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Thread: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

  1. A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Forpersons of the monist, monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist perspectives, Iseek to propose a word that can describe celestial beings (in any religion orculture) whose roles and status are very much like the devas in Hinduism andarchangels. This is also intended to distinguish such celestials from theformless Ultimate Reality/The Absolute/GOD and primary personal forms like theSaguna Brahman in Hinduism. This is not about replacing the use of"God/Goddess" for the formless Godhead or primary form(s) like theSaguna Brahman. Specifically, I am proposing an alternative to the use of"gods" for celestials like the devas in Hinduism, the aeons inGnosticism, and the celestials in Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, and other similarreligions. That proposed word is ons (plural form is onses).

    Theuse of capital letters for the monotheist "God" is not alwayspractice. Some forms of penmanships, formats, and prints (e.g. comic books, graphic novels) use allcapital letter makes it harder to tell apart "god(s)" and "God.Some online programs or mega online video games do not let you use capitalsother than the first word of a sentence. Moreover, some electronicappliances or texts may only allow lower-case letters. While capital andlower case letters can be seen from writings and texts, not so for speaking. Theonly difference between "deity" and "god" is usage wherethe latter implies a religious connotation. Additionally, "deity" issometimes used in the same monotheist matter of capitalization (e.g. "TheDeity").The monotheist use is also done in the same matter by pantheist,panentheist, and deist contexts.

    Translating "deva" from Hindu contexts into English as"god" sometimes causes people from a strict monotheist background tothink of Hinduism as polytheist, yet Hinduism is not quite that. Also, in English,"deva" is used to refer to celestials in Hinduism and Buddhism. The spelling of "daeva" in Zoroastrianism is used to distinguish it from Dharmic "deva." While God inEnglish tends to refer to the Formless Godhead/The Absolute/Ultimate Reality,it is not always uniform. While the use of capitals is intended for thedistinctions, it can still create ambiguity and misconceptions.


    Nowfor how I developed my proposed word:
    I sought out a Germanic word for my proposed word. OldEnglish "os" originally referred to the Anglo-Saxon celestials. Itfell out of use during Christianization and only survives as a prefix for namestoday (e.g. Oscar, Oswin, Osbourne) and its old plural form ēse is just notappealing. Nor is making "os" plural as "osses.""Aesir" only refers to the Nordic celestials. Also, aesir" isthe plural form. Singular form is "ss." Then I looked at the OldHigh German & Gothic cognate, "ans" (Gothic plural form isanses while the Old Higher German plural form is anseis). They derive fromProto-Germanic "ansuz" (plural form "ansiwiz"). Ans, aesir,and Old English os also share the same root with asura and ahura.Proto-Indo-European "ansu" has also been defined as meaning either"god," "ancestrial spirit," "life,""air," or "breath."

    Moreover, Gothic "ans" and anses sounded good. So my proposed wordis ons. I go with this spelling due to the fact that it fits more withinModern English spelling and pronunciation. Also, the plural form of the anarticle is ans. The word "ons" is pronounced as ONS, like"on" with the addition of an "s" ("ons" is saidin just one syllable). The plural form onses is pronounced as ON-siz. While"ons(es)" is intended to be gender neutral I will not rule out theuse of a feminine singular form (onsess is pronounced as ON-sess), since Istill see singular "goddess" used at times. The use of ons(es) is aterm for celestial beings whose roles and nature are like those in Hinudism,Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism and other religions with similarcosmologies and hierarchies. Additionally, "ons" and"onsess" can be used like how "god" and "goddess"is used for a celestial's affinity (e.g. fire ons, ons of thunder, onsess ofwisdom, water onsess, etc.).

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    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Honestly, I really have no objection to using the word "Gods" to describe Hindu devas. They are omnipotent beings and we pray to them, so why not call them Gods? If the only thing that happens is that a non-Hindu monotheist thinks this makes us polytheists, then I'll be happy that this is his worst misconception about Hinduism.

    Anyway, in most of the Hindu books I've read, the devas were referred to as Gods. So I see no need for an alternative description.

  3. #3

    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Quote Originally Posted by Perceiver View Post
    Forpersons of the monist, monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist perspectives, Iseek to propose a word that can describe celestial beings (in any religion orculture) whose roles and status are very much like the devas in Hinduism andarchangels. This is also intended to distinguish such celestials from theformless Ultimate Reality/The Absolute/GOD and primary personal forms like theSaguna Brahman in Hinduism. This is not about replacing the use of"God/Goddess" for the formless Godhead or primary form(s) like theSaguna Brahman. Specifically, I am proposing an alternative to the use of"gods" for celestials like the devas in Hinduism, the aeons inGnosticism, and the celestials in Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, and other similarreligions. That proposed word is ons (plural form is onses).

