Difference between revisions of "Rākṣasas"

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==Synonyms of the Word==
 
==Synonyms of the Word==
The purāṇas and the epics mention various kinds of living beings in creation of which the rākṣasas are also the one. The words oftenly applied to them are:
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The [[purāṇas]] and the epics mention various kinds of living beings in creation of which the rākṣasas are also the one. The words oftenly applied to them are:
# Asuras - antigods
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# [[Asuras]] - antigods
# Daityas - sons of Diti, a wife of the sage Kaśyapa
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# [[Daityas]] - sons of [[Diti]], a wife of the sage [[Kaśyapa]]
# Dānavas - sons of Danu, another wife of Kaśyapa
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# [[Dānavas]] - sons of [[Danu]], another wife of [[Kaśyapa]]
  
 
==Classification of Rākṣasas==
 
==Classification of Rākṣasas==
 
Though the general belief is that the rākṣasas are extremely evil, wicked or malevolent spirits. They represent more a race or species of beings which can be broadly divided into three groups:
 
Though the general belief is that the rākṣasas are extremely evil, wicked or malevolent spirits. They represent more a race or species of beings which can be broadly divided into three groups:
 
# The yātudhānas and yakṣas who are good-natured, benevolent and skillful. They are semi-divine and possess magical powers.
 
# The yātudhānas and yakṣas who are good-natured, benevolent and skillful. They are semi-divine and possess magical powers.
# The titans, who are huge in size and mighty in strength. They are evil by nature. Viṣṇu, Śiva or Devī appear in various forms to kill them.
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# The titans, who are huge in size and mighty in strength. They are evil by nature. [[Viṣṇu]], [[Śiva]] or [[Devī]] appear in various forms to kill them.
# The naktañcaras are the demons and fiends who wander about during nights, devouring human beings and disturbing the penances of ascetics and the sacrifices of the sages.
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# The naktañcaras are the demons and fiends who wander about during nights, devouring human beings and disturbing the penances of [[ascetics]] and the sacrifices of the sages.
  
 
==Picturesque of Rākṣasas==
 
==Picturesque of Rākṣasas==
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==Iconography of Rākṣasas==
 
==Iconography of Rākṣasas==
In iconography, their images are shown in twelve tālas or nine tālas. Though eternally at loggerheads, the devas<ref>Devas means gods.</ref> and the dānavas or rākṣasas<ref>Dānavas means demons.</ref> were cousins, born of the same father, the sage Kaśyapa. Quite a few among the dānavas distinguished themselves as great devotees of Viṣṇu or Śiva. A few are:
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In iconography, their images are shown in twelve tālas or nine tālas. Though eternally at loggerheads, the devas<ref>Devas means gods.</ref> and the [[dānavas]] or rākṣasas<ref>Dānavas means demons.</ref> were cousins, born of the same father, the sage Kaśyapa. Quite a few among the dānavas distinguished themselves as great devotees of [[Viṣṇu]] or [[Śiva]]. A few are:
# Prahlāda
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# [[Prahlāda]]
# Virocana
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# [[Virocana]]
# Bali
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# [[Bali]]
 
# Vṛtra
 
# Vṛtra
# Bāṇa  
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# [[Bāṇa]]
 
# Sambara
 
# Sambara
  
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==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
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* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram [[Krishna]] Math, Bangalore
  
 
[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]
 
[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]

Latest revision as of 03:35, 18 December 2016

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Raksasas, RAkSasas, Raakshasas


Rākṣasas literally means ‘beings from whom one seeks to protect oneself,’ ‘demons’.

Synonyms of the Word

The purāṇas and the epics mention various kinds of living beings in creation of which the rākṣasas are also the one. The words oftenly applied to them are:

  1. Asuras - antigods
  2. Daityas - sons of Diti, a wife of the sage Kaśyapa
  3. Dānavas - sons of Danu, another wife of Kaśyapa

Classification of Rākṣasas

Though the general belief is that the rākṣasas are extremely evil, wicked or malevolent spirits. They represent more a race or species of beings which can be broadly divided into three groups:

  1. The yātudhānas and yakṣas who are good-natured, benevolent and skillful. They are semi-divine and possess magical powers.
  2. The titans, who are huge in size and mighty in strength. They are evil by nature. Viṣṇu, Śiva or Devī appear in various forms to kill them.
  3. The naktañcaras are the demons and fiends who wander about during nights, devouring human beings and disturbing the penances of ascetics and the sacrifices of the sages.

Picturesque of Rākṣasas

The rākṣasas are generally described as ugly, ugly-shaped creatures with terrible tusks. They wear blue garments and live upon human flesh. They become very powerful during nights. They live below the solar regions.

Iconography of Rākṣasas

In iconography, their images are shown in twelve tālas or nine tālas. Though eternally at loggerheads, the devas[1] and the dānavas or rākṣasas[2] were cousins, born of the same father, the sage Kaśyapa. Quite a few among the dānavas distinguished themselves as great devotees of Viṣṇu or Śiva. A few are:

  1. Prahlāda
  2. Virocana
  3. Bali
  4. Vṛtra
  5. Bāṇa
  6. Sambara


References

  1. Devas means gods.
  2. Dānavas means demons.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore