From the Rig Veda to myriads of folk narratives, the belief in demons prevails all over India, vividly illustrating that a demon is something people fear because it is beyond their comprehension and control.
Time and again, the menacing and uncontrollable forces of night, darkness and death, along with powerful defeated enemies and incomprehensible natural phenomena, are demonized.
The Book of Demons presents a perceptive overview of the various types of demonic beings and concepts that exist in Hindu literature, supplemented with a dictionary of individual demons for ready reference. Besides the well-known rakshasas and asuras, the author also reveals a densely populated world of lesser-known, but equally fascinating, demonic creatures.
Andhaka (blind darkness), conceived when Parvati playfully covered Shivaâ€™s eyes and the world was plunged into darkness; Gajamukha, the elephant-faced demon who was transformed into a mouse by Ganesha and then converted into his vehicle; Jambha, the demon-leader who snatched the pot of immortal nectar from the ocean during the great churning; Maya, the demonic equivalent of Vishvakarma, architect of the gods, who built the three cities of Tripura; and Putana, the demon who tried to kill Krishna by suckling him with poisoned breasts.
Male or female, human, animal, plant, or simply a conceptâ€”demons play a pivotal role in our mythical traditions. Blending insightful erudition and lively description, Nanditha Krishna brings to life the traits and actions of a host of complex, colourful, monstrous and intriguing demons that inhabit Indian religion and mythology.