Devas and Devatas: How do they come into “existence”?
by Achintyachintaka on 03 Nov 2012 10 Comments

Let us start with the very basics. Only minimal contemplation will be needed to understand that  Devas and Devatas are expressions of human subjectivity or Consciousness that can evolve in each individual and also collectively in each culture. Why go too far?  Start with the most familiar saying known to any Hindu. “Matru Devo Bhava”. Matru = Mother; Devo = Illuminated entity; Bhava = Become.  Every civilized individual most likely has deepest love for his/her mother. Does every individual consider his/her mother to be “God” (a male divinity)? No, here the word “deva” is “generic” and includes deva, devata, devi. The word “bhava” may be closer to “let (mother) become” or “may (mother) come into existence or evolve into deva.”


This saying clearly does not equate mother with God. Neither does it say “Mother is God” and literally it does not even say “mother is Goddess.” There should be clear agreement among those who know elementary Sanskrit on this clarification. In grammatically correct Sanskrit, taking into account gender, it may be argued that it should have been “Matru devi bhava”.


No one dares amend such widely accepted “shloka” to do violence to the Rishi who may have composed this line by correcting the grammar of the original composer. Humbly accepting the fact that mother can potentially become “deva” for each individual will lead to understanding of the word “deva.” It will also immediately illustrate that God and Deva are not the same, not even equivalents. So the realization that “Devatas” are not “Gods and Goddesses” should be by now the first cognitive milestone in accepting this new paradigm or discovery illustrating the intent of the saying, “matru devo bhava.”


How then in human subjectivity or Consciousness (individual and collective) “mother” can “become”"deva“? How does she attain the sacredness, awe, respect, love, deserving worship from the “child”? That is the bhakti bhava.


Please do not confuse this saying with “Twameva Mata, Pita twameva” addressed to “Mama Deva, Deva.” The logic in this instance is reversed compared to that of “Matru devo bhava” (this will be discussed in future articles).


It is now simple to see the development of the rudimentary consciousness in the infant that is totally dependent on his/her mother and has no independent existence (no resources to survive without the mother).


The infant starts discovering the mother in his/her consciousness and begins to form an image of the mother and “She” becomes his/her primary object of love. In this state the “Mother” has literally the full life-giving power and the infant is instinctively and genetically programmed to know this. Any separation from the mother is likely to lead potentially to loss of life in this early phase of life. An immense gratitude for the unconditional love of the mother is present in the Unconscious of each human being. Such gratitude and love becomes repressed in the mother-child relationship over the years although the immense love and respect lingers on throughout for most individuals.


Contemplating on mother over the years of psychological growth and development, and for females especially by experiencing their own motherhood, leads to a new realization of the sacrifices mother may have made to give everything one now has and enjoys. This enlightenment is prayed for in “Matru Devo Bhava.” Fortunate are those Hindus who have attained such enlightenment and bhakti bhava towards their mothers and by generalizing towards all “mother” or “matru”. This takes years of maturation from infantile dependency driven attachment to exaltation of the Matru tatvaMatru tatva has been present eternally but it requires maturation of the individual to appreciate it as a devata.


Such enlightenment emerging from the human Unconscious is a unique phenomenon of human consciousness. The objects or principles (tatvas) illuminated by such enlightenment attain the status of Devas, Devatas, and Devis.


A great injustice and violence done to Hindu culture, disparaging its unique concepts of sacred relationships with Devas and Devatas, was inadvertently the result of an erroneous translation of these indigenous Sanskrit terms when they were translated by “whosoever” as “Gods” and “Goddesses” (a subject we hope to return to at a later time).


This article and previous ones by this author are a prelude to this new paradigm in the science of consciousness. This paradigm does not diminish the bhakti but enhances it by enriching the insights into origin of each devata and its very intimate relationship with the physical, psychological, and spiritual being of humans with all the finest highly evolved emotions poured into the devatas who are not just “idols.” There indeed is a very intimate connection of all Hindus with their respective devas and devatas.


Let all Hindus get in touch with the richness of their Unconscious which was so very poetically glorified by their Vedic Rishis. They have not repudiated the drives but have exalted them. The connection with ocean, Varuna, connection with Prana in Hanuman, precursor of potential energy in Shesha, can all be viewed as present in the microcosm and also in the macrocosm, and the beauty of it all is that they are all so real and eternally present for Hindus to uplift their consciousness through Agama sastra. It is not the ritual by itself but the bhava and bhakti entailed in it that transforms consciousness to a higher and higher level if simultaneously evolving into a higher level of tatva jnana, knowledge of the eternal principles each deva, devata and devi stand for eternally.



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