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Sagefrakrobatik
10 December 2009, 10:07 AM
Do hindus believe in Angels??

Eastern Mind
10 December 2009, 10:37 AM
Vanakkam Sage:

I cannot speak for others, but I most certainly do. Devas is the term I use. Most are, according to what I've heard, souls between births who like to help. There are other ones, like gurus or swamis who have reached moksha, but still hang out to help.

I've sensed their presence many times. There are certain places I know where they hide out, so to speak. Perhaps a better way would be to say there are places where I can feel the energy created by them.

This is beyond the intellectual realm completely, so it may lead into the age-old discussion that pits rationalism versus mysticism. From my point of view, just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean its not a reality.

Aum Namasivaya

sanjaya
10 December 2009, 01:49 PM
I don't believe in angels in the Christian sense of the word (just mentioning that because we're on the Christianity forum). I do, however, believe in supernatural beings. There are the Devas, i.e. the Hindu pantheon of gods, which EM mentioned. Whereas Christians believe angels are God's messengers, Hindus typically regard the Devas as manifestations of God rather than mere messengers, and we pray to/worship them as God.

jaggin
11 December 2009, 08:28 AM
I don't believe in angels in the Christian sense of the word (just mentioning that because we're on the Christianity forum). I do, however, believe in supernatural beings. There are the Devas, i.e. the Hindu pantheon of gods, which EM mentioned. Whereas Christians believe angels are God's messengers, Hindus typically regard the Devas as manifestations of God rather than mere messengers, and we pray to/worship them as God.

This makes for a wide disparity between devas and angels because angels do not accept worship. Angels could be considered a manifestation of God in the message they bring but perhaps that is too broad a concept. The question then becomes whether Devas fit in the broad concept or a more specific concept of the presence of God (in the sense of active will and word as opposed to second hand will and word).

I suppose that means the beings are not natural to our presence on earth. They certainly are natural enough in their own realm. On the other hand I suppose it could mean any being human or otherwise that could do supernatural things. As such Christians could consider themselves supernatural beings.

If Devas are gods then they are not manifestations of God. Take Greek gods for instance. One of then eats his children. This is highly unlike God and certainly not a manifestation of Him.

sanjaya
11 December 2009, 02:32 PM
This makes for a wide disparity between devas and angels because angels do not accept worship. Angels could be considered a manifestation of God in the message they bring but perhaps that is too broad a concept. The question then becomes whether Devas fit in the broad concept or a more specific concept of the presence of God (in the sense of active will and word as opposed to second hand will and word).

Hello Jaggin. Yes you are right, there is a pretty vast disparity between the Hindu devas and Christian angels. I specifically mentioned our worship of devas to highlight this, because I know that the Bible forbids worship of angels in the letter to the Colossians. I also know that your Bible says, "he makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire." In the Bible the angels are messengers of God. With the exception of the "angel of the LORD," who may possibly be the theophany of Yahweh, angels are never the recipients of worship, and only do God's will.

Now as to your question of whether Hindu devas have an active will, or are subject to God's will, this question assumes a very Western, Christian context, however I will try to answer it as best I can. In some sense even Hindu devas are subject to some higher power. As the Sadhu said in the Sri Satyanarayana Story, "O Lord, even Brahma and other devas drowned in your Maya cannot comprehend your form completely." One might be quick to compare the devas to the seraphim in the Bible, who veil their faces so as to not look directly at God. However, elsewhere in Hinduism we see that the devas are in fact manifestations of God. For example, in the Mahabharata when Bhishma was about to die, Sri Krishna told him that by repeating the 1008 names of Vishnu, one can receive salvation. Some of our creation stories also have Vishnu and Shiva present at the beginning of the universe. Clearly the devas are manifestations of God. Perhaps in a Christian context you could compare this to the theophanies of God (such as when Joshua bowed before the Commander of the Lord's Army). Obviously this is a rough comparison at best.



I suppose that means the beings are not natural to our presence on earth. They certainly are natural enough in their own realm. On the other hand I suppose it could mean any being human or otherwise that could do supernatural things. As such Christians could consider themselves supernatural beings.

Hinduism does say that we all have an element of divinity. But I would not be so arrogant as to say that I am God. In Hinduism God is described as "he whose wishes are always fulfilled." Obviously this does not describe most mortal people. However, we do believe that a person can gain great power by fully surrendering himself to God. In Hinduism we have many rishis and saints. Rishis are people who have devoted themselves entirely to the worship of God and who have forsaken all worldly desires. When a person attains such an enlightened state, God will grant him anything he asks, and even God cannot reverse the rishi's decrees. But again, I would not say that an ordinary man is the same as God.


If Devas are gods then they are not manifestations of God. Take Greek gods for instance. One of then eats his children. This is highly unlike God and certainly not a manifestation of Him.

