god, a divine being; usually in pl. devā the gods. As title attributed to any superhuman being or beings regarded to be in certain respects above the human level. Thus primarily (see 1a) used of the first of the next-world devas, Sakka, then also of subordinate deities, demons & spirits (devaññatarā some kind of deity; snake-demons: nāgas, tree-gods: rukkhadevatā etc.). Also title of the king (3). Always implying splendour (cp. above etym.) & mobility, beauty goodness & light, & as such opposed to the dark powers of mischief & destruction (asurā: Titans; petā: miserable ghosts; nerayikā sattā: beings in Niraya). A double position (dark & light) is occupied by Yama, the god of the Dead (see Yama & below 1 c). Always implying also a kinship and continuity of life with humanity and other beings; all devas have been man and may again become men (cp. DN.i.17 sq.; SN.iii.85), hence “gods” is not a coincident term. All devas are themselves in saṃsāra, needing salvation. Many are found worshipping saints (Thag.627–Thag.9; Thig.365)
■ The collective appellations differ; there are var. groups of divine beings, which in their totality (cp. tāvatiṃsa) include some or most of the well-known Vedic deities. Thus some collect. designations are devā sa-indakā (the gods including Indra or with their ruler at their head: DN.ii.208; SN.iii.90, AN.v.325), sa-pajāpatikā (SN.iii.90), sa-mārakā (see deva-manussaloka), sa-brahmakā (SN.iii.90). See below 1 b. Lists of popular gods are to be found, e.g. at DN.ii.253; DN.iii.194
■ A current distinction dating from the latest books in the canon is that into 3 classes, viz. sammuti- devā (conventional gods, gods in the public opinion, i.e. kings & princes Ja.i.132; DN-a.i.174) visuddhi˚; (beings divine by purity, i.e. of great religious merit or attainment like Arahants & Buddhas); upapatti˚; (being born divine, i.e. in a heavenly state as one of the gatis, like bhumma-devā etc.). This division in detail at Cnd.307; Vb.422; Kp-a.123; Vv-a.18 Under the 3rd category (upapatti˚) seven groups are enumerated in the foll. order: Cātummahārājikā devā Tāvatiṃsā d. (with Sakka as chief), Yāmā d., Tusitā d. Nimmānaratī d., Paranimmita-vasavattī d., Bṛahmakāyikā d. Thus at DN.i.216 sq.; AN.i.210, AN.i.332 sq.; Cnd.307; cp. SN.i.133 & Ja.i.48. See also devatā.

  1. god, etc.

    1. sg. a god, a deity or divine being MN.i.71 (d. vā Māro vā Brahmā vā); SN.iv.180 = AN.iv.461 (devo vā bhavissāmi devaññataro vā ti: I shall become a god or some one or other of the (subordinate gods angels); Snp.1024 (ko nu devo vā Brahmā vā Indo vāpi Sujampati); Dhp.105 (+ gandhabba, Māra, Brahmā) AN.ii.91, AN.ii.92 (puggalo devo hoti devaparivāro etc.); Pv-a.16 (yakkho vā devo vā)
    2. pl. devā gods. These inhabit the 26 devalokas one of which is under the rule of Sakka, as is implied by his appellation S. devānaṃ indo (his opponent is Vepacitti Asur-indo SN.i.222) SN.i.216 sq.; SN.iv.101, SN.iv.269; AN.i.144; Snp.346; Pv-a.22 etc-Var. kinds are e.g. appamāṇ’-ābhā (opp. paritt ābhā) MN.iii.147; ābhassarā DN.i.17; Dhp.200; khiḍḍāpadosikā DN.i.19; gandhabba-kāyikā SN.iii.250 sq. cattāro mahārājikā SN.v.409, SN.v.423; Jat SN.i.48; Pv.iv.11#1 Pv-a.17, Pv-a.272; naradevā tidasā SN.i.5; bhummā Pv-a.5 manāpa-kāyikā AN.iv.265 sq.; mano-padosikā DN.i.20 valāhaka-kāyikā SN.iii.254
      ■ Var. attributes of the Devas are e.g. āyuppamāṇā AN.i.267; AN.ii.126 sq. AN.iv.252 sq.; dīghāyukā SN.iii.86; AN.ii.33; rūpino manomayā MN.i.410, etc. etc
      ■ See further in general: DN.i.54 (satta devā); DN.ii.14, DN.ii.157, DN.ii.208; SN.v.475 = AN.i.37; Snp.258 (+ manussā), Snp.310 (id.); Snp.404, Snp.679; Dhp.30, Dhp.56, Dhp.94, Dhp.230 Dhp.366; Pts.i.83 sq.; Pts.ii.149; Vb.86, Vb.395, Vb.412 sq.; Ne.23 Sdhp.240
    3. deva = Yama see deva-dūta (explained at Ja.i.139: devo ti maccu)
      atideva a pre-eminent god god above gods (Ep. of the Buddha) Cnd.307; Dhs-a.2 etc.; see under compounds
  2. the sky, but only in its rainy aspect, i.e. rain-cloud, rainy sky, rain-god (cp Jupiter Pluvius; K.S. i.40, n. 2 on Pajjunna, a Catumahārājika), usually in phrase deve vassante (when it rains etc.), or devo vassati (it rains) DN.i.74 (: devo ti megho DN-a.i.218); SN.i.65, SN.i.154 (cp. Iti.66 megha); Snp.18 Snp.30; Ja.v.201; Dhp-a.ii.58, Dhp-a.ii.82; Pv-a.139. devo ekam ekam phusāyati the cloud rains drop by drop, i.e. lightly SN.i.104 sq., SN.i.154, SN.i.184; SN.iv.289
    ■ thulla-phusitake deve vassante when the sky was shedding big drops of rain SN.iii.141; SN.v.396; AN.i.243; AN.ii.140; AN.v.114; Vism.259-vigata-valāhake deve when the rain-clouds have passed SN.i.65; MN.ii.34, MN.ii.42.

