The most obvious candidate "deva" is now an English word and needs no translation:

Merriam Webster:

Definition of deva plural -s : a divine being or god in Hinduism and Buddhism

From wiki,

This is a list of notable offspring of a deity with a mortal, in mythology and modern fiction. Such entities are sometimes referred to as demigods, although the term "demigod" can also refer to a minor deity, or great mortal hero with god-like valour and skills, who sometimes attains divine status after death.[citation needed]

Since "demigod" is practically never used in Hinduism for mortal heroes - it seems have devolved into a term of denigration (minor deity) used primarily by Hare Krishnas whose works have "demigod" strewn everywhere.

Is this term of any value to translate Hindu scriptures for Hindus?

  • 1
    Devata or Deva is simply God.. Para Devata is Supreme God.. Demi God mite Upa Devata :P
    – Rickross
    Apr 8, 2018 at 5:48
  • 4
    It's the ISKCON who started this demi god, Supreme personality of Godhead, plenary portion of portion of portion of plenary portion et cetera
    – user14995
    Apr 8, 2018 at 8:28

2 Answers 2


Only Upa-devatA can translate to demi-god but not sure if this term is anywhere to be found in the scriptures at all.

Translating Deva or DevatA to simply "god" or "a divine being" or "deity" will be the correct thing to do. There is nothing in the words that translate to demi.

Those people, who started using demi-god for Deva in translations, consider Lord Vishnu as the supreme deity. But Vishnu himself is being mentioned as a "Deva" in Vedas many a times.

See the following Mantras from the Rig Veda (RV). Both these Mantras have Vishnu as their deity:

paro mAtrayA tanvA vrdhAna,
na te mahitvam anvashnuvanti,
ubhe te vidma rajasi prithivyA,
vishno deva tvam paramasya vitse ||

Men do not comprehend your greatness, who is increasing with a body beyond measure. We know these two heavens beginning with the earth. But Vishnu Deva, you are the knower of the highest.

RV 7.99.1

trir devah prithivim esha etAm vi chakrame,
shatarchasam mahitvA,
pra vishnur astu tavasah taviyAn,
tvesham hi asya sthavirasya nAma ||

With three steps, this god traversed the three earths, by his greatness which has many lustres. May Vishnu, the most mighty, rule over us, for luminous is the name of the firm one.

RV 7.100.3

So, will they also translate these "deva"-s to demi-god?

  • Gods are also called asuras in Vedas! The meaning of words-names changes according to context. As that deva means divine being. The Vishnu who one of 33 yajna gods is a divine being. Apr 9, 2018 at 6:23
  • What context? There is nothing in the Sanskrit word Deva that translates to demi.. Deva means god.. @AnubhavJha
    – Rickross
    Apr 9, 2018 at 6:43
  • vamana is a deva, that context. Apr 9, 2018 at 6:46
  • 1
    I know demi God is false translation btw. Even supreme gods are called mahadev-adideva Apr 9, 2018 at 6:47

demi-God translates to devta,dev,devi,bhagvan

God translates to ishvara,svyamabhu bhagvan, supreme being

For example:

you say "indra dev","indra bhagvan". But you never say "indra as ishvara"

but you conceptualise "vishnu" as ishvara in smartism and vaishnavism, but not in shaivism

you conceptualise "shiva" as ishvara in smartism and shaivism, but not in vaishnavism

Hence, indra is demi-god in smartism , vaishnavism, shaivism,shaktism etc(in all branches)

  • also related hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/368/…
    – zaxebo1
    Apr 8, 2018 at 1:48
  • 3
    @S.K.: again 'it seems what you beleive as "whole of hinduism" ' is just "smartism part of hinduism' . You have to make acquaintence yourself with shaktism, where devi creates vishnu,shiva in each cycle of creation. You need to make acquiatances to pure shaivism, where vishnu is subservient of shiva, or he may not even exist separately. You may read madhvacharya's dvaitavada, where only krishna and radha exist as supreme god and vishnu is krishna's form.
    – zaxebo1
    Apr 8, 2018 at 1:59
  • 1
    Unfortunately, he targets Vaishnavas only. @zaxebo1
    – user9969
    Apr 8, 2018 at 9:16
  • 1
    Read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuddhadvaita and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… about more such Krishna worshipping sect of vallabhacharya (1479-1531), in which Krishna is supreme. Although i am non-sectarian, but for daily practices if i personally follow (godless) sankhya, then it does not mean that I should become blind to fact that Hinduism has Pustimarga sect( which is a major sect ) too since 15th century, and innumerable such sects - which worship one particular deity as supreme & do not consider any other God as equal or semi-equal .
    – zaxebo1
    Apr 8, 2018 at 15:14
  • 3
    additionally i have even myself comprehensively criticized "Hare krishna movement's mis-interpretation of Gita verse" in my answer here hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/26343/13287 . (but still i do not proclaim them non-hindu or bad hindu or good hindu; they are just a sect with their own worldview, just like every sect has its own)
    – zaxebo1
    Apr 8, 2018 at 22:22

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