The Demons of the Ramayana

Villains, ghosts, witches and demons, every good story has a bad guy…. The conflict of “good” versus “evil”.  Somehow good always prevails, but who doesn’t like a “Happy Ending?”.

The Ramayana, the story of the mighty warrior Lord Rama through his trials and tribulations, has inspired millions over the centuries. Originally written in the ancient language of Sanskrit by Sage Valmiki, the Ramayana teaches us about Dharma (duty and righteousness), devotion, hope, bravery, respect, confidence, among many more qualities.

Exiled for fourteen years, by his dearest father King Dasharatha, Lord Rama began an adventure to save his beautiful wife Princess Sita from the evil demon Ravana; with his faithful brother Lakshmana, and companion Hanuman.  The finale is his mighty battle with Ravana but along the way with his trusted  bow….there are a number of demons they slay…. But who are they?, many blogs talk about the gods and goddesses, but it’s time to find out more about the bad guys. All these demons do not feature in the Jai Jais Ramayana as the version is shortened for children to enjoy.

TAKE NOTE: There will be some gore which may not be suitable for some children.

Name: Akampana

Akampana was a maternal uncle of Ravana. He was one of ten sons of Sumali and Ketumathi. He also had four sisters. Later he was killed in the battle of Lanka by Hanuman.

Name: Akshayakumara

Akshayakumara was a son of Ravana and Mandodari. He was killed by Hanuman during the encounter in Ashok Vatika.

Name: Atikaya

Atikaya was a son of Ravana and his second wife Dhanyamalini. He was killed by Lakshamana.

Name: Devantaka

Devantaka was an son of Ravana. He was killed by Hanuman, in the mighty war of the Ramayana.

Name: Dhumraksha

Dhumraksha was a maternal uncle of Ravana. He was one of ten sons of Sumali. Dhumraksha was killed by Hanuman.

Name: Dushana

Dushana was a man-eating demon in the Ramayana epic. According to original scriptures, Dushana and his twin brother Khara younger brothers of Ravana, were demons who ruled the DandakaForest. After Lakshama humiliated Shurpanakha by cutting off her nose and ears, Khara and Dushana went to war against Lakshmana and Rama. During this fight, Dushana was killed by Rama.

Name: Khara

Khara was a man-eating demon in the epic Ramayana. He was a younger male cousin of Ravana and the son of Kaikesi's sister Raka. He was killed by Rama, along with his brother Lakshamana when he attacked Rama after Shurpanakha's humiliation. After Lakshamana cut off Shurpanakha's nose, Khara fought against Lakshmana and Rama. During this fight, Khara lost and was killed by Rama, who also killed his brothers Dushana and Trishiras. He was the ruler of the Danda Kingdom, roughly equivalent to the Nashik district, with Janasthana (Nashik city) as its capital. He protected the northern kingdom of Lanka in the mainland and his kingdom bordered with the Kosala Kingdom, the kingdom of Rama. He was well known for his superior skills in warfare.  In the Ramayana war, between Rama and Ravanas, Khara's son, Makaraksha, fought on his uncle, Ravana's side, and was killed by Rama.

Name: Kumbhakarna

Kumbhakarna was second son of Vishrava and Kaikasi. He was younger brother of Ravana and elder brother Vibhisana and Surpanakha. Despite his gigantic size and great appetite, he was described to be of good character and great warrior in those times. When offered a boon by Brahma he was tricked into asking for eternal sleep. A horrified Ravana, out of brotherly love, persuaded Brahma to amend the boon. Brahma mitigated the power of the boon by making Kumbhakarna sleep for six months and being awake for the rest six months of a year (in some versions, he is awake for one day out of the year).

Name: Maricha

Maricha is a demon, who is killed by Rama. He is mentioned as an ally of Ravana, the antagonist of the epic. His most notable exploit is his role in the kidnapping of Sita, Rama's wife, he turns himself into a golden dear in one retelling of the story to entice Sita to step out of the protective circle the Lakshman Reka, made by Lakshama to protect Sita, when he goes to assist Rama.

Name: Prahasta

Prahasta was a maternal uncle of Ravana and chief commander of Lanka's army. He was a son of |Sumali and Ketumati. He had 9 brothers and four sisters. One of his sister was Ravana's mother Kaikashi.

Name: Ravana

Ravana is the most famous demon in the Ramayana. Ravana was the demon king of Lanka. He is the main demon of epic Ramayana. He was son of Vishrava and Kaikashi, and the brother of Shurpanakha and Khara. He performed penance for Lord Shiva for many years, and in return received a great blessing from the god himself that he cannot be killed by any god, demon, or other divine being.

Extract from ‘The Jai Jais, Ramayana, page 21, “Ravana was a terrifying giant with ten heads, and a haunting face with yellow brick-like teeth.  His twenty arms slithered from his body like a net of angry snakes,  His enormous shadow cast a mountain of darkness on the land”.

Name: Shurpanaka

Shurpanakha was daughter of Vishrava and Kaikashi; and younger sister of Ravana. According to Ramayana, she met the Rama during a visit to the forest of Panchavati. She was instantly smitten by his youthful good looks. Rama meanwhile kindly rejected her advances, telling her that he was faithful to his wife Sita and thus would never take another wife. Rejected, Shurpanakha then approached his younger brother Lakshamana, who also rejected her, the humiliated and envious Shurpanakha attacked Sita was defended by Lakshamana, who cut off her nose and left ear and sent her back to Lanka.

Extract from ‘The Jai Jais, Ramayana, page 21, “Shurpanaka could not break the love between Rama and Sita. The demoness became extremely angry.  She was strong and scary; she was fuming with rage.  She had a large belly and deformed eyes, and her thick matted coppery hair shook like an autumn tree blowing in the wind”.

Name: Tataka

Tataka was a beautiful woman who was transformed into a demoness, when she tried to seduce the Sage Visvamitra. As a demon, she used to drink the blood of living creatures and used to kill anything she saw. In one of Rama's few great acts, and upon the sage’s request he broke her curse by slaying her.

Extract from ‘The Jai Jais, Ramayana, page 7, “After Vishvamitra told both brothers about Takata’s strength and temper, Rama clenched his fist around the centre of his faithful bow and produced a sharp twang.  The noise echoed through the forest and pierced Tataka’s ears which infuriated her even more”.

Come and find out more on the story of Ramayana definitely a child friendly version of the epic Ramayana for children aged 8-12, with some magical illustrations by James Ballance.  The Ramayana has been co-authored by Sunita Sha and Rishi Handa.


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