  3. king, usually in voc deva, king! Vin.i.272; Vin.iii.43; AN.ii.57; Ja.i.150, Ja.i.307; Pv-a.4, Pv-a.74 etc.

devī (f.)

  1. goddess, of Petīs, Yakkhiṇīs etc.; see etym expl. at Vv-a.18; Pv.ii.1#12; Vv.1#3 etc.
  2. queen Vin.i.82 (Rahulamātā), Vin.i.272; DN.ii.14; AN.ii.57, AN.ii.202 (Mallikā) Ja.i.50 (Māyā); Ja.iii.188; Pv-a.19, Pv-a.75.
  • -accharā a divine Apsarā, a heavenly joy-maiden Vism.531; Pv-a.46, Pv-a.279;
  • -aññatara, in phrase devo vā d. vā, a god or one of the retinue of a god SN.iv.180; AN.iv.461; Pv-a.16;
  • -ātideva god of gods, i.e. divine beyond all divinities, a super-deva, of Buddha Cnd.307 & on Snp.1134; Ja.iv.158 = Dhp-a.i.147; Vv.64#27; Vv-a.18; Mil.241, Mil.258, Mil.368, Mil.384 & passim; cp. Mhvs.i.106, Mhvs.i.257 Mhvs.i.283, Mhvs.i.291;
  • -attabhāva a divine condition, state of a god Pv-a.14;
  • -ānubhāva divine majesty or power DN.ii.12; MN.iii.120; Ja.i.59;
  • -āsana a seat in heaven Iti.76;
  • -āsurasaṅgāma the fight between the Gods & the Titans DN.ii.285; SN.i.222; SN.iv.201; SN.v.447; MN.i.253; AN.iv.432 (at all passages in identical phrase);
  • -iddhi divine power Vv.31#3; Vv-a.7;
  • -isi a divine Seer Snp.1116; Cnd.310
  • -ūpapatti rebirth among the gods Pv-a.6;
  • -orohaṇa descent of the gods Dhp-a.iii.443;
  • -kaññā a celestial maiden, a nymph SN.i.200; Ja.i.61; Vv-a.37, Vv-a.78;
  • -kāya a particular group of gods SN.i.200; Iti.77; Thig.31
  • -kuñjara “elephant of the gods,” of Indra Ja.v.158
  • -kumāra son of a god (cp. ˚putta) Ja.iii.391;
  • -gaṇa a troop of gods Ja.i.203; Dhp-a.iii.441;
  • -gaha a temple chapel Vin.iii.43;
  • -cārikā a visit to the gods, journeying in the devaloka Vv-a.3, Vv-a.7, Vv-a.165 etc.;
  • -ṭṭhāna heavenly seat Ja.iii.55; a temple, sacred place Mil.91, Mil.330
  • -dattika given or granted by a god, extraordinary Pv-a.145;
  • -dattiya = ˚dattika Ja.iii.37; Dhp-a.i.278
  • -dāruka a species of pine Ja.v.420;
  • -dundubhi the celestial drum, i.e. thunder DN.i.10; Mil.178; DN-a.i.95;
  • -dūta the god’s (i.e. Yama’s see above 1˚) messenger AN.i.138 AN.i.142; MN.ii.75; MN.iii.179; Ja.i.138; Dhp-a.i.85 (tayo d.) Mhbv. 122 (˚suttanta);
  • -deva “the god of gods,” Ep of the Buddha (cp. devâtideva) Thag.533, Thag.1278 (of Kappāyana); Dhs-a.1; Pv-a.140;
  • -dhamma that which is divine or a god AN.iii.277 (˚ika); Dhp-a.iii.74;
  • -dhītā a female deva or angel (cp. devaputta), lit. daughter of a god Ja.ii.57; Vv-a.137, Vv-a.153 (with ref. to Vimānapetīs)
  • -nagara the city of the Devas, heaven Ja.i.168, Ja.i.202; Dhp-a.i.280;
  • -nikāya a class, community or group of gods, celestial state or condition DN.ii.261 (sixty enumerated) SN.iv.180; MN.i.102 sq.; AN.i.63 sq.; AN.ii.185; AN.iii.249 sq. AN.iv.55; AN.v.18;
