My top 10 gods and goddesses

Just for the hell of it, here’s my top 10 favourite deities from whatever mythology. All the gods/goddesses featured here are deities who I think are really cool, so it’s kinda hard for each god to top each other.

10. Kartikeya

In India, Kartikeya is a god of youth and war. That alone is cool. He’s also somewhat seductive Sometimes he has more than two arms, which I like about Indian gods, especially if that includes multiple weapons. In Hinduism, he’s even referred to as the Ancient of Days, or Sanat Kumara (“always youthful”). And in Buddhism, he gets to be a bodhisattva dressed as a warrior. But he’s at the bottom of the list because, while he is cool for what he is, his peacock mount is often shown trampling a snake, which to me means another message of sublimation of desire and ego, which I philosophically disagree with, but not all depictions have this.

9. Set

Set is the Egyptian god of chaos, the unseen, the mysterious, deserts, war, and storms, and he was associated with strength and fertility. Those are only some reasons he’s cool. A friend of mine said that after he defeated Apep, he absorbed his power. I can’t imagine how cool that’d be. Also, he is associated with Baal, a storm god who would later be known as Beelzebub in the Christian world.

8. Quetzalcoatl

Quetzalcoatl as a serpent

Imagine that not only do we have a feathered, winged serpent or dragon, but that this serpent/dragon is a god and creator of humans. That itself is quite cool. He is also both heaven and earth, or the sacralized serpentine qualities.

7. Baal

Baal is a god of the Canaanites associated with storms and fertility and is known as a strong and potent god, one of the most powerful in the Canaanite pantheon. It is said that in Egypt he is equated with the wild god known as Set, and he is also known as Beelzebub in Judeo-Christian religion, thanks to the rivalry between Baal and Yahweh (a.k.a. Jehovah). The icing on the cake: he has horns as a sign of his power.

6. Agni

Agni is the Hindu god of fire who dates back to the old Vedic religion of India. He’s not just cool because he’s fire, but he also has eternal youth and immortality, since the fire is re-lit every day. And he must have an insatiable appetite because fire tends to be very consuming in its nature. That makes him important to me. Added to that, he is said to be closely related to the god Shiva.

5. Asura

Asura, as he appears in Strange Journey

I see him as a vibrant and interesting figure. A strong and bright god of war, whose virtue is his passion. Usually Asura refers to a group of entities, but in recognizing a god called Asura, I find a truly vibrant figure. Demonic yet bright.

4. Ishtar

Ishtar from the Shin Megami Tensei series.

Ishtar is the goddess of love, sex, and war, as well as life, death, and rebirth. For me, she is beautiful, and impressive. She’s a goddess of power, like a female expression of Baal/Bel. Known throught the Near East as many names: such as Inanna and Astarte, and in the Judeo-Christian world she became a demon called Astaroth. Truly, she is a vibrant goddess.

3. Lucifer/Satan

Why is Lucifer here in a list about gods? Because he’s sort of godlike, or may as well be. For me, Lucifer is an important embodiment of freedom and selfhood, and the virtue of independent thought and resisting conforming to authority. He is liberty, in a way, and truly devilish, dealing in the serpentine, and thus primal.

2. Parvati/Durga/Kali

Shiva’s wife Parvati/Shakti as Durga

Shiva’s wife, Parvati (a.k.a. Shakti) is not just beautiful, but clearly extremely powerful. When her son Ganesh’s head was accidentally lopped off, her frenzy of rage and grief almost destroyed the universe. Her aspect Durga is one of the mightiest war gods ever. And another aspect, Kali, is even more terrifyingly powerful, to the point of a female expression of Chaos and pure power itself. Imagine a beautiful, powerful, and sensual earth mother, magnified greatly. Parvati and her aspects seem like a female expression of Shiva. Speaking of him….

1. Shiva

This depiction of Shiva has ten arms. That’s gotta mean more power.

