Rakshasa (Vampires) Existence in Hindu Mythology

Posted by Roses on March 2, 2010

Rakshasa the Vampire

Rakshasa

According to Hindu mythology, the Rakshasa were considered to be demonic in appearance and their sole intention was to drink blood and eat the flesh of humans. They appeared either very beautiful or quite unattractive in appearance. According to my research, some are said to possess poisonous fingernails, shape-shifting ability, and increased strength and could move at extraordinary speed. On the other hand, there are also sub species of vampires which are the opposite. Does this sound familiar, anyone?

The 20th century romanticized ideology which is currently so popular is contrived in comparison to the observations of my great-grandfather. Vampires are commonly perceived as “evil” or the latest trend in vampirism suggests a level of benevolence, depending on your point of view. It is interesting that vampires are not viewed as possessing a plethora of emotions and attributes’, as being intelligent, possessing a level of morals and beliefs, it is either black or white. Just another reminder of how dominant western ideologies promote certain beliefs and perceptions’ to the detriment of other thoughts which exist around the world.

My story begins with my great-grandfather, who documented much of his findings and only recently was I able to fully understand and decipher some of his thoughts. He wrote in Sanskrit/Hindi and even though I was educated in several languages, including reading some Sanskrit, I am not an expert. However, his recollections’ and stories were really quite fascinating and intriguing. My grandmother reiterated these stories when I was younger, of how her father, banished ghosts, demons and rakshasa in India.

Rakshasa the vampire

Rakshasa

I also read my great-grandfathers interpretation of a rakshasa in the form of a beautiful young Indian woman. According to my great-grandfather’s notes, she stood at the gates of my family’s compound one evening, asking for help and food. In those days (circa, 1940s), nobody was turned away, especially a woman without an escort, at night. My great-grandfather felt obliged to help the wandering soul and invited the woman into the court yard and offered her some food and water, but she refused. He asked her what she wanted and she replied your “prana” (life force) and I need rakta (rakta in Sanskrit basically means blood). He realized she was a rakshasa and quickly recited several mantras and stated that the type of nourishment was not available and he made it known he was a priest.

According to the notes, she was quite understanding and sought to be cleansed of all her sins and inquired if he was willing to conduct the ritual. I thought this request was rather strange, especially as the rakshasa previously asked for his life force and blood.

My great-grandfather was a priest and it was his duty to help lost souls and he could not refuse such a request, even though he was afraid, he guided her into the open temple to conduct the cleansing ritual. The rakshasa was able to enter the temple without suffering any ill effects and according to my great-grandfathers notes, she believed she was evil and did not possess a soul. In Hinduism, we are taught that all living beings possess a soul, (Atma) even a rakshasa. According to his notes, once the ritual was completed, she left my great-grandfather unharmed and thanked him for his respect. This behaviour suggests civility and not suggestive of one whom is considered “evil”, do you not think?

There were several further notes and I have not deciphered all of his writings, but one suitable verse caught my attention. A popular verse in the Bhagavad Gita is, “He who rooted in wisdom casts of the shackles of both good and evil deeds in this very life.” Basically, the existence of evil can be seen as a function of the mind rather than an absolute. Clearly what is ‘evil’ for one culture may be ‘good’ for another and vice versa. Here lies the duality of interpretation.

I did not post this story to reinforce religion but merely to indicate there is a different point of view and not everyone conforms to popular ideology.

I will post more as I discover further revelations. Any and all comments are welcome.

Sent in by Maia, Copyright 2010 VampireTruthOrMyth.com

 

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32 Responses to “Rakshasa (Vampires) Existence in Hindu Mythology”

  1. Jo Alex SG says:

    I loved this article ! Thanks for putting it here !

  2. sumbul says:

    hey maia,
    I think you are frm india? Actually I am also from India (Delhi), but i didn’t know anything about rakshasa, maybe because I belong from muslim family. This article is very interesting. I really like this article….. Good work.
    And I am also looking forward for more articles from you…:-)

  3. Shailey says:

    Hi Maia:

    Its nice to heard abut our Hinduism and its rituals, which actually says Hate the Sin not Sinner…

  4. Shailey says:

    Hi Maia:
    Would like to share when your great grand father met with that accident and where had he encountered with Lady Rakshasa (Vampire). and its unusual that you know the Sanskrit one of the most ancient language on India but yes former of every language in world.

