Gods of Hindus and the Song of “Lagaan”


























There is a song in Hindi film “Lagaan”, rendering worship to the God by a group of poor villagers


The song goes like that


“O Palanhare, Nirgun aur Nyare, tumhre bin hamra koi nahin”


The above song sounds nice as a prayer by villagers to the God to save them in the cricket match against the English, for which their future was at stake.

Everything in this song is fine but the word “Nirgun”.


The Hindi/Sanskrit word “Nirgun” means one who has not any particular appearance or particular identity. The words “Nirgun” and “Nirakar” in Hindi are used mainly to define the Gods in Islam or Christianity, where God is assumed in not any particular shape or appearance. In these religions “Murti Puja” (worshipping the idols of God) is not done, they don’t believe in multiple Gods and believe only in one almighty God without assuming any appearance.


But in Hinduism God is not “Nirgun”. We have assumed Gods and their apperance, we make idols of Gods put it in front and worship. 


Hinduism is perhaps only religion in the world, which has no founder, which was never founded, and practice of Hinduism is mainly in India and Nepal. It developed and flourished by itself. The practices of the religion like festivals or rituals are not firm and vary with the regions in India. But,the “Murti Puja”  remains common everywhere, in any part of India, Nepal or world. I firmly believe that “Murti Puja” is the most distinguishing feature of Hinduism. Our Gods are “Sagun” and not “Nirgun”.


 I have high regards for lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar, one of the finest writers in Bollywood, but am slightly surprised by this blunder mistake in one of his songs. Also interestingly I have never heard anyone objecting to this. I object to this because this is misrepresentation of the very concept of Hinduism.





14 Responses to “Gods of Hindus and the Song of “Lagaan””

  1. pr3rna Says:

    The arya samajis consider God ‘nirgun’, don’t they Vivek? Jains(if they can be bracketed under Hindus) also consider God nirgun.

  2. odzer Says:

    @ Vivek : Hinduism originated from Bon-Po a shamanistic faith in North Asia. Originally Bon worshiped nature. Many symbols of Hinduism for example the Swastika are also held by Bon. In any case I doubt Hinduism “developed and flourished” by its on. It has definitely been influenced by older religions that existed in Asia. There are many other factors but I won’t go in to detail now.

  3. Vinod Sharma Says:

    Vivek, you got it wrong here. In Hinduism, God is seen as both ‘Nirgun; and ‘Sagun’. ‘Gun’ does not mean appearance. ‘Gun’ means attribute. So God is without any attribute as well has all attributes. That is why he is complete. ‘Akar’ means form or shape. By the same analogy, He is both without any form, ‘Nirakar’ or ‘nirankar’as well as with form ‘sakar’ or in the ‘pranav’ i.e. ‘Omkar’ . You can worship him as ‘sakar’ through an idol or any physical object as well as without it as ‘nirankar’. Of course, various ‘panths’ have their own methods and chosen deities/gurus. You can choose to follow any one of them. There is otherwise no ‘rule’ laid down in any one book that you have to follow. Full freedom is permitted. As to the origin of ‘Hinduism’ and the Swastika (and its meaning), it is a very detailed subject. The only thing you need to know now is that they did not originate from North Asia. As you explore, if you are interested to, doors will keep opening to show you more and more.

  4. odzer Says:

    @ Vinod : “As to the origin of ‘Hinduism’ and the Swastika (and its meaning), it is a very detailed subject. The only thing you need to know now is that they did not originate from North Asia”

    Perhaps you could be more verbose? Do you mean then Hinduism is then free of all Shamanistic influences? Swastika is nothing but a fancy symbol for the Sun. Worship of the Sun and other celestial bodies is a common shamanistic practice along with the worship of elements. All of which are also worshiped by Hindus as well. Esoteric Hinduism and Buddhism both seem to have borrowed heavily from Bon-Po. Bon-Po itself seems to have been based on practices that originated in Northern Asia and Siberia. Objectively looking at the situation I think ignoring all these pointers would be dismissing what is obvious.