In my opinion he is quite possibly the most powerful god in all mythology. He is so dynamic, so strong, so powerful, so wild, and so fertile and sensual. His association with the serpentine and the divine, and the primal, makes him so awesomely raw. I don’t even know if I can describe him properly. He’s just awesome. And so are his various incarnations, such as Rudra, Bhairava, and Mahakala.

Honorable mentions: Tezcatlipoca (Aztec mythology), Sekhmet (Egyptian mythology), Pele (Hawaiian myth), Kubera/Vaisravana (Hindu/Buddhist myth), Kama (Hindu myth), Okuninushi (Japanese myth), Arahabaki (pre-Shinto Japanese myth), Cybele (Phrygian myth), Brahma (Hindu myth), Sun Wukong (Chinese myth), Chi You (Chinese myth), Ne Zha (Chinese myth), Xi Wangmu (Chinese myth), Dionysus (Greek myth), Nuwa (Chinese myth), Yama (Hindu/Buddhist myth), and any wrathful deity in Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism.

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19 responses to “My top 10 gods and goddesses

      • shakti is most powerful of all Hindu Deities, she is shakti i.e. power.

        Power is always most powerful. Shiva is creation is of Shakti or Durga or Adi shakti

        She even engulf Shiva as Dhumavati. Energy in English (Shakti in Hindi) can neither be created nor be destroyed. she is most powerful. Change your list

      • I respect your opinion and I like your description of Shakti as power and energy, but I will not change my list based on your opinion. This isn’t a Charts list for Satan’s sake.

  1. ‘I am Adi Parashakti, Goddess Bhuvaneshvari. I am the owner of this universe. I am the Absolute Reality. I am dynamic in feminine form and static in masculine form. You are three parts of me. You all are my partial expansions. You have appeared to govern the universe under my jurisdiction. You are the masculine form of Absolute Reality, while I am the feminine form of that Reality. I am beyond form, beyond everything, and all the powers of God are contained within me. You will admit that I am the Eternally Limitless Power.’ _Divine Mother Adi Parashakti to the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu & Shiv) after She created Them from Her own self.

    In Devi Mahatmyam, Trimurti and demigods praises Adi shakti:
    “Shrishti Sthiti Vinasham Shakti Bhute Sanatane
    Guna Shaye (Devoid of all attributes i.e. Nirgun) Gana maye (Having all the attributes) Narayani Namaustute”_Narayani Stuti in Devi Mahatmyam)

    Meaning: We bow to the first female (Narayani), The eternal energy who creates, sustains and destroys all the elements i.e. tatva and the one who is truly supreme spirit (Nirgun) at the time who encapsulate all the attributes for Generation, Observation and Destruction.

    “O Mother! Thou only destroyest the affliction of the human beings; those that want liberation worship Thee, and those that are ignorant and attached to worldly enjoyments do not worship Thee. What more can be said than this, that Brahmâ, Vishnu, Mahesha and the other Devas incessantly worship Thy adorable lotus-feet; but those men that are of dull intellect and are mistaken, they do not meditate Thy feet and, therefore, they come again and again into this ocean of world. O Chandika! It is through the grace of the dust of Thy lotus-feet that Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshvara are creating, preserving and destroying this universe.”_Devi Bhagavatam.

    “May Devi Durga Who gives victory and happiness, Dispeller of fear, Victrix of fortress and ill-fortune, Who had power to destroy the proud enemies of the Devatas (Gods), And Who strikes terror into the hearts of thousands (her foes) ever conquer. She it was Who, having severed the head of the Asura Mahisha, Crushed & killed under Her feet who assumed the form of a buffalo.”_Mahishasurmardini strotam

