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Conclusive proofs that Shiva and Ganesha are NOT Vedic gods. This further confirms that the Vedic religion is foreign to India.

The Vedic religion is all about fire worship. So what is the link (if any) between Vedas and Shiva and Ganesha – which have everything to do with fertility worship.

I’ve taken some material sent by Sanjay Sonawani and reviewed against well-referenced standards. These are my initial findings (many words continue to be that of Sanjay)

IMPORTANT NOTE TO READERS: In order to understand the background to this blog post, please read (at least) the following two books by Sanjay Sonawani first:

a) Origins of the Vedic Religion: And Indus-Ghaggar Civilisation

b) Origins of the Caste System

I have discussed many of Sanjay’s views and findings earlier on this blog and also raised them on my Times of India online blog (here). Basically, this post discusses merely one of the many proofs of the distinctiveness of the Vedic and Hindu religions.

[Addendum: I came across this interesting answer on Quora – and this.]


The oldest elephant-type image in India so far was found at Harappa. (approx. 2600 BC). This is the image from, a reputed website.

This is extremely tiny: Approximate dimensions (W x H(L) x D): 5.4 x 4.8 x 4.6 cm. It is difficult to made deductions from this. However, it has some traces of vermillion. Further, it does look close enough to a modern Ganesha.

The elephant was well known in the Indus Valley. E.g. see this | this | this |

Elephant bones have also been found (see this )


Shiva is the highly worshipped Hindu deity, with millions of temples across the country. Not a single town or village is to be found where a Shiva shrine is absent. Shiva is worshipped either in the temples or in the open in his Lingam (Phallic) form. His consort Shakti (synonyms Parvati, Jagdamba, Amba etc.) are also worshiped in unified form with Shiva and also independently in abundant temples dedicated to Shakti across the country.

Shiva-Shakti worship can be traced back to the Indus civilization where abundant proofs of Shiva worship have been found. What is considered a Shiva lingam has been found at Kalibangan site, dating back to 2600 BC.

A “proto-Shiva” was found in the Indus Valley, image below. Many archaeologists note a resemblance to future depictions of Shiva. Non-Vedic elements are seen, such as wearing a tiger skin (tiger was unkown to the Vedics).



The early Vedics display knowledge of fertility worship (not necessarily Shiva but something similar that they came across in their travels) and ridicule such gods as “Phallus Gods” (Shisnadeva) in the Rig Veda.


The word “Gana” in Rig veda appears as individual abstract deities, most probably Maruts,

“Ganapati” in Rigveda is used as an epithet of Brahmanaspati and verses themselves are clear that they were used to invoke abstract god who had nothing to do with elephant head god.

Vedic people might have heard about elephants but the verses show that they had no physical knowledge of elephants. The terms used for Elephants also are too ambiguous and this is why the commentators on Rig veda are not sure what actually Vedic people meant. No direct reference to “Hastin” is found in the Rigveda. (Note this Wikipedia article: )

Rigveda nowhere shows any connection of Indra with an elephant, even if considered that the Vedic clans knew elephant. In the later centuries, when Indra was depicted as lord of the heaven, he got a vehicle “Airavat”, a heavenly elephant. Rigvedic verses nowhere mention of existence of any Airavat or for that matter any vehicle of Indra.


Allegedly, “Rig Veda begins with the invocation of Lord Ganesha, who is described as the Chief of Ganas (divine beings) and as the Supreme Seer (Rig Veda 2.23).” [Source]

But Sanjay Sonawani has clarified that “Vedic literature does not start with salutation to Ganesha. Interpolated fabricated literature has added him, including an inserted version in Mahabharata that depicts Ganesha as a writer of poet Vyasa. Rather, Mahabharata’s beginning lines salute Narayana and Sarasvati.


Shiva’s name appears in Rigveda as a name of a tribe that fought against Sudasa in the celebrated battle of the ten kings.


Attempts are made today to “show” that Rudra and Shiva are the same. These are false.

