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"Are Hindu Rakshasas Supposed To Be Ghouls Or Vampires?" Topic


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703 hits since 24 Sep 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 1:36 a.m. PST

I hate articles that explain one foreign name with another foreign name and, after a while they all sound "Greek" to me:

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So what are the Hindu Rakshasas comparable to? After they were thrown down to Earth, aren't they said to have taken human form?

So are they more like Vampires or Ghouls? Do they have a Sumerian/Chaldean equivalent, with something like the chimera-like Lamashtu/Pazuzu* (or is Lamashtu more like Kali)?

Or are they supposed to be something else that has no comparison to anything else on the planet and, as hard as it is to believe, no relation whatsoever to any other culture's mythologies?

Thanks,

Dan
* Here's the "Lamashtu Plaque", with Lamashtu (Lilith?) holding two snakes and Pazuzu standing to her left and again on the entire back of the plaque:

picture

picture

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link

rvandusen24 Sep 2017 2:02 a.m. PST

The cannibalism and blood drinking shows up in many myths around the world, so that shows a connection to other traditions, but Rakhasas also have unique features. I would describe them as more like demons with vampiric and ghoulish traits.

I suppose the feline Rakhasas of D&D fame are mostly artistic license.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 2:03 a.m. PST

I would say that they were closest to demons in western mythology. They would not fit my thinking of vampire (ex human blood drinker) nor ghoul (corpse eater) both of which count as undead which Rakshasa don't really fit.

x42

Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 4:43 a.m. PST

Well, when Carl Kolchak was looking for one it was "a carnivorous entity endowed with the ability to lure victims by assuming the appearance of friends and loved ones."

Of course, then again, no one ever believes Carl….. grin

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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 4:52 a.m. PST

Well, the old Rakshasa hunter on The Night Stalker claimed they lived in another dimension and sent scouts to ours, looking for a good time to invade--so I'd go with x42brown--demons.

Xintao Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 6:54 a.m. PST

The Night Stalker always scared the hell out me as a kid. I mean what person in their right mind would go hunting monsters with a camera in the sewer at midnight, alone….

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 10:59 a.m. PST

@Xintao:
What makes you think Kolchak was in his right mind? He had already lost a lot of SAN points before the tv series even started.

@Cacique Caribe:
It sounds like you need a better dictionary!

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

Oberlindes: "@Cacique Caribe:
It sounds like you need a better dictionary!"

I think you are absolutely right!

Or maybe I need to get hold of a basic Comparative World Mythologies for "Idiots". A primer of some sort, but one that isn't written by followers of Giorgio Tsoukalos. :)

Dan

Zephyr124 Sep 2017 2:28 p.m. PST

Most likely the pictures of those horrid-looking creatures were based on actual beings (no doubt with a bit of exaggeration/poetic license thrown in ;-) and the names will all be found to have a common meaning, i.e. "this is my mother-in-law", the tales growing in the commiseration being shared over many rounds in the ancient beer/ale house. Of course, YMMV* ;-)

*Your Mother-in-law May Vary

Crazyivanov24 Sep 2017 3:20 p.m. PST

I think the closest relatives we might have are actually Norse Jotun or Grendel's family from Beowulf.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 10:12 p.m. PST

Then there's the whole lycanthropy thing, where people* were said to be possessed by some spirit or demon with predatory animal (not always wolf) tendencies.

Lycanthropy seems to run through most cultures across the globe, in one form (pardon the pun) or another, from pre-Sumerian times to the present.

Dan
* Those who were either victims of their own mental disposition or who became that way through ingesting bad (ergot-infested) grain or even exotic mushrooms. Can you even imagine what an "angry drunk" would be like on hallucinogens in ancient times, specially one not too well liked by the village to begin with?

Personal logo Rogzombie Supporting Member of TMP Fezian25 Sep 2017 8:35 a.m. PST

D&D is spot on. They love to sit around smoking a hookah in a smoking jacket.

Mick the Metalsmith26 Sep 2017 4:56 a.m. PST

I believe they could adopt any form they wished when described in the Mahabharata.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 6:11 a.m. PST

Aha! So they were generally more like shape-shifters then. Interesting.

Dan

Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 9:24 a.m. PST

Ahhh, we loved Kolchak! MeTV, alas, just ended their Sunday-night-run of the series. It was so neat reliving the episodes. Now, granted, the series was dated (no computers, no freaking-cell phones, etc, etc) but it was a great series. The made-for-tv-movie that spawned the series "The Night Stalker" that the late Dan Curtis produced was, at that time, the highest-rated tv movie ever. Curtis also did "The Night Strangler" which, I think Richard Matheson did the teleplay. Both excellent films!! Thanks for the brief-trip down memory lane guys!

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2017 9:33 a.m. PST

I just remembered something. The ancient Sumerians' werewolf was called Bau. I wonder if the pups were called Little Bau Waws. :)

Dan

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