An Earliest Expression of Monotheism.

In the Rg Veda of the Hindu religious tradition, dating back to at least 1500 BCE  we read the following (1.164.46):

“ Ékam sad-vipraa bahudhaa vadanti: Truth (GOD) is One. Sages call It in many ways, as Agni, Yamaa…” This is the earliest recorded utterance of Monotheism.  Some have said that there are glimmers of Monotheism in ancient Egyptian religion.

What makes the Vedic monotheism interesting, significant, and appropriate for a world community (especially today) is the subtext that different people give that Supreme Truth (Divinity) different names. This is very unlike the subtext of the Abrahamic monotheism: That One God is the God of My religion.

Monotheism old or new, Abrahamic or Hindu or Zoroastrian, our task today is to learn to respect the God-visions and the No-God vision of all peoples and groups. There is no other way other than polyodosism (multiple paths to spiritual fulfillment) for religious peace in the world.

 Rg Veda 1.164.46

इन्द्रं॑ मि॒त्रं वरु॑णम॒ग्निमा॑हु॒रथो॑ दि॒व्यः सु॑प॒र्णो ग॒रुत्मा॑न्
एकं॒ सद्विप्रा॑ बहु॒धा व॑दन्त्य॒ग्निं य॒मं मा॑त॒रिश्वा॑नमाहुः ॥४६॥


They called him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni; and he is heavenly Garuda, who has beautiful wings. The truth is one, but the sages (or learned ones) call it by many names or describe him in many ways; they called him Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.

15 May 2018


Published by:

Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.

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