Our religion is usually criticized and
ridiculed for its so-called polytheism. 'What a host of gods and goddesses you worship! is
a gibe flung at us. All old religions were said to be polytheistic be fore the
advent of the 'reformed' religion. Mohamed abolished the 'many gods" whom his
tribesmen worshipped and established 'One God'.
To know the truth about anything, one must
turn to the great Poets. They see farther and better than ordinary mortals. Baana and
Kaalidaasa are two great poets of our land. Let us see what they say about our 'gods':
Speaking of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, Baana says that they are in essence the One God
appearing in three forms for a three fold purpose, namely, creation, protection and
dissolution determined respectively by the qualities of rajas, sattva and tamas.
The One unborn (aja) takes a threefold shape for a threefold purpose. The three,
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, are ultimately and essentially one only. Kaalidaasa says to the
same effect, that one moorti appears as three and there is no distinction of superior or
inferior among them. If the three, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva are one in essence, by the same
token, all gods of our pantheon are also one in the ultimate analysis.
Author - Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati