Demons and Reproduction

October 19, 2006


What a weird title…but asked:

While I was describing about Deepavali to a ABCD at work, he asked “Don’t demons mate and have children? I know that Krishna is like one Love God and that Rama had a Sita. But what about this Narakasura?”. After reading up on wikipedia about this in his comment on my post yesterday, I’m still confused whether these demons reproduce sexually. Any ideas? ;)

Here’s my reply:

Of course, demons, in Hindu mythology at least, reproduce sexually. Ravana +Mandodari =so many children, including the valourous Indrajit (conqueror of Indra) ; asuras have children like anyone else, in mythology. Read the descriptions of Hanuman looking for Sita in the palace of Ravana; he looks at a very beautiful lady sleeping peacefully in Ravana's anthapuram (harem) and wonders if this could be Sita, and decides, it can't be, as Sita the devoted wife of Rama would not sleep peacefully in another man's harem. Also, there are instances of asuras being attracted to gods/humans-- Hidimbi + Bheema = Ghatotkacha. Also, Soorpanakha being attracted to Rama and Lakshmana...why, Ravana's being attracted to Sita forms the backbone of the epic!

"Demons" are not necessarily always evil; Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is revered as a model of wifely virtue; and Ravana himself is depicted an an erudite scholar and a wise ruler, only blinded by his passion for Sita. There is a school of thought, indeed, that says that the invading Aryans, fair and tall, depicted themselves as Suras, and the Dravidians, stocky and short, as the Asuras (the not-Suras.)

But of course, since it is mythology, demons reproduce magically, too. Deepavali is day after tomorrow, and it is celebrated as Kali Puja (kALi poojA) in Bengal. So it is apt to remember the story of Rakthabeeja the demon. Whenever he shed a drop of blood in a fight or war, and that drop hit the earth,  several more Rakthabeejas would spring up from the drop. Hence Parvati/Durga had to take the form of Kali, the Dark and Fearsome One, with her tongue outstretched, to catch every drop of blood before it touched the earth. Kolkata has the most famous Kali temple .The tongue and eyes  are the most striking parts of the image. Well...Sunson...hope you found that interesting!