Basically, the Vedics appropriated indigenous gods like Shiva for their benefit. The eminent Vedic scholar Tarkateertha Laxman Shastri Joshi made clear in Vaidik Sanskriticha Vikas that Shiva a.k.a. Mahadeva was the benefactor god of pre-Vedic people and was assimilated in Vedic culture by elevating his character. Shiva is a later addition to the Vedas.

Further, Kapardin is used as an epithet for Rudra but was later on (in the course of future appropriation by Vedics) also used for Shiva. This does not make Rudra-Shiva the same.

Rudra and Shiva represent an opposite religious tradition i.e. Vedic and Non-Vedic. The following information about Rudra, a minor God, is found in Rig Veda and other Vedas:

  1. Only three verses are dedicated in Rig Veda to Rudra, showing that he was a minor god.
  2. The main epithet of Rudra is “Agni” (Fire).
  3. In Agnichayana (a kind of fire sacrifice) to keep the fire kindled, butter is constantly poured in the fire pit, while chanting “Shatarudriya”(Hymns addressed to Rudra) requesting him to immerse in the fire.
  4. Taittiriya Samhitastates state that a sacrifice conducted in favor of Rudra enriches the host (person making the sacrifice) like Indra.
  5. Vedic Rudra is as handsome as the supreme Vedic God Indra, having golden complexion. He wears golden necklace and holds golden axe. He helps Vedic people in finding lost cattle.
  6. In Rig Vedic descriptions Rudra is said to be older than oldest.
  7. Rudra’s father is Prajapati.(Maitrayani Sanhita,6:1-9). In a mythical story Rudra is said to have killed his father, Prajapati.
  8. Rudra is depicted as a destroyer of humankind and animals in Rig Veda. (RV 2.33.10)
  9. Rudra is not a single entity but is enumerated from 11 to 60 in different texts of Vedic literature. In this way, Rudra represents a group of deities bearing the same name. He also is often called the father of Maruts, another group of Vedic Gods.
  10. Rudrasavarni, 12thManu, is said to be the son of the Rudra.
  11. Dogs and Wolves are the pets of Rudra. (Atharva Veda 11.2.2)

This description of the Vedic Rudra is completely different to what Hindus think of Shiva.

Shiva was and is a supreme God for the Non-Vedic (Hindu) people. Shiva is ajanma, having no birth or father. Indeed, Shiva is a concept of creation, preservation and destruction of the universe that is worshipped in phallic form. He has no son directly born to him, though kartikeya and Ganesha are associated with him as his sons in later times. Shiva’s mythical abode is mount Kailasa. None of the mythologies associated with him match with Rudra’s. Shiva is “Smarari” – the destroyer of fire sacrifices, which opposes the very concept of Vedic fire sacrifice dedicated to Rudra.

This point about the “Shiva” of Vedas being quite different from the actual Hindu Shiva is made clear by Doris Srinivasan in his “Unhinging Siva from the Indus Civilization”, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 1 (1984), pp. 77-89

It is critical to observe that the animals depicted on the seal are all wild animals, being the elephant, tiger, buffalo and rhinoceros. In surveying the term pagupati in the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda, especially as it relates to Rudra, it is to be concluded that a pagupati does not protect wild animals. Verses in the Atharva Veda make it quite clear that a pagupati protects the domestic animals upon which the agrarian economy and ritual depend. The Vedic evidence would therefore not support the interpretation that the animals on seal 420 are within the domain of a Pasupati. Indeed there is further textual evidence in the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda that Rudra injures precisely those creatures under the protection of a Paiupati.

Srinivasan obviously is confused – he thinks that Shiva originated in the Vedas and since the Harappan seal doesn’t match the Vedic description, it can’t be the Shiva. He fails to recognise the obvious fact that Shiva originated in traditional Hinduism and that Shiva is TOTALLY different from Pasupati of the Vedas.


Rigved Samhita Part 1, Sukt 114

and Rigved Samhita Part 1, Mandal 2, Sukt 33.

Rigved Samhita Part 2, Mandal 5, Sukt 3.

Rigved Samhita Part 2, Mandal 6, Sukt 74.


