Thus have I heard. Once upon a time the Blessed One (the Buddha) was staying near Savatthi, at Jeta Grove in the millionaire's monastery.
When the night was nearly past, a certain fairy (deva) that lit up the entire Jeta Grove with her surpassing splendor approached the Blessed One.
Having drawn near and bowed, she stood respectfully to one side.*
|Classic fairy (Luis R. Falero, 1888)|
The word is related to the English words diva, deity, and divinity from the Latin deus, "god" in the Greek and Roman sense of the word, "demigod" or "godling," and Western religious "angel" or "archangel." When the term is applied to a human, it usually designates a royal (a legendary hybrid human-deva left behind to rule mere mortals, an honorific title like the one applied to the Buddha's mother Maya Devi).
The devas are angelically beautiful, like Pleiadians and Lyrians, Venutians and the women of Aldebaran. The bodies of devas -- be they lowly fairies or magnificent space beings more brilliant than celestial bodies, planets and suns -- are more subtle and purer than human bodies. They radiate more light. (Auras? Western science now confirms that human bodies emit light, not just devas).
The period before dawn-- the third watch of the night -- is the usual time for such beings to visit the Enlightened One, the Buddha. One of his titles, after all, is sattha deva-manussanam, a "teacher of gods (devas) and humans.