None of these gods are
found in the Rig Veda except Vishnu. Vishnu appears as a minor
subordinate god there. All other gods grew out of myths and
legends during the period after the second century AD through
myths as given in Puranas.
In the Rigveda, Vishnu
is mentioned 93 times. He is frequently invoked alongside other
deities, especially Indra, whom he assists in killing Vritra, and
with whom he drinks Soma, the hallicinating drink of the gods.
Indra is called Indrānuja and "Upendra", both referring to
Vishnu as being the brother of Indra. Vishnu is often identified
with the Sun in the three steps that he takes over the world.
Rig Veda I and X
The 'Vishnu Sukta' of the Rig Veda (1.154) says that the first and
second of Vishnu's strides (those encompassing the earth and air)
are visible to men and the third is in the heights of heaven
(sky). This last place is described as Vishnu's supreme abode in
RV 1.22.20 But Sun is not a high-ranking deity in Rig Veda.
Visvakarma Sukta of Rig
Veda (10.82) refers to Vishnu indirectly as the Supreme God.
The Rig Veda (1.22.20)
states: "All the suras (i.e., the devas) look always toward
the feet of Lord Vishnu.
There is no reference to
Siva in the Vedas, except as a quality. There are some hymns
addressed to Rudra, a fierce storm god, the father of Maruts, who
heals with his thousand medicines. It is said that the practice of
worshipping Siva was a non Aryan and actually a Dravidian practice
which was slowly incorporated into Vedic religion as an ongoing
process of reconciliation with the non Aryan tribes.
Another speciality of
the gods of Hinduism as represented in the modern Hinduism is that
they are all personal gods and not connected with the forces of
nature. There is a radical difference between the Vedic gods and
between the second century BC when Vedas were written down and the
third century AD that it transformed the gods of Hindu religion
from Pantheism to Polytheism and then to Henotheism.
Fear of Nature has given
way to Bhakthi (Faith) or personal relationship with an
anthropological godhead. God as a person was a totally new idea.
During the Vedic period god was something to be feared and
propitiated. Instead now we have a god who is compassionate and
human with empathy. It is certainly not an outgrowth of the Vedic
gods. Historically an external interference of a personal god
entered Inda between third century BC and first century AD.
Centered on the Veda,
"knowledge," the oldest surviving religious literature in any
Indo-European language, Vedism celebrated a world of gods and
powers and humans ordered by mutual responsibility, action, and
fidelity to individual and group obligations. Acts made and
structured the world; and Vedism is epitomized in ritual acts (karman)—sacrifices,
offerings into fire—held equivalent to those acts that first
created the world; and like these acts, inevitably potent: no rite
without a consequence.