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Appendix Main    Appendix One   

Rahu (Hindu) Rahu, also known as Abhra-pisacha, the 'demon of the sky,' was a great prince of the Daityas, a race of gigantic demons who warred against the gods. His father was Viprachitta who was king of the Daityas and his mother was Sinhika who was a flesh-eating fiend who could seize the shadow of the object she wanted to devour and so drag her prey into her jaws. Rahu had four arms, and sometimes the lower part of his body ended in a dragon's tail.
He is best known for his attempt to interrupt the regular gods and has the reputation of a cunning and mischievous demon. By churning the ocean, the gods had produced Amrita, the elixir of immortality.
One day they were waiting in line for the beverage to be passed out. Rahu, wearing a disguise, insinuated himself among the gods and hid between Soma, the moon, and Surya, the sun. By the time these two gods discovered the fraud and called out to Vishnu, Rahu had already sipped the divine liquid. Vishnu turned towards the demon in rage, and with his discus cut Rahu's body in half. But the Amrita had already had time to take effect, and both parts of Rahu lived on. Rahu never forgave the sun and moon for informing Vishnu of him, and his bodiless head has been pursuing his enemies ever since, occasionally swallowing them. Lacking a body, he can't retain them, and they reappear for a short time. He is thus the source of eclipses.
Rahu is sometimes shown riding an owl or reclining on a divan. His name means 'to abandon' or 'void,' hence blackness or having no body, links him to the astronomers' 'umbra.' He is associated with a star in the northern sky, in the constellation of Draco, which is sometimes referred to as the Crooked Serpent.

Raiden The Japanese god of thunder (rai) and lightning (den). He prevented the Mongols from invading Japan in 1274. Sitting on a cloud he sent forth a shower of lighting arrows upon the invading fleet. Only three men escaped. Raiden is portrayed as a red demon with sharp claws, carrying a large drum. He is fond of eating human navels. The only protection against him is to hide under a mosquito net. Also called Kaminari Sama.

Raiju A Japanese demon whose name means "thunder animal". It is a demon of lightning in the shape of a cat, badger or weasel. During thunderstorms it becomes extremely agitated and leaps from tree to tree. If a tree shows the marks of lightning, people say that Raiju's claws have scratched it open. The demon likes hiding in human navels, so, if afraid, a person should sleep on his or her belly during thunderstorms.

Rakshasas (India) demon whose appearance in the least, horrifying. Along with Ravana, the Rakshasas, whose name means 'to guard,' were created by Brahma in order to protect the ocean from anyone who might try to obtain the elixir of immortality, which could be found on the ocean floor. Other sources have stated, though, that the Rakshasas, who frequently peopled the numerous epic poems of ancient India, were in fact the negroid race of barbarians inhabiting the southern part of India before the conquest of the country by the Aryans.
The Rakshasas were evil spirits and demons living on the island of Lanka, ruled over by Ravana. They were renown for haunting burial grounds, animating dead bodies, terrorizing priests and cannibalizing villages.
The Ramayana, one of the great Indian epics, tells how Hanuman, a demiurge in the form of a monkey, visited Lanka. He found that

the Rakshasas sleeping in the houses were of every shape and form. Some of them disgusted the eye, while others were beautiful to look upon. Some had long arms and frightful shapes; some were fat and some very lean. Some had monstrous bellies, sagging breasts, long projecting teeth and crooked thighs; whilst others were exceedingly beautiful to behold and clothed in great splendour. Some had two legs, some three legs, and some four legs. Some had heads of serpents, some had heads of donkeys, some the heads of horses and some the heads of elephants.'
This huge array of differing appearances is mirrored in the multitude of names the Rakshasas were given: biters, cannibals, vampires, night-stalkers, assassins, dark faces - a list of titles as endless as the catalogue of their crimes.

Raktavija The Hindu general of the demon army.

Raum (Unk) a count of hell. A great earl, appears in the form of a crow, but assumes human shape when bidden. He steals treasure and carries it where commanded; he destroys cities and dignities; he discerns past, present and future; he causes love between friends and foes. Finally he is of the Order of the Thrones. He commands thirty of the infernal legions.

