What is a rakshasa from Supernatural?

Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW by Michael Courtney Image Acquired from CW TV PR

Supernatural touched on Hinduism with the inclusion of the rakshasa, but does it connect to the real lore?

In Supernatural Season 1, Episode 2, the show jumped into Hinduism and the religion’s lore. “Everybody Loves a Clown” focused on the rakshasa as the creature of the week to kill. The creatures were later brought into Buddhism and they’re also referred to as “Maneaters” because of the lore.

Just how much did Supernatural get right on the real lore? Was it one of those that accurately portrayed the legends behind the creatures?

Supernatural rakshasa lore

In the series, Ellen shares that the rakshasa are from Hindu mythology. They’re creatures that can change their appearance at will and feed on the flesh of humans. However, they need to be invited into the home, similar to the modern-day lore on vampires. In fact, this was just the first time that the Winchesters were able to understand where ideas of vampiric lore came from.

During the episode, the rakshasa would use children to get access to the home, by dressing as clowns. They could be invisible to those other than the children they were attempting to gain the trust of.

The only way to kill the creature was with a brass knife. In the end, Sam used a brass pipe from the organ in the funhouse.

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The real lore about rakshasas

Most of the Supernatural lore matches real lore. The main difference is in the look. In Hindu texts, the rakshasas were viewed as fierce and ugly demons. They had long fingernails that were like claws and two fangs from their mouth, which could be another link to modern-day vampires.

The creatures actually have an insatiable need for human flesh and also drink the blood of their victims. They do have powers of illusion, which is where the idea that they can transform into other creatures come in. Most of the lore views them as humans, birds, and dogs when they want to change shape.

Not all rakshasas are evil in the Hindu text. It is possible to find good ones, but they were mostly used for the battlefield against the evil ones. Most of those in lore are evil and dined on flesh of travellers.

Did you know the real rakshasa lore? Are you happy that the show stuck to the real mythology? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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