Bonten (Skt., Brahman)
Bonten (Skt., Brahman) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deva is a Pali and Sankrit term denoting a ‘heavenly being’ or ‘shining one.’

In Buddhism the devas inhabit the heavens but are subject to the law reincarnation and are not eternal, like all other sentient beings. They are opposed to asuras, which are essentially evil spirits.

In Hinduism the devas may refer to

  1. The absolute (Brahman) in the form of a personal god
  2. Mortal beings inhabiting a realm higher than the human sphere
  3. A name attached to human beings who have realized God and attained enlightenment

Regarding the third instance, whether or not individuals actually attain perfection or merely become subsumed by the power of a deva is a point of debate sparked by the traditional Catholic view of discernment along with C. G. Jung‘s archetypal psychology. Catholic mystics would probably see anyone claiming to be perfect as a victim of a Satanic influence, whereas C. G. Jung would likely frame the issue in terms of the ego over-identifying with an archetyapl power.

In the New Age movement the word deva is adapted to refer to nature spirits, spiritual forces behind visible creation, or spiritual forces behind a species—i.e. a group soul.

Related Posts » Demons



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