Deva, aka: Devā; 26 Definition(s)


Deva means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

lit: Gods;

(Source): Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy
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The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).


1a) Deva (देव).—The name of the 6th Kalpa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 290. 4.

1b) With fourteen faces; born from the fourfaced Brahmā with different colours and sounds; from these were born 14 Manus.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 26. 27-30. Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 5. 33-4.

1c) One of Viśvāmitra's sons.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 91. 96.

1d) A son of Akrūra and Ugrasenī.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 112.

1e) A son of Devaka.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 129.

1f) Eight kinds of Gods.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 58. 123.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Deva (देव, “lord”) refers to a specific “mode of address” (nāman) used in drama (nāṭya), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 19. Deva is used by servants to address their king.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Deva (देव).—Description of a women of goddes (deva) type;—A woman who has delicate limbs, steady and soft looks from the corner of her eyes, is free from any disease, has lustre, munificence, truth and simplicity, emits very little sweat, has middling sexual passion, takes moderate food, loves sweet scent and is engaged in vocal and instrumental music, is known to possess the nature of a goddess (deva).

(Source): Natya Shastra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Deva (देव, “gods”) refers to one of the three gaṇa (clusters), according to the Mānasāra. Gaṇa is one of the three alternative principles, besides the six āyādiṣaḍvarga, used to constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular gaṇa (eg., deva) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). Of the three gaṇas, the asura (demonic) and manuṣa (human) class are to be avoided.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vāstuśāstra book cover
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Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

General definition (in Hinduism)

The whole Genealogy of the South Indian Deteis is divided into four main parts:

  1. Parāparavastu;
  2. Mummūrttis;
  3. Grāmadevatās;
  4. Devas.
(Source): Google Books: Genealogy of the South Indian Deities

Devas are gods who are placed in the world known as Devaloka. In this world [of human beings] they do not have either temples or adoration, with an exception that they are remembered in several ways in the history books [i.e., in Purāṇas]. Whenever sacrifices are offered to the above-mentioned gods and goddesses, the Devas receive some attention [lit. ceremonies] too.

There are many beings that do not have the name of a god. Since they are highly respected, they are mentioned in the history books [i.e., Purāṇas]. They too must be counted to the number of Devas.

(Source): Google Books: Genealogy of the South Indian Deities

Deva (देव): The Sanskrit word for god or deity. It can be interpreted as a demi-god, deity or any supernatural being of high excellence.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Literally, "shining one" - an inhabitant of the heavenly realms (see sagga and sugati).(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

1. Deva - Aggasavaka of Sujata Buddha. He was a chaplains son, and the Buddhas first sermon was addressed to him and his friend Sudassana (J.i.38; BuA.168, 170). He is also called Sudeva (Bu.xiii.25).

2. Deva - A devaputta, son of Virupakkha and brother of Kalakanni (J.iii.261).

3. Deva - A monk, resident in Kappukagama (v.l. Kambugama). Voharikatissa heard him preach and restored for him five buildings (Mhv.xxxvi.29; Dpv.xxii.41).

This may be the Thera whom Sanghatissa heard preaching the Andhakavinda Sutta. The king, being very pleased with him, set up an offering of gruel to the monks of the Mahavihara (Dpv.xxii 50).

4. Deva - A thera of Ceylon at whose request Upasena wrote the Maha Niddesa Commentary (MNidA.i.1).

5. Deva - See also Maliya(Malaya-)-deva and Mahadeva.

6. Deva - A Thera of Ceylon, who, according to the Gandhavamsa (Gv. p.63), wrote the Sumanakutavannana. This work is, however, generally ascribed to Vedeha (P.L.C.223f; Svd.1263).

7. Deva - Senapati of Kittisirimegha. He was stationed at Badalatthali, and accompanied Ratnavali when he took the young Parakkamabahu to Kittisirimegha. Cv.xxvii.82.

