Statue of a Bhuta, Java
Mystics, sages and seers knew from experience that all verbal descriptions of the Supreme Reality are incomplete and hence resorted to a complex mythology to describe the hierarchy of beings guarding all natural and supernatural phenomena and called them devas (from the Sanskrit root div, meaning ‘shining one’).
Deities are many, but in the end all combine in the universal Shiva (or Brahman), who manifests Himself as many in order to Create, Preserve and ultimately Annihilate the Universe.
The deities are only aspects, the many facets of the Supreme Reality. We address and worship those deities through their nāmarūpa (name and form) in order to progressively concentrate on the unmanifested essence of Shiva as Nirguna Brahman.
- The Trimurti
- Ganesha and other Major Devas
- Classes of Demons
The respective roles of the Trinity are:
• Brahma – the First in this Trinity and is the Creator and Master of all Divine Ceremonies.
• Shiva – the Cosmic Dancer, Nataraj who through his celestial dance, sustains the endless rhythm of the Universe.
• Vishnu – the Preserver god who incarnates to help mankind face the challenges posed whenever Evil forces become too dominant in the Universe.
The devas (or suras) are the celestial beings who inhabit the highest lokas. The lowest heavens are the realm of the Lokapala, who protect the heavens from the Asuras and evil forces. Next is the heaven of the 33 Devas (Trayastriṃśat) where Indra and his 32 Devas rule the world of desire.
Then there are the lokas of Yama (God of the Afterlife), Tusita (the world of innocent bliss before entry into the womb), Pleasant Transformations (where all desires are attained), and the Devil (Mara) the lord and master of Desire, who uses desire to control others.
Above this is the Brahma Loka (the religious world pure of desire), including the Four Heavens of Meditation in the Realm of Form and the Fourfold Realm of Formlessness.
The 33 Main Devas
The oldest texts detail 33 principal Devas who are the guardians of Nature and of the Cosmic Creation:
• The 12 Adityas (solar devas)
The 12 Adityas correspond to the 12 Solar months and represent different attributes of social life: Mitra (friendship), Aryaman (nobility), Bhaga (due inheritance), Varuna (fate), Daksha, Amsha (due share), Tvashtar (skill in crafting), Pushan/Ravi (prosperity), Surya/Vivasvat (social law), Savitra/Parjanya (power of word), Vaman (cosmic law), Dhatri (ritual skill). Indra (Shakra) leads the Adityas.
These 12 Adityas are known in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism as guardians of the monasteries covering the four main directions, four semi-directions, above, below and the Sun and Moon. They are known as Devas or 天 in Japan.
The Greeks worshiped one of the Adityas, Mithras. The Egyptians and Romans were big devotees of another Aditya, Surya (Ra).
• The 11 Rudras
The 11 Rudras are three-eyed manifestations of the Original Rudra and include Lord Shiva, who, along with Prajapati Brahma and Shri Hari Vishnu forms a part of the highest hierarchy known as the Trimurti.
• The 8 Vasus (Elemental devas)
The 8 Vasus are attendant deities of Indra and comprise of 8 elemental gods that represent the different aspects of Nature. They include:
• Anal (Fire)
• Anil (Wind)
• Apas (Water)
• Antariksh/Dyaus (Space)
• Dhara (Earth)
• Dhruv (Pole Star)
• Prabhas (Dawn)
• Soma (Moon)
Ganesha and other Major Devas
With time, other manifestations of the Supreme Lord appeared and were also incorporated in the group of Devas.
Principal amongst these are Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Shakti – and Hanuman, the monkey-god who is the 12th manifestation of Lord Shiva.
Others include the twin sons of Surya – Ashwini Kumars and the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu (known as the Dashavatar).
Planetary deities and masters.
The Asuras, or Demons, are enemies of the Devas, with whom they are forever at war. They are ever competing for dominance and thriving on ambition, anger and jealousy. They are connected to our personal demons, our competitive and assertive tendencies and our will for survival and victory in the realm of mortal existence that we live in. ‘Asura’ literally means ‘those without ambrosia’.
Their abode is said to be the Ocean (the abode of the Devas being the Sky). The Ocean here can mean literally the sea, but it can also mean the atmosphere (that is between Heaven and Earth), wherever the currents or winds swirl and keep everything in a constant state of turmoil or flux. They are said to be in 4 classes, according to their manner of rebirth:
• Metamorphosis born
• Water/spawn born
Asuras include the Daityas (genies), Dasyus (barbarians), Kalakanjas (stellar spirits), Kalejas (demons of time), Khalins (threshers), Kumbhandas (devourers of vitality), Nagas (serpents), Nivata-kavacas (wearers of armor), Pisacas (flesh eaters), Putanas (fever spirits), Raksasas (night wandering vampires), Yaksas (earth spirits), and many others.
Dragons or Serpents. These are spirits associated with water. They control rivers, lakes and seas, and they dwell deep in the ocean. In spring they take to the sky and in winter they enter into the ground. They include the cyclonic forces of nature, whether they are material or spiritual. They control storms and the wild & instinctive forces of nature.