  5. jiggyasa says:

    hi… mala its nice of u putting this storyi love it…
    and i can help u in deciphering the stories if u want… bt in hindi only…

  6. Aquamarine says:

    I’m not accusing you of lying but I do happen to notice easily when two facts are related or when two coincidental events mean something. But I can’t always interpret them into a conclusion or inference.
    I read a series called “Children Of The Lamp” that is about djinns which are “genies” sort of. One of them was named Mr. Rakshasas and he was lost in book 4 (not important). Any connection at all? Coincidence? I’m getting a lot of those lately. Later! ^,.,^

  7. Maia says:

    Hi Aquamarine
    Actually the children of the Lamp is fantasy fiction and Mr Kerr, the author was heavily influenced by hindu Muslim and Buddhist mythology. the series of novels is loosely based on the epic tale of Ravana and were written in the 21st century. You may know this already but the link is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_the_Lamp

    If you google Rakshasa you will notice that Hindu mythology has been incorporated in many books, pc games and role play websites.

    Rakshasa according to Hindu literature is not a djinn but considered a type of vampire or often perceived as a demon. I believe there are many correlations but one has to understand that stories on this website could also be considered fiction, if you so choose to interpret them in that manner.

    My great grand-father started his first journal in 1920, so his recollection predate Mr Kerrs books. however, you may perceive the story as you please, I simply recited what I deciphered. i don’t know if there is a connection in the book you stated , unless he was depicted as a vampire/demon.

    thanks for your question, keep them coming!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Shailey
    My great-grandfather’s entry regarding the beautiful vampire was sometime in 1942. I noticed that on some pages he stated the date and on some he didn’t. Intermingled with his thoughts about religion, helping wandering spirits, recipes, Ayurvedic medicine, there were notes’ on the revolution in India and there was going to be a march to oppose the British government. At the time, my great grandfather lived in the state of Gujarat, Ahmadabad, northern India (the home town on Gandhi).

    Hi sumbul
    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I am of Indian ancestry, but do not reside in India. I am currently living and working in the U.S.

    If you really want to read about the myths related to Rakshasa, read the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.

  9. Maia says:

    Hi Shailey
    To answer your question about the Sanskrit language. It is not a dead language, in fact many Indian communities and some schools in London currently teach Sanskrit. I did not learn the language by this method. My grandmother and mum taught me. They both belong to the Brahmin caste, which basically means the priesthood. In addition to being taught by my family, every Sunday until I was 18 (this is when I left for University), we were reluctantly told to go and learn not just Sanskrit, but also Hindi and Gujarati. At the time I really disliked attending Hindu studies, I really was not interested, but now, with the benefit of hindsight, I am glad I attended the sessions.

    jiggyasa
    Thank you so much for offering, but I understand Hindi, it’s some words with specific phonetic sounds I have a problem deciphering. There are potentially several interpretation of one word, and the meaning can differ depending on context. I don’t know anyone in the states who can assist with interpreting the notes so I have been sending my interpretations back home to the U.K.

    Hi sumbul
    I am of Indian ancestry but live in the U.S. Rakshasa are mainly restricted to religions which have been influenced by Hindu mythology such as Buddhism and Jainism. If you wish, you may obtain a better understanding by reading the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.

  10. kirill says:

    I live in Thailand and I know alot about this but not rakasha tho I know how to speak thai too and I go to the temples and and meditate I know sang sakrit and bali alittle bit lol so yeah nice work!!

  11. scarygirl67 says:

    What an excellent piece of writing! And so informative…I really appreciate that you took the time to decipher these journals. There was so much on here that I didn’t know. Thank you so much for posting it! Very thought provoking!

  12. Barbie says:

    Maia – Is the Rakasha basically just believed to be a human that thirsts for blood and life energy or is it believed to be a ‘supernatural-super powerful’ being ?

    - thanks =]

    -Barbie.

  13. Maia says:

    Hi Barbie
    I am not expert in defining Rakshasa. My knowledge is limited, my mum definitely knows more than I do, I will ask her. However, according to my research they are actually considered demons because according to mythology, they possess shape shifting abilities, can manifest themselves in different forms and create illusions. I have also encountered references to these beings and they are considered to be supernatural. Not sure if they possess superhuman abilities, like I said, I am not an expert.

    When I interpreted my great grandfathers journal I questioned the validity and accuracy of the notes and entered into discussions with my family, friends and some people I know who are interested in the paranormal. We did not agree or disagree, but the debates continue.

    thanks, Maia
    I am not aware of any evidence to support the existence of rakshasa, but the mind only comprehends what it understands, so for now I am entertaining theses thoughts with an open mind.

