In Hindu mythology, Asuras or demons enjoy the same status as Gods and humans. All of them are regarded as the children of Lord Brahma, who created the Universe. They differ only in the way they think and also in the way they understand the teachings of the scholars. Some demons were strong and intelligent, but others were weak and stupid.
List of Top 10 Hindu Demons
Ravana was a powerful Asura king with ten heads and twenty hands. He had so much power that it was said that he could even change the planetary alignments. Ravana was very intellectual and had mastered all the holy scripts of Hinduism. He was the king of Lanka and was slain by Rama after he abducted Rama’s wife Sita and took her to his kingdom. When he died, he was more than 12,00,000 years old.
Ravana is also described as the first astrologer of the entire world. He possessed vast knowledge of Arts, Science, Spirituality, Warfare, and Music. It is said that he made the Veena (a classical music instrument) and used his own intestine as strings to honor the Lord. He could clone anyone and had 1 lakh sons. Of these, 99998 were cloned by him. Ravana never went through the teenager stage of life. When he was around 8 years old, his mother persuaded his father to turn him into an adult by using a technique that his father was an expert in.
Krishna took birth on earth to slay demons and protect his devotees. Putana was a female Asura who could kill infants through black magic. She was sent by Krishna’s evil uncle, Kamsa, to kill the infant Krishna as it was prophesied that Krishna would kill Kamsa. Putna assumed the form of a beautiful woman and entered Krishna’s house.
The village women thought that she had come to see baby Krishna. On entering the room, she saw Krishna lying in his cradle and took him on her lap. The wicked Putana, who had smeared poison on her breasts, tried to suckle Krishna. As she breastfed him, Krishna sucked the life out of her. She died screaming in agony. Her body extended up to 12 miles and destroyed all the trees and houses.
Mahabali was a very benevolent and generous demon king. His subjects were very happy during his reign. But as his power grew, the Gods became insecure and decided to remove the threat. So Vishnu took the form of Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin, and approached Mahabali. He asked the demon king for a piece of land that could be covered by taking three footsteps. Mahabali agreed, but instantly, Vamana began to grow bigger. His two footsteps covered the entire world. So Mahabali had to ask Vamana to put his foot on his forehead for his third step and pushed Mahabali down into the netherworld. But he also gave him a boon that he could visit his kingdom once a year to see his subjects. This is celebrated as the Onam festival in the southern state of Kerala. Onam festival 2021 from Aug 12 – Aug 23. It is celebrated very grandly in Kerala.
Shurpanakha was the sister of the demon king Ravana. She was quite ugly and was married to Dushtabudhi, a very greedy man who coveted Ravana’s kingdom. An irked Ravana killed him, so the widowed Shurpanakha lived with her brother Ravana.
One day, Shurpanaka ran into the brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, in the forest when they were living in exile. She wanted to marry either of them, but they rejected her proposal and insulted her. She became very angry and tried to attack Sita, Rama’s wife. On seeing this, Lakshmana lost his temper and chopped off her nose. Shurpanaka complained to Ravana, who kidnapped Sita in retaliation. He was smitten by Sita and wanted to marry her, but she refused. Finally, after an epic battle. Rama killed Ravana and recovered Sita.
Tarakasura was an evil demon king who was very powerful. He was able to vanquish all his challengers and kept them in slavery as his servants. He also obtained my boons from the gods. Tarakasura ran riot, drunk on his power, killing kings and innocent people alike.
Thanks to his boons, he could only be defeated by Shiva’s son, but Shiva had no child. Eventually, Shiva wed Parvati, and they were blessed with a son called Kartikeya. Kartikeya became commander-in-chief of the Gods and killed Tarakasura and his two brothers in a fierce battle. Kartikeya is also called Murugan. He is the patron deity of Tamils.
Kumbhakarna was a brother of the demon king, Ravana. He was known to sleep continuously for six months. He was very huge, and so was his appetite. But he was also a great philosopher who shrank from committing any sin. Waking Kumbhakarna was a Herculean task, and no one dared to approach him.
Ravana had abducted Rama’s wife to marry her. To awaken Kumbhakarma during the battle, a thousand elephants were made to walk over him. Finally, Kumbhakarna woke up, and despite knowing that his brother was in the wrong, he fought for Ravana. He even tried to convince Ravana that he was wrong. Though he wreaked havoc on Rama’s army, he was eventually killed by Rama.
He was the demonic son of Vishnu’s boar avatar, Varaha, and the earth goddess, Bhudevi. A powerful demon king who ruled Pragjyothishpur, he used to torture his own subjects. He even kidnapped 16000 princesses of various kingdoms and subjected them to torture. He killed sages and many innocent people. Fed up of his torture, the people sought Krishna’s help.
Narakasura forced Lord Indra to flee from heaven and also stole the precious earrings of Aditi, the mother of Indra and the Gods. The furious Aditi, who was related to Satyabhama, Krishna’s wife, approached her for help. Satyabhama agreed. Krishna knew that Narakasura could only be killed by his ‘mother’ Bhudevi, as per Brahma’s boon. But his wife Satyabhama was an avatar of Bhudevi. Krishna became Satyabhama’s charioteer in the battle against Narakasura. During the battle, Narakasura attacked Krishna, and he fell unconscious. Satyabhama then kills Narakasura. Before dying, Narakasura asked for a blessing – that the world should remember him with joy, not hate. So Satyabhama or his mother, Bhudevi, declares that his death anniversary would be celebrated with joy. Hence, the day of his death is celebrated as Narakchaturdashi or Choti Diwali and falls on the day before Diwali.
He was a very strong demon who had been given a very strange boon by Brahma. According to it, if a drop of his blood fell on the ground, another Raktabija would be born. So it was not possible to kill him, and he went unchallenged. His power also increased a thousand times when a drop of his blood fell on the ground. To put an end to him, the gods combined all their divine energy or shakti to produce a superpower that could defeat Raktabija. It was none other than Kali. Kali swallowed his entire army, leaving Raktabija all alone. Then she struck the demon. But before his blood fell on the ground, she extended her huge tongue and drank all the blood so that not a drop fell on the ground. Drained of all blood and life, Raktabija died.
Hiranyakashipu was an arrogant and egoistic demon king who wanted to be worshipped like a God. But though his entire kingdom worshipped him, his own son, Prahlada, refused to worship his father as he was a staunch Vishnu devotee. An enraged Hiranyakashipu tried to kill his son many times, but all his efforts came to naught. He even asked his sister Holika to set Prahlada on fire. But Prahlada was unhurt while Holika perished in the fire, despite a boon that fire could not harm her. Hiranyakashipu was eventually slain by the Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Mahishasura was a demon king who was half-demon and half-buffalo. His father, the king of demons, became attracted to a beautiful buffalo and married her. They had a son who was named Mahishasura (Mahisha means ‘buffalo’ and Asura means ‘demon’). He had been given a boon by Brahma that only a woman could kill him. As Mahishasura became more powerful, he felt that he was immortal as no woman had the strength to kill him. Mahishasura then attacked Trilok (earth, heaven, and hell) with his army. He also tried to capture Lord Indra’s kingdom.
The gods waged war on Mahishasura, but nobody could defeat him. The gods then approached Vishnu for help. Finally, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva merged their powers to create Goddess Durga. Durga fought Mahishasura for fifteen days. The demon kept changing his shape and assumed the forms of different animals to confuse her. When he turned into a buffalo, Durga killed him with her trident.