According to Hinduism, three Gods rule the world. Brahma: the creator; Vishnu: the preserver and Shiva: the destroyer. These three Lords have consorts and they are Hindu goddesses too. Consort of Brahma is Sarasvati; goddess of learning. Vishnu's consort is Lakshmi; goddess of wealth and prosperity. Shiva's consort is Parvati who is worshipped as Kali or Durga.
Besides these there are a number of other Hindu deities. To name a few, there is Hindu deity Ganesh, who has an elephant's head and he is also a son of Shiva and Parvati; Hanuman, who is an ape; Surya Lord of sun; Ganga Ma, Goddess of river Ganges; Samundra, Lord of the sea; Indra, king of the Gods; Prithvi, Goddess of earth; Shakti, Goddess of strength.
Hindu Goddesses And Deities - The Almighty
As Sri Ramakrishna says, there can be as many spiritual paths as there are spiritual aspirants & similarly there can really be as many Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings, emotions & social background of the devotees. The Hindu scriptures were eloquent while describing the qualities of God. He is all-knowing & all powerful. He is the very personification of justice, love & beauty. He is ever ready to shower His grace, mercy & blessings on His creation. From the Rig Veda, we come to know of the vedic gods eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Adityas, Indra & Prajapathi, being the Gods of earth, the heavens & the space.
The main Hindu deity names as we accept today can be broadly classified as Saiva Gods (Siva, His consort, His sons, His other forms ), Vaishnava Gods ( Vishnu, His consort, His various avatharams ) & Sakthi (Personifying all energy).
List of Hindu Gods
Brahma - The Lord of Creation with his consort
Saraswathi - Goddess of wisdom
The top among Hindu deities list is Brahma is the Lord of creation & is assisted in this process by his consort Saraswathi, who is the possessor of ultimate knowledge. Brahma was born from the navel of Lord Vishnu at the end of one cycle to begin a fresh creation. He has four heads (originally five), representing the four vedas which are said to have sprung from his heads. His four heads are also said to represent the four yugas. He is bearded & his eyes are closed in meditation. He sits on a lotus & his vahana is the swan. In his four arms he holds the vedas, the kamandalam (water pot), suruva (sacrificial spoon) & a mala. He is a serene soul and is the provider of all sources of knowledge & wisdom.
There are no temples for Brahma (except the ones in Rajasthan & Orissa) as for Siva & Vishnu, for there has been no separate cult for Brahma as the Saiva or Vaishnava cult. According to mythology, he is supposed to have been cursed by Shiva (for his having uttered a lie & for his ego) that he would go without worship. Yet in all Siva & Vishnu temples, there is an image of Lord Brahma on the northern wall & he is one of the important Parivara devata (attendant deity).
One of the Trinities
Vishnu - The Lord of maintenance with his consort
Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth
Hindu deity Vishnu is the Lord of protection & maintenance. His consort (hindu female deities) Lakshmi is the possessor of wealth, which is a necessity for maintenance. Goddess Lakshmi represents not only material wealth, but the wealth of grains, courage, valour, offsprings, success, luxurious life, eternal bliss. Lord Vishnu is also called Nilameghashyamalan - possessing a complexion the colour of the dark clouds. As proof that opposites attract, Vishnu's outer appearance is dark while he is associated with the santha gunam, bringing light & peace to the world.
He rests on the ocean on his bed of Adisesha (serpent with 1,000 heads ). Any time Lord Vishnu sees great trouble, He takes an avataram to rescue the people from evils. He is all merciful, ever rushing to serve his devotees. In the form of Mahavishnu he has four arms wielding the chakra, conch, lotus & the gadha in his four arms. Some of the main avatarams of Vishnu are enumerated as the Dasavataram (10 Incarnations).
One of the Trinities
Shiva - The Lord of destruction with his consort
Parvathi - Goddess of disintegration
Siva, the last of the Trinities is the God of destruction & he is assisted in this by his consort Parvathi, the Goddess of disintegration. Parvathi represents prakriti, which means perishable matter, in the absence of which true and complete destruction by Siva becomes impossible. ( As we are all aware of today, only bio-degradable matter can be destroyed ). This could possibly be the meaning of the idea that Siva becomes nothing in the absence of Sakthi. Siva is generally worshipped in the form of the phallus (linga) fixed on a pedestal. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed & the Linga symbolises this scientific fact. The Linga denotes the primeval energy of the Creator. At the end of Creation all Gods find their resting place in the Linga - Brahma being absorbed into the right, Vishnu being absorbed into the left & Gayathri Devi being absorbed into the heart of the Linga.
Linga, the emblem of Siva is the main form worshipped in Siva temples. Siva in his human form is worshipped as the Utsava murthi, taken out on processions.
Saraswathi - Goddess of Wisdom
Goddess Saraswathi is the consort of Lord Brahma (Lord of Creation) and is the Goddess of wisdom and learning. She is considered as the personification of all knowledge - arts, sciences, crafts and all skills. She is seen as a beautiful and elegant presence, pure white in colour, clad in a white sari, seated on a white lotus, representing purity and brilliance. She is depicted with four hands. In one hand she holds a book and in the other a rosary. With her other two hands, she is seen playing the veena. Her vahana is the swan and sometimes a peacock is shown accompanying her. The swan is known for its pecliar characteristic of being capable of separating out water from milk, indicating that we should possess discrimination in separating the bad from the good.
Like Brahma, she is not worshipped much in temples. However, every year the Saraswathi Pooja (Navarathiri ) is celebrated by all - schools, students, workers, craftsmen, businessmen offering their prayers for a successful and fruitful coming year.