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Minor Deities

 

Administrative Gods


Indra, "the King of Heaven," was apparently very popular in early Vedic Hinduism and is considered to be in charge of the administrative demigods. Here he is offering his obeisances to Lord Krishna in connection with the pastime, "The Lifting of Govardhan Hill."

In addition to the twelve main deities listed previously there are also a number of minor deities (keeping in mind that certain Hindus may consider them more exalted or even Supreme!). They are generally considered to have specific roles within this universe. The main ones are also considered to have charge over the eight directions, beginning with the East and moving clockwise (i.e. Indra is in charge of the East, Agni the South East,Yama the South, etc.).

These deities are usually associated with earlier, "Vedic" Hinduism, and are rarely worshipped today, except perhaps Surya. Still prominent, especially in South Indian temples, is the worship of the "nine planets" (see Astrology).

Minor Deities

Deva or devata means demigod. Sthala-devata specifically refers to a minor deity who has jurisdiction over a particular place – a river, forest or village. They are often worshipped in village shrines. A popular deity is Sitala (right), the goddess of smallpox, who is worshipped in the hope of avoiding the disease.

Other "Higher Beings"

There are many other lesser deities and higher beings, who often appear in the various stories. These include:

"Modern" Deities

Some deities have risen to prominence more recently. They include: