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The visvedevas (Sanskrit: विश्वेदेव, IAST: Viśvēdēva) refers to the designation used to address the entirety of the various deities featured in the Vedas. It also refers to a specific classification of deities in the Puranas.[1] The visvedevas are sometimes regarded as the most comprehensive gathering of the gods, a classification in which no deity is stated to be omitted.[2]



In the Rigveda a number of hymns are addressed to these deities, including (according to Griffith): 1.3, 1.89, 3.54-56, 4.55, 5.41-51, 6.49-52, 7.34-37, 39, 40, 42, 43, 8.27-30, 58, 83 10.31, 35, 36, 56, 57, 61-66, 92, 93, 100, 101, 109, 114, 126, 128, 137, 141, 157, 165, 181.

RV 3.54.17 addresses them as headed by Indra:[3]

This is, ye Wise, your great and glorious title, that all ye Deities abide in Indra. (trans. Griffith)

The dichotomy between devas is not evident in these hymns, and the devas are invoked together such as Mitra and Varuna. Though many devas are named in the Rigveda, only 33 devas are counted, eleven of them present each in earth, space, and heaven.[4]


According to Manu (iii, 90, 121), offerings should be made daily to the visvedevas. These privileges were bestowed on them by Brahma and the Pitri as a reward for severe austerities they had performed on the Himalayas.[5]


In later Hinduism, the visvedevas form one of the nine ganadevatas (along with the adityas, vasus, tushitas, abhasvaras, anilas, maharajikas, sadhyas, and rudras). According to the Vishnu Purana and Padma Purana, they were the sons of Vishvā, a daughter of Daksha, described as follows:[6]


The visvedevas are described to have incarnated on earth due to the curse of sage Vishvamitra,[7] as the five sons of Draupadi with the Pandavas - the Upapandavas. They are described to have returned to their original forms after being killed by Ashvatthama at night.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kulasrestha, Mahendra (2006). The Golden Book of Rigveda. Lotus Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-81-8382-010-3.
  2. ^ Renou, Louis. L'Inde Classique, vol. 1, p. 328, Librairie d'Ameriqe et d'Orient. Paris 1947, reprinted 1985. ISBN 2-7200-1035-9.
  3. ^ Griffith, Ralph Thomas Hotchkin; Shastri, Jagdish Lal (1973). The Hymns of the Ṛgveda. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 192. ISBN 978-81-208-0046-5.
  4. ^ Singhal, K. C; Gupta, Roshan. The Ancient History of India, Vedic Period: A New Interpretation. Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. ISBN 8126902868. P. 150.
  5. ^ Monier Monier-Williams. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, p.993, Bay Foreign Language Books, Ashford, Kent. 1899, reprinted 2003. ISBN 1-873722-09-5.
  6. ^ Danielou, Alain (1 January 2017). The Myths and Gods of India: The Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 302. ISBN 978-81-208-3638-9.
  7. ^ Debroy, Bibek; Debroy, Dipavali (2002). The Holy Puranas. B.R. Publishing Corporation. p. 12. ISBN 978-81-7646-298-3.