Deva is the Hindu term for deity; devatas (Devanagari: देवता, Khmer: tevoda (ទេវតា), Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, Malay and Indonesian: dewata; Philippine languages: diwata), are a kind of smaller more focused devas. The term "devata" also means devas (deva in plural form or the gods). They are male and female devata. There are many kinds of devatas: vanadevatas (forest spirits, perhaps descendants of early nature-spirit cults), gramadevata (village gods), devata of river crossings, caves, mountains, and so on. In Hinduism, the devatas that guard the nine cardinal points are called Devata Lokapala (Guardians of the Directions) or in ancient Java called Dewata Nawa Sanga (Nine guardian gods). Every human activity has its devata, its spiritual counterpart or aspect.
Hindu devatas in the Konkan region are often divided into five categories: 1. Grama devatas - or village deities, for example, Hanuman, Kalika, Amba, Bhairava. 2. Sthana devatas - or local deities, for example, those in certain places of pilgrimage like Rama in Nasik, Vithoba in Pandharpur or Krishna at Dwarka. 3. Kula devatas - or family deities, like Khanderai. 4. Ishta devatas - or Chosen deities, 5. Wastu devatas or Gruha devatas - or a class of deities that preside over the house.
Some well-known Hindu-Buddhist heavenly beings belong to the group of devatas, such as apsara or vidhyadari; heavenly maiden sent by Indra from svarga to seduces the meditating ascetics, and their male counterparts; gandharvas; the heavenly musicians. Devatas often occur in Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and also some Buddhist holy scriptures. The island of Bali is nicknamed Pulau Dewata (Indonesian: "islands of devata or island of gods"), because of its vivid Hindu culture and traditions. In Bali, there are many offerings dedicated to hyang, the guardian spirits associated with devata.
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- Chopra, Deepak: Life after Death, The Burden of Proof, Chapter 11 "Guides and Messengers" Three Rivers Press, 2008.
- Devata.org - Research on Khmer Women in Divine Context
- Photos and Articles about Devata temples in Cambodia, Thailand & Laos