  14. Maia says:

    Dear Admin
    Thank you for the wonderful images depicting Rakshasa. It was very kind of you :)

  15. grim reaper says:

    Sanskrit is not a dead language-yet.I’m a Sanskrit student and have been learning it for nearly 4 years or so…and a few villages in India still speak Sanskrit.While learning Sanskrit you read a lot of verses and stories relating to what you’ve written about.Demons…or types of vampires can appear in beautiful forms.Awesome article.Seriously.

    Looking fwd to more of your articles! :)

    And yes!There is evidence!!!In Lanka…(where Ravana ruled so many many years ago-(Ramayana) and to where Sita was kidnapped)there is evidence-Ravanas gigantic footprints still remain-and so do his caves-you can search up! And not only that-well there’s a LOT more!!

  16. Maia says:

    grim reaper
    Each culture has differing traditions and customs. When one compares western vampire myths with vampire myths of eastern origin, very often there appears a common thread, coincidence maybe? or can we deduce that we really do live on a small planet and maybe there is truth in commonality.

    I am interested in some of your experiences, would you like to share your stories with us?

  17. grim reaper says:

    Sure!I did a few search ups and often in the news here, there are brush ups on history-there was one on the caves in which Sita stayed in and so on…Even Ram’s footprints still remain-Sita’s husband, though now they have been covered up with stone.Research still goes on and historians are bound to find more!
    A few years ago there was news of Ravans footprint(s)-but as i asked around-I realised that there is only one.Lot of news keeps coming in and I wouldn’t mind sharing it whenever it does! :)
    And I agree with you on the fact that there is are a lot of common things between our Rakshasas and western Vampires-not a myth.
    And they have to have existed.
    My Grandmother once told me that everything humans invent/make up cant be original-it had to have been there to have had the idea.It couldn’t have just popped into their minds.Ex-The idea of aeroplanes began by looking at birds-without birds the idea wouldn’t even have been-so people definitely had to see a Rakshasa/Vampire – maybe their actual forms to have thought of it and humans must have developed the idea and would have started to build things upon it…makes sense right?
    And most of our festivals are based on old old stories-which have to be true-or else there’s no point.Dusshera-death of Ravan,Holi-killing of Holika…so people couldnt have just randomly decided to celebrate it…or randomly in their minds killed a demon and celebrated…there were true reasons for them to make such a big deal-it couldn’t have been made up… :D

  18. grim reaper says:

    I found something quite interestingProminent News paper of Srilanka Daily times carried following news:

    According to the Ramayana, Ravana abducted Sita to Sri Lanka in a flying machine called Pushpaka Vimanam by the Hindus and Dandu Monara Yanthraya by the Sinhalese Buddhists.Detailed documents prepared by the Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry said the Pushpaka Vimanam could have landed at Weragantota, about 10 km from Mahiyangana.

    Sita was then taken to Goorulupota, now known as Sitakotuwa, where Ravana’s wife Mandodari lived. Seetakotuwa is about 10 km from Mahiyangana on the road to Kandy. Sita was housed in a cave at Sita Eliya on a highway that links Colombo with Nuwara Eliya, another exotic hill station.A temple dedicated to her exists there. According to the document, Sita is believed to have taken bath in the mountain stream flowing beside the temple. These are not the only sites in Sri Lanka associated with the Ramayana, the Tourism Ministry document said.

    In Matale district, is Yudhaganapitiya, where the Rama-Ravana battle took place. According to a Sinhalese legend, Dunuwila is the place from where Rama shot the Bramshira arrow (Brahmastra) that killed Ravana. Ravana was making battle plans in a place called Lakgala when the killer arrow struck him. Since Ravana was a Brahmin, it was considered a sin to kill him, even in battle. To wash off the sin, Rama prayed at the Munneswaram temple in Chilaw.

    Rumassala and Ramboda, also in the tea-growing central highlands, are associated with Hanuman. Believers say that Hanuman dropped the Dronagiri mountain, which he brought from the Himalayas, at Rumassala. At Ramboda, known for its massive waterfalls, a temple for Hanuman has now sprung up.

    The documents state that at the Buddha Vihara at Kelani, there is a representation of Rama handing over the “captured” Sri Lanka to Ravana’s brother Vibheeshana, who sided with him in his conflict with Ravana.

