act of focussed meditiation. The absolute female power of the universe in the form of a four-armed sixteen year old girl who has the Incarnate Vedas as her attendants. You can read her book, the Devi Gita, here:


This bad translation somewhat fluffs part of the translation: the goddess is described as having a _happy trail_ of fuzz, leading from her navel to other parts divine. Yes, leave your residual christian guilt at the door.


Divine mother Shakti in the form of a playful mother, playing hide-and-seek with her children. She carries a sugarcane bow and flower arrows.

More later.