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Is There Any Concept Of Demons or Evil Spirits In Hinduism?

There’s a concept of demons and evil spirits which occurs frequently in the Abrahamic and Christian faiths. Both faiths believe that there are two types of spirits: The Holy Spirit (which does all the good things) and the Evil or Demonic spirits (that do all the destruction and possession).

bhoot preta demon hinduism
Bhoot-Preta in Hinduism

In simpler terms, the demons in other faiths are known as Satan which is known as the Devil that possesses humans to do all kinds of sinful activities.

But is there any similar concept of demons in Hinduism?

Well, that’s what you’re going to find out in this article. So read this till the end.

The Concept Of Demons Do Not Occur In Hinduism

As Hinduism does not adhere to a philosophy of good and evil, heaven, or hell, there is no room in Hinduism for the idea of demons or evil spirits. Since Hinduism is centered on the principle of Karma, it follows that all events unfold for a reason, and all consequences are merely the repercussions of past actions. As a result, Hinduism does not have a concept that is comparable to Satan.

Hindus do not believe in the devil. Originally, it was a Christian idea. Shaitan is a Persian-rooted Urdu word. We frequently fall into the trap of assuming that all faiths are the same and that every mythology must contain the concept of the devil. But that’s not the reality.

If you’ll read and go deep into the texts and beliefs of different faiths, you’ll get to know more jaw-dropping philosophies.

shaitan in abrahmic religion
Iblis or Shaitan

The demon Satan is introduced in both Abrahamic and Christian traditions as an easy explanation for bad things that happen for no particular reason. Hurricanes, tornadoes, murders, and rapes cannot come from a good and loving God. As a result, the bad demon or Iblis(Shaitan in Quran is referred to as Iblis) is blamed for all of these misfortunes.

So, if there is no demonic evil spirit notion in Hinduism then what are Asuras or Rakshasas?

In Hinduism, the term “devil” refers to everything that has a soul. They are born into those sinful cultures because of their own karma. Hindu scriptures say a person acts only by his will. These tendencies are influenced by his environment and the people he hangs out with, but no sinister force ever directly influences him.

This means that though there are evil activities that are performed by some people say crime, forgery or other deeds but they are either being affected by their past Karmas or the three modes of nature (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas).

In the chapter 16th of The Bhagavad Gita Krishna explains in more detail about evil nature and say:

“Blinded by egotism, strength, arrogance, desire, and anger, the demonic abuse Me, who am present in their own body and in the bodies of others.”

Verse 18 Gita
modes of nature hinduism
3 Modes Of Nature

“These cruel and hateful persons, the vile and vicious of humankind, I constantly hurl into the wombs of those with similar demoniac natures in the cycle of rebirth in the material world. These ignorant souls take birth again and again in demoniac wombs. Failing to reach Me, O Arjun, they gradually sink to the most abominable type of existence.”

Verse 19 Gita

Hence, you might say that there are Bhoot, Pisacha, Preta, and Rakshas that are always discussed in Hindu Mythology but the fact is that during the rule of the Mughals and Britishers, the meanings became a lot more like Christian beliefs.

Until Akbar ordered the Mughals to paint Hindu mythology in the 16th century, Purana demons were never dark. Blood-red eyes, fangs, and claws gave them away as monsters, but those colors and features could just as easily describe the deities that guarded Vaikuntha or followed Shiva to the crematory(to read about this in detail read this article by Devdutt Pattanaik).

prahlad
Prahlad

Prahalada, who is Vishnu’s bhakta, is an asura. The rakshasa Vibhishana is also a devout follower of Vishnu. Hidimbi who gets married to Bheema in Mahabharata is a Rakshasi. For this reason, terms like “Asura” and “Rakshasa” are not synonymous with “demons” in Hinduism as commonly assumed.

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Written by Mukund Kapoor

I'm Mukund Kapoor, a reader, thinker, and self-taught writer. Welcome to Mukund Kapoor's blog. I love to write about Spirituality, Success and Self-improvement. I sincerely hope my articles help you find the answers you're looking for, and I wish you a pleasant voyage over the vast expanse of existence. Wishing you all the best.

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