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Devotees and Demigods

Narada Muni
Vasus (asta-vasus)
Yaksas: pious or demoniac?


The word "demigod" is a translation of "deva" ("shining one") used by Srila Prabhupada in his books. He's chosen this term to avoid equating devas with Visnu/Krsna (Devadeva, the lord of devas, BG 10.15, 11.13, etc., see the next paragraph) which is against sastra: agnirvai devAnamavamo viSNuH paramaH (Aitareya brAhmaNa 1.1.1) or agniravamo devatAnAM viSNuH paramaH (TaittirIya saMhitA 5.5.1) - Agni is the lowest and Visnu is the highest of devas.

sarvameva kalau zAstraM yasya yadvajanaM dvija
devatA ca kalau sarvA sarvaHsarvasya cAzramaH

All texts will be considered as sastras in the Kali age; all celestials will be considered in equal light and all orders of life will be common alike to all persons. (Visnu Purana 6.1.14, tr. M.N. Dutt)
Every text will be scripture that people choose to think so [*5]: all gods will be gods to them that worship them; and all orders of life will be common alike to all persons.
^622:5 Whether it is conformable or contradictory to the Vedas and the law. The passage may be rendered also, 'The doctrine or dogma of any one soever will be scripture.' (tr. H.H. Wilson)

Svetasvatara Upanisad describes Brahman as the origin of the devas (devAnAm prabhavaH, 3.4; devAnAm prabhavaH ca udbhavaH ca, 4.12; devaH bhUyaH sRSTvA patayaH, 5.3; tam IzvarANAM paramaM mahezvaraH taM devatAnAm paramaM ca daivatam patim patInAM paramaM parastAd, 6.7), as their master in whom all lokas are situated (yaH devAnAm adhipaH yasmil lokaH adhizritaH, 4.13), in whom the devas and sages take shelter (yasmin yukta brahmarSayo devatAH ca, 4.15; also Katha Upanisad 2.1.9 - taM devAH sarve 'rpitAs, 2.2.3 - madhye vAmanam AsInaM vizve-devA upAsate).
This is illustrated in the Kena Upanisad story (1.3.1-1.4.3): Agni, Vayu and Indra are superior to other devas because they got closest to Brahman who appeared before them as a yaksa and first learned from Devi about His identity as the source of their power.
Devas are analogical to government administrators. There is a cosmic hierarchy of devas with Visnu/Krsna on top. He Himself says in the BG 7.20-23 that to worship devas is not very intelligent (alpa-medhasA) because the results of that worship are temporary and actually come only from Him. In BG 9.20-25 He elaborates on the difference between the results of worship of devas and worship of Himself.

deva-manyaM kRSNa-tulyaM yo bravIti narAdhamaH
brahma-hatyAM ca labhate mahA-mUrkho na saMzayaH
paramAtmA svayaM kRSNo nirguNaH prakRteH paraH
tato devAs tad-aMzAz ca saguNAH prAkRtAH smRtAH
sarve janyAH kRtrimAz ca purA brahmAdayaH surAH
sarveSAM janakaH kRSNaH paramAdyaH parAt paraH

And that vile wretch who considers any other Deity equal to Krsna is quite illiterate, and certainly commits the sin of Brahmahatya. (13)
Krsna is the Supersoul, beyond the gunas, beyond Prakrti. From Him and from His parts all the Devas are born endowed with gunas of Prakrti. (14)
Brahma and the other Devas are janya (begotten) and kritrima (made up). Krsna is the father of all, the supreme first entity and higher than the highest. (Narada Pancaratra 2.5.13-15)

Siva - deva or not?: In BG 11.15 Siva is listed separately from devas. In SB 4.2.18 Daksa calls Siva derisively 'the lowest of all the demigods' (devas). In 4.7.43 he's called chief of demigods and in 5.5.21-22, 6.13.2, 7.9.49, 8.4.1, etc. he's again listed separately from devas.

