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I could not understand who are the RAKSHASAS and if they belong only to India, Lanka or anywhere else in the world?

If they were in that period then why don't they exist in today's world? How did they get finished. When Ramayana refer to rakshasa what does it mean - human being or animals or some other species?

  • You can refer to this question for the origin ofor Rakshasas. – Surya Sep 20 '16 at 16:43
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  • Surya, there is no proof in that question. I want to know the scientific facts, I don't believe in stories, I am trying to understand the Hinduism. I don't have any intention to hurt anyone's believe. – Ali Adravi Sep 20 '16 at 23:33
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    Anyways, Rakshasas live in Patalaloka and some people are born on Earth already. Bad people can be considered as Rakshasas also.(2) – The Destroyer Sep 21 '16 at 4:07
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    @Ali its good that you are trying to understand Hinduism, but on stackexchange.com we are not supposed to have scientific speculation. In any case the first step is to read the scriptures which are the basis of all further explanation and interpretations. – Surya Sep 21 '16 at 12:32
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The rakshasas are sons of Pulastya (a son of Brahma) and so to speak, they are brothers of the monkeys and the kinnaras:

From Pulastya were born the rakshasas, the monkeys and the kinnaras.13

Normally they are represented as eaters of men, an example is Hidimba and his sister Hidimbi (or also Hidimba) who wanted to eat the Pandavas and Kunti:

Vaishampayana said, 'Not very far from where they slept in the forest, to rakshasa named Hidimba lived on a shala2 tree. He was cruel, addicted to human flesh, very brave and very powerful, malformed, with yellow eyes, and terrible and fearful to look at. He was thirsty and hungry and was looking around, when I happened to see them. With his fingers extended upwards, I have scratched the dry and unkempt hair on his head and yawning with his large mouth repeatedly, looked at them. The evil eater of human flesh, with a huge form and great strength, smelt humans and told his sister, "After a long time, I will today devour my Favorite food Anticipating the pleasure, my tongue is moist with saliva. My eight sharp- pointed teeth are impatient because they had nothing to bite. I will dip them into these bodies and the delicious flesh. I will attack the human throats and arteries. I will drink copious quantities of the warm, fresh and foaming blood. Go and find out who are sleeping in the forest. The strong smell of humans alone pleases me. Kill those men and bring them to me. They are asleep in our territory and you need not fear. We will both eat a lot of flesh from these humans the way we like it. Quickly do what I tell you. "O bull of the Bharata lineage! On hearing his brother's words, the rakshasi quickly went to where the Pandavas were.

But because Hidimbi fell in love with Bhima, he rebelled against his brother.

The rakshasas grow very quickly, since Ghatotkacha had the form of a young adult, and that was just after birth:

'From Bhimasena, the rakshasi then gave birth to an immensely powerful son. I had a fearful appearance, with terrible eyes, a large mouth and ears like spikes. His form was distorted. His lips were brown as copper and his teeth were sharp, with great strength in them. He had mighty arms, possessed great energy and was born extremely valuable, a great archer He had great speed, with gigantic size and was a conqueror of enemies, highly skilled in the powers of delusion. Though born from a man, with great speed and great strength, I have had nothing human in him. I have surpassed all pishachas and other such creatures, not to speak of humans. O Lord of Men! Although a child, by human standards, he seemed to be a fully grown youth

The rakshasas also eat the brahmins, hate them and even ruin their sacrifices.

Another characteristic is that the rakshasas have a prodigious force, since among the rakshasas that Bhima faced a hand-to-hand fight, they gave him a good fight but still they were killed by Bhima.

Next I will give descriptions of Krishna or the War of Kurukshetra to make known the rakshasas that were apart from those that I had already described:

Hidimba, Baka and Kirmira have been brought down by Bhimasena. They were the equals of Ravana and destroyed the sacrifices of brahmanas. Similarly, Alayudha, who used maya, was slain by Hidimba’s son.

However, Hidimba’s son crushed Alambala.