8. Deva - Lankadhinayaka. A general of Gajabahu II. Cv.lxx.104, 324.

9. Deva - A general of Parakkamabahu I. He took part in the campaigns against Gajabahu, and later was sent to his rescue in Pulatthipura. Deva was imprisoned there, and Parakkamabahu sent housebreakers to release him, after which he was despatched with an army to Gangatataka, where he defeated Manabharana. At Hedillakhandagama he defeated Mahinda. The last we hear of him is that he fell into his enemys power at a village called Surulla. Parakkamabahu went to rescue him, but had to abandon the effort. It is possible that he was ransomed and became Lankapura. (See below.) Cv.lxx.123, 153-7, 245, 285, 300, 316; lxxii.45, 75, 82, 122, 137f.

10. Deva - A general of Parakkamabahu I., called Lankapura, probably identical with 9. He fought against Sukarabhatu, and later took part in the Sinhalese expedition to South India and fought in fierce battles at Tirippaluru and Rajina, capturing the latter place. Cv.lxxv.130; lxxvi.250, 310, 324, 326.

11. Deva - A minister of Ayasmanta. He was sent to erect a vihara at Valligama. Cv.lxxx.38.

12. Deva - A setthi of Vedisagiri. His daughter Devi was married to Asoka, who met her while staying at her fathers house on his way to Ujjeni. MT.324; Sp.i.70.

13. Deva. A minister of Devagama. He once gave food to a starving dog. He was reborn in the same village, and later entered the Order at Pupphavasa Vihara. During the Brahmanatiya famine a tree deity looked after him for twelve years. Once men looking for food wished to kill him, but he was saved by his luck. He became an arahant,

-- or --

1. Deva - A class of beings.(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

M Being dwelling in the sphere of existence bearing the same name and which is superior to the one of humans.

A deva is endowed with far subtler and more refined sensuous perceptive faculties than the ones of humans. There do exist six different categories of devas. The individuals pertaining to the lowest category can expect to live up to nine millions of years and the ones pertaining to the loftiest, up to nine billions two hundred sixteen millions of years. A deva does enjoy a tremendous comfort. All his needs are being fulfilled in such an easy way that he absolutely has no effort to do to satisfy them.

Most of humans dream to experience these kinds of living conditions as they ceaselessly go after pleasure. Such a rejoicing life quality as the one of a deva is dangerous as in no wise does it stir up within those beings (except a few exceptional cases) an interest into the path to detachment, which is meant for eradicating suffering. In spite of the appearances, suffering is being experienced, at any elapsing moment, among all the beings of each sphere of existence. Thus, the kind of life which is led by a deva widely prompts him to be rooted into ignorance.

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

(lit: the Radiant Ones; related to Lat. deus): heavenly beings, deities, celestials, are beings who live in happy worlds, and who, as a rule, are invisible to the human eye.

They are subject, however, just like all human and other beings, to ever-repeated rebirth, old age and death, and thus are not freed from the cycle of existence and from misery. There are many classes of heavenly beings.

I. The 6 classes of heavenly beings of the sensuous sphere (kāmāvacara or kāma-loka; s. avacara loka), are

  1. Cātumahārājika-deva,
  2. Tāvatimsa,
  3. Yāma,
  4. Tusita (s. Bodhisatta),
  5. Nimmāna-rati,
  6. Paranimmita-vasavatti. Cf. anussati. (6).

II. The heavenly beings of the fine-material sphere (rūpāvacara or rūpaloka) are:

  1. Brahma-pārisajja, Brahma-purohita, Mahā-brahmāno (s. brahma-kāyika-deva). Amongst these 3 classes will be reborn those with a weak, medium or full experience of the 1st absorption (jhāna, q.v.).
  2. Parittābha, Appamānābha, ābhassara. Here will be reborn those with experience of the 2nd absorption.
  3. Paritta-subha, Appamāna-subha, Subha-kinna (or kinha). Here will be reborn those with experience of the 3rd absorption.
  4. Vehapphala, Asañña-satta (q.v.), Suddhāvāsa (q.v.; further s. Anāgāmi). Amongst the first 2 classes will be reborn those with experience of the 4th absorption, but amongst the 3rd class only Anāgāmis (q.v.).