    Theuse of capital letters for the monotheist "God" is not alwayspractice. Some forms of penmanships, formats, and prints (e.g. comic books, graphic novels) use allcapital letter makes it harder to tell apart "god(s)" and "God.Some online programs or mega online video games do not let you use capitalsother than the first word of a sentence. Moreover, some electronicappliances or texts may only allow lower-case letters. While capital andlower case letters can be seen from writings and texts, not so for speaking. Theonly difference between "deity" and "god" is usage wherethe latter implies a religious connotation. Additionally, "deity" issometimes used in the same monotheist matter of capitalization (e.g. "TheDeity").The monotheist use is also done in the same matter by pantheist,panentheist, and deist contexts.

    Translating "deva" from Hindu contexts into English as"god" sometimes causes people from a strict monotheist background tothink of Hinduism as polytheist, yet Hinduism is not quite that. Also, in English,"deva" is used to refer to celestials in Hinduism and Buddhism. The spelling of "daeva" in Zoroastrianism is used to distinguish it from Dharmic "deva." While God inEnglish tends to refer to the Formless Godhead/The Absolute/Ultimate Reality,it is not always uniform. While the use of capitals is intended for thedistinctions, it can still create ambiguity and misconceptions.


    Nowfor how I developed my proposed word:
    I sought out a Germanic word for my proposed word. OldEnglish "os" originally referred to the Anglo-Saxon celestials. Itfell out of use during Christianization and only survives as a prefix for namestoday (e.g. Oscar, Oswin, Osbourne) and its old plural form ēse is just notappealing. Nor is making "os" plural as "osses.""Aesir" only refers to the Nordic celestials. Also, aesir" isthe plural form. Singular form is "ss." Then I looked at the OldHigh German & Gothic cognate, "ans" (Gothic plural form isanses while the Old Higher German plural form is anseis). They derive fromProto-Germanic "ansuz" (plural form "ansiwiz"). Ans, aesir,and Old English os also share the same root with asura and ahura.Proto-Indo-European "ansu" has also been defined as meaning either"god," "ancestrial spirit," "life,""air," or "breath."

    Moreover, Gothic "ans" and anses sounded good. So my proposed wordis ons. I go with this spelling due to the fact that it fits more withinModern English spelling and pronunciation. Also, the plural form of the anarticle is ans. The word "ons" is pronounced as ONS, like"on" with the addition of an "s" ("ons" is saidin just one syllable). The plural form onses is pronounced as ON-siz. While"ons(es)" is intended to be gender neutral I will not rule out theuse of a feminine singular form (onsess is pronounced as ON-sess), since Istill see singular "goddess" used at times. The use of ons(es) is aterm for celestial beings whose roles and nature are like those in Hinudism,Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism and other religions with similarcosmologies and hierarchies. Additionally, "ons" and"onsess" can be used like how "god" and "goddess"is used for a celestial's affinity (e.g. fire ons, ons of thunder, onsess ofwisdom, water onsess, etc.).
    Why hi there Mr. Frey.

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    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Quote Originally Posted by sanjaya View Post
    Honestly, I really have no objection to using the word "Gods" to describe Hindu devas. They are omnipotent beings and we pray to them, so why not call them Gods?
    Is Indra omnipotent, for a Gaudiya Vaishnava?

  5. #5

    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Quote Originally Posted by Perceiver View Post
    Forpersons of the monist, monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist perspectives, Iseek to propose a word that can describe celestial beings (in any religion orculture) whose roles and status are very much like the devas in Hinduism andarchangels. This is also intended to distinguish such celestials from theformless Ultimate Reality/The Absolute/GOD and primary personal forms like theSaguna Brahman in Hinduism. This is not about replacing the use of"God/Goddess" for the formless Godhead or primary form(s) like theSaguna Brahman. Specifically, I am proposing an alternative to the use of"gods" for celestials like the devas in Hinduism, the aeons inGnosticism, and the celestials in Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, and other similarreligions. That proposed word is ons (plural form is onses).

    Theuse of capital letters for the monotheist "God" is not alwayspractice. Some forms of penmanships, formats, and prints (e.g. comic books, graphic novels) use allcapital letter makes it harder to tell apart "god(s)" and "God.Some online programs or mega online video games do not let you use capitalsother than the first word of a sentence. Moreover, some electronicappliances or texts may only allow lower-case letters. While capital andlower case letters can be seen from writings and texts, not so for speaking. Theonly difference between "deity" and "god" is usage wherethe latter implies a religious connotation. Additionally, "deity" issometimes used in the same monotheist matter of capitalization (e.g. "TheDeity").The monotheist use is also done in the same matter by pantheist,panentheist, and deist contexts.

    Translating "deva" from Hindu contexts into English as"god" sometimes causes people from a strict monotheist background tothink of Hinduism as polytheist, yet Hinduism is not quite that. Also, in English,"deva" is used to refer to celestials in Hinduism and Buddhism. The spelling of "daeva" in Zoroastrianism is used to distinguish it from Dharmic "deva." While God inEnglish tends to refer to the Formless Godhead/The Absolute/Ultimate Reality,it is not always uniform. While the use of capitals is intended for thedistinctions, it can still create ambiguity and misconceptions.