The Nagas reside in a subterranean realm called Bhogawati (bhog = pleasure, wati = land). Theking of the Nagas is Vasuki. His sister is Mansa. Her husband is Jaratkaru from which she had a son, Astika who was half human and half Naga. The Nagas once lived in the forest of Khanadvaprastha.
If one becomes very meditative, the first creature which is drawn towards that is a snake. This is the reason why you always see images of sages and seers with snakes around. It has such a sense of perception that it can perceive certain dimensions which human beings are longing and desperate to know.
The snake is the first creature which will know even the slightest fundamental change that happens on this planet, because his whole body is in touch with the ground. He has no ears; he is stone-deaf, so he uses his whole body as an ear. He truly puts his ear to the ground. Its sense of perception with regard to the planet is so very keen and sharp.
Class of demonic Nagas mentioned in the Rig Veda who had powers of Maya (illusion)
Class of serpent beings like the Nagas
Group of serpentine beings like the Nagas
Gods of fragrance and music, celestial musicians of Sakra Devendra (Indra), with the King of Heaven Dhritarastra (Protector of the Nation – The Strong) as their lord. They are said to feed on fragrance and cause ecstasy. They are erotic and are the patrons of marriageable girls.
Kings of birds, with golden wings, living below heaven but above the highest trees of the earth. They are enemies and devourers of Nagas.
The name means ‘Wings of Speech’, and it represents the spiritual power and magic of the spoken word, which conquers nature, invokes and inspires the mind and carries it far and wide. The god of knowledge (Vishnu) is said to ride on its back and it carries the ‘Wish-Fulfilling (Cintamani) Gem’ around its neck.
The Kinnaras are semi-divine angelic-like male beings like the Gandharvas, but with animal heads or bodies, who inhabit the heavens and lower regions. They are the musicians of Vaisravana (also known as Kuvera), Deity of Wealth, with men’s bodies & horses’ heads. They are the same as the Kentauros (Centaurs) of Greek mythology – in fact the words Kinnaras and Kentauros have the same Indo-European origin.
They are called the ‘doubtful (mythical) spirits’ and ‘human but not human’. The males have horns & play on lutes, and the females sing & dance. They rank below Gandharvas – the music of the Kinnaras is like popular (‘pop’) music compared to the classical, heavenly music of the Gandharvas. The Kinnaras are first of all entertainers.
Class of beings like the Gandharvas
Class of beings like Gandharvas, but more demonic
Semi-divine angelic-like female beings of the heavens and lower regions.
Classes of Demons
The Atharva Veda also gives us many classes of demons that can astrally cause various diseases. These include the Arayas (demons of grudge), Atrins (devouring demons), Kimidins etc.
The Ramayana also speaks of ape-like creatures, the Vanaras.
The Rig Veda speaks of Vrishakapi, the monkey-man. These beings appear to be related to the mysterious Himalayan Yeti or American “Big Foot”. These beings disappeared with the start of Kali Yuga, but still exist in the Himalayas and such remote places, in astral forms that sometimes physicalize, and are known to have siddhis – as is known with Hanuman.
The Yamadutas are the attendants of Yama, the Deity of Death. Yama is also Dharmaraja (King of Dharma, or Rta, the Cosmic Order) – which suggests that such beings are such dutas of Varuna and Yama from lower regions that have physicalized in order to keep the cosmic order, and hence preserve the secret of astral visitations in this age.
Rakshasas and Daityas are also flesh devouring and titan-forms of demons. There are also the ghora (awful), ugra (wrathful) and kinder forms of the gods and demons, and also the many reptilian creatures, large falcons and unusual elephant-like beings or dragons. Vanaras are monkey-like beings that have civilizations like and resemble humans as Hanuman.
Originally Asuras and malignant demons from the earth, they were later accepted by the Devas. They are guardians of the Earth’s treasures and protectors of their king Kuvera (Deva of Wealth), one of the four Kings of Heaven.
Class of demonic sorcerer beings or black magicians of the demons, also known as Dasyus. They are like Rakshasas, and also shape-shifters, taking forms as humans, hoofed animals, dogs etc.
Invisable ghostly entities or elementals
Departed-soul beings. The Pitas and Sadhyas live in Pitrloka.
“The Pitas themselves took possession of the invisible body, the source of their existence. It is through the medium of this invisible body that those well versed in the rituals offer oblations to the Sadhyas and Pitas [in the form of their departed ancestors] on the occasion of sraddha.” – Srimad Bhagavatam 3:20:42-43
“Those who are addicted to the worship of the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, and those who are addicted to worship of the Pitas, forefathers, go to the Pitas. Those who are inclined to material activities remain in the material sphere.” – Srimad Bhagavatam 4:11:21
“The King of the pitas is Yamaraja, the very powerful son of the sun-god. He resides in Pitrloka with his personal assistants and, while abiding by the rules and regulations set down by the Supreme Lord, has his agents, the Yamadutas, bring all the sinful men to him immediately upon their death. After bringing them within his jurisdiction, he properly judges them according to their specific sinful activities and sends them to one of the many hellish planets for suitable punishments.” – Srimad Bhagavatam 5:26:6
The human race itself is a mixture of Divine and demonic personalities. The first man, Manu, descends from the solar planet. The human race descends from Ila of the Sun, and her husband Budha, Lord of the planet Mercury.