III. The 4 grades of heavenly beings of the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara or arūpa-loka) are:

  1. the heavenly beings of the sphere of unbounded space (ākāsānañcāyatanūpaga-devā),
  2. of unbounded consciousness (viññānañcāyatanūpaga-deva),
  3. of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatanūpaga devā),
  4. of neither-perception-nor- non-perception (nevasaññā-nāsaññāyatanūpaga-devā). Here will be reborn those with experience of the 4 immaterial spheres (arūpāyatana; s. jhāna 5-8).

See Gods and the Universe by Francis Story (WHEEL 180/181).

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).


deva : (m.) 1. a deity; 2. the sky; 3. a rain cloud; 4. a king.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Deva, (Ved. deva, Idg. *deịā to shine (see dibba & diva), orig. adj. *deiǔos belonging to the sky, cp. Av. daēvō (demon.), Lat. deus, Lith. dë̃vas; Ohg. &slashedZ; īo; Ags. Tīg, Gen. Tīwes (=Tuesday); Oir. dia (god). The popular etymology refers it to the root div in the sense of playing, sporting or amusing oneself: dibbanti ti devā, pañcahi kāmaguṇehi kīḷanti attano vā siriyā jotantī ti attho KhA 123) a god, a divine being; usually in pl. devā the gods. As title attributed to any superhuman being or beings regarded to be in certain respects above the human level. Thus primarily (see 1a) used of the first of the next-world devas, Sakka, then also of subordinate deities, demons & spirits (devaññatarā some kind of deity; snake-demons: nāgas, tree-gods: rukkhadevatā etc.). Also title of the king (3). Always implying splendour (cp. above etym.) & mobility, beauty, goodness & light, & as such opposed to the dark powers of mischief & destruction (asurā: Titans; petā: miserable ghosts; nerayikā sattā: beings in Niraya). A double position (dark & light) is occupied by Yama, the god of the Dead (see Yama & below 1 c). Always implying also a kinship and continuity of life with humanity and other beings; all devas have been man and may again become men (cp. D.I, 17 sq.; S.III, 85), hence “gods” is not a coincident term. All devas are themselves in saṃsāra, needing salvation. Many are found worshipping saints (Th.I, 627—9; Th.II, 365).—The collective appellations differ; there are var. groups of divine beings, which in their totality (cp. tāvatiṃsa) include some or most of the well-known Vedic deities. Thus some collect. designations are devā sa-indakā (the gods, including Indra or with their ruler at their head: D.II, 208; S.III, 90, A.V, 325), sa-pajāpatikā (S.III, 90), sa-mārakā (see deva-manussaloka), sa-brahmakā (S.III, 90). See below 1 b. Lists of popular gods are to be found, e.g. at D.II, 253; III, 194.—A current distinction dating from the latest books in the canon is that into 3 classes, viz. sammuti-devā (conventional gods, gods in the public opinion, i.e. kings & princes J.I, 132; DA.I, 174), visuddhi° (beings divine by purity, i.e. of great religious merit or attainment like Arahants & Buddhas), & upapatti° (being born divine, i.e. in a heavenly state as one of the gatis, like bhumma-devā etc.). This division in detail at Nd2 307; Vbh.422; KhA 123; VvA.18. Under the 3rd category (upapatti°) seven groups are enumerated in the foll. order: Cātummahārājikā devā, Tāvatiṃsā d. (with Sakka as chief), Yāmā d., Tusitā d., Nimmānaratī d., Paranimmita-vasavattī d., Bṛahmakāyikā d. Thus at D.I, 216 sq.; A.I, 210, 332 sq.; Nd2 307; cp. S.I, 133 & J.I, 48. See also devatā.