  5. vivekmittal Says:

    Prerna, we too are Arya Samajis and worship the idols of God.Arya Samajis in Hindu are those who have made it easy to follow the religion, ie daily Havans, and gayatri Mantras 108 times etc are not done, but “Murti Puja” ie believing in the appreance of God is followed by both arya Samajis, and Sanatanis….I dont know much about Jainism, but i have few Jain friends, who visit Mandirs..

    Odzer, i agree with some of your points..yes Hinduism has had some other influences, But what i meant to say that It was never Founded as such

    Vinod, I think, there is no practice in mainstream Hinduism to worship without Idols. Every God in Hinduism has got certain attributes, Like Shiva having snake around neck, Vinshu laying on a snake in “Kshir sagar”….brahma having 4 heads, Ganesh having elephant head, and so on
    i’m not talking about varied “panths” and all but mainstream Hinduism, where Gods have attributes and appreance ie they are “sagun” and “sakar”.

  6. Vinod Sharma Says:

    Vivek, pick up ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’ from somewhere for a start. Idols, at one level, serve as a point of focus, like say, facing towards Mecca does for Muslims or The Shri Guru Granth Sahib does for Sikhs. Idols of various Gods having different attributes also are related to the concept of ‘Ishta Devta’ or chosen deity that you worship based on your personality and your desires and needs. There are three ‘Gunas’, sat, rajas and tamas. It is up to you to choose which method you want to choose to worship your chosen deity. Most ‘Panths’ are mainstream. But if you choose one, you need to follow its ‘rules’ , some of which can be very tough, at least in some panths. If you don’t like them and hop to another ‘panth’, it is fine. Just another step in your spiritual journey.

    Otherwise, you have the full freedom to worship, like most people do, through idols of all gods and goddesses. That does not mean that God is not ‘Nirgun’. He is, since He is in and yet beyond everything in the universe. The ‘mool mantra’ of the Sikhs embodies the essence quite nicely. Of course you can go through many other granths, purans, upanishads, the vedas, shastras etc, if you are interested.

    It is not important how you worship and to how many gods to help you through your journey in ‘mrityulok’. For the few who want to move higher on the spiritual path, there is a limitless ‘world’ waiting to be explored.

  7. Sharad Bapat Says:

    Hello Vivek.. came here frmo Nita’s blog.. where you have mentioned you too got hooked yo blogging by reading her blog 🙂 so we have something in common…

    but after reading this post.. I disagree with you 🙂

    As rightly said by Vinod, God is both sagun and nirgun according to Hinduism.

  8. vivekmittal Says:

    Sharad, thanks for your response 🙂
    But, anyone who worships the idols of God, believe in “Sagun” God
    I naver saw of heard of any Hindu worhipping with idols

  9. Dnyanesh Says:


    I found this interesting discussion on Sagun/Nirgun
    I liked this comment very much. “God is both impersonal(nirgun) and personal(sargun). Impersonal god is formless and beyond human reach. When he reveals himself through his creation, he becomes related and personal. It is just like rays coming out of sun. The source is formless, and whole universe is his personal form. No form howsoever unique it may be is independent of him.”

  10. vivekmittal Says:

    Thanks Dnyanesh

    Sorry, your coment went to spam list. Now i have taken it out when i was just checking my spam list (after more than 2 months 🙂 ) Thanks for the comment, and i’ll check the link given by you.

  11. sharmila Says:


  12. spatra Says:

    Bhagwan Sri Sathya Saibaba Says:
    Thirst for Krishna, for seeing Him, hearing Him, His Flute, for installing Him in the heart, in the
    mind, for grasping His Reality through the intellect–this thirst is the healthiest, the most
    conducive to peace. Devotion to Krishna is the chain by which the monkey mind can be fastened
    and subdued. Transmute all the desire with which the senses torment you into the thirst for
    Krishna and you are saved.

  13. sree parimala Says:


  14. bhairavi kookani Says:

    hi this is bhairavi i love all the gods but the most lord krisna

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