Ravana Ravana is probably the best known of all Indian demons. His power and the awe he inspired among the people puts him on equal footing with the European Satan.
He was lord and master of the Rakshasas, the most numerous and powerful demons of the Indian underworld.
Visravas and Nikasha, his parents, were both descendants of the first demons created.
Ravana's abode, and that of his legions, was the large island of Lanka which is now known as Ceylon. The main city of Lanka was originally built by Visva-Karma out of solid gold for Ravana's half-brother Kuvera, lord of the Indian elves, the Yakshas, who are guardians of the hidden treasure within the earth and sometimes will guard a city or district.
The city is described in the Ramayana as being of great size and of greater beauty, surrounded by seven moats and seven huge walls of metal and gems.
But Ravana ousted his half-brother from his idyllic palace, and he stole his magic chariot, Pushpaka, a self-propelled vehicle of such large dimensions that it could hold a palace inside its carriage. In this chariot Ravana often left Lanka to sow his malignant seeds of mischief and evil.
By spending many years in penance and worship of Brahma, Ravana forced the great god to repay him by making him invulnerable against all the gods, and allowing him to assume any form or shape he desired. Taking advantage of this boon, Ravana declared war on the gods, conquering them one after the other. He brought the captives back to Lanka where they were forced to work as his menial servants.
For the time being the gods were unable to escape the archdemon's power, and they had to perform humiliating tasks:
Vayu, the god of the winds, swept the house; Agni, god of fire, did the cooking; Varuna, lord of the ocean, supplied water; Kuvera, god of wealth, supplied money.
Eventually the gods escaped from their bondage, but they could do nothing to punish the fiend. But Ravana knew that in the end the gods would get their revenge, and he decided that the only weapon that could save him from a permanent downfall was immortality.
Pretending humility, he went to Siva and began to do penance, hoping that eventually the god would grant him his wish.
He stood on one of his ten heads, encircled by a ring of fires, for one thousand years. He then cut off that head and stood on another one, for another millennium. This went on until he was about to cut off his last head.
Then Siva spoke, asking him what he desired. Three things, Ravana answered: Atmalingham, the sacred phallus, for his mother; and for himself immortality and the most beautiful woman in the universe. Siva had to grant him his wishes, but he outsmarted the fiend on his journey back to Lanka and forced him to give back the rewards.
This defeat filled Ravana with such rage that he decided to step up his war against the gods.
In desperation the gods, knowing that none among them was powerful enough to defeat the demon, called upon Vishnu the Heavenly Father.
After great deliberation, Vishnu cut himself into quarters. Each separate part became a mortal, the strongest and purest of whom would be chosen to slay Ravana.
The segment of Vishnu which developed into the purest being was Rama, whose life and adventures are portrayed in the oldest and most famous of the Sanskrit scriptures, the Ramayana.
The following description of Ravana, the archfiend, is taken from that book:
'Ravana had ten heads, twenty arms, and copper-coloured eyes, and bright teeth like the young moon.
His form was as thick as a cloud or a mountain, or the god of death with open mouth. He had all the marks of royalty, but his body bore the impress of wounds inflicted by all the divine arms in his warfare with the gods.
He was scarred by a thunderbolt of Indra, by the tusks of Indra's elephant Airavata, and by the discus of Vishnu.
His strength was so great that he could agitate the seas and split the tops of the mountains.
He was a breaker of all laws and a ravisher of other men's wives...Tall as a mountain peak, he stopped with his arms the sun and moon on their course, and prevented their rising.
His presence creates a fear so paralyzing, that wherever he travels, the sun does not give out its heat, the winds do not blow and the ocean becomes motionless.'
Rama created a host of monkeys and bears to fight by his side against the archfiend. They began the battle by killing off large numbers of Rakshasas. At this Ravana became so incensed that he abducted Rama's beautiful wife, Sita, with whom the king of the demons had fallen in love.
He hid Sita on his island abode, and threatened to eat her if she didn't become his wife. Sita refused persistently and managed to ward Ravana off long enough for Rama to build a bridge across to Lanka. Rama rescued Sita, and carried on the fight.
Numerous battles were waged on Lanka, where both adversaries were equal in strength. Rama finally vanquished Ravana by shooting an arrow, which Brahma had given him, through the demon's chest. The magic arrow pierced the demon, came out at the other side of his body, and returned to Rama's quiver.
'Ravana fell to the ground and expired, and the gods sounded celestial music in heaven and assembled in the sky and praised Rama as Vishnu, in that he had slain Ravana who would otherwise have been their destruction.'
Red Man The demon of the tempests. He was supposed to be furious when the rash voyager intruded on his solitude, ad to show his anger in the winds and storms.
The French peasants believed that a mysterious little red man appeared to Napoleon to announce coming military reverses.

Rimmon (Syrian) The demonic ambassador to Russia.

Ronobe A great marquis and earl, appears in a monstrous form; he teaches rhetoric and the arts, gives a good understanding, the knowledge of tongues, and favour of friends and foes.

Ronwe (Unk) the demon of knowledge. In some accounts - a lesser demon. Marquis and Count of Hell. He appears in the shape of a monster. He provides his adepts with knowledge of languages and with the goodwill of everyone. Nineteen infernal cohorts are under his orders.

Rosier The prince of the demonic Order of Dominations.