1. good etc.—(a) sg. a god, a deity or divine being, M.I, 71 (d. vā Māro vā Brahmā vā); S.IV, 180=A.IV, 461 (devo vā bhavissāmi devaññataro vā ti: I shall become a god or some one or other of the (subordinate gods, angels); Sn.1024 (ko nu devo vā Brahmā vā Indo vāpi Sujampati); Dh.105 (+gandhabba, Māra, Brahmā); A.II, 91, 92 (puggalo devo hoti devaparivāro etc.); PvA.16 (yakkho vā devo vā).—(b) pl. devā gods. These inhabit the 26 devalokas one of which is under the rule of Sakka, as is implied by his appellation S. devānaṃ indo (his opponent is Vepacitti Asur-indo S.I, 222) S.I, 216 sq.; IV, 101, 269; A.I, 144; Sn.346; PvA.22 etc.—Var. kinds are e.g. appamāṇ’—ābhā (opp. Paritt’ābhā) M.III, 147; ābhassarā D.I, 17; Dh.200; khiḍḍāpadosikā D.I, 19; gandhabba-kāyikā S.III, 250 sq.; cattāro mahārājikā S.V, 409, 423; Jat I.48; Pv IV.111; PvA.17, 272; naradevā tidasā S.I, 5; bhummā PvA.5; manāpa-kāyikā A.IV, 265 sq.; mano-padosikā D.I, 20; valāhaka-kāyikā S.III, 254.—Var. attributes of the Devas are e.g. āyuppamāṇā A.I, 267; II, 126 sq.; IV, 252 sq.; dīghāyukā S.III, 86; A.II, 33; rūpino manomayā M.I, 410, etc. etc.—See further in general: D.I, 54 (satta devā); II, 14, 157, 208; S.V, 475=A.I, 37; Sn.258 (+manussā), 310 (id.); 404, 679; Dh.30, 56, 94, 230, 366; Ps.I, 83 sq.; II, 149; Vbh.86, 395, 412 sq.; Nett 23; Sdhp.240.—(c) deva=Yama see deva-dūta (expld at J.I, 139: devo ti maccu).—atideva a pre-eminent god, god above gods (Ep. of the Buddha) Nd2 307; DhsA.2 etc.; see under cpds.—2. the sky, but only in its rainy aspect, i.e. rain-cloud, rainy sky, rain-god (cp. Jupiter Pluvius; K.S. I.40, n. 2 on Pajjunna, a Catumahārājika), usually in phrase deve vassante (when it rains etc.), or devo vassati (it rains) D.I, 74 (: devo ti megho DA.I, 218); S.I, 65, 154 (cp. It.66 megha); Sn.18, 30; J.V, 201; DhA.II, 58, 82; PvA.139. devo ekam ekam phusāyati the cloud rains drop by drop, i.e. lightly S.I, 104 sq., 154, 184; IV, 289.—thulla-phusitake deve vassante when the sky was shedding big drops of rain S.III, 141; V, 396; A.I, 243; II, 140; V, 114; Vism.259.—vigata-valāhake deve when the rain-clouds have passed S.I, 65; M.II, 34, 42.—3. king, usually in Voc. deva, king! Vin.I, 272; III, 43; A.II, 57; J.I, 150, 307; PvA.4, 74 etc.

devī (f.) 1. goddess, of Petīs, Yakkhiṇīs etc.; see etym. expl. at VvA.18.—Pv.II, 112; Vv 13 etc.—2. queen Vin.I, 82 (Rahulamātā), 272; D.II, 14; A.II, 57, 202 (Mallikā) J.I, 50 (Māyā); III, 188; PvA.19, 75.