- Devadeva:

"The lord of the devas" is the title of Visnu/Krsna. Occasionally it's used for Sesa (SB 6.16.29), Brahma (SB 3.14.7, 4.24.11, 7.3.6 by Hiranyakasipu; in SB 7.10.26 and 8.22.21 Brahma uses it for Visnu) and Siva (SB 8.7.45; in SB 8.12.4 Siva uses it for Visnu).

- number:

tridazendreNa - by the chief of the thirty (chief devas) (SB 10.59.38)

om iti hovAca
katame te trayaz ca trI ca zatA trayaz ca trI ca sahasreti

Vidagdha Zakalya said: Who are these three and three hundred, three and three thousand?

sa hovAca - mahimAna evaiSAm ete
trayastriMzat tv eva devA iti
katame te trayastriMzad iti
aSTau vasava ekAdaza rudrA dvAdazAdityAH ta ekatriMzad aindraz caiva prajApatiz ca trayastriMzAv iti

YAjJavalkya said: There are glorious 33 devas - eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati. (Brhad Aranyaka UpaniSad 3.9.2)

trayas triMzat sahasrANi trayas triMzat zatAni ca trayas triMzac ca devAnAM sRSTiH saMkSepa lakSaNA - In summary, the Lord manifests thirty-three thousand thirty-three hundred and thirty-three gods for the cosmic rule. (= 36 333) (Mbh 1.1.39)

dvAdazaivAditeH putrAH zakra mukhyA narAdhipa teSAm avarajo viSNur yatra lokAH pratiSThitAH - O monarch, Aditi had twelve sons, headed by Lord Indra. The youngest was Lord ViSNu, in whom all the worlds reside. (Mbh 1.60.35)
trayas triMzataity ete devAs teSAm ahaM tava anvayaM saMpravakSyAmi pakSaizca kulato gaNAn - These are the thirty-three principle devas, and I shall now relate to you their lineage, their associates, their diverse communities, and their families. (Mbh 1.60.36)

- chanting their names to attain Visnu (SB 2.6.27)

- all names belong to Visnu (Vedanta-sutra 1.4.28)

Visvanatha Cakravarti: worship of the Lord by meditating on devas as parts of Lord's body (Purusa-sukta)

- both favorable (SB 1.19.18) or unfavorable (SB 11.4.10) to human sp. advancement. They play two roles, as does Maya (illusion and mercy), protecting and testing us.

- want to be born on earth (SB 11.20.12) since jnana and bhakti can't be attained in svarga (and naraka).

- considered liberated by Madhva: Madhva considers only one person nitya-mukta - Visnu Himself, others are nitya-baddha. His commentary on SB 2.9.1 about the cause of jiva's falldown: isvara-iccha-pratimika (desire of the Lord). God can, after all, do anything. Interestingly, Srila Prabhupada says the same in his poem Markine Bhagavata Dharma: tomAra icchAya saba hoy mAyA-baza: "all living entities have become under the control of the illusory energy by Your will"... (Jaladuta Diary 8.2)

- in Krsna-lila as partial incarnations (Brahma-vaivarta Purana 6.177), only Yamaraja came personally as Vidura (B-v. P. 6.180)

- original, in the spiritual world (Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.8; SB 11.17.29 - Ganesa, Durga)

- in the Bible - Deuteronomy 32:43:
translated as 'gods' in ESV and CEV based on Dead Sea Scrolls text: ESV, CEV as well as NRSV and derived edition.
translated as 'angels' in NLT based on Septuagint: NLT
in most of other versions absent (!), already in Masoretic text and KJV


O.B.L. Kapoor, "The Philosophy and Religion of Sri Caitanya", Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi 1977, p.6. Quoted in Steven Rosen: "India's spiritual renaissance - The life and times of Lord Chaitanya", p. 6:

Great South Indian devotees regarded as personifications of 12 articles of Visnu's paraphernalia: Poygai (Poikai) Alvar, Bhutattar A., Pey A., Tirumalisai A., Namn-A. or Satakopa, Madhurkavi A., Kulasekhar A. (king; author of Mukunda-mala- stotra), Perriy-A. or Visnucitta, Andal A. (woman), Tondaradippodi A. (reformed sinner), Tiruppana A. (lower class origin), Tirumangai A.


