Where did Rakshasas live during the time of the Ramayana?

According to the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Rakshasas, Pisachas, ghosts, etc live in Antariksha loka, which is basically Bhuva Loka, which is right above Earth and below Swarga:

Text 5: Beneath Vidyādhara-loka, Cāraṇaloka and Siddhaloka, in the sky called antarikṣa, are the places of enjoyment for the Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Piśācas, ghosts and so on. Antarikṣa extends as far as the wind blows and the clouds float in the sky. Above this there is no more air.

Text 6: Below the abodes of the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas by a distance of 100 yojanas [800 miles] is the planet earth. Its upper limits extend as high as swans, hawks, eagles and similar large birds can fly.

Does the Ramayana say the Rakshasas lived in Antariksha loka or somewhere else?

1 Answer 1


Asura, Rakshasas have been mentioned even in Rig Veda (I.35.10) also. However, the word Asura was used, mostly as an epithet, for Vedic deity, such as Savitr. Rakshasa was used to indicate an epithet.

May he, gold-handed Asura, kind Leader, come hither to us with his help and favour. Driving off Rākṣasas and Yātudhānas, the God is present, praised in hymns at evening.

1) In Ramayana the word Rakshasa was used to indicate man-eater (पुरुषादम्) also. Viradha, Kabandha were such Rakshasas, who confront Sri Rama, in Aranya Kanda.

2) 32 Crores of Rakshasas were living in Lanka under the leadership of Ravana.

दश राक्षस कोट्यः च द्वाविंशतिः अथ अपराः | वर्जयित्वा जरा वृद्धान् बालान् च रजनीचरान् || ३-५५-१४

तेषाम् प्रभुः अहम् सीते सर्वेषाम् भीम कर्मणाम् |

"Oh, Seetha, ten crores of first-rated demons are there, furthermore, twenty-two crores of demons of ghastly exploits are there, thus all put together, three hundred twenty millions of demons are there in Lanka, omitting the weakish, oldish, youngish demons. For all of them I am the lord." Thus Ravana started his self-eulogy.

So Rakshasas used to live either independently or in groups during Ramayana period.

In Ramayana, Asuras was used to indicate another group of demons, contrary to Vedic literature.

Minaka, who rose from Ocean to give hospitality to Sri Hanuman, was stated to have been obstructing the entrance to Patala, which was the residing place for Asuras.

त्वमिहासुरसंघानां पाताळतलवासिनां || ५-१-९२ देवराज्ञा गिरिश्रेष्ठ परिघः संनिवेशितः |

"O best among mountains Mainaka! You have been positioned here by Devendra as an obstacle to the groups of asuras living in paataala."

  • Thanks for the response. However, the Vedas do not say that asuras are deities. Only sometimes it uses asura as an epithet. But generally, danavas, daityas, etc are asuras/demons.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 1:23
  • The mantra in Rig veda mentioned is about Savitr - sun diety. Even Indra was referred to as Asura elsewhere. Yes I had mentioned that Asura was used as epithet @Ikshvaku Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 1:30
  • The word Asura has two meanings: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/22143/11726
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 12:19
  • So, Asura also means evil being, so there is nothing that is contrary to Vedic literature in the Ramayana.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 12:25
  • Asura was used in vedas, mostly as an epithet, for Vedic deity.In Ramayana, Asuras was used to indicate another group of demons. That is the difference. @Ikshvaku Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 12:32

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