—accharā a divine Apsarā, a heavenly joy-maiden Vism.531; PvA.46, 279; —aññatara, in phrase devo vā d. vā, a god or one of the retinue of a god S.IV, 180= A.IV, 461; PvA.16; —âtideva god of gods, i.e. divine beyond all divinities, a super-deva, of Buddha Nd2 307 & on Sn.1134; J.IV, 158=DhA.I, 147; Vv 6427; VvA.18; Miln.241, 258, 368, 384 & passim; cp. M Vastu I.106, 257, 283, 291; —attabhāva a divine condition, state of a god PvA.14; —ânubhāva divine majesty or power D.II, 12; M.III, 120; J.I, 59; —āsana a seat in heaven It.76; —âsurasaṅgāma the fight between the Gods & the Titans D.II, 285; S.I, 222; IV, 201; V, 447; M.I, 253; A IV: 432 (at all passages in identical phrase); —iddhi divine power Vv 313; VvA.7; —isi a divine Seer Sn.1116; Nd2 310; —ûpapatti rebirth among the gods PvA.6; —orohaṇa descent of the gods DhA.III, 443; —kaññā a celestial maiden, a nymph S.I, 200; J.I, 61; VvA.37, 78; —kāya a particular group of gods S.I, 200; It.77; Th.2, 31; —kuñjara “elephant of the gods, ” of Indra J.V, 158; —kumāra son of a god (cp. °putta) J.III, 391; —gaṇa a troop of gods J.I, 203; DhA.III, 441; —gaha a temple, chapel Vin.III, 43; —cārikā a visit to the gods, journeying in the devaloka VvA.3, 7, 165 etc.; —ṭṭhāna heavenly seat J.III, 55; a temple, sacred place Miln.91, 330; —dattika given or granted by a god, extraordinary PvA.145; —dattiya=°dattika J.III, 37; DhA.I, 278; —dāruka a species of pine J.V, 420; —dundubhi the celestial drum, i.e. thunder D.I, 10; Miln.178; DA.I, 95; —dūta the god’s (i.e. Yama’s see above 1°) messenger A.I, 138, 142; M.II, 75; III, 179; J.I, 138; DhA.I, 85 (tayo d.); Mhbv. 122 (°suttanta); —deva “the god of gods, ” Ep. of the Buddha (cp. devâtideva) Th.1, 533, 1278 (of Kappāyana); DhsA.1; PvA.140; —dhamma that which is divine or a god A.III, 277 (°ika); DhA.III, 74; —dhītā a female deva or angel (cp. devaputta), lit. daughter of a god J.II, 57; VvA.137, 153 (with ref. to Vimānapetīs); —nagara the city of the Devas, heaven J.I, 168, 202; DhA.I, 280; —nikāya a class, community or group of gods, celestial state or condition D.II, 261 (sixty enumd); S.IV, 180; M.I, 102 sq.; A.I, 63 sq.; II, 185; III, 249 sq.; IV, 55; V, 18; —pañha questioning a god, using an oracle D.I, 11 (=DA.I, 97: devadāsiyā sarīre devataṃ otāretvā pañha-pucchanaṃ); —parivāra a retinue of gods A.II, 91; —parisā the assembly of gods A.II, 185; Tikp 241. —putta “son of a god, ” a demi-god, a ministering god (cp. f. deva-dhītā), usually of Yakkhas, but also appld to the 4 archangels having charge of the higher world of the Yāmā devā (viz. Suyāma devaputta); the Tusitā d. (Santusita d.); the Nimmānaratī d. (Sunimmita d.); & the Paranimmitavasavattī d. (Vasavattī d.) D.I, 217 sq.; cp. J.I, 48.—D.II, 12, 14; S.I, 46 sq.; 216 sq.; IV, 280; A.I, 278; It.76; J.I, 59 (jarā-jajjara); IV, 100 (Dhamma d.); VI, 239 (Java d.); PvA.6, 9, 55, 92, 113 (Yakkho ti devaputto); Miln.23; —pura the city of the gods, heaven S.IV, 202; Vv 6430 (=Sudassana-mahānagara VvA.285); J.IV, 143; —bhava celestial existence PvA.167; —bhoga the wealth of the gods PvA.97; —manussā (pl.) gods & men D.I, 46, 62≈, 99 (°mānuse); M.II, 38, 55; Sn.14 (sa°), 236 (°pūjita), 521; It.80 (°seṭṭhā); Kh VIII, 10; KhA 196; PvA.17, 31, 117;—°loka the world of gods and men. It comprises (1) the world of gods proper (Devas, i.e. Sakka, Māra & Brahmā; corresp. to sammuti-devā, see above); (2) samaṇas & brāhmaṇas (cp. visuddhi-devā); (3) gods & men under the human aspect (gati, cp. upapatti-devā): Sn.1047, 1063; expl. at Nd2 309 & (with diff. interpretations) DA.I, 174 sq.; —yāna leading to the (world of) the gods, i.e. the road to heaven Sn.139, also in °yāniya (magga) D.I, 215; —rājā king of the devas, viz. Sakka Nd1 177; J.III, 392 (=devinda); DhA.III, 441; PvA.62; —rūpa divine appearance or form PvA.92; —loka the particular sphere of any devas, the seat of the devas, heaven; there exist 26 such spheres or heavens (see loka); when 2 are mentioned it refers to Sakka’s & Brahma’s heavens. A seat in a devaloka is in saṃsāra attained by extraordinary merit: Dh.177; J.I, 202, 203; IV, 273; ThA.74; KhA 228; PvA.5, 9, 21, 66, 81, 89; Vism.415, etc.; —vimāna the palace of a deva J.I, 58; VvA.173; —saṅkhalikā a magic chain J.II, 128; V, 92, 94; —sadda heavenly sound or talk among the devas It.75 (three such sounds). (Page 329)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Deva (देव).—There are three kinds of gods (deva):

