Ishta devata is the term in Hinduism for a worshipper’s personal preferred deity. Because Hindus may worship many gods and goddesses or their incarnations, they may choose one beloved deity as their focus for devotion.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, ishta devata is not a deity but an enlightened being with whom a person identifies during personal meditation. In this sense, it is often translated as “meditational deity.” It is also a key component of Deity yoga, in which the yogi imagines him/herself in the form of the Buddha.
Ishta devata comes from the Sanskrit, ishta, meaning “desired,” “cherished” or “preferred”; and devata, meaning “godhead” or “divinity.” It translates as “cherished divinity.”