    Ravana had flying chariots which we could refer to as aeroplanes though not very literally.
    The Archaeological department has found convincing evidence suggesting existence of Ravana, in the mountain range of Noroliya.The experts say that Ravana ruled SriLanka about 10000 years ago, and he possesed ’Pushpak Viman’ (Aeroplanes) and had constructed about 5 ports on the highest point of Noroliya mountain ranges.

    Also a mummy of Ravana has been found in a cave located in one of the hills.Some balm seem to be applied to the body for preserving it, along with some metallic ornaments.

    Ravan had his own Aeroplanes,which resembled ‘Eagles’ and also constructed a workshop for repairing the same.Aerodromes which were built by him were destroyed in attack by Lord Ram with a fire weapon(when he had gone to Lanka for retrieving Sita mai).The stones which were damaged during this fiery attack are still found there.And dating has revealed them to be about 10,000 yrs old.

    When Ravana had kidnapped Sita mai and was returning to Lanka by his plane,he had given some tablets to her so that she doesn’t experience physical strain,which was thrown by her in fit of rage.These tablets are known as ‘Sita goli’ & are being tested in Japan.

    (The second article seems very weird though)

  19. grim reaper says:

    By ‘plane’ as i have mentioned it doesn’t mean a plane literally but a flying vehicle.

  20. Pooja says:

    hey there.
    this article was extraordinary….
    do post more articles like this!

    ~pooja

  21. chetan says:

    Maia
    First of all i don’t think so that Rakshasa,s were the vampires….they were just evil spirits……
    n one more thing may i know the name of your great-grandfather?…was he sort of mantrika?

  22. Shailey says:

    Hi:

    I think Rakshsa and Vampires are common in one thing that they both believe in Evil and Eat people. But other than that. Rakshsa and vampires are completely different. Rakshasa Never crave with Blood Lust, though Vampires feels helpless to stop himself on the appearance of Blood. But tthat doesnt mean that Rakshasa and Sprits are same, Cos Spirits dont have any solid form, They are like Air. But Rakshasa has a solid physical Form. So All our Dearest and lovable Evils are different from each other..

  23. Shelley says:

    i would be surprised if there were not any differences in the stories about vampires and supernatural beings between nationalities as we are all very different, there are so many religions and beliefs in the world that i would think even the supernatural couldn’t escape this. we as humans are individuals no matter where we are from so i don’t understand why all vampires (if they exist) should be classed as “evil” or “demons”. I personally have had no experiences of anything supernatural but i do believe, i also think that evil has many faces and so many of them are human so what gives us the right to judge.

  24. yuvraj says:

    hey maia

    now this was what i was looking for

    thank you 4 such an intresting article actually i had my goosebumps on cuz i read dis in a dark room alone at 3.00 am but still i think dat exsistence of vampires was,is,nd will b cryptic

    if u hav some sought of trip 4 “VAMPIRE HUNT’ plz remember to ask me, i’m on 4 dis anytime i’m abig”fan” of vampires

  25. pranamita says:

    we found this blog little interesting but we still feel that the vampires exists. can suggest some tips

  26. muthu says:

    very interesting article.my great grand father also used to tell his experience while hunting during midnight in the jungles.he used to say about muni(the goddess of evil or death,usually seen in villages near jungles).i would like to know more articles.

  27. Eunice says:

    I have only heard of them but to have a person’s great grandfather taking notes about his real experiences… it’s rather interesting :D

    I would love to read more of your articles! Good work :)

  28. Lux says:

    Hi,

    Unlike you all, my ancestors & great grand parents have shared their real life experiences with us…Once I was told that no one can read a book which is called as “Indrajaal”..Indrajaal book contains thousands of tantra remedies and sadhanas.. Not everyone can read this book.. Once my uncle tried reading it but was just unable to complete even 2 pages coz he started seeing things around him.. There were different creatures around him whc didn’t let him read it..Its been told that one who is capable of reading this book has ability to control negative powers.. This book teaches how to control & release negative forces.. Many people use it to heal those people who are possessed by demons or bad spirits but some misuse the powers.. I am not a believer in all these things but I tend to believe it when i have enough evidences like this one..
    Anyways, thanks for updating this article here.. I enjoy reading it… Please ask me if you have any questions…

    Lux

  29. Tara says:

    Thank you for your article. I was wondering if you happen to know when the first stories of rakshasa first appeared in hinduism? i first read about them when i was a adolescent and started reading a vampire series that was a mix of western Hindu ideology, ever since then i have been infatuated with all things Indian. I even learned that my name is Sanskrit. Please post more articles.

  30. Ritz says:

    Can you please give details about seeta goli?

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