Gana in Indian culture always refers to the clans and Ganapati as clan head. Different clans used totems such as serpents, reptiles, birds, trees and elephants. Later when various tribes/clans did assimilate, those totemic symbols were merged in single symbol.

Ganesha’s other epithet is “Vratapati”, lord of the Vratyas – which were non-vedic communities.

The iconology of Ganesha has evolved with time. We have couple of human-head Ganesha from Kushan era. The Ganesha we see today is a collective product of Naga, Yaksha, Vratya and Shiva culture.


In the beginning Ganesha (aka Vinayak) was an enemy of fire sacrifices, causing obstruction to such sacrifices. Hence the first oblation was given to him asking him to go to the distant Mujavat mountain. Thus, Ganesha was considered a trouble-maker by the Vedics but was later was accepted as the destroyer of troubles.


“Mahamritunjay mantra is mentioned in Rigveda” – said someone. I had no clue about this mantra. I’m informed by Sanjay that mahamrityunjay verse is addressed to “Tryanbak” (an epithet of the fire).

The meanings of Tryanbak is “one who has three fathers in Vedic sense. This term was applied to Shiva also as “one who has three eyes”. But these are entirely different concepts – Mhmrityunjay Mantra has nothing to do with Shiva.

In this regard, “Om” is absent throughout Vedas and other Vedic literature. Om is used mostly for Shiva and the gods in his pantheon. Om in mahamrityunjay mantra also is not found in the original text. The Original Rigvedic mantra simply starts with “Tryambakam yajamahe”. Om was inserted later to show affinity with Shiva.

WHAT ABOUT Yajurveda

This verse states: “Hail to Shiva the most auspicious one, hail to Soma Rudra, hail to the red, copper hued one, hail to the terrible and fearful one, hail to the blue necked one, hail to Pashupati, hail to Shambhu, hail to Shankara, hail to Kapardin, the one with matted hair”- Yajurveda [Source]

Sanjay’s response which I agree with – because he has a concrete theory that explains all facts, while the others don’t:

These verses are from Krishna Yajurveda’s Taaittiriya Samhita, which was used in the southern region only and might have originated there probably during the 1st century BC to third century A.D. – a far later composition (couldn’t be earlier than this as claimed and even if considered older, it is composed in India when Vedics were settled and had started spreading their religion with missionary practice). This mantra also appears without the initial Om in the eighth hymn.

This may be during the period of Vedic missionary entered south India and had to show semblance with Hindu popular gods.

Though Vedics tried to assimilate Shiva with Rudra, Shiva to Hindu remains as only Shiva. Rudra is not worshipped in Lingam form. [Sanjeev: This is the most crucial proof as far as I’m concerned]

These lines also appear in Vajasneyi Samhita of Shukla Yajurveda. This verse is part of Shatarudriya, a hymn in praise of Rudra in which this one line appears which mentions Shiva. But the entire Rudriya does not show that it is meant for Shiva. In fact, Shiva is used as an epithet to Rudra and some special attributes of Shiva have been used for Rudra. This does not make both one and the same.

Vedics created this verse out of their need to adapt to a foreign land. Thus, Christians in the medieval period wrote their own “Khrist Purana” in Indian Purana style to spread their message. Such a strategy seems to have been initiated by the Vedics – who inserted the mention of Shiva in a couple of places in late writings in order to “prove” that the Hindu Shiva is also Vedic – which he is obviously not.

Since Parvati, Durga and so on are crucial to the fertility focus of traditional Hinduism, to what extent do such goddesses find mention in the Vedas?

Fertility is not part of Vedicism. The concept of “Mother Goddess” is absent in Vedic literature. Indologist Dr. RG Bhandarkar also states that the concept of the mother goddess is significant as it is more or less absent in the Vedas. Similarly, image worship which is so basic to the present day Hinduism was unknown in the Vedic and post Vedic periods, whereas there are indications that it was practiced by the people of Sindhu valley civilisation and so on.

The process and social ideology of both religions (Hinduism and Vedic religion) are completely opposite to each other which is reflected in their iconology and mythology.

