The Deva (十二神将, Jūni Shinshou; lit. "Twelve Heavenly Generals" or alternatively 十二神, Jūnishin; lit. "Twelve Deities") are a group of twelve Perfect-level Digimon who are the followers of the Four Holy Beasts; each one has three Deva assigned to them who, with the exception of the viral Andiramon, also share their Attribute.
They are based on the Twelve Heavenly Generals, a group of Hindu Yakṣa, a term in which the group are also referred to collectively as, who were incorporated into Buddhist mythology as the servants and protectors of the Bhaiṣajyaguru. The term "Deva" itself refers to the plethora of deities and other supernatural beings that the Twelve Heavenly Generals belong to. In Japan, by the end of the Heian Period, the generals eventually became conflated with the animals of the Chinese zodiac in Japanese Buddhism, and so they became representative of those figures.
The Deva share many similarities beyond their basis, most of which are heavily influenced by the depiction of the Twelve Heavenly Generals in the Butsuzōzui (佛像圖彙), an illustrated compendium of Buddhist images that was originally published in three volumes in 1690 which categorized and organized deities. Nearly all of the Deva have three horns and red eyes, and each wears Chinese-styled armor with a red or purple scarf. Furthermore, each Deva's Special Move is named after one of the twenty-eight Naraka mentioned in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, which usually has some relation either to the Deva's zodiac animal or weapon through the literal meaning or description of that Naraka.
The Deva each have a Bīja character displayed on them, written in Siddhaṃ script. In a similar manner to the Chinese zodiac, the Twelve Heavenly Generals were also assimilated into the Honji suijaku paradigm where they were seen as local manifestations of eternal Buddhist figures. Those figures, consisting of a mixture of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, were referred to as "honji" (本地) or "honjibutsu" (本地仏). Although the honji and the generals that are assigned to them are not always consistent, in the case of the Deva, their designations are based on those displayed in the Butsuzōzui. Almost all of the Bīja characters coupled with each general correspond to the ones that are associated with the honji in which they are assigned to.
Each of the Deva also wields a signature weapon which is named in Chinese, with the form "Bǎo X" (宝X), where "X" is a generic type of weapon. This is a reference to the fact that Yakṣa were the guardian deities of the earth's treasure in Hindu mythology. The configuration of the weapons that the Twelve Heavenly Generals wield vary in different media, and although the weapons that the Deva used are concatenated from those media, most of the ones assigned to them are based on those written in the Butsuzōzui but with their respective general listed in reverse order.