Pali used by devas/gods/in heavenly realms?

I have heard few times an information that Pali language is used by all devas/gods/in heavenly realms and I wounder if this is a sutta based information and EBT especially?

According to the biography of Venerable Ajahn Mun, he would teach devas using the language of the heart, which is wordless and much more effective than any spoken language because it conveys ideas, concepts, emotions, etc. directly, rather than the imprecise delivery afforded by mundane language.

May your day be bright!



No, the EBTs make no such claim.


I was told once by a learned monk that Buddhagose wrote that if children were left without acquiring any language, they would then naturally speak Pali! I never saw that in text but I was assured it’s there. Does anyone know anything about this? Venerable @sujato?

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This experiment has indeed been done under an emperor in Europe in the middle ages or so. Children were given to care persons who were only allowed to feed them and clean them mechanically without talking to them in any way in order to find out what language they would naturally speak.

The result was they did not speak any language, they would just die! For children need a bit more than just mechanical care in order to survive… :cry:


Oh no! They could have at least given the poor children to a loving woman who did not speak! Even if just for the sake of the experiment’s success! No mammal would survive maternal deprivation of that sort, not without going mad!

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Yes, I believe it’s in the Visuddhimagga, or perhaps another commentary. Pali is regarded as the sabhāvanirutti, the “essential language”.


Thanks a lot for the confirmation Venerable @sujato. “That’s it!” Now my objections about Buddhagosa are secure!!

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Don’t know exactly what kind of sounds are made, or whether it’s just a telepathic communication that appears in the mind as sound, but in KN Itivuttkuka: (thanissaro trans.)

Itivuttaka 82

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: “Monks, these three divine sounds (deva-saddā) sound forth among the devas on appropriate occasions. Which three? When a disciple of the noble ones, shaving off his hair & beard, clothing himself in the ochre robe, makes up his mind to go forth from the home life into homelessness, on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: ‘This disciple of the noble ones has made up his mind to do battle with Māra.’ This is the first divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

“When a disciple of the noble ones lives devoted to developing the seven [sets of] qualities that are wings to awakening,1 on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: ‘This disciple of the noble ones is doing battle with Māra.’ This is the second divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

“When a disciple of the noble ones, through the ending of effluents, dwells in the effluent-free awareness-release & discernment-release, directly knowing & realizing it for himself right in the here-&-now, on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: ‘This disciple of the noble ones has won the battle. Having been in the front lines of the battle, he now dwells victorious.’ This is the third divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

“These are the three divine sounds that sound forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.”

Seeing he’s won the battle

–the disciple of the Rightly

Self-awakened One–

even the devas pay homage

to this great one, thoroughly mature.

“Homage to you, O thoroughbred man–

you who have won the hard victory,

defeating the army of Death,

unhindered in


Thus they pay homage, the devas,

to one who has reached the heart’s goal,

for they see in him no means2

that would bring him under Death’s sway.


  1. The wings to awakening are the four establishings of mindfulness, the four right exertions, the four bases for power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors for awakening, and the noble eightfold path.

  2. Reading na passanti with the Sri Lankan edition. The Thai edition reads, namassanti, “they pay homage,” which makes no sense.

I’ve had at least one experience where I’m positive a deva, or some friendly unseen being mentally put an idea in my head. I can’t recall exactly if it was a mental “voice” I heard, or just a direct thought that I translated into a mental voice. But I’m positive the idea didn’t originate from me. I had just come out of a long meditation, and as I exited the meditation hall the voice said to me, “close your eyes and look”. I was standing, with my eyes closed, for one minute I was given a vision of a scene that was as clear if my eyes were open, of some other place, perhaps another time.

My mom had an experience once where she was about to leave her apartment, and an image of a bodhisattva that she has near the front door compelled her to stare at it. Usually she walks out the door without looking at the picture. Short time later (maybe 10 seconds?), a large tree fell right outside of the apartment. If my mom had walked out when she intended, she would have been struck down dead by the tree.

A monk told me when he was in a forest monastery in Sri Lanka, where there are lots of dangerous poisonous creatures wandering about. One time he was taking a late night stroll in the forest, with his flash light, he heard a voice that said, “watch out! snake!”. There were no people around. He slowed down his walking, and another 10 feet later, there was a poisonous snake in his path.

Many more stories like that.

The moral of the story is keep your precepts well, you’ll often have friends in high places who give you a helping hand when you need it.


The Sanskrit word for ‘Sanskrit’ is ‘Devanagari’ (the language - or alphabet - of the Deva’s). It seems that Pali has got a rival? I imagine the Roman Catholic Church believed they spoke Latin in heaven before they changed their liturgy and allowed it to be said in different languages. When they do their liturgy you would hope that the ‘heavenly host’ would be able to relate to what is being said! Jesus may have delivered his teachings in Aramaic - praying to his heavenly father/mother! What about the Shaman’s and their chants and communications with the nature devas? I imagine a Shaman would transmogrify the communications they receive from the spirit-world? I wonder if we first found out about the spirit-realm through the communications received from nature devas? Its interesting how the word ‘samana’ and ‘shaman’ are related - at least this is what I read somewhere? Hmm … I guess words may be somewhat redundant if you were a being of pure radiance with telepathic abilities? Is there a pre-lingual telepathy where mind to mind transmissions take place that are not mediated through words? I would hope that a Deva could just ‘blast me’ with their loving kindness so I new ‘intuitively’ that I was in good company. When you are spending time in the company of those with ‘good vibes’ words are often redundant.

If children are brought up by a mother who did not speak it would not mean that she could not communicate with them another way - she could teach them sign language. In the ‘new testament’ it talks about the gift of speaking in tongues! This is said to give the ‘gifted one’ the ability to speak in their native tongue and be understood by their listeners in their own language. Perhaps the devas speak their own languages and can be understood through a similar supernatural process? There is that Sutta where the ‘deva’ sang the Buddha a love song to try and coax him out of Samadhi. The Buddha was meditating in a cave and some high-profile devas had come to visit in the hope of hearing the teachings. The Buddha complimented the Deva on the poetic quality of his composition and reinterpreted its meaning in the light of the Dharma. If we new what language he sang in we would have an insight into a Deva-language. Unfortunately, modern recording devices were not available at the time as it took another 2500 years to develop them!