Their son is Nahusha, of who assumes the position of the Lord of Heaven, and who is later turned into a serpent because of his curse due to materialism. This may be the historical basis of Vritrasura, the serpent of whom Indra fought with and defeated. His son was Raja Yayati, of whose wife was Devayani of the Brighus, the daughter of Shukra the Lord of planet Venus.
Of the lunar dynasty, Pururavas marries Urvashi, a celestail nymph – also responsible for the birth of sages Vasishtha and Agastya to gods Mitra (Vishnu) and Varuna (Brahma), as also Brighu.
King Ayu of India married the demon Svarbhanu (Rahu)’s daughter Prabha. This again brings more asuric blood into the human lineage:
• The Angirasas, through Brihaspati, are associated with Jupiter
• The Brighus, through Ushanas, are associated to Venus.
• The Atris, through Soma, are associated with the Moon. Soma is said to have become demonic.
The demons Vritra and Vishvarupa his brother are said to have been created by the creator-god Tvashtar, associated with Ushanas (or Venus) in the Rig Veda (and perhaps the basis of how he became Guru of the demons). Vritra appears as forefather of the Naga peoples.
Likewise, from the brother of Shukra or Ushanas, guru of the demons, the Brahmin-King Vena is said to have given birth to Prithu Raja, the ancient King of whom the Earth-Planet is named after (Prithvi), and also his other son was Nishada, founder of the Nishada tribal peoples. This shows the asuric lineages through the Brighus also exist in humanity.
These astral influences thus, not only have genetic ties with the earth, creating in a physical species of humanity (divine and demonic, creating physical beings), but also still have astral biological links here, which is from where our visitations come.
Through Svarbhanu or Rahu, for example, come many asuric beings of the danava type, of terrible appearance, dark in nature. Each planet, such as Rahu or Venus etc., has it’s own multitude of beings, such as devic to danavic types, yakshas who attend on their Kings and ministers, and so forth.
It appears the lesser semi-divine beings as Yaksha ganas, Vetalas, Kinnaras, Kiratas etc. in their astral-cosmic forms (giving birth originally to humanoid species of the same type), are more concerned with humanity, and using them as experimental species, to satisfy their own curiosity – similar to how we, as humans, do so when we capture animals and conduct various texts on them, to satisfy our own curiosities, as they are a lesser species (as we are to beings in the rest of the cosmos). Especially now, as the earth is under the Kali-Yuga or Iron Age.
We also record of the dhutas or attendants of the deities and demons. One example is of the hellish creatures that attend of Yama the god of death, are the Yamadhutas. They roam about looking for souls to take towards the Judgement hall – sometimes in Vimanas or Rathas (as described in some of the Hindu Puranas and Epics, as also Vedas with the Gods).
As a generalisation, it appears various groups, have descended from various astral beings in different genetic ways. The Mongoloids appear to have been the Kirata and Naga race descents, as per their worship of dragon and serpent-forms.
The Devas of the Caucasoidic types that include the Mediterranean, Alpine (mix of the Kirata and Deva) and Nordic (the Kinnara peoples of the old Himalaya), the Australoid and Negroid as the Yaksha, Rakshasa and Nishada peoples, as per their customs and worship of such species within their own groups. The Devas in the Himalaya region were also a mixture of Mongoloid peoples, hence the Kirata and Kinnara peoples, semi-divine species.
Amongst the noble culture in the ancient world, those whose civilisations (Egypt, Sumeria, Ancient India, Iran, Greece and Rome, the Kelts) were most “Aryan” or Devic (Godly) in nature, appear as the Mediterranean Caucasoid in their various streams.
These people rang in skin colour from Olive (as in N.India and Europe) to Black (as in S.India and such regions), but were all Deva species. (Note that Vishnu is Blue or Black, Yama is Green, Brahma is Red, Surya is Golden and Varuna is White amongst the Devas of the cosmos).
The Human species, in Vedic tradition, are:
• Shakas (Northern tribes as Scythians and Russians)
• Yavanas (Tribes of the West, including Greeks, Egyptians and S.Indians)
• Nishadas (Darker aboriginal people)
• Pahlavas (Persians and Middle-Eastern peeople)
• Chinas (Chinese)
• Dravidas (Southern Indians)
• Kiratas (People of Tibet and Eastern Inddia)
• Dards (Nordic people of the Himalayas)
• Mllechas (Foreign/Dirty people – mainly denotes Semitic people in India as in the German Third Reich. They were considered non-Aryan unlike Persians, Greeks etc.)
• Maruts – Class of higher beings as Shaivite Rishis. Associated with the Pleiades
Divine Sages that move through the Cosmos, Planets and the 14 Lokas.
Humans with supernatural powers.