Even though Ravana was among topmost in Bhakti towards Shiva the entire clan is branded evil for misdeeds that he alone was responsible.

Vibhishana was a god man of morals, could rule well not necessarily due to alliance with Rama. MahaVishnu sent the Rakshas king MahaBali to the nether world (Paathaala) even though his grandfather Prahlada was his greatest devotee, and for what misdemeanors no one knows ..at least not properly projected in the popular Puranas.

The Asura by default is a bad character. It is always that the Lord has to take up an Avatar from time to time to slay an otherwise invincible Rakshasa. Devas are generally depicted in Hindu mythology as average pious lot but needing to seek out help from the Trinity when the Asura originated trouble goes beyond a certain threshold.

Human nature is naturally ingredient-ed with piety and evil. Is it from the nature and behavior the good/bad boy branding is done? When the Devas and Rakshasas have a common hereditary lineage does behavioral leaning really set them apart?

  • The child of a deva is called as asura (kaakasura) while the child of an asura is called as azhwan, baktha (Prahalaada; Prahalaadazhwan, Baktha Prahallada and so is the case of Vibheeshanaazhwan). This irony was said in a discourse citing that birth rites does not matter much; but how one behaves matters the most.
    – Narayanan
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:19

3 Answers 3


While a layman uses the words Asura,Daitya ,Rakshasa synonymously but there are differences between them.

Atleast ,as far as a Daitya and a Rakshasa are concerned there is quite a good amount of differences between the two.

Manu Smriti, the oldest Dharma Shastra, describe everything in creation as manifestations of the 3 gunas(Triguna) viz-Sattva,Rajas and Tamas.

Each of these 3 groups are further divided into three more sub-groups viz-Sattva1,Sattva2 and Sattva3 where Sattva3 is the lowest form of Sattva and Sattva1 the highest.Similarly,there are 3 sub-groups each for the groups Rajas and Tamas.

Now,Manu describes the Rakshasas as the belonging to Tamas1.that is,the highest group among the Tamas category,where as a Daitya is said to be belonging to the group Sattva3,that is,the lowest sub-group belonging to Sattva.

12.41. But know this threefold course of transmigrations that depends on the (three) qualities (to be again) threefold, low, middling, and high, according to the particular nature of the acts and of the knowledge (of each man).

12.42. Immovable (beings), insects, both small and great, fishes, snakes, and tortoises, cattle and wild animals, are the lowest conditions to which (the quality of) Darkness leads.

12.43. Elephants, horses, Sudras, and despicable barbarians, lions, tigers, and boars (are) the middling states, caused by (the quality of) Darkness.

12.44. Karanas, Suparnas and hypocrites, Rakshasas and Pisakas (belong to) the highest (rank of) conditions among those produced by Darkness.

Here, darkness refers to tamas,goodness to sattva and activity to rajas.And highest rank of darkness refers to the group which i mentioned as Tamas1 and so on.

2.46. Kings and Kshatriyas, the domestic priests of kings, and those who delight in the warfare of disputations (constitute) the middling (rank of the) states caused by Activity.

12.47. The Gandharvas, the Guhyakas, and the servants of the gods, likewise the Apsarases, (belong all to) the highest (rank of) conditions produced by Activity.

12.48. Hermits, ascetics, Brahmanas, the crowds of the Vaimanika deities, the lunar mansions, and the Daityas (form) the first (and lowest rank of the) existences caused by Goodness.

So,Rakshasa bound by his nature will act in the mode of darkness whereas a Daitya is quite similar to the Brahmins,the Ascetics etc in terms of inherent qualities.

So,needless to say,Daityas can be very righteous and religious but not the Rakshasas.

When the Devas and Rakshasas have a common hereditary lineage does behavioral leaning really set them apart?

In Manu's list the Devas are put in the Sattva2 sub-group,that is,just one group above the group the Daityas belong.

So,there are as much differences between a Deva and a Daitya as are implied by such a positioning.

12.49. Sacrificers, the sages, the gods, the Vedas, the heavenly lights, the years, the manes, and the Sadhyas (constitute) the second order of existences, caused by Goodness.

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Conclusion- A Rakshasa live in the mode of darkness(tamas) and their acts are often Adharmic.But a Daitya and Deva are almost on the same level as far as inherent qualities(Gunas) are concerned.In short,unrighteousness may be inherent by default in the Rakshasas but not so in the Daityas.

  • This is interesting. Now we can give some logical explanations for lascivious acts of Indra. :P BTW, you can answer this question Difference between Rakshasas, Daityas, Danawas.
    – The Destroyer
    Dec 14, 2016 at 13:55
  • @TheDestroyer I can answer that but i'll have to repeat the same verses there too..
    – Rickross
    Dec 14, 2016 at 14:48
  • I think it doesn't matter as it answers the question based on Guna.
    – The Destroyer
    Dec 16, 2016 at 11:31

Asura birth and their characters are only due to previous bad karma and if one asura or rakshasa can be in a good way their birth decides their situation not their actions, their actions are of free will.

EXAMPLE : As Ravana was a brahmin he was in a pious situation by birth but he decided with his actions to be not in a righteous path. Hiranyakasupu was a king of asura with bad control over other life forms and his son Prahalada a born asura was a righteous one.


There are multiple rakshasas who were righteous.

Example: Vibhishna because he asked the boon to be righteous from Brahma.


Brahma then addressed Vibhishana, 'O my son, I am much pleased with thee! Ask any boon thou pleasest!' Thereupon, Vibhishana replied, 'Even in great danger, may I never swerve from the path of righteousness, and though ignorant, may I, O adorable Sire, be illumined with the light of divine knowledge!'

Brahma was so impressed that he granted him immortality.

And Brahma replied, 'O scourge of thy enemies, as thy soul inclines not to unrighteousness although born in the Rakshasa race, I grant thee immortality!'

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