Enlightened Devas part of Sangha?

there are accounts of Devas who have attainted arahatship in their respective realm, including I believe Brahma Sahampati when telling the Buddha he should teach those with “little dust in their eyes”. I was wondering if they can and feel purpose in helping humanity just as the Sangha does in our realm. If teachers aren’t accessible, it’d be nice to know that there’s a hotline for assistance from other enlightened beings who haven’t parinibbana-ed.
I guess the other concern arises that we are still living in delusion, so how are we to know that we’ve accessed the right Deva, or just being delusional? It’s not as if we need to communicate directly, but I feel the power of intention to “give me a sign to provoke an insight” is enough.
For instance, I’m not sure the source of what made this scenario arise, but I overheard some morbid, negative speech while shopping the other day. I could tell the recipient was put off and probably offended by the speech. I walked away from the scenario “knowing” that was a teaching for myself to focus on keeping positive speech.
I could be totally delusional, but I feel as if any little reminder of Right Speech is always wholesome to practice. Could this among hundreds of other “hints” be messages from Devas? If so, can’t we anthropamorphize these Devas for our specific assistance in different areas of life?
I’m not saying I need to have this, or worship external forces. I believe I have to walk the path myself, but along the path there is conditioning towards wholesome states of mind which may include paying respect to specific Devas/arahants according to my attitude at the time, and where I’m inclined to develop.
Any thoughts would be appreciated. Sorry if this topic has already been tackled


If we believe in devas, then we can bring to mind the possibility that they may be watching us. To do so is the second of the two kinds of lokādhipateyya, “taking the world as one’s authority” (Bh. Bodhi) or “putting the world in charge” (Bh. Sujāto).

“And what, bhikkhus, is the world as one’s authority? Here, having gone to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty hut, a bhikkhu reflects thus: ‘I did not go forth from the household life into homelessness for the sake of a robe … but rather with the thought: “I am immersed in birth, old age, and death … Perhaps an ending of this entire mass of suffering can be discerned.” As one who has gone forth from the household life into homelessness, I might think sensual thoughts, thoughts of ill will, or thoughts of harming. But the abode of the world is vast. In the vast abode of the world there are ascetics and brahmins with psychic potency and the divine eye who know the minds of others. They see things from a distance but they are not themselves seen even when they’re close; they know the minds of others with their own mind. They would know me thus: “Look at this clansman: though he has gone forth from the household life into homelessness out of faith, he is tarnished by bad unwholesome states.” There are deities, too, with psychic potency and the divine eye who know the minds of others. They see even from a distance but are not seen themselves even when close; they too know the minds of others with their own mind. They too would know me thus: “Look at this clansman: though he has gone forth from the household life into homelessness out of faith, he is tarnished by bad unwholesome states.”’ He then reflects thus: ‘Energy will be aroused in me without slackening; mindfulness will be established without confusion; my body will be tranquil without disturbance; my mind will be concentrated and one-pointed.’ Having taken the world as his authority, he abandons the unwholesome and develops the wholesome; he abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless; he maintains himself in purity. This is called the world as one’s authority.

Ādhipateyyasutta (Bodhi tr.)

Ādhipateyyasutta (Sujāto tr.)


The whole Vana Samyutta is along the lines of what you are asking about, however there is no indication that they are noble disciples.

However the last sutta offers a nice balance…

“Indeed, O spirit, you understand me,
and you empathize with me.
Please speak to me again,
whenever you see something like this.”

“I’m no dependent of yours,
nor am I your servant.
You yourself should know, mendicant,
the way that leads to a good place.”


Interesting topic! I’m not sure the suttas are clear about whether any of the devas are fully enlightened, except for perhaps non-returners reborn in the brahmavihara realms. That said, there are a fair number of suttas relevant to your query that suggest, indeed, the devas can help us, at least indirectly. For example:

While sat on one side the Gracious One rejoiced the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra with these verses:
“In that place where he makes his dwelling, having entertained
The wise and virtuous here, the restrained, who live the spiritual life,
He should dedicate a gift to the devatās who are in that place.
“Honoured, they pay honour, revered, they revere him.
Thereafter they have compassion on him, as a mother on her own son,
A man whom the devatās have compassion on
always sees what is auspicious.”
Udana 8.6

In at least a couple of suttas, the Buddha taught lay people to recollect or reflect on the devas, see AN 3.70, AN 11.13.

Devas and Brahmas (gods) are mentioned so often in the EBTs, I don’t see how they can be ignored and discounted. In fact, according to the EBTs, if it weren’t for Brahma Sahampati urging the Buddha to teach, the Buddha would have remained passive and perhaps a non-teaching Buddha. See The Appeal of Brahma, SN 6.1. Moreover, a spirit of some sort urged Anathapindika when he was afraid and hesitant to go and meet the Buddha for the first time in SN 10.8. There are too many references to devas, gods, and Brahma in the suttas to list them all.

So, to me, it seems clear in the EBTs that the devas and gods are real and influence our lives. However, it’s not so clear to me how we can interact with them and develop a positive relationship with them. It does seem like there’s enough guidance in the EBTs, however, to make some progress in this regard, if we’re so inclined. It’s definitely something I’ve been exploring recently and such explorations tend to gladden my mind. Hope this helps:-)