Angels of the Bhagavad Gita

Angels in Hinduism

Holi Festival Hindu Bhavagad Gita
The Holi Festival of the Colors, a Hindu event in India. The Bhavagad Gita describes angelic beings that are different from angels in other faiths. Poras Chaudhary/Getty Images

The Bhagavad Gita is Hinduism’s main sacred text. While Hinduism doesn’t feature angels in the sense that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do, Hinduism does include a myriad of spiritual beings who act in angelic ways. In Hinduism, such angelic beings include major gods (like Lord Krishna, the Bhagavad Gita’s author), minor gods (called “devas” for male deities and "devis" for female deities), human gurus (spiritual teachers who have developed the divinity inside them), and ancestors who have passed away.

Spiritual Yet Appearing in Material Form

Hinduism’s divine beings are spiritual in nature, yet often appear to people in material form looking like human beings. In art, Hindu divine beings are usually depicted as especially handsome or beautiful people. Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita that his appearance may sometimes be confusing to people who lack spiritual understanding: “Fools deride me in my divine human form, unable to comprehend my supreme nature as the ultimate controller of all living entities.”

Some Helpful, Some Harmful

Divine beings can either help or harm people’s spiritual journeys. Many of the angelic beings, such as the devas and devis, are benevolent spirits who positively influence people and work to protect them. But angelic beings called asuras are evil spirits who exert negative influences over people and can harm them.

Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita describes some qualities of both good and evil spiritual beings, with good spirits marked by characteristics such as charity, nonviolence, and truthfulness and evil spirits marked by characteristics like pride, anger, and ignorance.

As verse 6 notes, in part: "There are only two types of created beings in the material worlds; the divine and the demoniac." Verse 5 says that, "The divine nature is considered the cause of liberation and the demoniac nature the cause of bondage." Verse 23 cautions: "One who transgresses the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures whimsically acting under the impulse of desire, never attains perfection, neither happiness nor the supreme goal."

Imparting Wisdom

One of the main ways the angelic beings help people is by communicating spiritual knowledge to them that will help them grow in wisdom. In Bhagavad Gita 9:1, Krishna writes that the knowledge he is providing through that sacred text will help readers “be liberated from this miserable material existence.”

Connecting Spiritually With Those Who Worship Them

People can choose to direct their worship toward any of the various types of divine beings, and they’ll spiritually connect with the type of being they choose to worship. “Worshipers of the demigods go to the demigods, worshipers of the ancestors go to the ancestors, worshipers of the ghosts and spirits go to the ghosts and spirits, and my worshipers certainly come to me,” proclaims Bhagavad Gita 9:25.

Giving Earthly Blessings

The Bhagavad Gita declares that if people make sacrifices to both major and minor gods (demigods like devas and devis) that act in angelic ways, those sacrifices will appease the divine beings and lead to people obtaining the blessings they desire in their lives. Bhagavad Gita 3:10-11 says in part: “… by the performance of sacrifice may you evolve and prosper; let sacrifice bestow all that is desirable for you.

By this sacrifice unto the Supreme Lord, the demigods are propitiated; the demigods being propitiated will mutually propitiate you and you will obtain supreme blessings.”

Sharing Heavenly Pleasures

Angelic beings will "enjoy the celestial pleasures of the demigods in heaven" that they share with people who grow spiritually enough to reach heaven, reveals Bhagavad Gita 9:20.

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Hopler, Whitney. "Angels of the Bhagavad Gita." ThoughtCo, Feb. 13, 2017, Hopler, Whitney. (2017, February 13). Angels of the Bhagavad Gita. Retrieved from Hopler, Whitney. "Angels of the Bhagavad Gita." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).