  • -pañha questioning a god, using an oracle DN.i.11 (= DN-a.i.97: devadāsiyā sarīre devataṃ otāretvā pañha-pucchanaṃ);
  • -parivāra a retinue of gods AN.ii.91
  • -parisā the assembly of gods AN.ii.185; Tikp.241.
  • -putta “son of a god,” a demi-god, a ministering god (cp. f deva-dhītā), usually of Yakkhas, but also applied to the 4 archangels having charge of the higher world of the Yāmā devā (viz. Suyāma devaputta); the Tusitā d (Santusita d.); the Nimmānaratī d. (Sunimmita d.); the Paranimmitavasavattī d. (Vasavattī d.) DN.i.217 sq. cp. Ja.i.48; DN.ii.12, DN.ii.14; SN.i.46 sq.; SN.i.216 sq.; SN.iv.280; AN.i.278; Iti.76; Ja.i.59 (jarā-jajjara); Ja.iv.100 (dhamma d.); (Java d.); Pv-a.6, Pv-a.9, Pv-a.55, Pv-a.92, Pv-a.113 (Yakkho ti devaputto); Mil.23;
  • -pura the city of the gods heaven SN.iv.202; Vv.64#30 (= Sudassana-mahānagara Vv-a.285); Ja.iv.143;
  • -bhava celestial existence Pv-a.167
  • -bhoga the wealth of the gods Pv-a.97;
  • -manussā (pl.) gods & men DN.i.46, DN.i.62 ≈ DN.i.99 (˚mānuse); MN.ii.38 MN.ii.55; Snp.14 (sa˚), Snp.236 (˚pūjita), Snp.521; Iti.80 (˚seṭṭhā) Kp.viii.10; Kp-a.196; Pv-a.17, Pv-a.31, Pv-a.117; -˚loka the world of gods and men. It comprises 1 the world of gods proper (Devas, i.e. Sakka, Māra & Brahmā corresp. to sammuti-devā, see above); 2 samaṇas brāhmaṇas (cp. visuddhi-devā); 3 gods & men under the human aspect (gati, cp. upapatti-devā): Snp.1047 Snp.1063; expl. at Cnd.309 & (with diff. interpretations DN-a.i.174 sq.;
  • -yāna leading to the (world of the gods, i.e. the road to heaven Snp.139, also in -yāniya (magga) DN.i.215;
  • -rājā king of the devas, viz Sakka Mnd.177; Ja.iii.392 (= devinda); Dhp-a.iii.441; Pv-a.62;
  • -rūpa divine appearance or form Pv-a.92
  • -loka the particular sphere of any devas, the seat of the devas, heaven; there exist 26 such spheres or heavens (see loka); when 2 are mentioned it refers to Sakka’s & Brahma’s heavens. A seat in a devaloka is in saṃsāra attained by extraordinary merit: Dhp.177; Ja.i.202 Ja.i.203; Ja.iv.273; Thag-a.74; Kp-a.228; Pv-a.5, Pv-a.9, Pv-a.21, Pv-a.66, Pv-a.81 Pv-a.89; Vism.415, etc.;
  • -vimāna the palace of a deva Ja.i.58; Vv-a.173;
  • -saṅkhalikā a magic chain Ja.ii.128; Ja.v.92, Ja.v.94
  • -sadda heavenly sound or talk among the devas Iti.75 (three such sounds).

Ved. deva, Idg. *dei̯ā to shine (see dibba & diva), orig. adj. *deiṷos belonging to the sky, cp. Av. daēvō (demon.), Lat. deus, Lith. dë̃vas; Ohg. Ƶīo; Ags. Tīg gen. Tīwes (= Tuesday); Oir. dia (god). The popular etymology refers it to the root div in the sense of playing sporting or amusing oneself: dibbanti ti devā, pañcahi kāmaguṇehi kīḷanti attano vā siriyā jotantī ti attho Kp-a.123