    Nowfor how I developed my proposed word:
    I sought out a Germanic word for my proposed word. OldEnglish "os" originally referred to the Anglo-Saxon celestials. Itfell out of use during Christianization and only survives as a prefix for namestoday (e.g. Oscar, Oswin, Osbourne) and its old plural form ēse is just notappealing. Nor is making "os" plural as "osses.""Aesir" only refers to the Nordic celestials. Also, aesir" isthe plural form. Singular form is "ss." Then I looked at the OldHigh German & Gothic cognate, "ans" (Gothic plural form isanses while the Old Higher German plural form is anseis). They derive fromProto-Germanic "ansuz" (plural form "ansiwiz"). Ans, aesir,and Old English os also share the same root with asura and ahura.Proto-Indo-European "ansu" has also been defined as meaning either"god," "ancestrial spirit," "life,""air," or "breath."

    Moreover, Gothic "ans" and anses sounded good. So my proposed wordis ons. I go with this spelling due to the fact that it fits more withinModern English spelling and pronunciation. Also, the plural form of the anarticle is ans. The word "ons" is pronounced as ONS, like"on" with the addition of an "s" ("ons" is saidin just one syllable). The plural form onses is pronounced as ON-siz. While"ons(es)" is intended to be gender neutral I will not rule out theuse of a feminine singular form (onsess is pronounced as ON-sess), since Istill see singular "goddess" used at times. The use of ons(es) is aterm for celestial beings whose roles and nature are like those in Hinudism,Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism and other religions with similarcosmologies and hierarchies. Additionally, "ons" and"onsess" can be used like how "god" and "goddess"is used for a celestial's affinity (e.g. fire ons, ons of thunder, onsess ofwisdom, water onsess, etc.).
    Why not just say Devas? If you are going to introduce people to a new word why not the sanskrit term that is already widely used?

  6. #6

    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Celestial beings are not important anyway in present day Hinduism, and all forms of deity's that are referred by many names and worshipped are done so with understanding that it is God or Saguna Brahma. No hindu worships a diety as a celestial being. So I don't think the parallel you are drawing is accurate or the solution is needed. Indeed in puranic stories various devas appear as celestial beings - but that is for the story purpose only. Shiva is also seen meditating on the mount Kailash, doesn't mean he is a celestial being of the mountains.

    There are other celestial beings ofcourse like apsharas, kinnaras etc which are more like celestial beings - but they hardly ever come in general discussion and never referred as the Devas.
    What is Here, is Elsewhere. What is not Here, is Nowhere.

  7. #7

    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Quote Originally Posted by sm78 View Post
    Celestial beings are not important anyway in present day Hinduism, and all forms of deity's that are referred by many names and worshipped are done so with understanding that it is God or Saguna Brahma.
    This is a very wide and general statement. I might say that ultimately there is no "you" only God, but that does not make you unimportant. Similarly when we invoke Ganesh at the start of a ceremony we are invoking a great created celestial being. Though ultimately there is only God, Ganesha is as real and separate as you and me - no more or no less so.

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    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Why not just say Devas? If you are going to introduce people to a new word why not the sanskrit term that is already widely used?
    ^ Word.

    I use devas or devis (if specifically the feminine); or deities. Easy is as easy does.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

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    Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Why not just say Devas? If you are going to introduce people to a new word why not the sanskrit term that is already widely used?
    Exactly what I thought. In my mother tongue (Dutch), the word "deva" is already widely used (among those interested in Hindu sprirituality), and I think the same thing is true for English. Moreover, the word "os" means "ox" in Dutch, and "ons" means "us" or "ounce". "Deva" has no homonyms in most Western languages, and somehow, I like the idea of welcoming a few sanskrit words, evoking a connection with both India and a very ancient tradition, and expressing somehow recognition and respect, as well as promoting the unity of mankind.

    Moreover, the word "deva" is akin to the English word "divine" that has similar equivalents in most European languages. It is just ideal!

  10. Re: A proposed alternative word for "gods"

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotam View Post
    Exactly what I thought. In my mother tongue (Dutch), the word "deva" is already widely used (among those interested in Hindu sprirituality), and I think the same thing is true for English. Moreover, the word "os" means "ox" in Dutch, and "ons" means "us" or "ounce". "Deva" has no homonyms in most Western languages, and somehow, I like the idea of welcoming a few sanskrit words, evoking a connection with both India and a very ancient tradition, and expressing somehow recognition and respect, as well as promoting the unity of mankind.

    Moreover, the word "deva" is akin to the English word "divine" that has similar equivalents in most European languages. It is just ideal!

    This is a good way to pronounce deities, dev, devta and devi (for female) is a good alternative for gods and goddess.

    Prabhu, Parmatma, Parmeshwar, Sarveshwar, Bhagwan are also mentioned in Dharma Granthas.
    [CENTER][B][FONT=Arial Black][SIZE=7][COLOR=Yellow] ॐ[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/B]
    [/CENTER]

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