    I like your post but there’s this one thing I must say. If you have put Lord Shiva in the no.1 slot based on how you say He has toched your soul in one of your comments or if this list is wholly charted on your personal liking then it’s absolutely understandable and there’s not much to refute. However, if this list is supposed to be unbiased then I have to say that I quite agree with some of the comments in which case Devi, our Great Goddess Who is Shakti Herself inarguably takes the no.1 spot simply because there isn’t any force gretaer than Her in the universe for according to our faith (Hinduism) She Is the Universe Herself (Brahmani roop dharini). Her might and power is unmatched and She is the Mother of everything that exists and everything that ceases to exist according to Hinduism. I’m not saying this from a biased point of view of a Shakt but it is an accepted fact in our religion that the mighty Devi Maa/Devi Durga or Matarani is at the helm of our pantheon and She is the truest manifestation of Paramshakti or Brahman and thus is the Ultimate truth and Absolute reality. Now perhaps what sets Her apart from any other Goddess figrure in any mythology is that She is considered supreme and is not just an ornamental holy figure limited to a certain aspect of life and subservient or answerable to any other God. Thus her power is limitless.This and the glaring fact that She kicks a lot of demon butt. When we Hindus revere our Devi as powerful we really mean it. She embodies not just female power but power itself. Whenever there has been evil She has smote it down and trampled it under her feet. She saved the Gods and mankind from the fangs of evil by single handedly destroying the powerful asuras. Maa Durga is Devi’s principle form and all other Goddesses including Bhadrakali or Maa MahaKali (Maha means Great), Maa Chandi, Maa Bagalamukhi, Maa Kaushiki are all but different manisfestations of Durga Mata, the invincible Mother Goddess. Devi Bhagwat Purana says that Shiva worshiped and meditated on Adishakti for thousands of years, using the beej mantra “Kleem”. She then incarnated in front of him in the form of Sidhidaatri as such she appeared from the left half of Lord Shiva. The same purana mentions Parvati, the goddess of power and beauty, is considered her Sagun Swaroop (manifested form). The Goddess Adi Para shakti is also considered to be the truly supreme spirit without form (Param Atman). She is the Great Goddess, and all other goddesses and even all the gods are her various forms, says the Devi Gita from Shakti Mahabhagawat Purana.

    Devi being the cognizable form of Adi Parashakti is thus supreme.The entire pantheon reveres Her. She’s Raja Rajeshwari which means The Supreme Queen lording over all kings. She is Lalitha Tripura Sundari whose matrix gives birth to everything, preserves them and destroys them. The holy trinity is only but Her children. She is Maa Bhuveneshwari/ Jagadamba meaning the Mother of the entire cosmos. She is Maheshwari and Mahadevi which both mean the The Supreme Ultimate Goddess, the Almighty Herself. A deeper understanding of her thousand names & sacred hymns sung in Her glory and the most sacred and cryptic verses from Devi Mahatmyam itself all reveal just how much She permeates through every one of us, irrespective of our individual faith. As Maa Durga She destroys demons and ego and protects her children from evil, As Mahalaxmi She gives us fortune and wealth and as Saraswati She imparts knowledge and wipes out ignorance. As Masaniamman or Koniamman ( amman means Moher) She removes malaise as can be seen Her pining down an Asur under her left foot and blesses everyone with fertility and vitality, As Maa Kali she controls time, devours demons and vanquishes darkness, as Bagalamukhi or Pitambara She paralyzes evil and all that is false or misleading. As Dhoomavati She engulfs Lord Shiva wholeand punishes Him for not listening to what She has to say. (lol :p)

    “One of the reasons I’ve come to love Durga is that She defies opressive Western concepts of feminity. Her presence in both independant and collective forms expresses a broader spectrum of the female psyche than what we are often prsented with in the dualistic West. Instead of being either submissive or aggressive, obedient or subordinate, Eastern female representations of the Divine such as Durga or Her entourages (Saptamatrika or the 7 Mothers) are fierce & nurturing, terrifying & benevolent & sensual & ascetic. In fact, these various forms of Goddess offer more possibilities in our consideration of what it means to be a woman in this world. They even put the woman back into mother!”_ Laura Amazzone.

