Concept of Ghosts in Hinduism

In Hinduism there are many rituals performed that recognises the proximity of ghosts and seeks to keep them away.

Every year, a fortnight known as Pitr Paksha, between the the worship of Ganesha (Ganesha Chaturdashi) and the worship of Durga (Navaratri) is reserved for ancestors (pitrs) of Hindus. ( Mahalaya Patcham)

There are different kinds of ghosts: bhoot, preta, pisacha, vetals. Those who lived incomplete lives do not want to go to the land of the dead and so stay back in the land of the living. Those who lived complete lives, but their funeral rites were not properly performed, stay trapped in the land of the living. Some are cursed for misdeeds never to find peace in death and so in misery haunt the living. These are the ideas about ghosts that one gathers from various folklores and from the Garuda Purana, an elaborate treatise on death rituals.

The Bhagavat Puran informs us that Brahma, in a state of laziness, created bhuta-pisachas or ghosts. They were naked and their hair was unbound. Seeing them he shut his eyes (in fear?).
sṛṣṭvā bhūta-piśācāṁś ca
bhagavān ātma-tandriṇā
dig-vāsaso mukta-keśān
vīkṣya cāmīlayad dṛśau
from Srimad-Bhagavat 3.20.40

The glorious Brahmā next evolved from his sloth the ghosts and fiends, but he closed his eyes when he saw them stand naked with their hair scattered

Ghosts/ Boots, Passau / are usually seen in human form .
They scare humans mostly in Woman form with hair spread..
However, their feet often reveal them to be ghosts, as they are backwards facing; for Ghosts the earth is regarded as sacred or semi-sacred in many traditions of the Indian subcontinent, Ghosts jumps/ to avoid contact with it, often floating above or up to a foot above.



Ghosts cast no shadows, and speak with a nasal twang. They often lurk on specific trees and prefer to appear in white clothing.

Sometimes Ghosts haunt specific houses (the so-called bhoot banglas, i.e. bhoot bungalows), which are typically places where they were killed or which have some other significance to the Ghosts.

In many regions, Ghosts are supposed to fear water and steel or iron objects, Neem tree leaves, broom stick, so keeping those nearby is believed to scare them off, As is typical of ghosts throughout the world, invoking the name of holy figures and deities is also said to repel them.

A particular kind of Ghost that of a woman that died during pregnancy or childbirth is known as a chudail (dakini in Nepal and eastern India ). Chudails look like human women, but their feet are turned backwards or other features are turned upside down. They can change their forms at any time. Chudails often try to lure young men at road crossings and fields or similar places. If a man is enamored of a chudail, it is believed that she will cause his death

In South India one kind of Ghost called Mohini, in woman form usually lures young adults to dark places and scares them to death.

There are other Scary looking ghosts like RAthakatteri, Kolluvai Pei , etc


According to Hindu mythology, the soul cannot be destroyed by any means. Ghost is created due to some anger, revenge, life cut short in human form like Suicide, or murdered, death by accident, or killed by hanging, and other means... like drowning, etc

The Hindu exorcists do not (or cannot) destroy them, but in turn performs a ritual according to the Atharva Veda,


source: Web sites


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