May Varuna with guidance straight,
And Mitra the One-who-knows,
And Aryaman in accord with Aditya,
Guide us forth, like the wind that blows,
As with their Might Evermore
They guard the Sacred Laws,
Shelter may they vouchsafe to us,
Immortal Gods to mortal men..
Vedic Seers knew that verbal descriptions of the Supreme Reality can be incomplete yet tried to convey the awe they felt every time they meditated in the form of hymns eulogizing the sentient beings guarding all Natural and Supernatural phenomena. These guardians of the Three Lokas were called Devas (Sanskrit root 'Div' meaning the 'Shining One').
33 Crore Devtas but that is nothing but a myth - in Sanskrit the word koti refers to both crore as well as type and the use of the first meaning has led to the spread of this false belief. Vedas, the oldest Hindu texts enumerate 33 principle Devas who were the guardians of Nature and Cosmic Creation.
The ancients especially venerated the Adityas and Vedas are full of hymns dedicated to Indra, Agni, Surya, Varun and the like. The 12 Adityas correspond to the 12 Solar months and represent different attributes of social life. These are:
Ansh (due share),
Bhaag (due inheritance),
Dhatri (ritual skill),
Tvashtar (skill in crafting),
Savitra/Parjanya (power of word),
Surya/Vivasvan (social law),
Vaman (cosmic law).
Indra/Shakra, of course is the eldest and the undoubted leader of other Adityas and has proved his worth on numerous occasions, most famous of his exploits being the slaying of the dragon Vritra.
Indra leads the Adityas
Interestingly, these 12 Adityas were adopted into Chinese and Japanese Buddhism as guardians of the monasteries covering the four main directions, four semi-directions, above, below and the Sun and Moon. They are known as Devas or Ten 天 in Japan (which literally means Heaven or Celestial).
The 12 Japanese Devas
A similar depiction is found on a rock-cut cave far away in Yazili Kaya in Turkey! This rock-cave has multiple depictions of Gods and Goddesses that resemble Hindu gods. The lower chamber in this cave shows a frieze with 12 gods carved onto it who were worshiped by the people known as Hittites.
Dhruv (Pole Star),
The 11 Rudras are three-eyed manifestations of the Original Rudra and include Lord Shiva, who, along with Prajapati Brahma and Shri Hari Vishnu forms a part of the highest echelons of the hierarchy amongst Gods known as the Trimurti . The respective roles of the Holy Hindu Trinity are: