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Thirty-three gods

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Title: Thirty-three gods  
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Subject: Rudras, Vasu, Ādityas, Trāyastriṃśa, Ashvins
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Thirty-three gods

The Thirty-three deities or Tridasha (Sanskrit त्रिदश tridaśa "three times ten") is a pantheon of Vedic deities, some of Vedic origin and some developed later. All the Vedic deities are called tri-piṣṭapa, and there are three kinds of them — the Ādityas, the Vasus and the Rudras — beneath whom are the other demigods, like the Maruts and Sādhyas.[1] Tridasha generally includes[2] a set of 31 deities consisting of 12 Ādityas, 11 Rudras, and 8 Vasus; the identity of the other two deities that fill out the 33 varies, though their roles are generally a creator deity, presiding over procreation and protector of life and the 33rd is an all-powerful supreme ruler.

The 31 are:

  • Eleven Rudras, consisting of:
    • Five abstractions – Ānanda "bliss", Vijñāna "knowledge", Manas "thought", Prāṇa "breath" or "life", Vāc "speech",
    • Five names of ŚivaĪśāna "ruler", Tatpuruṣa "that person", Aghora "not terrible", Vāmadeva "pleasant god", Sadyojāta "born at once"
    • Ātmā "self"
  • Eight Vasus (deities of material elements) – Pṛthivī "Earth", Agni "Fire", Antarikṣa "Atmosphere" or "Space", Jal "Water", Vāyu "Wind", Dyauṣ "Sky", Sūrya "Sun", Nakṣatra "Stars", Soma "Moon"

Other sources include the two Aśvins (or Nāsatyas), twin solar deities.

  • Indra also called Śakra, lord of the gods, is the First of the 33 followed by Agni
  • Prajāpati "Master of creatures", a creator god.

The generic title, though not the particular names of the deities, was borrowed in Buddhist sources as a name for the heaven "of the Thirty-three gods" (Trāyastriṃśa).

References

  1. ^ According to Madhavaacarya: ādityā vasavo rudrās tri-vidhā hi surā yataḥ [3]]
  2. ^ There are eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Âdityas; and these two, Heaven and Earth, are the (thirty-second and) thirty-third. And there are thirty-three gods, and Pragâpati is the thirty-fourth;--thus he makes him (the sacrificer, or Yagña) to be Pragâpati 2: now that 3 is, for that is immortal, and what is immortal that is. But what is mortal that also is Pragâpati; for Pragâpati is everything: thus he makes him to be Pragâpati, and hence there are these thirty-four utterances, called expiations. Satapatha Brahmana 4:5:7:2 (aṣṭau vasavaḥ | ekādaśa rudrā dvādaśādityā ime eva dyāvāpṛthivī trayastriṃśyau trayastriṃśadvai devāḥ prajāpatiścatustriṃśastadenam prajāpatiṃ karotyetadvā astyetaddhyamṛtaṃ yaddhyamṛtaṃ taddhyastyetadu tadyanmartyaṃ sa eṣa prajāpatiḥ sarvaṃ vai prajāpatistadenam prajāpatiṃ karoti tasmādetāścatustriṃśadvyāhṛtayo bhavanti prāyaścittayo nāma)[4]
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