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Demon In Hindu Religion – Satan Concept

A person of demoniac nature is referred to as Rakshasa in Hindu religion. There is no Satan concept in Hinduism because all beings appear and disappear in the Supreme Being or Brahman. Symbolically and in Puranic stories both demons and gods have the same source of origin.

The Amarakosha (1.1.11) considers demons or rakshasas as divine beings, more than just human beings. They can be born out of yoni (womb of woman).

Amarakosha (1.1.160) gives the following synonyms for the word rakshasa – feeding upon corpse, consuming flesh, drinking blood, crusher or shatterer, moving at night, of a spotted or variegated color, the son of Nikasha, a king of evil spirit or demon, a class of beings born of demerit, offspring of Nirrti and Nairrta (goddess of death and calamity), fiend or evil spirit and demon, evil being, a war-like race, guardian or protector.

They are very often referred to in the Vedic literature as interacting with human beings, who are to be guarded and protected against them; they are said to inflict calamities and diseases.

The demons are sometimes regarded as produced from Brahma’s foot or from this fifth body, sometimes with Ravana as descendants of Pulastya, who was one of the eight manasaputras of Brahma, the creator of the Universe; elsewhere they are styled as children of Khasa by the primordial seer Kashyapa or of Surasa, the daughter of Kashyapa by Krodhavasa; according to some, they are distinguishable into three classes, one being of a semi-divine benevolent nature, ranking with yakshas, etc; another corresponding to relentless enemies of the gods, and a third consisting of nocturnal demons, imps, fiends, goblins, going about at night, haunting cemeteries, disturbing sacrifices and even devouring human beings; this class is one of the most commonly mentioned, their chief place of abode being Lanka.

Pandit Satavalekar (Valmiki Ramayan, Bala Kanda Survey, in Hindi) thinks that the rakshasas were, in fact, a type of human being, since they were the progeny of seers like Kashyapa, Pracetas, Visrava and Pulastya. They got married to Veva, Daitya, Asura, Gandharva and Manushya maidens, which is possible only if they were human beings. They were skilled in the art of assuming various forms and disguises. The ancestral line of both Rama and Ravana coincide in Brahma and correlate in Manu, the father of Ikshvaku, and Bhaya, the wife of Heti, since the former was the son, while the latter was the granddaughter of Vivasvan. Rama was born in the male line of Vivasvan, while Ravana was born in the female line of the same Vivasvan. The rakshasas, like Ravana, were often great Vedic scholars, trained in sacrificial rituals and were masters of marital magic. They were deemed demons because of their vile nature, wickedness and their harassing character. They found vast empires, and the gods had to request Vishnu more than once to destroy their leaders and vanquish them in order to regain their lost kingdom of heaven from their clutches. They seem to have professed a materialistic outlook towards life and reveled in the attainment of power and pelf.