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).
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.
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
“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).
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.
Read more interesting articles on Hinduism and Spirituality:
- Why Did Gautama Buddha Left His Home?
- What Does Hinduism Say About Homosexuality?
- Why Do We Fast on Shivratri?
- FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Hinduism
- Why We Apply Tilak On Our Forehead?
- Samsara: The Hinduism And Buddhism Concept Explained
- Samudra Manthan: Meaning And Symbolism Of Samudra Manthan
- What Does Lord Vishnu Represent In Hinduism?