  1. the metaphorical gods (saṃmatideva),
  2. the gods by birth (upapattideva),
  3. the pure gods (viśuddhideva).

The Cakravartin kings and other Mahārājas are called saṃmatideva. The gods of the Caturmahārajakāyika heaven up to those of the Bhavāgra are called upapattideva. The Buddhas, the Dharmakāya Bodhisattvas, the Pratyekabuddhas and the Arhats are called viśuddhideva.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Deva (देव, “gods”) or Devānusmṛti refers to one of the “six recollections” (anusmṛti) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 54). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., deva). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgrahaLiterally "heavenly beings," devas for a large group of deities from the pantheons of other religions, especially Hinduism, who have been adopted into the service of Buddhism.(Source): The Art of Asia: Who is Who in Heaven

A deva in Buddhism is one of many different types of non human beings who share the characteristics of being more powerful, longer lived, and, in general, living more contentedly than the average human being.

From a human perspective, devas share the characteristic of being invisible to the physical human eye. The presence of a deva can be detected by those humans who have opened the divyacaksus (Pali: dibbacakkhu), an extrasensory power by which one can see beings from other planes. Their voices can also be heard by those who have cultivated a similar power of the ear.

The devas fall into three classes depending upon which of the three dhatus, or "realms" of the universe they are born in:

  • The devas of the Arupyadhatu
  • The devas of the Rupadhatu
  • The devas of the Kamadhatu

Also see: Types of devas

(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Deva (देव) is the shorter name of Devadvīpa, one of the continents (dvīpa) of the middle-world (madhyaloka) which is encircled by the ocean named Devasasamudra (or simply Deva), according to Jain cosmology. The middle-world contains innumerable concentric dvīpas and, as opposed to the upper-world (adhaloka) and the lower-world (ūrdhvaloka), is the only world where humans can be born.

