What is Deva?

Author: Gopal Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

“Dyotate kridate yasmád udyate dyotate divi. Tasmád deva iti prokta iti sarva devatah.”

The Entity whose vibration vibrates the whole universe, whose effulgence illumines every other entity, from whom all other entities emanate, and in whom all other entities culminate, is the true Deva.

All those vibrations, all those expressions, all the actional manifestations which vibrate the entire creation, leading it in the direction of the goal from electronic imperfection to nuclear perfection, are called “Deva”. All the actional manifestations of the Supreme Entity are “Deva”. There are many Devas. But amongst them the Supreme Deva is the Supreme Entity and the minor expressions of those actional manifestations are called “Devatás”. That is, the Devatás are being controlled and supervised by the Devas.

Among the Devas, the greatest is Mahádeva, the Deva that controls all actional manifestations. Mahádeva controls all actional manifestations within and without the microcosm and Macrocosm. You may say that everything is within Macrocosm. But “without Macrocosm” means that portion of Macrocosm, that portion of the Supreme Entity, that remains unmetamorphosed, that has not undergone metamorphosis. He is called Maheshvara or Mahádeva.

In spirituality, Parama Puruśa is called MahaDeva. All other entities are not exactly Deva, but are the expressions or creations of Deva. Numerous waves are always emanating from Parama Puruśa, each wave flowing with a particular speed and wavelength. In common parlance each of these waves is called Deva, but actually they are not Deva because their source or origin is Parama Puruśa. Every vibration of the universe is called Deva; and the, source of all Devas is, called Mahádeva. So, in reality, who is Deva? He is none other than Mahádeva. The rest of the so-called Devas are merely His reflections.

The vibrational manifestations emanating from the Supreme Nucleus are known as “Devatás”, and these Devatás address that Supreme Nucleus as “Deva”. That Supreme Nucleus is addressed by the term “Deva”. He with His powers vibrates the entire universe, makes the entire universe dance táńd́ava; and He by dint of His occult and supra-occult powers brings back everything unto His lap. This is the definition of “Deva”, and these rays and pencils of rays coming out from the Nucleus are known as “Devatás”. Deva is worshipped by the Devatás. This Supreme Deva is also known as “Mahádeva”.

And this Supreme Deva expresses Himself in so many microcosmic forms, and those microcosmic forms are His objects. Each of His reflections on those microcosms is one jiivátmá, and when He witnesses His own reflected counterpart, He is known as “Pratyagátmá”. “Púrvvoha játah sau garbhe antah”. He acted like this. He displayed Himself like this in the past, He is acting like this in the present, and He will act like this in the future. “Púrvvoha játah sau garbhe antah.”

All that is in the world, all that has come here, all that is in the process of coming, all that may be coming, all that will come – all these things are his microcosmic manifestations. Something in the present is a reflection of the Cosmic Father; so is something in the past and so will be something still in the process of coming.

“Pratyam janáḿstiśt́hate vishvatomukhaḿ. That is, He is Sarvatomukha. He is a multi-faced Entity. That is, wherever you go or from whatever corner you try to see Him, you will see His face. You cannot escape seeing His face; and your existence cannot escape from His face. He is “Sarvatomukhii”. That is, “multi-faced”.

Now while we are discussing Devatátattva (the inner meaning of a Devatá) we must add something more. Normally, each and every expression that emanates from the Supreme Hub, the Cosmic Nucleus, is a Devatá. In that sense, Shiva is not merely one such Devatá; He is the aggregate of these Devatás. Shiva is no doubt a God, but the word “God” does not encompass the totality of His personality. He is not only a God, He is the God of Gods – Devatánáḿ devatá, devanáḿ devah ityarthe Mahádevah. “The God of all gods and goddesses is Mahádeva”. Shiva is Mahádeva.

These Devatás, or divine emanations, have no absolute or separate identity. The manifestation of this relative universe is caused by their collective expression. The sound created by the vibrational expression of each Devatá, in which its potentiality of expression lies, is called its acoustic root, and the totality of these acoustic roots is called Oṋḿkára or Prańava. Hence Oṋḿkára is the seed of the cosmos. So Devatá is a particular vibrational flow whereas Brahma is the ocean of universal flows, the ocean of divine nectar.

