Spirits, Ghosts, and Demons in Sindh

Creatures from Hindu legends

The lore from this part of the world is brimming with evil spirits of all kinds: we have one for erm, everyone? And well, I couldn’t help writing about it.

Bhoota:

A spirit emanating from a man or a woman who either committed suicide, or was sentenced with the death penalty, and thereby did not receive the last rites properly. It is the spirit of those who do not find peace.

Pishacha:

It is the spirit of the wicked: of those who knew no peace in this world and shall not know it in their next lives either. (I say lives because whilst Muslims believe in one afterlife, Pishacha is a character originating from Hindu lore, and they believe in multiple lives.) It is the ghost of liars, drunkards, drug addicts, murderers, adulterers, or any sort of criminals. However, the spirit of the one who died in the state of insanity is also classified as a Pishacha. An evil spirit is often oversexualized and takes the form of people’s voices. Mothers amongst the community make special amulets for their daughters when they are nearing marriageable age, and sons, when they touch their youth, to protect them from the spirit.

Rakshasas and Asuras

The duo of evil power is known to find pleasure in striking terror in the hearts of men and animals alike. To quench their thirst, Rakshasas and Asuras drink the blood of those they prey on. The chief of these monsters is known as Ravana, along with his sister, Surpankha, both of whom are monster-giants if you will.

Hindu legend and religious myths state that Lord Rama’s chief concern was to rid the world of these monsters. Although they are described as a little less powerful in the Mahabharata, they did draw the attention of the Princes of Pandava, leading to a glorious battle epic.

Surpankha is also said to have fallen in love with Rama, whilst one of the Pandava Raja’s married a she-demon of the kind, Hidimbi.

Some of these monsters are said to roam free after nightfall, near Shamshaanghat’s, cemeteries, and other desolate places, shapeshifting, and staying at Shiva’s heels wherever he wanders. There are a few, however, who are said to have adopted Hinduism as their religion, thus making them pure, and invincible.

Prita:

It is a demon known for not always being malicious, just one that exists: it is believed to be the ghost of a prematurely-born baby, who dies, or an adult who was deformed or disabled.

Interestingly, the Asuras and Prita’s also make an appearance in Buddhist mythology, which originates from present-day Sindh.

I shall be back with more about it next time!

A media student who happens to be a history geek!