Deva is recorded in ancient Jaina canonical texts dealing with cosmology and geography of the universe. Examples of such texts are the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition or the Tiloyapannatti and the Trilokasāra in the Digambara tradition.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Deva (देव).—Gods (deva) are beings with fine transformation-bodies who pass their lives, which are very long in comparison to earthly conception, relatively in a greater or smaller state of bliss. They enter into existence through “manifestation” (upapāta), i.e., they appear suddenly where according to their karman they must originate. If the āyus of a god is exhausted, his existence is ended, without a cause of death (upakrama) being the apparent reason of it. Gods are developed and undeveloped; the latter only if their organs are not fully developed. The faculties (labdhi) of the body, breath, etc. are always completely existing in a god.

The 4 celestial classes are:

  1. Bhavanavāsin,
  2. Vyantara,
  3. Jyotiṣka,
  4. Vaimānika.
(Source): Google Books: The Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy

Deva (देव).—The four types of gods are Bhavanavāsins, Vyantaras, Jyotiṣkas and Vaimānikas. And the ten classes into which a god sub-type is divided are:

  1. Indra (someone who acts as a chief),
  2. Sāmānika (someone who is as good as Indra),
  3. Trāyastriṃśa (someone who acts as a minister or a chaplain),
  4. Pāriṣadya (someone who acts as a companion),
  5. Āmarakṣaka (someone who acts as a bodyguard),
  6. Lokapāla (someone who acts as a border-guard),
  7. Anīka (someone who acts as an army-chief),
  8. Prakīrṇaka (someone who acts as an ordinary townsman or villager),
  9. Ābhiyogya (someone who acts as an slave),
  10. Kilviṣika (someone who acts as an outcaste).

The god-types Vyantara and Jyotiṣa lack the classes Trāyastriṃśa and Lokapāla, the god-types Bhavanavāsin and Vyantara have two Indras each.

(Source): Google Books: Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies volume X: Jain Philosophy (Part 1)

1) Deva (देव).—The ten divisions of Gods are:

  1. Indras (lords of all the gods),
  2. Sāmānikas (the same as Indras but lack Indraship),
  3. Trāyastriṃśas (the ministers and priests of Indras),
  4. Pārṣadyas (companions of Indras),
  5. Rākṣasas (bodyguards),
  6. Lokapālas (quarter-guardians who wokrk as spies of Indras),
  7. Anīkas (the armies),
  8. Prakīrṇas (the villagers and townsmen),
  9. Ābhiyogikas (who work like slaves),
  10. Kilbiṣakas (who are regarded as the lowest castes).

The Jyotiṣkas and Vyantaras have no Lokapālas.

The Sthānāṅga and other Jaina canons classify gods into four main groups, namely,

  1. the Bhavanavāsīs,
  2. the Vyantaras or Vāṇamantaras,
  3. the Jyotiṣkas
  4. and the Vimānavāsīs.

These are again sub-dividedinto several groups with Indra, Lokapālas, Queens of these and so on. The classification is acknowledged by both the sects (Śvetāmbara and Digambara) and is a very old tradition, but they are after all deties of a secondary nature in the Jaina Pantheon.

2) Deva (देव).—Somasena, another Digambara writer of c. 16th century a.d., has composed a work, Traivarṇikācāra which betrays much Brahmanical influence. According to him, deities are of four types:

  1. Satyadevas,
  2. Kuladevas,
  3. Kriyādevas,
  4. Veśmadevas.
(Source): Google Books: Jaina Iconography

Deva (देव) is the father of Akampita: the eighth of the eleven gaṇadharas (group-leader) of Mahāvīra.—Śramaṇa Lord Mahāvīra’s congregation had 11 gaṇadharas. All these were Brahmin householders from different places. All these gaṇadharas (for example, Akampita) were Brahmins by caste and Vedic scholars. After taking initiation, they all studied the 11 Aṅgas. Hence, all of them had the knowledge of the 14 pūrvas and possessed special attainments (labdhis).

