Maricha And Other Shape-Shifting Demons
By Dean Dominic De Lucia
In the Arandakanda
of the Ramayana, the conversations between the demon Ravana and Maricha are
described. Ravana was intent of abducting the wife of Shree Ramachandra who,
unknown to Ravana, was an avatar. Maricha was aghast with the idea, especially
since he was being recruited as the bait, no less. Maricha told Ravana: O Lord
of the Rakshashas! Tell me who is that enemy in the guise of a friend who has
mentioned about Sita before you? Perhaps you have insulted somebody, and he has
inspired this evil intention in you. Who has advised you to run off with Sita.
Who has advised you to run off with Sita? Who wishes to cut of the head of the
leader of the Rakshashas? He is no doubt your greatest enemy who has incited you
in this matter. He is trying to extract the fangs of a snake through your
agency. Tell me who has induced you to this wicked course? You were happy, who
has struck you on the head? ( Translation by Makhan Lal Sen, edition published
by Munshiram Manoharlal )
Rama had destroyed thousands of demons at the Janasthana forest and had cut off the nose and ears of the man-eating sister of Ravana, Surpanaka, as a punishment for her. ( Besides, the hag got sweet on him and insulted Sita ) Rather than face Rama directly, Ravana plotted to get back at him by abducting his wife; which has been a typical activity found in the folklore on demons from all parts of the globe, from all times.
Ravana explained to Maricha: Now I intend to carry his wife Sita to my abode. Please help me in that undertaking. ... Hear what you will have to do for me. Assuming the form of a golden deer with silver spots, frisk about Sita. At your sight, Sita will surely induce Rama and Lakshman for securing you. Then, when those two will be out on that mission, I shall easily carry away Sita, as Rahu steals the moon-shine with ease. Rama will be greatly weakened by the separation of Sita and then I shall succeed in destroying him easily.
I offer you half of my kingdom, do this and then go wherever you like. Now come, I shall follow you in my car to the Dandaka forest, and thus deluding Rama I shall return with you to Lanka after procuring Sita.
But if you don't comply with my request I shall kill you even this day, so you will have to do it for fear of death. And so Maricha-the-shape-shifter did.
And how he did! The Ramayana further relates: Thereupon, Maricha in an instant assumed the form of an enchanting deer. Its horns were glistening like the finest jewels. Its ears like lotus-petals were made of blue gems and its mouth as if were made of red and blue lotuses. Its arched neck was a little raised, its belly was made of sapphire, its flanks were pink like Madhuka flowers and its colour was like the tint of a red lotus, soft and lovely, its hoofs were made of dark blue stone. It was of lean thighs and firm joints. Its body was flecked with silver dots and sparkled with the sheen of diverse metals and its little upraise tail shone like a rainbow. ... then the deer, in order to attract Sita's attention, began to stray about hither and thither, sometimes browsing on creepers and leaves, and then entered the plaintain grove. Afterwards, it began to move about slowly through the Karnika woods. Maricha had the mysticism to not only assume the form of a deer, but of the most gorgeous and well-formed deer imaginable.
But Janaki ( Sita ), under the influence of a spell ... broke forth with a cheerful smile: ' My Lord, that beautiful deer has captivated my mind, please capture it. We shall sport with it. ... It will indeed be a wonderful feat if you can capture it alive.'
Lakshman suspected that the deer was really Maricha in disguise, and Rama addressed his concerns thusly: My boy, if you consider it to be Rakshashi magic, then surely it deserves to be killed. Formerly this cruel Maricha killed many princes and ascetics. Vatapi [ the demon ] was digested by Agastya. Since this wicked Maricha wants to overcome me, he will be killed like Vatapi. Now put on your armour and protect Sita carefully. It is our duty to protect her. If this stag be Maricha, I will surely kill him, or if it be a real deer, I shall return with it. Thus Shree Rama set out after the deer, who had run off some distance and had concealed itself.
Thereupon Rama, desirous of securing the deer, was at the same time much provoked and tempted. Thus being fatigued in the chase, Rama sat on the green turf under the shade. During that time the stag appeared at a distance along with other deer. Rama again ran to capture it. At this, the deer was greatly alarmed and disappeared at once and again appeared at a distance behind the screen of a tree. Thereupon, Rama resolved to kill the deer and discharged from his bow a sharp arrow glittering like the sun's rays. That deadly shaft like a flaming snake struck the heart of Maricha. At that blow, he bounding high like a palmyra tree raised a terrible yell. His life was about to ebb and in his last moments he cast off his assumed form of a deer. He then remembered Ravana's words and thought of the means that might induce Sita to send off Lakshmana from her side, so that Ravana might carry her off in secrecy. He then considered Ravana's plan to be the best, and he cried in the voice of Rama, 'Alas Sita! Alas Lakshmana!'
His counterfeit form of a deer was gone and he assumed the hedious form of a huge Rakshasa.
Rama finding the Rakshasa bathed in blood and rolling in dust remembered Lakshmana's words that it was Rakshasi magic. It was no doubt true, he thought. but he had killed Maricha. But at the time of death the Rakshasa gave up his ghost crying, 'Alas Sita! Alas Lakshmana!' Heaven knows what will Janaki do hearing that sound, and what will happen to Lakshmana ! He was startled and greatly alarmed at this thought and became deeply sad.
