Devas, in Hinduism, are celestial beings that control forces of nature such as fire, air, etc. They are not to be confused with God or His personal form, Saguna Brahman which is visualized as Vishnu or Shiva. God or Brahman is the ultimate controller. A famous verse from the Katha Upanishad states: “From fear of Him the wind blows; from fear of Him the sun rises; from fear of Him Agni and Indra and Death, the fifth, run."
Another verse that confers the Devas' subordinate status comes from the Vishnu sahasranama, whose concluding verses state: "The Rishis (great sages), ancestors, the Devas, the great elements, in fact, all things moving and unmoving constituting this universe, have originated from Narayana." (i.e.,Vishnu). This verse, if proof was necessary, is enough show that the Devas are subordinate to Vishnu or God.
Death is personified as the deva Yama.
According to Hindu mythology, the devas are opposed to the Asuras. The conflict between devas and asuras grew from earlier Vedic conceptions of natural principles to allegorical themes of existence and the human condition.
Vayu or the Lord of the wind is another important deva. They are commonly equated with gods in Western media. They are functionally equivalent of angels who serve God in Judaeo-Christian tradition. There are also many other lesser celestial beings in Hinduism such as Gandharvas or celestial musicians.
Contrarily, in Zoroastrianism and the Avesta, the Ahuras (Asura) are supreme, while the devas are demonic.
Devas and asuras also appear types of supernatural beings in traditional Buddhist cosmology. For information on this subject, see six lower realms.
- http://www.dvaita.org/shaastra/gita/gita_sara/gs-007.html (only one God in Hinduism, #56 and see Shri Krishna is the supreme God; #57.)
- http://www.godshiva.com/hipfaq.htm (see info on devas and one Supreme God.)