Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Names of Raakshas-1

Everybody has a name, but some names are according to the people's peoples' physical properties. This is very common in Asur (Daitya or Raakshas). Here are some of those Asur who had such names --

Andhakaasur (Blind) -
This demon was known as Andhakaaur because he was born blind. Once Paarvatee Jee closed Shiv's eyes from his back in a playful mood. Since Shiv's eyes were closed, the whole universe plunged into darkness. Seeing this Paarvatee Jee started sweating and as the drops of her sweat fell on the ground, a black, hairy and blind demon was born. Since he was born from sweat he was born blind. In those days Hiranyaaksh and Hiranyakashyap were very powerful demons. Hiranyakashyap had the children while Hiranyaaaksh had none, so Shiv Jee gave that child to him. He brought him up but because of his being blind he became frustrated. So he did Tapasyaa and Brahmaa Jee granted him several boons - he gave him sight, victory over Indra, but in the end he asked for immortality. Brahmaa jee could not give him this boon so he asked him to ask for another boon. Andhakaasur asked - "Whenever I aspire for such a woman who has never been aspired for, I should die." Brahmaa Jee said - "So be it." and went away.

Once the Generals of Andhak saw Paarvatee Jee  on Mandar Mountain and thought that she would be a good woman for their master, so they reported Andhak about her. he came to see Paarvatee and fought with Shiv's Gan for about 1,000 years. Shukraaachaarya was another obstacle in killing demons, so Shiv Jee got abducted him. Now 5,000 years passed. Shiv Jee then used his trident to kill Andhak and kept his body high on it in the sky for 1,000 years. At that time he came to know about his birth, he was surprised to know that Shiv Jee did not punish him although he had aspired for his own mother. he fell on his parents' feet and Shiv kindly gave him the status of his Gan - Bhringee.

Bakaasur (Crane) - 
There are two Bakaasur. One was killed by Krishn and he was in the form of a Bak (Bagulaa or crane).
The second Bakaasur is mentioned in Mahaabhaarat, Aadi Parv. When Paandav were living in the forest after their Baaranaavat incident, they were passing their days in Ekchakraa Nagaree. Its people were very afflicted by Bakaasur named Raakshas as he used to eat many people from the village. Bheem killed him. He was in the form of a Bak (Bagulaa or crane)

Gajaasur (Elephant) -
He had this name, Gajaasur, as he was in the form of elephant. Gaj means elephant. Once he performed a severe penance to please Shiv Jee. Pleased Shiv Jee appeared before him and asked him to ask for the boon. He asked that Shiv should live in his stomach. In spite of Shiv's unwillingness of granting such a boon he had to fulfill his promise. When Paarvatee did not see Shiv Jee for some time, she asked Vishnu to help her. Vishnu searched Shiv Jee, and got him back from the stomach of the Asur. Gajaasur asked Shiv Jee his last boon that he should be remembered by all after his death. Shiv Jee granted his wish and later fixed his head on the severed body of  his son Ganesh. That is how he is worshiped first among all Devtaa and remembered by all.

Gajmukhaasur (Whose head is of elephant) -
There was an Asur whose name came to be Gajmukhaasur because his head was of elephant and his body was of a human being. Once he pleased Brahmaa Jee with his hard penance and asked for the boon of immortality. Brahmaa Jee told him that immortality was not possible for anybody so he should choose for some other boon. After a while he said - "Then grant me the boon that I should be killed by such a man who is of my form." "Be it so." Saying this Brahmaa Jee disappeared. Ganesh Jee had to born to kill him. Gajmukhaasur took the form of a mouse and approached Ganesh Jee. Kind Ganesh Jee employed him as his ride.

Mahishaasur (He-buffalo) -
This Asur was in the form of Mahish (He-buffalo) that is why he was named as Mahishaasur and was killed by Devee. His story comes in Devee Mahaatmya (or Chandee Paath, or Durgaa Sapt Shatee) which is a part of Maarkandeya Puraan.

Raktbeej (Blood) -
The secret of his name, (Raktbeej (whose Beej is in his blood, means he could have produced many Raktbeej Raakshas from his blood only) was hidden in his blood. He had obtained a boon from Shiv Jee that if even one drop touches the ground, it should produce another Raktbeej Raakshas. For the same reason he was not only difficult to kill, but rather impossible to kill him. To kill him, Devee also had

Shankhaasur (Conch) -
His story comes in Padm Puraan. 5/12. There was an Asur named Shankh. He was the son of Samudra (sea) and he was in the form of a Shankh (conch). Once he defeated all Devtaa and sent them out of Amaraavatee. He also thought that these Devtaa are powerful because of Ved, so if Ved will not be there, they will become weak, so he went and brought Ved. Seeing this Brahmaa Jee went to Vishnu for His help. Vishnu killed Shankhaasur on Kaarttik Shukla Ekaadashee, went to Badaree Forest and asked the Rishi to bring the Ved back from the sea. Many Rishi went to sea and brought the Ved back. Brahmaa Jee got very happy to see Ved back.

These are some of the Asur who had their names according to their physical characteristics. Next time I will write about the Raakshas whose names were also like that and were dealt with Ganesh Jee. For the same reason, he is called Asht Vinaayak because for the sake of them he had to assume 8 forms.

Sushma Gupta


  1. Can you pl let me know according to which Purana, Andhakasura, after being converted to a Gana, was named Bhringee ?

  2. Read this page - http://sushmajee.com/shiv/legends/1-andhak.htm. It is taken from Shiv Puraan.