Excersus XV: R U Ready 2 Rakshasa?
The Rakshasas are the demons of the Hindu world, except, as with all things, their take is a good deal more complicated than their Christian equivalents. Whereas Christian demons are basically unilaterally evil, the Rakshasas wrestle with moral decisions, and are better or worse according to the individual choices they make. Ravana, the villain of the Ramayana, is a ten headed demon so overwhelmed by his love for Rama's wife Sita that he drags the demon race into destruction, while Vibhishana, his brother, warns him against war and the holding of Sita against her will, and eventually tears himself from Ravana's side to join Rama and fight for what he believes to be the just path. Yes, most of the Rakshasas are unapologetic human eaters, and most of the Rakshasis (the female demons) are pleasure-addicted strumpets, but there are always important exceptions, and these speak directly to a conception of the universe based on understanding, self-overcoming, and forgiveness, rather than on absolute good that one must always be ashamed of not attaining, and absolute evil which you must be if you do not follow a given prescribed path.
- Count Dolby von Luckner