Abraham Maslow's need hierarchy theory proposed in 1943 is studied till date widely by students and practioners of Human Psychology as well as its part of academic study today in the stream of Human Resource Management. Through this theory Maslow has helped to understand what motivates people to achieve certain needs and that some takes precedence over others. The most basic need is physical survival and this will be first things to motivate human behaviour and once that level is fulfilled we are motivated to pursue further level and so on.
This theory is portrayed in shape of pyramid with the largest most fundamental level of needs at the bottom and the need for self actualization and self transcendence at the top. It was observed by Maslow that the absence of situations for fulfilling these needs will cause human being to react with emergency threat response.
Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before individual will strongly desire or focus motivation upon secondary or higher level needs. Maslow also coined the term "meta-motivation" to describe the motivation of people who go beyond the scope of basic needs and strive for constant betterment.
While Maslow's theory is effective to understand the fundamentals for motivating mankind it also highlights the inherent humanly desires at play giving rise to various needs and subsequent efforts to achieve them. If we apply this theory to study development of Religion and Spirituality since primeval age, it can be seen that Man has sporadically turned to specific super power or an image to substantiate his efforts of fulfilling his desires & needs and it was these recurring circumstances which eventually gave birth to various Religions/faith/cults/worships etc.
In Hindu pantheon as well, the rudiments of Human desires and needs can be traced in commencement of multiple Hindu ethos for materialistic and spiritual evolution.
The shift in eminence of Gods, Goddesses from Vedic to Puranic epoch and advent of several deities in Hindu edifice can be illustrated by psychosomatic needs of Human beings during to their evolution.
The base of pyramid consists Physiological needs which are basic requirements of food & water etc. When mankind laid its foot on earth , they first learnt hunger and thirst and no other psychological desires were known, the mind and heart existed but they were not recognised yet. Nature was the first challenge they were presented with and so they started deciphering it and in the process also worshipped it. This gave rise to Vedic trinity Indra, Agni & Varuna representing the essentials like Food , Water and Climate significant for survival of Man for that phase. He worshipped these elements transforming them into entities and thus began the practice of offering Vedic sacrifices which elevated them to status of Gods.
As time continued to turn waves, humans felt stir of a new emotion in them. The death and fickleness of their life was noticed and they decided to solve it with the need to be safe & secured . So their search began for meeting primary needs but with stability, this was not getting fulfilled only by Vedic trinity who were mainly providers of basic physical requirements of Man. There was now a need of nourisher and protector too and the result was enhanced versions of Indra and Agni appeared as Vishnu and Shiva. They were not only representatives of Nature but through their Boons giving capacity and ability of taking Avatars became a shield for mankind. Man found solace in knowing that they have a cosmic father, a supreme being who created everything single handedly including Nature and them. Hence arose the Puranic trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Now when Man was physically fulfilled and felt nourished & protected, he felt his life and space is worth sharing . He felt a randomness in his surrounding and wanted to collapse it. There came the need of belongingness and love. Humans started identifying with the emotions of family, friends and companionship i.e. a maternal side of humanity appeared which gave rise to worship of feminine elements and the time came when Goddess worship gained more popularity. The worship of Goddesses Parvati became symbolic of love and family and was at momentum as Man grew up to feel intimacy and various passions.
When the set up of being kindered and cherished came in, it brought a major change in the role of Human being as the need arose now for being a Provider and not only recipient. Man felt that resources should not only be utilised but accumulated too. This gave rise to feeling of sense of achievement and a realisation dawned on mankind that wealth, knowledge and control of natural resources will enable to fulfil this need. Since Puranic trinity and Devi Worship were already at the task of nourishment, protection and belongingness, man further searched for entities helping to accumulate and preserve. Thus began the worship of deities-Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Sarasvati , Lord Ganesh and Lord Hanuman which human's felt more communicative & connected also and at the same as their identities were as consort or offspring of God/Goddesses they were attributed with the divine qualities .
But Man continued to journey and the more he explored himself, the more he felt the rise in his psychological needs which eventually gained highest position in the structure of pyramid of all his needs. His needs at the pinnacle were more refined and concise and so there were embodiments of perfect divine beings teaching him to swift through the course of his life wherein though he is participating in all the micro level essential affairs but at the same time there is an ability to not get the self restricted only to such an extent. Here at the top Mankind felt the need of realising full potential and meaning of Human life which is much more than food, water, fears, family and partnership. The worship of divine entities Ram and Krishna commenced as ideal beings who in form of humans went through the entire life-cycle and achieved the supreme self which is beyond all the needs and desires.
Thus as Mankind evolved, its desires grew up along with him and the simultaneous increase in its motivation levels to fulfil those desires gave way to multiple faiths and spirituality as well.