Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Asuras - The Demons


The Asuras are the forces of evil in Indian mythology. They are the sons of the sage Kashyapa and Diti, and consequently the step-brothers of their mortal enemies, the Devas. They are ruled by powerful kings from time to time, and wage perennial war on the Devas. As they are sons of Diti they are also called Daithyas.

Their preceptor is Shukra, who was initially able to secure them the upper hand by bringing back their dead to life with the Mrithasanjivini spell. Later, the Devas also acquired it. There are no clear accounts of why both sides could not use this spell afterwards, but references to this spell are missing from latter texts.

Among the trinity, they are worshippers of Shiva, who often protects them against the attacks of Vishnu, who is a friend of the Devas. They are also referred to as Dhanavas. They are also enemies of mankind, taking particular delight in disrupting penances and sacrifices. Indeed, attacking sacrifices is one of their most common tasks, as it disrupts the flow of Havis to the Devas, which is the source of power to the Devas.

References to the Asuras can be found from the earliest texts, for example in the [R.V.0]. There is a hymn on the slaying of the demon Vritra by Indra, the king of the Devas.

Last Modified At: Wed Oct 20 00:20:19 2004