Definition - What does Deva mean?

Deva is a Sanskit word meaning “deity.” It refers to a celestial being in Hinduism or to a powerful non-human being in Buddhism. Although the word is generally translated to “god,” the Buddhist deva is not the same as the Western concept of a god. For example, a Buddhist deva is not immortal, nor a creator.

Devata is a plural form of deva, but can also mean a type of smaller deva. In Hinduism, a devata may be defined as a deity, divine being or a good spirit.

Devas can help a yoga practitioner guide their practice and awaken their inner Divine.

Yogapedia explains Deva

Devas, or devata, come in many forms and vary by Hindu-Buddhist tradition, country of origin, or even by specific regions within those countries. Some represent morality and others represent the forces of nature. Examples of devata include:

  • Vanadevatas (forest spirits)
  • Devata lokapala (guardians of the directions)
  • Gramadevata (village gods)
  • Kula devata (family deities)
  • Ishta devata (chosen deities)

Every human activity has its spiritual counterpart, or deva. A yoga practitioner may choose a deva (ishta devata) to guide their practice and spiritual path. This could be considered similar to a guardian angel in Western religions, but with more of an intimate focus, connecting the deva with the higher Self.

Vedic deity yoga, or Devas yoga, requires the awakening of the inner deities in the individual's mind and heart.

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