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Re: Definitions of visvadevas & pracetas?
Date: Mon Nov 09 1998 - 07:52:53 PST

Dear Bhagavatas:

May I supplement (and NOT meant to supplant) the illuminating treatise of
Sreeman Sadagopan Swami on the subject?

Viswa-Devas, Viswe-Devas no doubt refers to "All the gods," They are a group
of indeterminate Gods In the Vedas, they form a class of nine or ten in
number. They are addressed in the Vedas as "preservers of men, bestowers of
rewards" Later, it came to be applied to a class of deities accepting
sacrificial offerings. There are several accounts of Viswedevas but they vary
both in number and names. While what Sri Sadagopan has mentioned is one such
list, another list found in Vishnu Purana runs like this:
1.Vasu 2. Satya 3. Kratu 4. Daksha 5. Kaala 6. Kaama 7. Dhriti 8. Kuru 
9. Pururavas and 10. Maadravas. In some accounts, two others are added viz
Rochaka or Lochana and Dhuri or Dhwani.- vide Vishnu Purana Hall's Edition

The word means "awareness". According to some accounts there were ten
Prachetasas who were sons of "Praacheenabarhis" and great grandsons of
"Prithu." According to Vishnu Purana, they spent ten thousand years in the
great ocean meditating deeply on lord Vishnu and obtained from him the boon of
becoming the progenitors of mankind.  Prachetas was thus one of the

Vasus are a class of manes.They are usually referred to as Ashta (8) Vasus and
considered along with Ekadasa (11) Rudras and Dwadasa (12) Adityas (Sovereign
principles) considered to dwell in the Pitruloka. We offer Til and Water on
Amavasya and other Pitru days for our parents, grandparents and Great grand
parents represented respectively by Vasu, Rudra and Aditya. They were
considered in Vedic times as the personification of natural phenomena or
spheres of existence or dwellings 

According to Vishnu Puranam 1-15-111 they are 1. Aapa (water) 2. Dhruva (Pole
Star) 3. Soma (Moon) 4. Dharma (Sustenance) 5. Anila (Wind) 6. Anala (fire) 7.
Prathyusha (Dawn) and 8. Prabhaasa (Light). 

Mahabharata 1-66-19, however, lists them differently, substituting Dhara
(Flow) for Aapa, and Aha (day) for Dharma in the above list. They were
depicted as the attendants of Indra. According to Ramayana, they were children
of Aditi.
Anbil Ramaswamy