I think that here we've run into a small East-West divide. When I use the term "gods," it is natural for you to interpret this term in a Greek context, because the New Testament is written in the same Greek context. We d not think of our "gods" the same way the Greeks do. Whereas the Greek gods are individuals with competing goals and ambitions, the Hindu devas are manifestations of the same God. Indeed it was the Greek logicians (Plato, if memory serves) who identified the logical fallacy of polytheism. But Hinduism is not polytheistic. The stories about our gods don't make much sense when interpreted overly literally. Indeed, even the Vedas are written from a monotheistic perspective, and with the understanding that the gods are different manifestations of God. A person praying to Vishnu or Shiva is praying to the same God, and ideally both worshipers know this. Perhaps Sri Krishna sums it up best:

Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity using any name, form, and method with faith, I make their faith steady in that very deity. Endowed with steady faith they worship that deity, and obtain their wishes through that deity. Those wishes are, indeed, granted only by Me. (7.21-22)
Anyway, there's some difficulty in describing an Eastern religion with Western language, but I hope that at least some of what I said made sense.

atanu
11 December 2009, 03:13 PM
-------Sri Krishna told him that by repeating the 1008 names of Vishnu, one can receive salvation. Some of our creation stories also have Vishnu and Shiva present at the beginning of the universe. Clearly the devas are manifestations of God. ----

Namaste Sanjaya,

Vishnu/Shiva are not Devas but Saguna Brahman. Advaitins consider the Nirgunam Brahman higher but all Hindus consider Vishnu/Shiva God. Paramesvara is not a deva, -- no way equatable to angels, who are equivalent of gandharvas and apsaras.

Devas and asuras both are children of Creator from Aditi and Diti respectively. Devas are those who stick to the truth of spirit Atman and asuras to the falsehood of I-Me-Mine ego.

Christians commonly do not have dominant idea of the all pervading witness consciousness, which is immanent as well as transcendent, as the Lord. But dominantly they have some idea of God standing apart -- just as Sun stands apart and controls the earth and its beings. In Hinduism also we have something similar but such belief is for the starters.

jaggin should not carry and further perpetuate this idea that Hindus worship devas and not God.

Om Namah Shivaya

sanjaya
11 December 2009, 05:01 PM
Namaste Sanjaya,

Vishnu/Shiva are not Devas but Saguna Brahman. Advaitins consider the Nirgunam Brahman higher but all Hindus consider Vishnu/Shiva God. Paramesvara is not a deva, -- no way equatable to angels, who are equivalent of gandharvas and apsaras.

Devas and asuras both are children of Creator from Aditi and Diti respectively. Devas are those who stick to the truth of spirit Atman and asuras to the falsehood of I-Me-Mine ego.

Christians commonly do not have dominant idea of the all pervading witness consciousness, which is immanent as well as transcendent, as the Lord. But dominantly they have some idea of God standing apart -- just as Sun stands apart and controls the earth and its beings. In Hinduism also we have something similar but such belief is for the starters.

jaggin should not carry and further perpetuate this idea that Hindus worship devas and not God.

Om Namah Shivaya

Sorry Atanu, I think what we have here is a difference in terminology. I have always heard of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the other Hindu gods referred to as devas. On the other hand, I know that the terminology I'm familiar with isn't the most popular one. For example, the first time I ever heard the term "asura" used to refer to demons was when I started looking up Hindu resources on the Internet.

Anyway, thank you.

Eastern Mind
11 December 2009, 05:12 PM
Vanakkam all:

I echo the thanks to Atanu for clarifying. For myself, Siva is Mahadevan, one without a second. Ganesha, Murugan, etc. are Mahadevas. Then there are the devas. I don't worship them at all, rather recognise their existence, and in many 'forms'. There are nature devas, termed 'elementals', first world devas, the ones like strangers who come along at just the right time to offer you a battery boost, personal devas assigned to at your namakarana samskara, and, as I said before, souls between births, able to help in subtle ways. In different ways they carry messages, hover around sacred murthis, etc. its not a simple one category thing. Lord Murugan leads an army of devas to conquer the asuras. I think of them as God's little (sometimes big) helpers. In India I sensed them a lot. One time when we stopped to see an auspicious temple, I swear a Deva just happened along and more or less whispered in my ear, "Ask the driver to stop now."

As far as Christian 'angels' go, I really have no idea whatsoever, as I've had no personal experience there at all, either first-hand or scriptural study within that religion.


Aum Namasivaya

yajvan
11 December 2009, 05:16 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

Namasté

deva is considered heavenly , divine . This word comes from div ( the 2nd derivation) to shine , be bright, also brightness , sheen , glow.And what then is diva? it is defined as heaven, or sky. Yet this word also covers the asura-s. .

The gods (deva) as the heavenly or shining ones ; víśve-devā́s meaning all the deva-s.

How many are 'all-deva-s' ? some say 330,000, some 33,000 others 33. This post may help those that wish to reivew this: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=815&highlight=Vidagdha (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=815&highlight=Vidagdha)

So who is devatā ? It is godhead , divinity.

praṇām

Ganeshprasad
11 December 2009, 06:22 PM
Pranam all



I have always heard of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the other Hindu gods referred to as devas. On the other hand, I know that the terminology I'm familiar with isn't the most popular one.

