Regarding the Devas
Dec 31, 1994 09:45 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker
Regarding the Devas -- by Eldon Tucker
There are a number of books published by the Adyar
Theosophical Society on Devas, angels, fairies, nature
spirits, and similar beings. Some books contain detailed
color paintings, depicting them. How do they fit in the
theosophical scheme of things?
The term "deva" is Sanskrit, and means god. The
script that Sanskrit is written in, for instance, is
devanagri, the language of the gods. Devas are
associated with the powers inherent in nature.
In Theosophy, there is no such thing as inert
matter, or as blind force. Everything is alive, all
action is the result of living beings. Even the forces
of mother nature, that shape and fashion the sea, land,
and sky, are the product of lives. We see about us the
results of both visible and invisible beings, all
playing their part in the drama of life.
Living beings are grouped into major classes called
the Kingdoms. We give the Kingdoms names based upon what
we know of them here, on our physical earth. On other
planes (on the other globes of our planetary chain) they
may appear quite different.
The Kingdoms with visible bodies on our earth are
the Mineral, the Plant, the Animal, and the Human.
Higher than the Human, but no longer visible, are the
three Kingdoms of the Dhyani-Chohans. At the other end
of the evolutionary scale, lower than the Mineral, are
the three Kingdoms of the Elementals, also invisible on
our world except for their effects.
(It should be noted that the Kingdoms contain
Monads, eternal Spirits, in a certain stage of spiritual
evolution. The Kingdoms are not the forms or bodies that
their members inhabit. A Mineral Monad, for instance, is
a Monad undergoing a certain stage of growth, and is not
limited or defined by a crystal, a pocket of limestone,
or some other collection of material substance. Mineral
Monads are at the first stage of physical
representation, and may have difficulty maintaining a
well-defined physical form.)
Some theosophical writers have suggested,
mistakenly, that there is a dual track to evolution.
They describe an alternate evolutionary path that
bypasses physical existence and where Monads go through
a Deva Kingdom instead of the Human Kingdom. Every Monad
needs to evolve through the Human Kingdom. The
progression through the Kingdoms represents a
progressive unfolding of self-conscious faculties, and
there is not a single step that can be bypassed, missed,
or taken out of order.
What, then, are the Devas? While a few references
to Devas in Eastern literature may mean the Dhyani-
Chohans, most often we mean the Elementals, we mean
Monads in the Elemental Kingdoms.
The Devas are pre-physical. They look down upon the
world from a higher vantage point. They act as
guardians. Their action of conscious observation
creates the physical, material basis of our world. The
Devas or Elementals create the substance side of
nature. They have no shape or form of their own, but
copy and borrow forms; they are apprentices to having
forms to represent themselves. Even the Mineral
Kingdom needs their will to exist, their desire or
drive towards physicality, in order to take on forms
and lead an embodied existence.
Each Kingdom draws upon the lower ones for its
upadhi or basis of existence. Consider the Human
Kingdom. The thing that distinguishes us from the
animals is the human Ego or consciousness. Both we and
the animals have an animal nature and consciousness. The
animals are lacking a human Ego; they are Animal Monads
in the Animal Kingdom. To get into the Human Kingdom
they need an association with a Human Monad. With such
an association, they are Animal Monads in the Human
Kingdom, and at the end of the current cycle of
evolution (Planetary Manvantara) they will graduate into
Human Monads. Each of us has an animal nature, which is
really an Animal Monad which we use as the vehicle for
our human consciousness; were we not in association with
them, our animal natures would be Animal Monads in the
At some distant time in the future, we will be
enfilled with gods. Each of us with be in relationship
with his inner divinity. At that time, we will be Human
Monads in a Dhyani-Chohanic Kingdom.
Looking back in time, materiality arose out of the
Elemental Kingdoms. The matter or substance of our world
arose as Elementals in the Mineral Kingdom. And there
are Elementals in the Plant, Animal, and Human Kingdoms
as well. For us, as humans, how do we relate to the
They are involved with the basis for material
existence. The Elementals create the dynamic tension
that allows for the separation of spirit and matter.
They give expression to the contents of our
The highest Elementals or Devas are grandly wise,
being of the nature of pure spirit. The intermediary are
of a nature that we can understand and relate to. The
lowest are hostile and an evil influence on us, being of
the nature of the most gross of matter, the dregs of
Devas are not created at some point of time. They
are Monads that happen to be in the Elemental Kingdoms.
As Monads, they are eternal, which means not only
endless, but also beginningless as well. Consider an
Elemental of thought. When we create a new thought, and
fashion it out of the generic "thought substance", we
have created a thought-form. That form provides the
"body" for a manasic Elemental, for an Elemental
associated with Manas. The Elemental was not created out
of nothing at that point; it was reembodied.
The Devas populate all the elements of nature, on
all the different planes. They help provide the basis
for the physical world. And they animate, they give life
and motion to images in the astral light as well. When
we speak of an occultist as gaining power over the
forces of nature, we refer to his invoking and
controlling great Elementals, Elementals of tremendous
It's important to mention that when we consider the
big picture of life, the grand sweep of evolution, we
are not necessarily "higher" than the Elementals. So
when we speak of the Devas as being the same as the
Elementals, we have not necessarily demoted them to a
lower place in the scheme of things.
Spiritual evolution is cyclic. There are big
cycles, and yet bigger ones. The entire evolution of the
Monad into matter and back to spirit, through the
Kingdoms from the lowest Elemental to the highest
Dhyani-Chohan, is a cycle of evolution. Each step along
the way is measured by a Planetary Manvantara. Each such
step fills a time period of one Day of Brahma. The
entire sweep of evolution depicted, then, is a week, or
ten days in Brahma's life. But there are 36,000 days in
the Life of Brahma. There certainly are not 36,000
Kingdoms to evolve through! It is clear that we cycle
through the Kingdoms, again and again, and learn
something more with each such dip into matter.
From the standpoint of our repeated evolution into
matter, it is arrogant to feel superior to the
Elementals or Devas. Certain Elemental Monads may be far
older, far wiser, far more evolved than we are, having
had many more evolutions into matter than we have had!
Picture a young boy, a recent rebirth of a old, wise
soul, someone of high spiritual evolution. Compare him
to an old but foolish man, someone not so evolved. The
boy is physically younger, but in his inner nature he is
far wiser, far older, far more evolved. The same may be
true of some Monads in lower Kingdoms of Nature. They
may be far wiser, far older, far more evolved than most.
Who is to say?
All our fellow Monads, of whatever Kingdom, deserve
our respect and appreciation. We are coplayers in the
eternal game of existence. Let's appreciate all our
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