A typical definition of a Vampire would be, ‘a corpse supposed to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth’. Vampires are a constant favorite around Halloween, but they can be found year-round in movies and on television, in books and on blogs.
Interestingly, public’s thirst for vampires seems as endless as vampires’ thirst for blood. The Vampires most people are familiar with such as Dracula are revenants, human corpses that are said to return from the grave to harm the living; these vampires have Slavic origins only a few hundred years old. But other, older, versions of the vampire were not thought to be human at all but instead supernatural, possibly demonic, entities that did not take human form.
History mentions that Vampire legends existed in many cultures like the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans who had tales of demonic beings and blood-drinking spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. Likewise, Ramayana mentions about Vampires!
Ramayana is one of the oldest poems in the world. It is an ancient Sanskrit epic which follows Lord Rama’s quest to rescue his beloved wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana, with the help of an army of monkeys. In the chapter, Kishkindha Kanda describes blood sucking vampires in South America.
Sugreeva, the King of Vanaras describes that after crossing the huge pyramid of Garuda in Shalmali Dwipa (Gympie Pyramid in Australia), one needs to fly over the Pacific ocean and then one encounters a land (South America) where demons called as ‘Mandeha’ as seen. They are slate colored (similar to Bats) and hang upside down during the daytime, while they suck the blood of humans and animals during nights.
tatra shaila nibhaa bhiimaa mandehaa naama raakSasaaH |
shaila shR^i.ngeSu la.mbante naanaa ruupaa bhayaavahaaH || 4-40-41
Translation: Thereabout horrifying and merciless demons of various shapes and similar to mountains in size, called Mandeha-s, will be dangling upside down from mountain peaks.
te patanti jale nityam suuryasya udayanam prati |
abhitaptaaH ca suuryeNa la.mbante sma punaH punaH || 4-40-42
nihataa brahma tejobhiH ahani ahani raakshasaaH |
Translation: Every day those demons will be falling in water when the sun always burns them at sunrise and when the impetus of Gayatri hymn tells them down, yet they will be resurfacing and dangling on the mountain tops day after day.
(Kishkinda Kanda of Ramayana)
It says Mandeha beings will try to hinder the path of the Sun daily at the time of sunrise to grasp Him. At that time, the devout Gayatri hymn chanters will be chanting Gayatri and offering water oblations to Gayatri. These watery oblations and the force of Gayatri hymn will hit the Mandehas out, making the Sun’s path clear of any obstruction and the Sun proceeding on his way will burn them down.
But Mandehas regain their lives and start repeating the same obstruction of Sun’s path on next morning by dangling from the peaks of the mountain and they are again tossed into oceans, by water oblations and Gayatri hymn, day after day.