You are not wrong in what you have heard in fact the terminology used in Vedas, most popular is Deva.

In my opinion the most inappropriate definition for Deva is demigod what to speak of angels

Thanks Yajvan

How many are 'all-deva-s' ? some say 330,000, some 33,000 others 33. This post may help those that wish to reivew this: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=815&highlight=Vidagdha (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=815&highlight=Vidagdha)/

All remains for me to add,

इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुरथो दिव्यः स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान |
एकं सद विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्यग्निं यमं मातरिश्वानमाहुः ||
 
indraṃ mitraṃ varuṇamaghnimāhuratho divyaḥ sa suparṇo gharutmān |
ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadantyaghniṃ yamaṃ mātariśvānamāhuḥ ||
 
"They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutman.
To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan." RV (Book 1, Hymn 164.46)

Jai Shree Krishna

sanjaya
11 December 2009, 08:24 PM
Thank you EM, Yajvan, and Ganeshprasad for your detailed explanations. I think this should clarify things for both Jaggin and myself, while highlighting the importance of explaining the terms we use, since Hindus often speak different languages (both literally and otherwise).

atanu
12 December 2009, 12:23 AM
Sorry Atanu, I think what we have here is a difference in terminology. I have always heard of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the other Hindu gods referred to as devas. On the other hand, I know that the terminology I'm familiar with isn't the most popular one. For example, the first time I ever heard the term "asura" used to refer to demons was when I started looking up Hindu resources on the Internet.
Namaste Sanjaya,

No doubt the Deva term is used to depict Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. But Mahadeva, Mahesvara, Parameshwara, Sarvesvara are also used for these Devas. All three are also referred as Eko. And many other names, some flattering and some not so flattering. But Eko Rishi He is. He is Devas and Asuras as well.



SU III, 3-4
i) 3. On all sides eye, on all sides face,
on all sides arms, on all sides feet,
he, God, the One, creates heaven and earth,
forging them together with arms and wings.

4. He who is source and origin of the Gods,
the Lord of all, Rudra, the mighty sage,
who produced in ancient days the Golden Germ (Hiranyagarbha)--
may he endow us with purity of mind!

Regarding Vishnu and Rudra:


Rig Veda 10.191.3
sa vishnu sa shiva sa rudra so'kshara sah

Where the imperishable akshara is nirguna, un-nameble, Vishnu, Rudra and BrahmA are aspects of that impersishable. There are ample evidences that these are not three but are seen as three under different conditions. They all are called one without a second. Rudra and Vishnu are not two Devas;


Shree Rudram

oM namo bhagavate rudrAya vishhNave mR^ityurme pAhi |
prANAnAM granthirasi rudro mA vishAntakaH |
tenAnnenApyAyasva || 6||

namo rudraaya vishhNave mR^ityurme pAhi
agnaavishhNuu sajoshhasemaa vardhantu vaaM giraH |
dyumnairvaajebhiraagatam


My definition of Devas (gods) is based on the following scripture:



Satapatha Brahmana Part IVFIFTH ADHYÂYA. FIRST BRÂHMANA.

9:5:1:12 Now, then, the discussion of the Samishtayagus (oblations): The gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, entered upon their father Pragâpati's inheritance, to wit, speech--truth and untruth, both truth and untruth: they, both of them, spake the truth, and they both spake untruth; and, indeed, speaking alike, they were alike.

9:5:1:13 The gods relinquished untruth, and held fast to truth, and the Asuras relinquished truth, and held fast to untruth.

Only distinction between Asuras and Devas are their mode of speech; Truth or Untruth. Divine beings, not separated from the Atmic truth, shine by the light of Rudra-Bhargo:


Yajur Veda: iv. 5. 9.
p Homage to you, sparkling hearts of the gods

On the other hand, asuras strive to shine by the ego. On this account Rudra is Asura also, because He is called self-resplendent, He shines by His own light. Similarly Vishnu is called self born; He is born of Himself. Gods (Devas) recieve oblations because they have not severed themselves from the Akshara. All oblations are for the akshara alone. Whereas, if one offered oblations to asuras that will not reach anywhere.

I can go and on with scriptural evidences that Prajapati-Father, Vishnu, and Rudra are not mere Devas but directly the Akshara. But the following should be sufficient:


He who is source and origin of the Gods
the Lord of all (sarvesvara), Rudra, the mighty sage, -----------..

You will note that Lord Shri Krishna is also called Sarvesvara.


Gandharvas and apsaras are closest to the angels of christianity.
------------------------------

The Gods (Devas) are after Hiraynagarbha - the resplendent multiform creator. But Sarvesvara is prior to Hiranyagarbha. The Seer Rudra is transcendental.

Om Namah Shivaya