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Devata(s), in Hinduism, are a group of lesser gods and spirits. There are many classes of devatas including tree spirits, water spirits, village gods, demons of disease, and so on. All are believed to have specific attributes and powers, usually related to a specific villager: for example, Goddess Sinivali is still invoked during childbirth; Sitala, to remove smallpox; Anna-purna, to ensure a bountiful harvest. In the Upanishads, devata refers to potency within the cosmos. A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 272

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