Q: (Hare Krishna Das) According to Jiva Gosvami Lord Buddha appears when two thousand years of the Kali age have passed: tatah iti ayam kaler abda-sahasra-dvitiye gate vyaktah. (Krsna-sandarbha Vol. I anuccheda 24) That means around 1102 BC. And in the first reconstruction of Hindu chronology by Sir William Jones, Lord Buddha is appointed to 1027 BC. (Vid. in Rational "Mythology", by Sadaputa Das, 1993 in BTG Jan/Feb 1994, p. 26)

But one researcher, Prasada Gokhale of Fredericton New Brunswick University, shows very interesting evidences that after the identification of Sandracottus (325 BC) mentioned by Megasthenes, the Greek historian, with the Candragupta Maurya by Sir William Jones, was considered as the "sheet anchor" and base on this assumption a chronology of India history reconstructed by dating the Buddha in 500 BC under the presupposition that the Asokavarna was the Buddhist convert. But there are difficulties in this datation because the Greek records mention Xandramas and Sandracyptus as kings immediately before and after Sandracottus. These names are not in any way phonologically similar to Mahapadma Nanda and Bindusara or Asoka who were the predecessor and successor of Candragupta Maurya respectively. However, if Sandracottus refers to Candragupta Gupta, the Xandramas reckons to be his predecessor Candrasi alias Candramas and Sandrocyptus to be Samudragupta, the phonetic similarity becomes quite apparent.

Prasad Gokhale on Indian History
Four schools of Buddhism refuted by Vedanta-sutra
Pure Land Buddhism As Vaishnavism

But the question is, what is the more accurate datation of Lord Buddha? Because there are apparent historical, astronomical and archaeological evidences that Lord Buddha was on the earth in 1887-1807 BC (idem. part 5 14).

A: The Pancaratra Pradipa book, page 27, says: "This is the Buddha we all know, namely Sakya Muni, who took birth 563 BC in Kapilavastu (now in Nepal) as the son of Queen Maya devi. This Buddha is not the avatara described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam as the son of Anjana, born in the province of Gaya (Bihar) (SB 1.3.24) who taught the original Buddhism. Unfortunately, Sakya Simha Buddha is now considered THE Buddha, although he was just a scholar with some inner realizations who later spread atheistic and nihilistic philosophies."

Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja in his book "Vaisnava Vijaya" gives a thorough description plus various evidences regarding who was the Siddhartha Buddha and so on.

Vadiraja Tirtha from Madhva line (15th century) writes:

om sri buddhaya namah, om sri kalkine namah

buddhavatarakavi baddhanukampakuru baddhanjalau mayi dayam kuru
sauddhodanipramukha saiddhantika 'sugama bauddhagamapranayana

kruddhahitasuhrtisiddhasikhetadhara suddhasvayanakamala
suddhantam rucipimaddhakhilanga nija maddhava kalkyabhidha bhoh



sauddhodanipramukha saiddhantika = one who is the son of Suddhodana and preaches the Buddha philosophy in public, asugama = cannot understand, bauddhagama = devatas (demigods) who are intellectuals (jnanis) liked by the philosophy which is named Buddha, pranayana = one who is created, kavibaddhanukampa = king among jnanis (intellectuals), buddhavatara = Sri Hari who manifested as Buddha, baddhanjalu = saluting through hands, mayi = myself, dayam kuru = be kind (bless me),

kruddha = got wild, ahita = enemies, asuhrti = matters concerning to stealing of life (pranapahara), siddha = getting ready, asikheta = one who is having sword and shield (gurane), suddhasvayana = one who is having pleasant horse as the vehicle, kamalasuddhanta = one who has got Sri Laksmi as queen (one who is staying in Sri Laksmi's palace), rucipimaddhakhilanga = one who is covered by the radiance with all organs of the body, kalkyabhidha = named as Kalki, bhoh = one who is Sri Hari, mam = myself, addha = more, ava = protect.

"There was a time, when the whole world (in Kali-yuga) was full of divine culture and Vaidic (sacred) environment and at the same time many demons (asuras) were also born and started following the divine culture and learning divine knowledge. Because of this dharma started to decay in their hands.

