In the last few months I have had conversations with people about communicating with heavenly Devas or divine beings. I really cannot comment on this because the way I see it – it is not that easy to do.
Venerable (Ven.) Sariputta the great had tremendous concentration power and his Wisdom was equal to the Lord Buddha. Ven. Sariputta told Ven. Maha Moggallana that he couldn’t even see ‘devil’s dust’! There is a discourse where Ven. Sariputta was deep in Samadhi and a Yakkha (ogre) hit him on the head with a club the size of an elephant. Ven. Maha Moggallana witnessed this and asked Ven. Sariputta how he was feeling, Ven. Sariputta replied ‘I have a slight headache’, to which Ven. Maha Moggallana cried out in amazement and then explained what he saw to Ven. Sariputta.
Ven. Sariputta at this point praised Ven. Maha Moggallana on his abilities and then said ‘ I cannot see devil’s dust’. I recommend you read that discourse for further knowledge and to know the story in full.
Ven. Maha Moggallana had all the psychic (Abhinna – without Pali italics) attainments as well great Maha Samadhi (concentration). In fact Ven. Maha Moggallana was known as being equal to the Lord Buddha in psychic attainments. This being said how does a person who has not developed Samadhi, nor any psychic attainment have the ability to speak on regular occasion with heavenly devas?
Ven. Sariputta was not able to. He is an Arahant as well. Many Arahants had to be trained by the Lord Buddha to see certain deities and devas as was recorded in the ‘Great meeting’.
Not to sound synical or doubtful why would a heavenly being want to make contact with a human? I can think of a few reasons; perhaps a heavenly being was a father or mother or relative in a past human life and similarly a good friend. Perhaps heavenly beings make contact with certain people because of worldly situations i.e. maybe contact people of influence to avoid tragedy or disaster. Anything is possible so I am not skeptical at all but open for discussion.
To some degree the normal person (one who is not an Arahant, nor has the development of Samadhi or psychic powers) could probably talk to heavenly beings because of the reasons above mentioned. However how does one know that it is not in fact Mara making contact? How does one distinguish this in a normal everyday frame of mind?
Mara has fooled us over and over. Delusion is powerful. Greed is powerful. Hatred is powerful. Imagination is powerful. Avijja (state of ignorance – not knowing, not seeing) is powerful and only the Arahant has extinguished Avijja.
To rule out divine connection is not wise. However if an Arahant like the great Ven. Sariputta was able to see only ‘devil’s dust’ (at least from what the texts say) what chances does anyone else have?
Many Arahants on the other hand could see and communicate with beings beyond the human realm. Yogis, Brahmans, and many other people are able and do communicate with beings beyond the human realm. I have read about this and have met many people that claim they can. I am open in mind to see it as a possibility.
The nitty gritty. What usefulness is there to communicate with beings beyond the human realm? This is the crux of it all. Perhaps it is exciting? To me this seems a waste of time when the Dhamma is there in our hearts to be realised. No-being can save any other being from death. All beings have to realise for themselves.
I will never know about communicating with beings from other realms as my attitude is why would they want to talk to me? What is so special about me that a being from the heavenly realms would wisk on down to earth to have a chat with little old me!? I guess it is fun, exciting and mysterious but for me it doesn’t interest me so much like it used to some time ago.
Right now I am too concerned with my own development and frankly speaking to others sometimes is helpful and sometimes it is not. The Lord Buddha makes clear that the fourth Noble Truth has to be cultivated and developed. This in itself is a task for me – a big bone to chew on for now. Distraction is tempting when in the trenches becareful not to stray from the goal and get lost in exciting impermanent things. This is one of my greatest fears to be lost in delusion, excitement and die without realising Nibbana.
In summary is it useful to chase heavenly beings around? Please note that the Arahant has realised Nibbana. Many beings in heaven have not. The Lord Buddha makes this clear in the discourse ‘The Top of the standard’. In other words how does one know they are getting good advice? Moreover how does one know it is not a trick? A Mara trick? Scary stuff.
Peace of mind, steadiness of mind, tranquility of mind comes from letting go not from getting involved in things out there. Think about it. If the King of Spain or Thailand was to talk to you or communicate with you would this cause realisation? Or is it just exciting? It is too easy to get distracted and forget about the potential of the heart and mind that can be cultivated with persistent cultivation and development.
Let the devas go, focus on your practice.