The top 10 most popularly worshipped Gods of Hindu faith

Nov 2012
3,848
#1
If a ranking was to be done on the top ten Gods of the Hindu faith where each person had to choose just one deity as their favoured (almost all Hindus worship many Gods but have one deity whom they have special belief in) which would be the top 10 in your opinion? Any deities who are not regularly mentioned but are extremely popular with devotees?
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,379
India
#2
I won't hazard a ranking, since I don't know the numbers of devotees involved. But I suspect the most popular would be - Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Hanuman, Ganesh, Durga, Kartik, Saraswati, Lakshmi. For the 10th, I cannot make up mind as to Meenakshi or Kali. Mind you, lots of Hindus also consider abstract deities as their primary god. Surya is one such. He's not worshiped as "Surya" specifically (well he is, but I doubt by a lot), but there are those who direct much of their worship towards the sun in general.

Remember though, the names listed aren't in any specific order, certainly not a "ranking". I'm personally a Vaishnavite, though I believe that god is abstract, not an actual physical four armed being. I often end up going to a Ganesh, Hanuman or Kartik temple though, because the distances involved are more convenient. We do go to the Venkateshwara temple for more special occasions though. A lot of individuals similarly worship "devi" without necessarily differentiating between Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,379
India
#4
top guy, Shiva?....
Oh yes. Shiva, in different forms such as Natraja, Mahesh, as well as himself is a very popular deity. Many worship him. Trying to figure out if there are more Shiva worshipers or Vishnu worshipers though is probably impossible, since I don't think anyone ever counted. Besides, with Vaishnavites, there's another problem. There are those who worship Krishna and Rama, and consider them independent deities. Others worship them as Avatars of vishnu. Thus trying to figure out if they should collectively all be considered Vishnu worshipers or not, becomes a rather complex theological question. It doesn't help that Krishna himself has variations - like Jagganath. Then there are also deities like Balaji, who some devotees consider independent of Vishnu (insofar as "classification is considered) while others consider him and Vishnu as one and the same.


And I'm not really sure whether the Hanuman worshipers should be considered distinct, Vaishnava (seeing as how he was a devotee of Rama) or Shaiva (seeing as how he is an amsa of Shiva for many)... Very complicated all of this... :)
 
Nov 2012
3,848
#6
I comepltly disagree. Vaishnavism is more widespread. Hindus worshipping Krishna do know that he is an avataar of Vishnu. If you include Shiva avatars as Shiva and Vishnu avatars as Vishnu; then Vaishnavites are definitely more numerous than Shaivites.

Tornado you make an apples to orange comparison taking Mahesh, Nataraja etc. for Shiva and comparing only Vishu as a deity. That is a wrong comparison.

Also Shaivites are more likely to worship Vishnu than Vaishnavites are to worship Shiva. Srivaishnavites under Ramanuja considered it a sin to enter a Shiva temple to this day. They recognise Shiva as a demigod similar to Indra and do not equate him with God (Vishnu). Even Gaudiya Vaishnava cults are highly Vishnu centric. If you look at Shiva followers of Shankara; they do worship Vishnu as well although lesser they still think of him as a God in Trimurti. Vaishnavites do not.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,379
India
#7
Tornado you make an apples to orange comparison taking Mahesh, Nataraja etc. for Shiva and comparing only Vishu as a deity. That is a wrong comparison.
So far as I know, when someone worships Mahesh or Natraja, they don't deny a connection with Shiva. There are devotees who do consider Krishna, Rama or Venkateshwara as completely independent deities from Vishnu.

Do they also worship Vishnu? I'm sure they do. But I thought the question was who considers a deity "supreme". So a Shaivite who also worships Vishnu is irrelevant insofar as the discussion is concerned no?

However, my basic contention isn't that there are more Shiva worshipers than Vishnu. My basic contention is that I don't think we can answer that question. There are numerous individuals who worship "bhagwan" and merely go to the nearest temple. There are also those who would worship both, and have never really considered whether they are Vishnu centric or Shiva. In south India certainly the lines are sharper, but in North, West and Central, I think the lines are much blurrier.

Which is why I didn't rank the deities. Who the Ishta Deva is, is often a personal question rather than a fixed one. I simply don't have any data to assume that either Shiva or Vishnu are more popular than the other.
 

Jinit

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,274
India
#8
I comepltly disagree. Vaishnavism is more widespread. Hindus worshipping Krishna do know that he is an avataar of Vishnu. If you include Shiva avatars as Shiva and Vishnu avatars as Vishnu; then Vaishnavites are definitely more numerous than Shaivites.
This division itself is completely nonsesncial. If anything the people who worship all Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti etc in one or other form far exceeds in number in comparison to people who exclusively worships Shiva/ Vishnu/ Shakti. For a Odiya person both Jagannatha and Lingaraja are important deities. If we go on other side of country in Gujarat then Somnath, Ranchodrayji and Ambika all have universal reverence. And same is the situation almost everywhere in India.
 
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tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,379
India
#9
This division itself is completely nonsesncial. If anything the people who worship all Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti etc in one or other form far exceeds in number in comparison to people who exclusively worships Shiva/ Vishnu/ Shakti. For a Odiya person both Jagannatha and Lingaraja are important deities. If we go on other side of country in Gujarat then Somnath, Ranchodji and Ambika all have universal reverence. And same is the situation almost everywhere in India.
And trying to figure out if they consider one to be superior to the other is itself difficult, since most of them have never really thought about it. Getting an objective set of numbers? Impossible IMO