history : Why do Hindus worship many gods if they believe in only one god? 3
Answer by Sreecharan Sankaranarayanan:
The 19th century German scholar Max Mueller came up with a few terms to explain Hinduism. Hinduism is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic. It is as he called it. Again there are two forms of henotheism –
- Monolatry – Worshiping one god excluding all the other gods. This was true in the case of early Shaktas, Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Ganapatyas (See). The Shaktas worshiped Shakti, the Shaivites worshiped Shiva, the Vaishnavites worshiped Vishnu and the Ganapatyas worshiped Ganapati almost exclusively.
- Kathenotheism – Worshiping one god at a time. Most Hindus follow kathenotheism. They worship all forms of the divine one at a time. At any particular time during the worship, the object of adoration becomes the embodiment of the supreme divine.
Paraphrased fromby Devdutt Pattanaik.