(Last Updated on : 16/08/2014)
Demon, in Indian mythology
, has been described as a supernatural being with bad qualities. All over India, these demons are believed to exist. Almost every Hindu works contain the reference of these malicious or mischievous demons. Most of the demons are supposed to have been originally human beings. It is believed that the persons who had met with a sudden or violent death, especially if they had made themselves dreaded in their life-time then they get transformed into demons. Therefore, demons may either be male or female, of low or high caste, of Hindu or foreign lineage. All demons are however, powerful, malicious and interfering and all are desirous of bloody sacrifices and frantic dances.
Concept of Demons in India
There are different legends from every part of India about the malicious acts of demons and their worships. Many primitive illiterate tribes worship the demons like gods and goddesses. But this practise of worshipping demons results only in the evil powers. In all Brahmanical myths
the demons are represented as the ancient enemies of the Gods, as warring against the Gods and sometimes gaining the upper hand. The demons are described there as the inventors and special patrons of bloody sacrifices. Every new deity grains prodigious victories over the demons and yet somehow they never are thoroughly conquered. In all Brahmanical books and legends in which the state of the original inhabitants of Peninsular India is described, it is referred to a period when demons ruled in the primeval jungles. At that the jungles were inhabited solely by vile sinners who ate flesh and offered bloody sacrifices. Indian mythology has also broadly categorized these demons.
Bhoot is believed to be a supernatural creature which is the ghost of a deceased person. Their mention can be found in the ancient Indian texts. The interpretation of their existence varies with different religions and communities but the common feature of their restless and perturbed nature has also been defined which owes to some factors which prevents them from moving on to heaven or hell as per the traditions. The reason could be a violent death, failure of their survivors to perform proper funerals and unsettled matters in their lives.
Hindu mythology defines Brahmaraksasa as fierce demon spirits. These are believed to be the spirit of a Brahmin
or a dead scholar of high birth who has misused his knowledge or has performed evil deeds. A scholar who does not perform his earth-bound duties of dissipating his knowledge becomes a Brahmaraksasa after death. These spirits have immense power and only few exist in the world who can give themselves salvation from this form. They also possess the knowledge of Vedas
and past lives.
Chedipe is a witch-vampire as per the Hindu mythology which exists in the folklore of the region around the Godavari River
in India. Their association can be traced to the time of Devadasis
in Hindu temples. Women suffering unnatural death often become Chedipe. These spirits rides tiger in the moonlit night.
Churel is a female ghost as per the Hindu mythology. They have been described with hideous and terrible appearances. Churel also appears in the devious disguise of a youthful, beautiful maiden. Three types of Churels have been have been mentioned namely Poshi churels, Soshi churels and Toshi churels. They are often known to be found around graveyards, abandoned battlefields, tombs, crossroads etc.
Pishacha has been defined by the Hindu mythology as flesh-eating demons. The origin of these demons are shrouded in mystery, however some people believe that they have been created by Lord Brahma
. Their description figures them with dark complexion, bulging veins and protruding red eyes. Pishachas are also believed to have their own language which is called as Paisaci
. They like darkness and haunt cremation grounds along with other demons. Pishachas also possess the power to take up different forms at will along with being invisible. They are believed to feed on human energies and many a times possess human beings, altering their thoughts.
Preta are described in Hindu mythology as a type of being which have formed after undergoing more than human suffering, especially extreme degree of hunger and thirst. It is believed that due to their greed, jealousy, deceit, corruption and false deed in a previous life they are afflicted with an unquenchable hunger for a specific substance or object. Although they are invisible to human eye, they are sometimes discernable in certain mental states. Preta have been often described as human-like but have thin necks, narrow limbs and mummified skin.
Vetala is another demon from Hindu mythology which can be defined as spirits dwelling in corpses and charnel grounds. The corpses may be used by them as vehicles for movement. However a Vetala may also leave the body at will. They can be a blood drinker, a flesh eater or a vampire. Hindu folklore states that they haunt cemeteries and takes demonic possession of corpses. They convey their displeasure by troubling humans.