The Classes of Demons, Part 3
Sep 2, CANADA (SUN) Lila pastimes with the transcendental demons.
The Bhutas, Pretas, Pisacas and Pramathas
"In Calcutta there are many butcher shops which keep a deity of the goddess Kali, and animal-eaters think it proper to purchase animal flesh from such shops in hope that they are eating the remnants of food offered to goddess Kali. They do not know that goddess Kali never accepts nonvegetarian food because she is the chaste wife of Lord Siva. Lord Siva is also a great Vaisnava and never eats nonvegetarian food, and the goddess Kali accepts the remnants of food left by Lord Siva. Therefore there is no possibility of her eating flesh or fish. Such offerings are accepted by the associates of goddess Kali known as bhutas, pisacas and Raksasas, and those who take the prasada of goddess Kali in the shape of flesh or fish are not actually taking the prasada left by goddess Kali, but the food left by the bhutas and pisacas."
"Lord Siva is called the Bhuta-natha, being assisted by various types of powerful ghosts and denizens of the inferno--Bhutas, Pretas, Pramathas, Guhyakas, Dakinis, Pisacas, Kusmandas, Vetalas, Vinayakas and Brahma-raksasas. (Of all kinds of ghosts, the Brahma-raksasas are very powerful. Brahmanas transferred to the role of ghosts become Brahma-raksasas.)"
Krsna Book, Chapter 63
"Ghosts and mischievous hobgoblins are also the creation of Brahma; they are not false. All of them are meant for putting the conditioned soul into various miseries. They are understood to be the creation of Brahma under the direction of the Supreme Lord."
"Lord Siva is described here as caracara-guru, the spiritual master of all animate and inanimate objects. He is sometimes known as Bhutanatha, which means "the worshipable deity of the dull-headed." Bhuta is also sometimes taken to indicate the ghosts. Lord Siva takes charge of reforming persons who are ghosts and demons, not to speak of others, who are godly; therefore he is the spiritual master of everyone, both the dull and demoniac and the highly learned Vaisnavas."
"Lord Siva is described here as bhuta-rat. The ghosts and those who are situated in the material mode of ignorance are called bhutas, so bhuta-rat refers to the leader of the creatures who are in the lowest standard of the material modes of nature. Another meaning of bhuta is anyone who has taken birth or anything which is produced, so in that sense Lord Siva may be accepted as the father of this material world."
"Prabhupada: That religiosity also different kinds: rajasic, tamasic, and sattvic, according to one's nature. The sattvic, they worship Visnu. The rajasic, they worship the demigods. And the tamasic, they worship bhuta, preta, pisaca..."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay 04-08-74
"Pisaca worship is called "black arts" or "black magic." There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic. "
"Sometimes due to sinful activities, too much attachment, a man becomes ghost. Ghost, there is ghosts. Bhuta preta pisaca. Not only this life, demonic life, but after death also, there are ghostly lives. They do not get this gross body. They remain in the subtle body, mind, intelligence, and ego. Due to their gross sinful life, they are punished by not getting a gross life. Because without getting a gross life, we cannot enjoy. With mind, I cannot enjoy rasagulla. I must have the tongue, I must have the hand, fingers, I can pick up, then... In the mind, I may think of eating or collecting rasagulla, but actually I do not get the taste."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London 07-29-73
"So one can remain like that, without this gross body and subtle body, material. Just like in the Vaikunthaloka, that is... But in the material world, when one is not covered by the gross body but subtle body, they are called ghosts or pramathas. Those who are good, not harmful, they are called pramathas. And those who are harmful... As in this material world there are good men and bad men, similarly, amongst the persons who has no this gross body, they are sometimes called ghosts and sometimes they are called pramatha."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindaban 11-09-76
The Celestial Singers and Kinnaras
"One day, Brahma, the creator of the living entities, beheld his own reflection in the water, and admiring himself, he evolved Kimpurusas as well as Kinnaras out of that reflection."
"The mention of upadeva-vara refers to inferior demigods like the Gandharvas, Kinnaras and Uragas, who are not exactly demigods but between the demigods and human beings."
"The pacified sages chanted Vedic prayers, the denizens of heaven known as the Gandharvas and Kinnaras sang, the beautiful damsels of the heavenly planets danced, and in this way, at the time of the appearance of Nara-Narayana, all signs of good fortune were visible."
"From the description given in this verse, Garuda appears to belong to the Kinnara planet. The inhabitants of the Kinnara planet have the same features as Garuda. Their bodily features are like those of a human being, but they have wings. The word gita-kirtih indicates that the inhabitants of Kinnaraloka are very expert in singing the glories of the Lord. In Brahma-samhita it is said: jagad-anda-koti-kotisv asesa-vasudhadi-vibhuti-bhinnam. In each and every universe there are different types of planets, and each planet has distinctive features. On the strength of this verse, we can understand that in Kinnaraloka the inhabitants can fly with their wings. There is also a planet, known as Siddhaloka, where the inhabitants can fly even without wings. ."
Kinnaras with Human and Avian Features
The Nagas and Uragas
Naginis - Naga Goddesses
The Nagas are borne of Lord Brahma, who lay down while doing the work of creation and dropped hair from his body that transformed into snakes. Even while his body crawled along with its hands and feet contracted, there sprang from it ferocious serpents and Nagas with their hoods expanded. The Uragas are also serpentine demigods, who are not exactly demigods but between the demigods and human beings.
"The Nagaloka planet is situated below the earth planet, and it is understood that the sun rays are hampered there. The darkness of the planet is, however, removed by the flashes of the jewels set on the heads of the Nagas (celestial serpents), and it is said that there are beautiful gardens, rivulets, etc., for the enjoyment of the Nagas. It is understood here also that the place is well protected by the inhabitants."
The Ganas represent a host of spooks, hobgoblins and spirits who accompany Lord Siva. Some are said to dwell with him on Mount Kailasa, whilst the more fearsome and terrifying Ganas are confined to the cremation grounds. It is said that Uma once asked Lord Siva why he liked to reside in cremation grounds, which were the abode of demons, jackals, corpses and vultures, when he had so many more beautiful places. Mahesvara replied that he had roamed the world, looking for a pure place to meditate in. Unable to find one, he, out of anger and frustration, he created the terrible pishachas, flesh-eating ghouls and terrible rakshasas, intent on killing people. Out of compassion however, he kept this terrible horde in the cremation ground. As he did not want to live without the bhutas and ganas, he chose to live in a cemetery. When the ghosts stayed with him, they caused no harm.
The presence of the terrible Ganas also acted as an honour guard to Siva and a bar to the impure. Those who feared the awful ghosts and goblins were destined to remain outsiders. Only heroes could be near him in the cremation ground, heroes who had defied death and liberated themselves from passions and fear. These were the true devotees - those who had nothing to fear, who had mastered the onslaught of the multiple categories of threatening powers that were fatal to those who were less than heroes and could not control the frightening phantoms because they had not controlled themselves.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from various texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.