"During that time for the king of Sakya by name Suddhodana a baby was born. It is understood that Sri Paramatma in the form of this baby started talking and preached that this world is void (sunya, empty) and all things which are happening are all miseries. This is supposed to be Buddha philosophy. (Sri Hari in the form of baby has preached this).

"In order to prove to the people this philosophy is true Sri Hari has swallowed all the weapons by which devatas has attacked the baby. After seeing these wonders and these incidents the King Suddhodana and his followers started believing the new philosophy and started practicing the same by leaving aside the Vedic philosophy.

"After sometime the Paramatma who was in the form of baby has disappeared and Suddhodana's son appeared again. Suddhodana's son grown up as Buddha and started preaching Buddha philosophy which Paramatma has publicized previously. Even in Devaloka (abode of devas) Sri Paramatma has preached to devatas (demigods) the real essence of Buddha philosophy which He has preached as Buddha in this world. Sri Paramatma preached to devas the essence of Buddha philosophy which is published as 'Prasantavidya' which even Suddhodana's son Buddha and his followers cannot understand.

"Sri Vadiraja is praying to Sri Hari in the form of Buddha to be kind to him by doing buddhanjali. Sri Vadiraja is praying to Sri Hari in the form of Sri Kalki as one who is destroying (killing) bewildered enemies and one who is wearing (holding) sword and shield and sitting on the pleasant horse. His body with all organs of the body are shining like splendor and Sri Vadiraja is praying that He personally protects him."

PS: The original Buddha philosophy was preached and published by Sri Narayana in the form of Buddha. The preaching is meant in two ways. The original meaning was told to deva(ta)s by himself in Devaloka. But the sinful asuras or demons understood his preaching wrongly and started practicing the same by blaming the Vaidic dharma. Like this Paramatma will incarnate to get love from asuras to devatas as has been told in Bhagavata Purana, Prathama Skanda, chapter 32, sloka 24.

In order to attract the asuras who are enemies of devatas Sri Hari will incarnate as Buddha as son of Jinana in the place called Gaya in the land of Magadha. This has been told in Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya, chapter 32, sloka 139.

Further, it has also been told that after completing 1000 years of Kali-yuga when all the devatas who were there in that yuga reached Lord's abode, Tripurasura, who is killed by Rudra, was reborn in this world. At that time even Sri Vedavyasa has disappeared and divine culture was existent by removing all faulty practices. At that time even demons had the opportunity to learn divine knowledge. But devatas and Paramatma did not like the idea of demons gaining divine knowledge. All devatas went to the ocean of milk where Sri Hari is residing and prayed to Him to bless them with the solution. During the same time in the place called Gaya (land of Magadha) Tripurasura was born to Suddhodana or Jinana. Paramatma disappeared from the newborn child and incarnated as a child. When Suddhodana started doing ritual for the newborn baby, the baby started smiling. They were all stunned by this happening and the baby started preaching the new siddhanta called Buddha siddhanta. Because of the prevailing situation, i.e. divine culture, they all did not believe the new philosophy, Paramatma called His devatas and they started launching different weapons on the newborn baby. But that baby swallowed all the weapons like trisula etc. and even when Visnu attacked the baby with his discus (cakra), the Paramatma in the form of baby made it its seat. On seeing the wonders of this child, Suddhodana and his followers started believing and accepted the new philosophy by leaving divine culture which they were following. After that the Paramatma disappeared from there and preached the real meaning of the new philosophy to the devatas but demons were attracted by this new preaching and started following the same.

Even before this incident there is a mention in Bhagavata Purana that Buddha manifested earlier to attract Tripurasura's wives.

The Buddha who was supposedly born in 563 BC is not the incarnation of Sri Narayana. Gautama Buddha is one who has publicized the Buddha philosophy which was preached by Sri Narayana as a child. It should be assumed that Gautama Buddha is not the manifestation of Sri Narayana.

The original Kannada translation has been taken from the book:

Sri Vadiraja Viracita Sri Dasavatara Stuti Translated in to Kannada by Acarya Saanur Bhima Bhattaru Published by Sri Parimala Samshodhana and Publishing Mandira Nanajangud - Bangalore. 1995.

