Brahma Rakshasas- The ancient Indian monster:
Who are Brahma Rakshasas?
The word ‘Brahm’ corresponds to Brahmin (a person of priestly caste) and Rakshas means a demon. Brahma rakshasas are those Brahmins truned into demons due to curse. As ghostly bodies, Brahma Rakshasas inhabit the earth and wander about without getting emancipation. They move about unseen and unheard and are considered highly powerful. The Hindu mythology has a large number of references to Brahma Rakshasas who even challenged the gods prompted by their egotism. They can be equated with the Vetaals of the Indian mythology.
Who become Brahma Rakshasas?
Brahma Rakshasas are highly learned scholars well trained in the Vedas who develop a great degree of ego and arrogance that they commit a large number of atrocious acts against the humanity. Through the accumulation of super human and unnatural powers, they are deluded into the false belief that they are more powerful than God. They are destroyed by the Lord and are turned into Brahma Rakshasas only to teach them a lesson and show them a way for emancipation. They do not forget their scholarly learning even after death.
What Brahma Rakshasas do?
Brahma Rakshasas inhabit a surrounding that is familiar to them on the earth. They always move about carrying a great degree of anguish, disappointment and wrath often expressing them towards the people crossing their way. They place hurdles to hinder good activities and cannot tolerate people growing greater in any realm of life. Some of them are constantly engaged in penance for their emancipation. In some rare cases, they even possess people to achieve some unfulfilled ends in life.
Brahma Rakshasas qualities
Brahma Rakshas can be either a male or female Brahmin scholar turned into a spirit. The label ‘Brahma’ stands for Brahmin and the epithet ‘Rakshasas’ stands for demon with the term meaning a combination of a Brahmin as well as demon.
Therefore in most cases of Brahma Rakshasas we find them with extraordinary knowledge of the Vedas and Puranas while possessing terrible demonic qualities like troubling, frightening and even eating humans.
The highly powerful spirits
Brahma Rakshas have a lot of powers. They can confer wealth and prosperity on people whom they are pleased with. It can also inflict great misery and death on those whom they hate. They are fully aware of their past lives and would act in a revengeful manner to trouble those who had been their enemies in the past birth. Only a few on this earth are capable of exorcising or giving salvation to them.
An interesting story of a Brahma Rakshasas
In 7th century AD, the famed Sanskrit poet Mayurbhatta was composing Surya Sataka (hundred verses in praise of Lord Surya) under a peepal tree at famous Deo Sun Temple – Aurangabad district of Bihar. A Brahma Rakshasas haunting the tree was disturbing him by repeating the verses he would compose.
To defeat him, Mayurbhatta started pronouncing the verses through his nose. Since spirits like Brahma Rakshasas do not have nose, the Brahma Rakshasas could not pronounce as Mayurbhatta did.
Defeated, the Rakshasas left the tree leaving it dry and Mayurbhatta peacefully accomplished composing the Surya Sataka thereon and got relieved of his leprosy.
Why Brahma Rakshasas are worshipped in temples
Usually in many sites of temple construction, there could be a Brahma Rakshasas haunting the area. They would disrupt the renovation or temple construction project. Therefore some specialized processes identify such Brahma Rakshasas and before starting the renovation or construction of temples, a separate shrine is built for them and oil lamp is lit daily and worship is performed to please them and prevent them from troubling the temple construction.
Brahma Rakshasas Temple History
At Thirunakkara Shiva Temple – Kerala, there is a separate temple for Brahma Rakshasas. This Brahma Rakshasas temple history is very interesting. Once, the king of the region had a close friend called Moose. While the king did not enjoy good looks, Moose was extraordinarily handsome. Attracted by his magical charm, the queen fell in love with him which angered the king.
While the king ordered for the killing of Moose, the servants killed the junior priest by mistake. The wife of the priest turned a Brahma Rakshasas and started troubling everybody. In order to appease her spirit, the King built a separate temple for her. For a long time, women did not dare to enter this temple.
Concept of afterlife
Almost all the mythologies of the world have the concept of afterlife. The Indian legends are famous for such stories. Necromancy is performed on these spirits to gain power and black magic by the necromancers. This is also a prevalent among the Christian beliefs. So life after death still remains an important topic of debate.
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