appear to have been popular institutions as they attracted poets artists archers
and skillful riders of horses who competed with one another.
RELIGION AND UPANISHADIC THOUGHT
                   NATURE OF VEDIC RELIGION
 Vedic religion was what we today term as Henotheism or Kathenostheism,
 pertaining to a belief in one god, supreme or specially venerated as the god
 of one’s household, tribe and the like, but not the only god—a stage
 between polytheism and monotheism. Henotheism or Kathenotheism was
 a belief in single gods, each in turn standing out as the highest. The failure
 of the Aryans to understand and explain the various natural phenomena
 made them personify the natural forces, attributing to them human or
 animal qualities.
               THREE CATEGORIES OF DIVINITIES
 Vedic divinities are usually stated to be thirty three in number, divided
 into three groups, corresponding to the three divisions of the universe,
 namely terrestrial (prithvisthana), atmospheric or intermediate
 (aniarikshasthana or madhyamasthana) and celestial (dyusthana). Prithvi,
 Agni, Soma, Brihaspati and the rivers belong to the first order. Indra,
 Rudra, Vayu, Vata, Parajanya and Matarisvan belong to the second order
 and Dyaus, Mitra, Surya, Savitri, Pushan, Vishnu, the Adityas, Usha’s and
 the Asvins to the third order. This division is overlapping and not clear-cut
 as Agni and Prithvi are assigned to all the three spheres; Ushas to the
 terrestrial as well as the aerial spheres; and Varuna, Yama and Savitri to
 the aerial as well as the celestial ones.
Important Divinities
The devasura sangrama (fight between the gods and the asuras) is the most