Hindu Asura – Demons and Giants

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The evil spirits were the Asuras or demons (Suras were the gods) that constantly fought the gods in heaven. Rakshasas were more of a menace to people on earth. Most famous Rakshasa was Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Lanka, who died in the hands of Rama the God of Death.

Less terrible were the Pisachas, who also roamed the battlefields and burial grounds at night and distressed men. Vetala or the vampire took up its abode in corpses and roamed the charnel grounds.

Finally there were the Pretas and Bhutas, naked spirits of dead people, especially those who died an unnatural death. These were very dangerous to their surviving relatives.

The asuras live in Patala above Naraka (Hell), one of the three Lokas (worlds, dimensions of existence). The Patala loka exists below Bhu(r)loka (which includes Earth where humans live). The asuras are often ugly creatures. Puranas describe many cosmic battles between asuras and devas for supremacy.

in Hindu mythology, the asuras were a class of titans or demons, the enemies of the gods and of men. In the Vedic age the asuras and the devas were both considered classes of gods, but gradually the two groups came to oppose each other.

ASURAS: In Hindu mythology, the Asura are a group of power-seeking deities, sometimes referred to as hin2demons. They were opposed to the devas. Both groups are children of Kashyapa. Mitra, Maya, Varuna and Vritra are the most well known Asuras.

AHIRAVAN: In the Ramayana Ahiravan was a demon who secretly carried away Rama and his brother Lakshmana to the nether-world, and consulted his friends and decided to sacrifice the life of the two divine brothers at the altar of his chosen deity with due ceremony. But Hanuman saved their life by killing Ahiravan and his army.

BRAHMAPARUSH: This bloodthirsty monster took ghoulish delight in completely consuming the people it attacked. Its method of devouring its victims was highly ritualized: the Brahmaparush would begin by drinking the blood through a hole in the skull, following that the brain would be consumed. The feeding ritual would not be complete until the vampire performed a macabre dance while entangled in the intestines of the corpse it had destroyed.

BHUTA (GAYAL): The Hindu Bhūta is a type of evil spirit. It is especially the evil ghost of a man who has died due to execution, accident, or suicide. Generally thought of as a male spirit who had returned from the grave unable to rest as the burial rites had not been correctly carried out on the deceased. This angry spirit would attack members of his family in revenge for their religious malpractice.

BRITASUR (VRUTRASUR): A Brahmin named Brita who became the head of the demons. He turned to violence and began to battle with the devas. Hence, he became known as Britasur. The ‘Asur’ means demon.

hin3CHUREL: These vampires were believed to have once been pregnant women who died during the festival of Divali. The Churel were extremely ugly vampires with sagging breasts, black tongues, thick, rough lips, wild hair and back-to-front feet. They were thought to be bitter and angry due to their untimely death and as a result attacked the families and attractive, young men.

DAITYAS (GIANTS): In Hinduism, the giants are called Daityas. They were a race who fought against the gods because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers. Some Daityas from Hindu mythology include Kumbhakarna and Hiranyaksha.

DASA: The Dāsa are a tribe identified as the enemies of the Aryan tribes in the Rigveda. The word Dāsa, later acquired derogatory connotations, meaning ‘servant’, implying that they were subordinated by the Aryans.

KALI: This vampiric goddess possessed a terrifying countenance and was said to appear on battlefields during long and bloody wars. Her skin was charred black in tone, her eyes and eyebrows were blood red and she had an extremely long tongue with which she became drunk on the blood of her victims. Represented as a black Medusa, with every characteristic of horror and dread.

KOKA AND VIKOKA: The twin brothers Koka and Vikoka serve as generals under the demon Kali (not the Goddess), overlord of Kali Yuga. These two brothers are supreme demons, great fanatics and adept in the art of war. They are intimately connected, powerful, hard to defeat and are even feared by the Gods. In their battle with Sri Kalki, the 10th and final avatar of Lord Vishnu, the brothers display their mastery over the dark arts by raising themselves from the dead faster than Kalki can kill them.

KUMBAKARNA: Demon Giant.

MAHISASURA (MAHISHA): According to Hindu mythology Durga manifested herself to relieve and protect the gods from the demon ‘Mahisasura’ who had driven them out of heaven and set out to perpetuate his evil dominion there.

MAHORAGAS: Demons shaped like boas or pythons, with large bellies; also called ‘human but not human’. Demons of reptilian personality.

MASANI: Attacks travelers at night as they pass by the burial grounds in which this female vampire hides, sleeping by day in a funeral pyre. The ash from this pyre is what gives this vampire her black-skinned appearance.

NARAKASUR: Another legend talks about the Demon named Narakasur who had managed to acquire such awesome powers that he began to terrorize the three worlds. He was killed and defeated by Lord Krishna. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king’s blood. Krishna returned home early morning on the day of Narakachaturdashi. The womenfolk massaged scented oil on his body and gave him a bath to wash away the demon’s blood. Since then the custom of taking an oil bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice especially in Maharashtra and in the South.

PANIS: A class of demons in the Rigveda. The name means “bargainer, miser, niggard”. Especially applied to one who is sparing of sacrificial oblations.

PISACHA (PISHACHA): In religious teachings, a personification of Brahma’s anger at the immortality and vices that had developed in humanity. This grotesque deity took pleasure in the consumption of whole corpses but also had the ability to cure diseases if approached in a respectful manner.


RAKSHASA: These beautiful female would appear to men and lure them to their death but would also attack babies and pregnant women to drink their blood. There were many legends associated with the Rakshasa (injurer); some believed that if a child were forced to eat human brains then it would become one, others believed that these vampires caused stomach sicknesses in people who had trespassed into their territory and that these fanged creatures lived in trees and could spy on those passing beneath.

VETALA (BETALA): The vetala vamire is an evil spirit in Indian folklore who haunts cemeteries and takes demonic possession of corpses.

VINAYAKAS: In Hindu mythology the Vināyakas were a group of four troublesome demons who created obstacles and difficulties.

YAMA: God of Death.