(Source): HereNow4u: Lord Śrī Mahāvīra

Deva (देव).—According to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.1, “the celestial beings (devas, gods) are of four orders /classes”. These classes are called

  1. residential (bhavanavāsin),
  2. peripatetic or forest (vyantara),
  3. stellar /luminous (jyotiṣī),
  4. heavenly / empyrean (vaimānika).

Literally all celestial beings have either a palace or a vehicle and are free to roam around at will. The word ‘deva’ is extracted from the verb ‘div’ which means to have a desire for victory, to indulge in play etc.

The nature of these divine beings (devas) is to have a divine body and to possess 8 types of extraordinary body transforming powers, like transforming their body into smaller size etc and who continue to roam and indulge in various pleasures (auspicious and inauspicious) in the celestial world.

Each class of celestial beings (deva) has ten grades namely:

  1. lord /chief (indra),
  2. his equal or co-chief (sāmānika),
  3. the ministers (trāyastriṃśa),
  4. the councilors (pāriṣada),
  5. the body guard (ātmarakṣa),
  6. custodian (lokapāla),
  7. army chief (anīka),
  8. citizens (prakīrṇaka),
  9. attendants (ābhiyogya),
  10. the menials (kilviṣika).
(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

dēva (देव).—m (S from the root diva To shine.) A deity or god. Pr. mānalā tara dēva nāhīṃ tara dhōṇḍā. 2 The Supreme Being, God. 3 An idol. 4 A demon. 5 In the drama. A king. dēva dēva karitāṃ Through many supplications and prayers; or, generally, through many efforts or much exertion. dēva hōūṃ lāgaṇēṃ To begin to be imperious and overbearing; to begin to lord it over. In this sense tū mājhā dēva mī tujhā bhagata "Who made thee a prince and a judge over me." Ex. ii. 14. dēvācēṃ nāṃva āṇi āpalā gāṃva Used where one man possesses virtually things bearing the name of another. dēvācēṃ nāṃva ghēṇēṃ To set to or enter upon (a business or an act). dēvānēṃ ḍāvī dilhī The flowers or rice (which were stuck upon an idol that, from the fall of them according to conditions then stated, might be inferred the idol's answer to the question proposed,) fell on the left side. Hence ḍāvī dēṇēṃ To refuse. Also dēvānēṃ ujavī dilhī The idol has answered consentingly or affirmatively. dēvānēṃ bharalēṃ dharalēṃ See explained under bharaṇēṃ. dēvānēṃ māralēṃ God has laid his hand upon (him, me &c.) dēvāvara havālā ghālaṇēṃ or dēṇēṃ To give over unto God; to commit or resign into the Lord's hands. dēvāvaracīṃ tuḷasīphulēṃ ucalāvīṃ To swear by the tuḷasa (Holy basil). dēvāvaracēṃ phūla or bēla kāḍhaṇēṃ To take off a flower &c. from an idol. A form of taking oath or obtesting a god. dēvāsa or dēvālā karaṇēṃ An ejaculation upon any remarkable providence or occurrence. dēvāsa pēñcaṇēṃ To bind an idol (by making some vow to it) to inflict evil upon an enemy. dēvāsārakhā basaṇēṃ (To sit as the idol.) To sit still and mute. na dēvāya na dharmāya (Sanskrit phrase.) Neither for God nor for religion; or neither in worship nor in charity or love; i. e. not to any good purpose--money expended, labor undergone.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

dēva (देव).—m A deity or god. Pr. mānalā tara dēva nāhīṃ tara dhōṇḍā An idol. dēva dēva karatā Through many supplications and prayers; or generally, through many efforts or much exertion, give over unto God; to commit or resign into the Lord's hands. dēvāsārakhā basaṇēṃ (To sit as the idol.) To sit still and mute. na dēvāya na dharmāya Neither for God nor for religion; i. e. not to any good purpose.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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