O great king! On seeing this, Duryodhana attacked the rakshasas. He was overcome by intolerance and gave up all desire to protect his own life. The immensely strong one released arrows towards the rakshasas. The great archer slew the foremost among the rakshasas. O best of the Bharata lineage! Your son, Duryodhana, was angry. The maharatha used four arrows to kill four of them—Vegavat, Maharoudra, Vidyutjihva and Pramathi.

‘“On seeing that all of them had fallen down, Duryodhana was frightened. He spoke to the extremely terrible rakshasa who was terrible in form. The scorcher of enemies was a great archer and was skilled in maya. He was the son of Rishyashringa.320 He had earlier become an enemy of Bhimasena on account of the slaying of Baka.321

Vaishampayana said, ‘The Pandavas lived comfortably on that mountain. When the rakshasas and Bhimasena’s son 1 had left, and they were without Bhimasena, who had gone to roam around as he willed, a rakshasa abducted Dharmaraja, the twins and Krishna.2 He had pretended to be a brahmana skilled in mantras and well versed in weapons. Having said this, he had served the Pandavas every day. He lived with the Parthas, covetous of their quivers and bows and waited for his chance. He was known by the name of Jatasura.

Ghatotkacha’s son was handsome and was like a mass of collyrium. As Drona’s son advanced, he checked him, like a king of mountains against the wind. Anjanaparva, Bhimasena’s grandson.

In all, these are the rakshasas that are in Mahabharata:

1- Hidimba

2- Hidimbi

3- Ghatotkacha

4- Anjanaparva

5- Alayudha

6- Alambusa

7- Alambala

8- Jatasura

9- Baka

10- Kirmira

11- Vegavat

12- Maharoudra

13- Vidyutjihva

14- Pramathi

Another fact about the rakshasas is that they strengthen how much darker the night is. During the midnight, the powers of the rakshasas are such, that in Mahabharata Ghatotkacha he became so powerful that he defeated Drona, Kripa and Ashwatthama although before he was very defeated by Drona and Ashwatthama during the day.

  • Pulastya (a son of Brahma): Brahma is God, and God has SON? So who was the wife of God? – Ali Adravi Apr 29 at 14:08
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A Rakshasa (Sanskrit: rākṣasa) is a demonic being from Hindu mythology. As mythology made its way into other religions, the rakshasa was later incorporated into Buddhism. Rakshasas are also called maneaters (Nri-chakshas, Kravyads). A female rakshasa is known as a Rakshasi. A female Rakshasa in human form is a Manushya-Rakshasi. The terms Asura and Rakshasa are sometimes used interchangeably. It is said that Rakshasas were created from the breath of Brahma when he was asleep at the end of the Satya Yuga. As soon as they were created, they were so filled with bloodlust that they started eating Brahma himself. Brahma shouted "Rakshama!" (Sanskrit for "protect me!") and Vishnu came to his aid, banishing to Earth all Rakshasas (thus named after Brahma's cry for help). Rakshasa were most often depicted as ugly, fierce-looking and enormous creatures and with two fangs protruding down from the top of the mouth as well as sharp, claw-like fingernails.

Source

Rakshasas were not only in Ram period, they were in the Mahabharata period too.

In the world of the Mahabharata, rakshasas are a frequently encountered as a populous race of supernatural humanoids who tend generally toward evil. Powerful warriors, they resort easily to the use of magic and illusion when unsuccessful with conventional weapons. As shape changers, they can assume various physical forms, and it is not always clear whether they have a true or natural form. As illusionists, they are capable of creating appearances which are real to those who believe in them or who fail to dispel them. Rakshasas are cannibals, and frequently make their gleeful appearance when the slaughter on the battlefield is at its worst. Occasionally they serve as rank-and-file soldiers in the service of various warlords.