The various chakras of the human body are controlled by particular biija mantras, particular acoustic roots, and also emanate sound vibrations; and every sound vibration coming from each such plexus – each such network of nád́iis is in scripture given the name of a particular Devatá (deity), a particular vibrational existence. When you think in a particular way, your mind is vibrated in the corresponding way, and your nerve cells and nerve fibers are vibrated in the corresponding way. When someone gets angry, the mind also becomes heated and red, and there is a corresponding reaction in the nerves. The body becomes reddish and starts trembling. Now these Devatás or vibrational existences – each the repository of a particular kind of thinking and each representing one point in a given chakra – are controlled by the nuclei of their respective plexi, and all those nuclei are controlled by the human mind, which is the collective expression of fifty main propensities.

Those fifty main propensities function both internally and externally. One may donate something to someone both internally and externally. Likewise, one can steal both mentally and physically. Hence every propensity is functioning in two ways, and fifty times two equals one hundred. Furthermore, each propensity functions in ten directions (north, south, east, west, northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest, up and down). One hundred times ten equals one thousand. Hence there are one thousand functioning propensities. These one thousand vrttis are controlled by the mind from the pineal gland, which is why its corresponding Chakra is called Sahasrára (sahasra means “thousand”). So the nucleus of the sahasrára controls the sahasrára itself, every subsidiary plexus below the pineal gland, and the vrtti-controlling points of all those Chakras. (Each of these points is a vibrational existence, a Devatá.) All the Devatás of a given plexus are controlled by the controlling point of that plexus, and the supreme controlling point is the controlling point of the pineal gland. This supreme controlling point is called Paramashiva in yoga philosophy –

Paramashiva Puruśottamah vishvasya kendram

“Supreme Consciousness at the nucleus of the universe is known as Paramashiva or Puruśottamah”

The same entity which is called Paramashiva or Puruśottamah in Rája Yoga is also known as “Krśńa” in Vaeśńava philosophy. This is one aspect of the Krśńa concept in philosophy. This is a very important point which should be well understood.

When human beings do sádhaná, the kulakuńd́alinii, an ideative entity, rises upward through the spine. It pierces through Chakras one after the other, and simultaneously the thoughts or propensities controlled by their respective chakras are brought under control. As soon as the kulakuńd́alinii pierces the múládhára, svádhiśt́hána and mańipura chakras, it brings under control all the propensities up to and including those of the mańipura chakra. The mańipura is the controlling chakra of ten propensities – shyness, sadistic tendency, envy, staticity, melancholia, peevishness, yearning for acquisition, infatuation, hatred, fear. When after rising and rising the kulakuńd́alinii reaches the sahasrára, it becomes one with Paramashiva. This is the state of liberation.

So according to yoga scripture, the kuńd́alinii resides in the múládhára and Paramashiva in the sahasrára. And according to Vaeśńava philosophy, the kulakuńd́alinii is called “Rádhá” and the nucleus of the Sahasrara Chakra is called “Krśńa”. This is the essence of the concept of Rádhá and Krśńa. Quite often at the end of a Vaishnavite kiirtana you will hear that Rádhá and Krśńa have become united. The Devotees will dance and shout and express this with a sentence that includes the words, Haribol, Haribol. The fact is that the sádhaná has elevated the jiivabháva, and, it having become one with Paramashiva at the sahasrára chakra, the microcosm has gone beyond the periphery of all bondages, and has attained the bliss of emancipation. Hence the shout of “Haribol Haribol”, and the Sadhaka dances in ecstasy.

Many do not realize that SadaSiva and Krishna are both the same entity. Their advents were at different times: Shiva approximately 7000 years ago, and Krishna about 3500 years ago.

Those who worship the various deities (Devatas) in pursuit of artha (mundane wealth) and not Paramártha (Supreme wealth) do so because those deities are the controllers of the transient wealth of the universe. Those who worship these deities to attain Brahma will be sadly disappointed for it is impossible to attain the infinite through worship of the finite. — with Kishore Harcharan.