Female goddesses are very few in the Vedas in comparison with about 640 male gods. Most female goddesses are the personification of natural elements such:

  • Sarasvati (River)
  • Ratri (Night)
  • Dhatri (Earth)
  • Ushas (the personification of the morning)

They are subordinate goddesses because the Vedic system is patriarchial and women are treated inferior to men. No Vedic goddess is prominent even today although the Vedics have tried to promote Sarasvati.

For instance, the consort of Vishnu, Laxmi is notoriginally a Vedic goddess nor does she finds any mention in the main body of Rigveda. Laxmi originally was worshipped in India in the Yakshini form and was associated with Vishnu in the Gupta era. But if we look and the iconology, Laxmi is not depicted as Mother Goddess and is subordinate to Vishnu serving him sitting at his feet whereas Shiva-Shakti is equal and unified in the form of Shivalingam and his Ardha-Nari Nateshvar form. Hindus give equal importance (and at some places even higher) to Shakti goddesses. That is why if there are 12 Jyotirlingas there are 52 main Shaktipeethas spread across the country.


[On Facebook]

Once Vedic religion is proved to be distinct (and foreign) to Hinduism, it will have many political implications:

a) It will destroy RSS/BJP’s claim that Vedic Hinduism is indigenous. Since Vedic religion is foreign, their objections to Islam and Christianity become less valid.

b) It will destroy the concept of “varna”-based caste system. Vedics can continue with their caste if they wish. But most Hindus can then choose to abandon this nonsense and revert to their ancient tradition of total equality.


c) It will bring back a focus on India’s many sceptical schools of thought. It will liberate India from all forms of social, internal, tyranny and make it meaningful as a society to focus on freedom and good governance.

Many Vedic gods are similar or exactly the same in Greek and Avestan culture. For example, Zeus and Indra have many similar attributes and characteristics but their differences are also striking. These similarities don’t make both the religions or Gods the same.


Although nowhere as old as the evidence provided earlier, this also shows the ancient prevalence of the traditional Hindu gods across South India. I don’t think there’s even the remotest semblance of Vedic gods in any of the ancient South Indian temples.


Sanjeev Sabhlok

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15 thoughts on “Conclusive proofs that Shiva and Ganesha are NOT Vedic gods. This further confirms that the Vedic religion is foreign to India.
  1. Keerthi

    It should be noted the near absence of temples dedicated to rig vedic deities like Indra or Yama in Inida. In fact no Hindu community of India worship them as their chief deities. But there is one group that does it, Kalash of Pakistan and another group Nuristanis in Afghanistan who did it some 100 years ago.

    On the religion of Kalash from Wiki.

    that practice the traditional Kalash religion, which some observers label as animism,[5][6][7][40] but others regard it as a derivative of the pre-Vedic ancient Indo-Aryan religion,[15] described by some as “a form of ancient Hinduism”.[3][4][16]

    According to Sanskrit linguist Michael Witzel, the traditional Kalash religion shares “many of the traits of myths, ritual, society, and echoes many aspects of Rigvedic [religion]” but not of the post-Rigvedic religion that later developed in India.[15][41] Kalash culture and belief system differ from the various ethnic groups surrounding them but are similar to those practised by the neighbouring Nuristanis in northeast Afghanistan before their conversion to Islam.[22][23]

    Kalash have Indra and Yama as chief deities. No Hindu community has them as such. Further on religion of Kalash

    Noted linguist and Harvard professor Michael Witzel summarises the faith practised by the Kalash with this description:[15]

    “In myth it is notably the role of Indra, his rainbow and his eagle who is shot at, the killing of his father, the killing of the snake or of a demon with many heads, and the central myth of releasing the Sun from an enclosure (by Mandi snake).”[15]

    Religion of Nuristanis were similar before their forced conversion to Islam.

  2. Saket

    I think Lord Shiva name is given plenty of time. Here are some:

    Rigveda (न मा मिमेथ न जिहीळ एषा शिवा सखिभ्य उत मह्यमासीत् । अक्षस्याहमेकपरस्य हेतोरनुव्रतामप जायामरोधम् ॥२॥)

    Krishna YajurVeda TS (नमः शिवाय च शिवतराय च)

  3. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Yajurveda doesn’t count. We are only talking about Rig Veda – which is already contaminated by Hindu gods and customs. By the time of Yajurveda, the original Vedic thinking had virtually disappeared.