    “Goddess worship does not belong to any particular cult. It is true that the Sakta places the feminine at centre stage. However the Goddess is worshipped by all irrespective of any distinction. In fact it is Shakti worship that is a common feature of most Hindu schools irrespective of whether they are Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta or Ganapatya. The Divine Mother is synonymous with Shakti, the unifying force of existence. Shakti is the Divine Power of creation, sustenance and transformation. In other words Shakti worship is nothing but worshipping the inherent Power of the Supreme Divine. Various forms like Durga, Chandi, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Maha Saraswati are but Her divine forms. Each form of the Devi has a distinctive role meant for a definite purpose. Yet every form is also identified as the Ultimate Reality of the universe. Each form of the Divine Mother is thus an embodiment of the Supreme Divinity. “_Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary

    It’s a pity that when you usually speak of the champion of war or even a symbolic war icon you talk about Ares, Kratos or Athena but I wonder just how many are aware of the most powerful Hindu deity, ie., Mother Durga as the Ultimate Badass Goddess of Power & War. She is easily the most powerful and the most revered Goddess in any mythology throughout history. There are countless no. of strotas, hymns and bhajans that we Hindus use on a regular basis to eulogize Her and sing Her praise. We seek Her blessings all the time and pray to Her for our protection from malevolence and and all sorts of afflictions (Durgati). That’s why She’s called Durga Durgatinashini ( One who eradicates all Evil).

    “Having received Tejas, weapons, and gifts from all gods, Devi emitted a loud roar and defiant peels of laughter. The earth shook, the oceans roiled, the sky was rent, the air reverberated, and the mountains trembled. The Rishis eulogized and Her. The tumult and thunderous laughter reached the enemies of the gods, whose armies came together with raised weapons. Mahisasura’s ears were ringing with the thunderous laughter, ran towards the source with a battalion of Asuras and saw a radian Devi lighting up the three worlds, causing deep indentations of the earth under footsteps, and scraping the sky with her crown. The Netherworlds trembled, as she plucked the bowstrings; flailing her thousand arms she scratched all ten quarters. The battle between the Suras and Asuras began in right earnest; the glistening weapons lit up the sky. Mahisasura’s generals (Ciksura and Camara) led a four-pronged attack on gods with cavalry, chariots, elephants and foot-soldiers. Udagra, a great Asura deployed 60 thousand chariots; not to be outdone, Mahahanu ten million chariots; Baskala 6 million chariots; and Asiloman with piercing hairs 15 million chariots. parivarita brought many thousands of elephants and horses and ten million chariots to the battlefield to fight the Suras. Bidala was no less of a warrior and brought 5 billion (500 hundred crores) chariots.
    Mahisasura looked around and saw millions of horses, elephants, and chariots. The Asuras used all kinds of weapons against Devi including axes, clubs, javelins, maces… They were no match Devi’s valor. She sent a downpour of weapons to the Asuras killing them; the celestials, gods and sages poured showers of eulogies on Her. The lion, Her mount, shook its mane terrorizing the Asuras and moved like forest fire among them. Every heave and breath of Devi became many battalions of fighting Matrakas, whose every swat, poke, strike, stab, blow, slash, smash brought death to millions of Asuras. It was a festival of death with blowing conches, beating drums, playing tabors, and pealing bells. The tridents and spears skewered them; the javelins pierced and staked them to the ground; the flailing swords cut and rolled many heads. The flying nooses of Devi bound and dragged the Asuras. Her merciless sword cut them into two halves and in every which way one can imagine. The smashing mace pulverized the contactees; the killer hammer sprang streams of blood from wayward Asuras. The piercing arrows morphed the Asuras into porcupines dying a thousand deaths. Her trident flawlessly pierced the hearts at every lunge and throw. Devi’s weapons seemed to have a life of their own and never failed to extinguish its object. The gory of battle laid there in its stark spectacle: broken necks, rolling heads, dismembered arms and legs, limbless and headless trunks, one-eyed heads… Some looked liked cloves with head, trunk and one leg. some were walking headless and danced to music. The rolling heads were talking to Devi, “STOP, STOP.” (now you know where the expression, ‘Talking Heads’ came from.) Mountains of dead elephants and horses, heaps of dead Asuras, piles of broken chariots marked the battlefield. Rivers of blood were flowing amidst this debris of war. The Lion with its quivering mane, thundering roar, and death-defying gait went straight at extinguishing the life-breath of Asuras. The Devas continued to send torrents of panegyric hymns on Devi.