Q: It is stated in Srimad Bhagavatam that Lord Buddha was an incarnation of Krsna but Lord Buddha did not accepted Vedas, neither he accepted reincarnation, nor soul. So how is it possible that he was an incarnation of Krsna?

A: In the purport to BG 4.7, SB 1.3.24, etc. Srila Prabhupada explains that Buddha (different from widely known Sakyamuni, Siddharta Gautama) had a special mission in Lord's plan to restore Vedic dharma. He came to dismantle the degenerate approach of brahmanas of that time. They were killing animals in the name of Vedic sacrifice. Thus he rejected the Vedas to deprive them of the basis of their misconduct. Later Adi Sankara came and continued this plan by establishing the authority of Vedas but he taught that the Absolute is impersonal. After him came Vaisnava teachers like Ramanuja, Madhva etc. who preached the genuine Vedic conclusion - Absolute is ultimately a person. This supreme person is Visnu/Krsna. At last came Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and established His doctrine of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, the ultimate Vedic siddhanta. This is the gist.

Ekanath Das

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in his tika to SB 10.48.10: kubjeyah bhu-saktir vibhutir jneyah purva-vyakhyanat, "This Kubja, according to my earlier explanation, is the energy known as Bhu-sakti."

When VCT says "earlier explanation", that must refer to his tika to SB 10.42.1, which was quoted in the BBT edition as follows:

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the young hunchbacked girl was actually a partial expansion of the Lord's wife Satyabhama. Satyabhama is the Lord's internal energy known as Bhu-sakti, and this expansion of hers, known as Prthivi, represents the earth, which was bent down by the great burden of countless wicked rulers. Lord Krsna descended to remove these wicked rulers, and thus His pastime of straightening out the hunchback Trivakra, as explained in these verses, represents His rectifying the burdened condition of the earth. At the same time, the Lord awarded Trivakra a conjugal relationship with Himself.

In addition to the given meaning, the word rasa-pradah indicates that the Lord amused His cowherd boyfriends by His dealings with the young hunchback.

Narada Muni
Suhotra Prabhu

He is at the same time inhabitant of material Siddhaloka (SB 4.29.80p.) and spiritual Siddhaloka. Their relation is like Bhauma and Divya Vrndavan (non different). Siddhaloka, Brahmaloka are also another names for Vaikuntha (SB 5.1.7p., 6.3.8-9). His Narayana-asrama (SB 10.10.23, 7.714) is Badarikasram in Himalayas.

SB 1.6.21-22:

Lord says Narada "is not free from all material taints" and therefore He can hardly see Him. Lord wants to increase his desire for Him and further purification (although he was already pure, SB 1.5.25-29).

Pitas (Pitrs)

1. one's deceased father, grandfather and great-grandfather 2. progenitors of mankind in general

If they are given sraddha they enjoy on Pitrloka, if not or they were sinful they suffer in hell or as ghosts (BG 1.41, SB 6.14.26). Sraddha is given during pitr-paksa, the dark fortnight of the month of Asvina, mid-September to mid-October.


(Garuda Purana 3.5.37, footnote; Rg Veda 1.111)

A group of divine beings who attained divinity by performing tapas. Angira, son of Brahma, had a son Sudhanva who had three sons: Rbhusan, Vibhvas and Vaja. They are named Rbhus.

Vasus (asta-vasus)

Gana devatas, sons of Dharma and Vasu, daughter of Daksa. (MB Adi Parva 66) Their names differ in different Puranas.


Garuda Purana 3.5.36: Pururavas, Adrava, Dhuri, Locana, Kratu, Daksa, Satya, Vasu, Kama and Kalaka.

Yaksas: pious or demoniac?

Suhotra Prabhu: Different genealogical lines of them. Some appeared from universal shell when Brahma appeared, some are descendants of Kasyapa and Pulastya (Mahabharata, Agni Purana). Some are mischievous but not all. Devas have great faith in Yaksas's king, Kuvera, and made him their treasurer.


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