The Rig Veda itself asserts (1164.46 & 170.1) that the gods are only different names and expressions of one universal Being who transcends the universe; but from the language of the hymns, we are compelled to perceive in the gods not only different names, but also different forms, powers and personalities of the one Deva. For the external sense of the Veda the Gods are universal powers of physical Nature personified; in any inner sense they must be universal powers of Nature in her subjective activities, Will, Mind, etc.
The same deities were at once internal and external Powers of universal Nature, and they managed its expression through a system of double values by which the same language (Vedic Mantras) served for their worship in both aspects. But the psychological sense predominates and is more pervading and coherent than the physical.
External Rituals for Material Prosperity:
Externally, offerings are done in Vedic sacrifice (also called Yajna) to please the Vedic gods. The sacrifices of food, possessions etc., prayers and chants of Rig Vedic hymns in the ritual worship bring material prosperity and fulfilment of worldly desires.
According to the ritualist interpretation, food, fame or gold are the constituents of wealth desired by the Vedic sages. But even the prosperity, fullness of cows, horses, gold, men, chariots, offspring, is not a final end in itself, all this a means towards the opening up of the other worlds, the winning Swar, the ascent to the solar heavens, the attainment by the path of the truth to the Light and to the heavenly Bliss where the mortal arrives at immortality.
The Upanishadic seers cautioned people against over indulgence in ritual practices, suggesting that ritual knowledge constituted inferior knowledge or ignorance (avidya), and was an obstacle to liberation. They cautioned them against overdependence upon rituals or ritual knowledge to resolve human suffering, and urged them to focus upon both ritual and spiritual practices by internalizing the rituals for liberation.
Internal for Spiritual Upliftment & Immortality:
Sri Aurobindo in his book “The Secrets of the Rig Veda” mentioned that the Vedas has disclosed the cosmic body is similar to human body. Rituals are the starting-point for a spiritual thought and experience. The central conception of the Rig Veda is the conquest of the Truth and Immortality. For the Vedic Ritam is a spiritual as well as psychological conception.
Gods are clearly the symbols of sense functions in the human being. Soma, the plant which yielded the mystic wine for Vedic sacrifice, has not only the God of the moon, but manifests himself as mind in the human being.
Adi Shankara explained that Hindu deities live or rule over the cosmic body as well in the temple of human body. They remark that the Sun deity is the eyes, the Vayu the nose, the Prajapati the sexual organs, the Lokapalas the ears, moon the mind, Mitra the inward breath, Varuna the outward breath, Indra the arms, Bṛhaspati the speech, Vishnu, whose stride is great, is the feet, and Maya is the smile.
The whole Rig Veda is a triumph-chant of the powers of Light, and their ascent by the force and vision of the Truth to its possession in its source and seat where it is free from the attack of the falsehood. “By Truth the cows (illumined thoughts) enter into Truth; labouring towards the Truth, the Truth one conquers; the aggressive force of the Truth seeks the cows of Light and goes breaking through (the enemy); for Truth the two wide ones (Heaven & Earth) become multitudinous and deep, for Truth the two supreme Mothers give their yield.