    General Ciksura, seeing his army decimated by Devi sent a downpour of arrows on Ambika as the clouds would rain on the summit of mount Meru. Devi broke all incoming arrows, killed his horses and the chariot driver with her arrows. Devi’s frontal assault broke the bow, brought down the flag, pierced his body with numerous arrows, reduced the chariot into a heap of debris, and killed the horses. Standing alone and facing Devi, Ciksura rushed forward with the sword and shield, and hit the lion on the head and Devi on her left hand with his sword, which shattered into million pieces. He launched on Devi his pike, which looked like the sun in its effulgence; Devi countered his move with her own pike and shattered the general’s into many pieces. With the pike went down General Ciksura in bits and pieces ending in his death.

    Camara came rushing towards Devi launching his spear and pike which Devi shattered adroitly. The lion jumped on the elephant’s head engaged Camara in paw-to-hand combat; both rolled off the elephant on the ground; the lion jumped off the ground and landed a paw punch on to the neck and severed the head.
    Udagra sustained death as Devi threw stones, trees … Devi slapped, cuffed and bit Karala to death; pulverized Uddhata with the club; darted Baskala and shot and killed Tamara and Andhaka with arrows. Three-eyed Devi launched trident and killed Ugrasya, Ugravirya and Mahahanu. Bidala died by her sword, Durdhara and Durmukha by her arrows.”_Devi Mahatmyam Chapter 1.

    “May this gentle face of yours, adorned with three eyes, protect us in every way. O Kaatyayanii, salutation be to you! May your terrible, flaming trident, exceedingly sharp & destroying all asuras, protect us from dread. O Bhadrakalii, salutation be to you! May your bell that destroys the daityas'(monsters) life force and fills the world with its ringing protect us from all evils, O Devi, just like a mother protects her children. May your sword,smeared with the mire of asuras’ blood and fat and blazing as the sun’s rays, be for our welfare. O Chandikaa, we bow to you.”_Hymn to Narayani (Devi Mahatmyam).

    “Most of us are familiar with Greek mythology and its pantheon of goddesses and gods; however, fewer are aware that there is a thriving tradition of goddess worship in South Asia where devotion to the divine as Compassionate Mother and Fiercely Protective Female Warrior has existed for millennia.”_Laura Amazzone.

    “O Goddess, who takes away the sufferings of those who take refuge
    in you, be gracious; be gracious, O mother of the entire world. Be gracious, O queen of all; you are the queen, O Goddess, of all that does and does not move.
    You have become the sole sup-port of the world, for you abide in the form of the earth. By you who exist in the form of water, all this universe is filled up, O one of inviolable valour. You are the power of Vishnu, of boundless valour; you are the seed of all, the supreme illusion. Deluded, O Goddess, is this en-tire universe; you, when resorted to, are the cause of release right here on earth. All the various knowledges, O Goddess, are portions of you, as is each and every woman in the various worlds. By you alone as mother has this world been filled up; what praise can suffice for you who are beyond praise, the ultimate utterance? When you, O Goddess who has become everything, granting heaven and ultimate freedom, Are praised, what fine words could suffice for the eulogy?” On the one hand, given the fact that the image of deity in Western religion is so overwhelmingly masculine—the image of Michaelangelo’s bearded patriarch on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel comes quickly to mind—it is not surprising that some-one with a western background, who was today looking for a fresh way of thinking about deity, would be drawn to the Devi described in the passages I havej ust quoted. Surely it was partly the contrast with the familiar that so arrested me in front of the image of Durga. Many others, particularly western women, have also found im-portant new and empowering spiritual insights in Hindu understandings of the Goddess.”_ Thomas Coburn.

