Devas

Hindu and Buddhist Deities Act Like Angels

deva statue
A statue of a deva at a monastery in Hong Kong, China. Ken Welsh/Getty Images

Devas are Hindu and Buddhist deities who act in angelic ways, such as guarding and praying for people, as traditional angels in some other religions do. In Hinduism and Buddhism, believers say that every living thing -- person, animal, or plant -- has an angelic being called a deva (male) or devi (female) assigned to guard it and help it grow and prosper. Each deva or devi acts like divine energy, inspiring and motivating the person or other living thing that it guards to better understand the universe and become one with it.

The name "devas" means "shining ones" because devas are beings who have achieved spiritual enlightenment.

"Devas can be defined as forms, images, or expressions through which the essences and energy forces of the Creator or Great Spirit can be transmitted, or forms through which a specific form of Earth energy or life force can be transmitted for a specific purpose," writes Nathaniel Altman in his book The Deva Handbook: How to Work with Nature's Subtle Energies.

Guarding God's Creation

Devas act like guardian angels toward all of the different parts of the natural environment that God has created.

"They have been considered luminous energy principles that stand behind all phenomena, and they work both with nature and with the cosmos to guide the evolution of life," Altman writes in The Deva Handbook. "There are literally thousands of different types of devas, ranging from the tiniest wildflower dryad to the greatest solar archangel, and the realm of the devas is as great as the universe itself."

So not only does every person have devas watching over them, Hindus and Buddhists believe, but so does every animal on the planet (even the smallest insects), as well as every plant (down to individual blades of grass). Everyone and everything that is alive is infused with energy from God and protected by devas.

Sending Spiritual Energy to Living Things

As devas guard the living things they're assigned to care for -- from rocks to people -- they send spiritual energy to those things. The energy from devas inspires and motivates the living being to discover more about the universe and become one with it in unity.

The archangels in charge of the four natural elements on Earth are considered high-ranking devas.

Archangel Raphael represents the natural element of air. Raphael oversees angels (devas) who work on healing and prosperity issues. Archangel Michael represents the natural element of fire. Michael supervises angelic devas who work on issues relating to truth and courage. Archangel Gabriel represents the natural element of water. Gabriel oversees angels (devas) who help others understand God's messages and communicate them clearly. Archangel Uriel represents the natural element of earth. Uriel supervises angelic devas who work on the topics of knowledge and wisdom.

"These great 'angels of the elements' are aided by devas who guide the evolution of different plant, animal, and insect species, as well as every group, division, and classification of every rock and mineral," writes Altman in The Deva Handbook.

Working Together in a Vast Network

There are so many devas that they're innumerable, believers say.

"While there has never been a 'deva census' some students of devas speculate that they can easily number in the billions, and that there are probably more devas populating the Earth than humans and other animals combined," Altman writes in The Deva Handbook.

This huge amount of devas work together in a vast network that is intricately connected, sending energy back and forth according to God's design, to nurture every part of God's creation.