  1. Hidimba was a cannibal Rakshasa who was slain by Bhima. The Mahabharata (Book I: Adi Parva, Section 154) describes him as a cruel cannibal with sharp, long teeth and prodigious strength. When Hidimba saw the Pandavas sleeping in his forest, he decided to eat them. He made the mistake of sending his sister Hidimbi to reconnoiter the situation, and the damsel fell in love with the handsome Bhima, whom she warned of the danger. Infuriated, Hidimba declared himself ready to kill not only the Pandavas but also his sister, but he was thwarted by the heroism of Bhima, who defeated and killed him in a duel.

  2. Kirmira, the brother of Bakasur, was a cannibal and master illusionist. He haunted the wood of Kamyaka, dining on human travellers. Like his brother before him, Kirmira also made the mistake of fighting the Pandav hero Bhima, who killed him with his bare hands (Book III: Varna Parva, Section 11).

  3. Jatasur was a cunning Rakshasa who, disguised as a Brahmin, attempted to steal the Pandavas' weapons and to ravish his wife Draupadi. Bhima arrived in time to intervene, and killed Jatasur in a duel. (Book III: Varna Parva, Section 156). Jatasur's son was Alamvush, who fought on the side of the Kauravas at Kurukshetra.

Source and Source

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Rakshasa, Sanskrit (male) Rākṣasa, or (female) Rākṣasī, in Hindu mythology, a type of demon or goblin. Rakshasas have the power to change their shape at will and appear as animals, as monsters, or in the case of the female demons, as beautiful women. They are most powerful in the evening, particularly during the dark period of the new moon, but they are dispelled by the rising sun. They especially detest sacrifices and prayer. Most powerful among them is their king, the 10-headed Rāvaṇa. Pūtanā, a female demon, is well known for her attempt to kill the infant Krishna by offering him milk from her poisoned breast; she was, however, sucked to death by the god.

Not all rakshasas are equally evil; some are more akin to yakshas, or yakṣas (nature spirits), while others are similar to asuras, the traditional opponents of the gods. The term rakshasa, however, generally applies to those demons who haunt cemeteries, eat the flesh of men, and drink the milk of cows dry as if by magic.

They are vigorously depicted in Rajasthani paintings illustrating the Rāmāyaṇa (“Romance of Rāma”). The canons of sculpture instruct the artist to carve them with a terrifying appearance, complete with fearful side tusks, ugly eyes, curling awkward brows, and carrying a variety of horrible weapons.

Source

Rakshasas were in the Mahabharata period too

  1. Hidimba was a cannibal Rakshasa who was slain by Bhima. The Mahabharata (Book I: Adi Parva, Section 154) describes him as a cruel cannibal with sharp, long teeth and prodigious strength. When Hidimba saw the Pandavas sleeping in his forest, he decided to eat them. He made the mistake of sending his sister Hidimbi to reconnoiter the situation, and the damsel fell in love with the handsome Bhima, whom she warned of the danger. Infuriated, Hidimba declared himself ready to kill not only the Pandavas but also his sister, but he was thwarted by the heroism of Bhima, who defeated and killed him in a duel.

  2. Kirmira, the brother of Bakasur, was a cannibal and master illusionist. He haunted the wood of Kamyaka, dining on human travellers. Like his brother before him, Kirmira also made the mistake of fighting the Pandav hero Bhima, who killed him with his bare hands (Book III: Varna Parva, Section 11).

  3. Jatasur was a cunning Rakshasa who, disguised as a Brahmin, attempted to steal the Pandavas' weapons and to ravish his wife Draupadi. Bhima arrived in time to intervene, and killed Jatasur in a duel. (Book III: Varna Parva, Section 156). Jatasur's son was Alamvush, who fought on the side of the Kauravas at Kurukshetra.

Wikipedia

  • Welcome to Hinduism.SE! Please take a look at Guidelines for new users for answering questions and other FAQs. You should try to quote directly from Hindu scripture instead of Wikipedia and other encyclopedias as sometimes they lack references and are not reliable. – sv. Sep 22 '16 at 18:42
  • You can read the English translation of The Mabhabharata here and Valmiki Ramayana here. For other scriptures click on the tag translation-request. – sv. Sep 22 '16 at 18:42

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