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I heard that in ancient Hindu texts there's 33 gods in Hindu mythology, but this doesn't make sense since I have compiled a list of way more than 33 gods who's names I have found so far.

What's up with that, why am I finding a lot more gods if it's said there's only 33 gods in Hindu mythology?

“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha He in whose body is contained all three-and-thirty Deities?” – (Atharva Veda 10.7.13).

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  • See also the Wiki page on it.
    – cmw
    Aug 26, 2022 at 3:45
  • @Orionixe why are you interested in counting the number of deities in each religion? Aug 30, 2022 at 8:14
  • @Mauricio well this is the site to ask these kinds of questions is it not? lol
    – Orionixe
    Sep 19, 2022 at 7:53

2 Answers 2

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The metaphysics of this is complicated. Multiple gods may have a relationship such that several are an aspect of another.

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, we find this passage:

Then Vidagdha, the son of Sakala, asked him: “How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?

Yajnavalky said, “As many as are indicated in the Nivid of the Visvadevas – 300 and 3003.”

“Very well,” said Sakalya. “How many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya?” “Thirty-three.”

“Very well,” said Sakalya. “How many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya?” “Six.”

“Very well,” said Sakalya. “How many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya?” “Three.”

“Very well,” said Sakalya. “How many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya?” “Two.”

“Very well,” said Sakalya. “How many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya?” “One-and-a-half.”

“Very well,” said Sakalya. “How many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya?” “One.”

“Very good,” said Sakalya, and he asked: “Which are those 303 and those 3003?”

Yajnavalkya said: “There are only 33 gods. These others are but manifestations of them.”

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  • So 33 could be how many gods that are worshiped and not how many Hindu gods there are?
    – Orionixe
    Aug 26, 2022 at 22:18
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Some say there are 33 gods, while some say there are 330 million gods (33 crores or 33 Koti gods; 1 Koti = 1 crore = 10 million). But, koti in Sanskrit also means prime importance or supreme/central figures. The sloka of Brihadaranyaka Upnishada mentions that there are 33 koti gods. Some interpreted it as 330 million while it was 33 supreme gods. But, to exactly say what the number of gods is, maybe controversial; we get different figures in different places. But it is widely accepted that there are three main deities in Hinduism, Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the maintainer; and Shiva, the destroyer.

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