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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Devas, gods and goddesses

Devas, gods and goddesses


Daeva (daēuua, daāua, daēva) is the Avestan language term for a particular sort of supernatural entity with disagreeable characteristics.

In the Gathas, the oldest texts of the Zoroastrian canon, the daevas are 'wrong gods' or 'false gods' or 'gods that are (to be) rejected'. This meaning is – subject to interpretation – perhaps also evident in the Old Persian 'daiva inscription' of the 5th century BCE. In the Younger Avesta, the daevas are noxious creatures that promote chaos and disorder. In later tradition and folklore, the dēws (Zoroastrian Middle Persian; New Persian divs) are personifications of every imaginable evil.

Aditi, one of the hundred daughters of Daksha, is the wife of the sage Kashyapa and the mother of the Devas. Hence, the Devas are also called Adithyas. Her name means 'un-binding' or 'liberation'. She is said to possess ear-rings of unsurpassed splendor. She is always jealous of her sister (and co-wife) Diti, the mother of the Asuras.

Once she incited her son Indra to cause the fetus of Diti to be split into seven pieces[Devi:4.3.18]. Diticursed her, saying, "May seven sons be born to you. May you also suffer the grief of loss of your seven sons." Diti was born as Devaki, the sister of Kamsa as a result of this curse. Her first seven children were killed by her brother, for it had been foretold that her eighth child would be the his slayer.

Aditi also is the mother of the Vamana Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu.

Devas - The Lesser Gods


The Devas are immortal beings, the inhabitants of Swargaloka or the heavens. They are the sons of the sage Kashyapa and his wife Diti. They are in a state of eternal warfare with their step-brothers, the Asuras, who are the sons of their father and Aditi, the sister of their mother.

Originally, the Devas were mortal and where dying in large numbers in their perennial war with theAsuras. The Asuras were suffering no casualities as their preceptor Shukra knew the secret of the MrithaSanjivini Mantra(spell), which was capable of bringing the dead back to life. They sent Kacha, son of their guru (preceptor) Brihaspati to learn the secret of this spell from Shukra. He succeeded after many trials, the story of which is told here.

Later, both the Asuras and Devas formed an alliance to obtain nectar from the sea of milk. They obtained the nectar, but with the help of Vishnu they succeeded in cheating the Asuras of their share of the nectar. That story is told here. After this point, they could be defeated only when theAsuras managed to obtain a strong boon from the trinity.

The king of the Devas is Indra. Their commander-in-chief is Skanda. They are 330 million in number, but the principal ones are Surya, Chandra, Agni, Vayu, Varuna and Kama.

According to mythology, the Devas of yore, sought the Lord’s help by performing a sacrifice at this place, with a view to destroy the wicked demon Durgamasura, who was constantly troubling the people around this region. As per the directions of the Lord, goddess Shakambari appeared through the fire of the ‘Yagna Kunda’, and fought a grim battle with the demon. Finally she destroyed him and brought peace and prosperity to the people. According to the story mentioned in ‘Banashankari Mahatmye’, Shakambari is described asthe ‘Deity of nature and vegetation’, and that she manifests as Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Maha-Saraswati.

Historically, it is believed that the original shrine of Banashankari was in existence here, even before the reign of the Chalukyas of Badami. They gave importance to the customs of the Vaishnavas, Jains, Shaivas and Shaktas.But, they were mainly worshippers of goddess Banashankari, the deity of Shakti.

An inscription at the temple premises mentions that the Chalukyan king Jagadeka Malla renovated the old shrine of Banashankari and made considerable improvements. A pillar situated to the north of the temple, bears an inscription in Kannada, duringback to 1019 A.D. It describes the bravery of the Rashtrakuta king, Bhimadeva. Another inscription states that the great warrior Ketimayya erected a huge Deepa Stambha (lamp pillar) in front of the temple


Devas and Asuras, in Vedic tradition (that is, based on the most ancient Hindu holy literature, the Veda), two classes of gods, that in later traditions diverged into two groups of deities and demons, respectively. The 33 Devas (Sanskrit for deity) govern the three regions of heaven, air, and earth, assisting humankind with their beneficent powers. In the cosmic struggle between the forces of order and chaos, the Devas are opposed by the demonic Asuras (Sanskrit for air of life), a class of titans that are also enemies of humans. 

The conflict between Devas and Asuras is dramatized in the myth of the churning of the ocean, in which the high gods uproot Mount Mandara, wrap the serpent Vasuli about it, and set it in the ocean. The Devas pull on one end of the serpent and the Asuras on the other, churning the ocean into butter. Finally, after more churning, the sun and moon rise from the ocean, followed by Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, bearing the elixir of immortality. This is given to the Devas, sparking off a battle in which the Asuras are defeated.


In another myth of conflict, a battle rages between the Devas and Asuras for hundreds of years. The Devas are put to flight by the buffalo demon Mahisha, but are saved by the anger of Vishnu and Shiva, which is so intense that its energy materializes in the form of the goddess Durga, who vanquishes the buffalo. The Devas are led by Indra, the warrior god of storms and rain, who is often shown riding on an elephant. Indra`s rival is Varuna, supreme god of cosmic order, whom he appears to have supplanted, and many myths record Indra`s battles with the destructive powers represented by the Asuras. In numerous myths the Asuras receive aid from the creator deity, Brahma. For example, Brahma permits the Asuras to construct three great cities from which to dominate the regions of heaven, air, and earth. At the height of their glory, however, the Asura cities are incinerated by Shiva and the Asuras themselves are hurled into the sea.



In the Zoroastrian religion ( "see "Zoroastrianism) of Iran, the Asuras became Ahuras, the forces of good under the great deity Ahura Mazda, while the Devas, or Daevas, fulfilled the opposite role, being associated with the evil spirit Angra Mainyu.


This is what I was able to piece together from different information sources on web searches. Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts, they are valuable to me. Thank you

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