    One more valid point I would like to add is how Kali maa is widely misconstrued by most Non-Hindus as the Goddess of Destruction or simply sometimes a demon thanks to the gay Indiana Jones movie. She is the Destroyer of Evil and not evil Herself. She is time and change itself into which ultimately everything gets absorbed (like a black hole). She is evil only to evil. So terrifyingly ferocious is Devi is that the asuras bawl out and shit themselves in mortal fear. Just like Durga Maa she is brutal and shows no mercy to the asuras but most miss the point how both grant Moksh to those who are slain by Them. In death The Great Goddess in different forms absolves them of their sins and grants them freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Having said that it its true that out of Her terrible rage [having drank the blood of Rakhtbeej (the mighty clonning demon who could multiply by just a drop of his blood)], Kali Maa had lost sight of who’s who and was about to destroy the entire world when Lord Shiva Himself (like a boss) laid down in her path to stop Her rampage. Kaali Maa trampling the corpses of slain asuras didn’t realize that She had stepped on Lord Shva. This is when She reflexively sticks her tongue out in shame of having trampled her own husband Mahadeva.

    > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyO6RYqR2CM

    At another instance when Maa Kali in a similar feat of rage towards the demons was going to end everything Lord Shiva turned into a child and started crying. Maa Kali despite being on beast mode heard Him crying and Her indomitable motherly love kicked in and calmed Her down. She picked Him up, cradled Him, caressed Him and breastfed Him. These two occasions prove why Lord Shiva is so damn cool and the second one underlines Devi Maa’s eternal maternal instincts yet again. She’s a Mother first who loves and protects Her children no matter what.

    There’s no need to get any more verbose than this. Even if I’m a Shakt I still adore and respect Lord Shiva just like any Shaiva reveres the Great Goddess Devi. However, if you are still reading this lengthy comment then by now you must have realized exactly why we call Devi our beloved ‘Maa’/ Mother. We don’t call any God as Father (barring Mahadev may be) but we always call Her Maa, Mata or Amma/n no matter what form she is worshipped in. We all are Her children and we will always feel that much closer to our Mother 🙂 I tried my best to touch upon the ferocity of Devi Maa’s invincible power as well as Her overwhelming affection for Her children as the Universal Divine Mother. It is often however believed that She’s a strict Mother. She’ll test your devotion and play with your patience before eventually rewarding you with what you wish to have. I have experienced that phenomenon myself but to any non-believer I would sound like an idiot. Personally all I wish is to be in Her Grace forever and continue being her diehard devout for the rest of my life. I don’t know how you’ll take my comment but I just felt I had to elucidate a bit of what the other commentators actually wanted to convey not just in the context of info but in actual essence. Adi Parashakti or Shakti is the greatest force in our lives according to our faith. May Maa bless us all 🙂

    Jai Mata Di, Jai Maa Durga, Shumbh-Nishumbh samharini, Mahishasurmardini, Chand Mund ghatini, Narayani Namoshtote. Here’s a parting gift. It’s the Narayani Stuti. It’s an extremely sacred chant for us. It gives us immense strength in our everyday life. Hope you lke it :-

    > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UlC7c7VUxA

    Take care buddy 🙂

    • Who the hell said that list, which in all honesty seems quite dated by the way, is unbiased? If you know the selection of deities was basically personal favorites, you can’t claim it was unbiased. In fact, I made no claim of it being unbiased.

  2. Well, I agree with the others. If this is about who’s the strongest, then it’s definitely Devi Shakti. Shiva is Shava (corpse) without Shakti. The Great Goddess Devi Durga is the most powerful deity in Hinduism and She always comes at No.1 preceding everyone else.

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