  4. Vijay Kumar

    Superb analysis. I arrived at virtually the same conclusions through my own research. This also correlates with DNA analysis throwing light on why do the upper castes have R1A1 gene while the lower castes dont. The skeletons found lying helter skelter in IVC also prove that their has been an invasion. Thereafter, their has been cultural and language conflicts between the Aryans and Dravidians giving rise to the several languages in India and the Arya Brahmins still trying to promote their Gods like Rama, Krishna and Radha, who are nothing but R-M-Ha or Kha, Kresnik and Lada local heroes/ heroines prevalent in Slavic countries. Proof for canvassing for vedic Gods by Brahmins and convincing people to worship Vishnu and his incarnations are found in the literature and references in British India. At the same time their are several academic articles showing Brahmin appropriation of dravidian Gods, and their worship particularly Murugan and the mother goddesses. The Aryans are mainly the Scythians who while descending from the North Pole invaded several lands and settled in Iran (Land of Aryans), several parts of Europe and in India. But because they encountered dark skinned Indians, it resulted in the espousal of the Varna or color system. The total seven human races are basically divided into four colors namely white (european), yellow (Mongolian), brown (Indians, Egyptians, australian aborigines) and the black (Africans). The brown people spoke one language i.e proto-tamilian during the ancient times. The language of IVC has been traced to be tamilian.
    I have also read your article about consumption of beef during the vedic times and am greatly impressed.
    Wishing to learn more from your research.
    With regards,

  5. Rakesh

    Vedas was believed to be written before the birth of lord Ganesha and concentrated on Parbrahm with no form as Sadashiva which is mentioned in Puran. So Shiva is mentioned only 7-8 time in 4 Vedas.
    Shri Rudram which is a part of Vedas explains more about lord Shiva.

  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    You’re a funny man. Vedas (1500 BC) were written “before the birth of lord Ganesha”. I love your satire.

  7. Rakesh

    Vedas were compiled 1500BC ago. It is believed that Brahma created Vedas after the creation of universe and humans. So, how Ganesha will be there in vedas. Ganesha was born in Dwapar Yuga.

  8. Saket Kumar

    Also in rig vedas rudra is depicted as three-eyed, In yajurveda it is mentioned that he lives in mountains and is a consort of Devi Ambika. In the 400 names of Rudram in Shri Rudram of Yajurved Shiva and Pashupati is also depicted. In Samved Vaman(Vishnu) makes a reference of god very similar to Shiva.

  9. Saket Kumar

    Svetasvatara Upanishad 4.16 states:

    घृतात् परं मण्डमिवातिसूक्ष्मं
    ज्ञात्वा शिवं सर्वभूतेषु गूढम् ।
    विश्वस्यैकं परिवेष्टितारं
    ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ १६॥

    He who knows Brahman, who is Shiva, extremely subtle, like the film that rises to the surface of clarified butter and is hidden in all beings−he who knows the radiant Deity, the sole Pervader of the universe, is released from all his Pãshas.

  10. Elzivir88

    It was believed by some, that the Vedas were written as a way of preserving Vedic Culture of the time / remnants of older Indo Aryan Culture. We can already on a deeper analysis see Tamil words and phrases showing up, including the use of Yoga which was purely Indian / Tamil and peculiarly an almost total lack of belief in reincarnation.

    I applaud your work.

  11. Marco

    Hi, it’s very interesting! I’m Italian, from 15 years I’m study induism, and recently (2 years) I’m totally caught by Shiva. I find great work the Tantraloka and Sivasutra, for example.
    Ok, now my questions is: Why I feel so interested abotu Shiva but not from Ganesha? In myself, I feel Ganesha was added later the primordial cult of Shiva, but about this I can’t find evidences. May be Sanjeev Sabhlok can clear me that point?


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