a question arises in our mind that, if the Vedas teach us of One
God, why do we have several images as different "gods".
Are they one and the same? Do these "gods" just represent
people who once lived on this earth in ancient times, very much
like us amongst our ancestors and are raised to a high position
earliest verses of Rigveda, later Vedantha theories of Vyasa Maharishi
and Sankara's Advitha Philosophy teach us of One God as Paramathma
who is unmanifest and all the jeevathma or souls of all created
beings including humans, animals and plants and all inanimate objects
of universe. They are considered as part of this Universal soul
of Paramathma or the unmanifest Divine in His manifest form.
concept of Avathara is explained in all the Agamas, Ithihasas and
Puranas. As the religious dharma is practiced over the years, some
amount of lust and greed occurs among the people with the decline
of wisdom and peace, and injustice prevails over righteousness.
This is the time, when God, as Creator and Preserver, wishing to
ensure the continuance of this Universe, incarnate Himself in various
forms through his Yogamaya, without ceasing to be Himself as Paramathma.
Some of the other theories like those of Dvaitha, Pancharathra Agama
and the followers of Vaishnava Sampradhaya believe that Paramathma
is never Nirguna or unmanifest. He is actually manifest but not
comprehensible. Sri Vasudeva or Narayana is the Savisesha Brahman
or Iswara who takes the various forms to be understandable for our
Saivas according to their Agamas, believe Siva as the Supreme God,
as Nirguna Siva in the form of Sat-Chit-Ananda. He created the Universe
and is the cause and effect of all beings with all His grace, force
and energy. Sakthas worship Sakthi as the Supreme Deity, as the
Mother of the universe, who created the world and all the forms
of Gods for our worship.
consider Sakthi as the dynamic force of Brahman and the Creative
energy or the force behind Siva in His manifestations. Smarthas
perform Vedic rituals to 'Devas' and perform prayers to Siva, Sakthi
and Vishnu and to their various manifestations as "Ishtadevatha"