Here Janaki hearing a cry coming from the forest in the voice of Rama said to Lakshmana, 'Lakshmana, go and ascertain what untoward thing has happened to my lord. He is crying in distress. I have distinctly heard his voice. I have become restless with anxiety. Go and protect him. He is asking for protection being in the grip of the Rakshasas formidable as lions. Run to him quickly.' But Lakshmana, thinking of Rama's directions, was quite reluctant to go.
At this point, Sita became mad with anxiety and rebuked Lakshman, questioning even his integrity. The Ramayana describes Lakshman's reaction: Hearing these horrible words of Janaki, gentle Lakshmana said with joined hands, 'Worshipful lady, you are a goddess to me, I dare not reply to your words. It is not at all strange for a woman to use unjust and improper words, it is rather the nature of a woman, and it is everywhere to be found. They are fickle and they bring about family dissensions. At any rate, I can no more bear your harsh words. They are torturing my ears like burning shafts piercing through them. The sylvan gods are my witnesses. I was behaving properly towards you, but you have abused me in extreme. Shame upon you, since you suspect me of such a base thing. It seems, your ruin is nigh. I was simply obeying the mandate of the eldest brother, but you have accused me on account of your womanly nature. May good betide you, I am going where Rama is. I have great misgivings in my mind on account of the dire situation that has arisen. May I find you here after returning with Rama.'
In the meantime, the demon Ravana assumed the disguise of a brahmin mendicant and engaged her in conversation. When questioned by Sita as to his identity and about his business in the middle of a forest, Ravana revealed his true intentions by speaking the following to her Janaki ! I am Ravana, the lord of the Rakshasas, whose prowess is dreaded by men and gods. Seeing you clad in silk and of golden hue, I can no more be happy with my wives. I have secured a number of beautiful women from different places, thou dost become the foremost queen of them. I possess a great city called Lanka, surrounded by the ocean and resting on hills. If you be my wife, then you will saunter about in the garden of Lanka with me. Five thousand well-dressed women will wait upon you as maids of honour. Then you will no more like to reside in the forest."
Sita responded tit-for-tat:
At this, Sita was highly enraged. Slighting him, she said, 'I shall ever follow Rama who is as steady as the Himalayas and deep as the ocean. Like the Banyan tree he is the shelter of all. He is honourable, truthful and auspicious. I shall go to him who is mighty as a lion and the foremost of men. Being a jackal how do you aspire after a lioness'?
He at once cast off the gentle mask of a mendicant and assumed his own fierce form, as terrible as death. Then Ravana pounced upon Sita, grabbed her by the hair with one hand and secured her by the thigh with his other. In this way, he mounted his flying chariot yoked by asses, and flew back to Lanka, thus concluding the abduction of Sita.
In this narration of the abduction of Sita, we see the recurring motif of the demoniac modus operandi, including shape-shifting; both Maricha as well as Ravana engaged in shape-shifting. They also exhibited some sort of mental, telepathic influence as the Ramayana narrated that Sita reacted to the presence of the stag while under the influence of a spell. (UFO abduction victims often report a similar type of influence. The most well-known UFO occupants referred to as the Greys are, of course, a type of demoniac species) Both Maricha and Ravana are described as Rakshashas, who are man-eaters and, of course, we see that these demons engaged in the abduction of human beings, especially of the fair sex, due to sexual motives. In his discourse with Sita, which was too long to be reproduced here in its entirety, Ravana very openly admitted that he was overwhelmed with lust for her beauty, even though his form was described as being horrific. In the book Secret Life, by David M. Jacobs, Ph.D., the author presents the results of an exhaustive, statistical study carried out by him in which he tells us that a good 80% of the victims of UFO abduction are female.
But the Vedic literature is not the only body of literature which contains references to shape-shifting demons. In his book Caverns, Cauldrons and Concealed Creatures, Wm. Michael Mott relates Japanese folklore about an underworld queen, who was not from the underworld, but whose shape-shifting, dissimulative suitor was:
Japanese legends of serpent/dragon and human marraiges, seductions, and liaisons abound. Sometimes the offspring of such unions were said to be either more human-like or more reptilian in nature or appearance. Such shapeshifting dragon-beings, appearing as beautiful men and women, would walk into the life of prominent samurai, warlords, or other notables, obtain the desired genetic influx, and then depart. Occasionally the offspring of such unions would be left in the surface, or human world; the dragon-person would return to his or her abode in caverns beneath the mountains or under the sea.
One such story is an ancient Japanese tale which supposedly occured in the village of Siota, at the foot of Mt. Soba, one of Japan's many "holy mountains." A maiden named Mimoto, the daughter of a prominent merchant and civic leader, became enamoured of a handsome and mysterious youth whom she took to meeting in the woods at night. Lured by his flute and seduced by his advances, Mimoto lost her sense of discretion and caused great dismay for her parents, who planned a disruption to her affair with the unknown young man. At the insistence of her parents, she attached a strong red string to the young man's garments. After his departure before dawn, Mimoto, her parents, and several strong men followed the string through the vales and forests, until at last it led them to a cavern on the slopes of Mt. Soba.
At this point in the story, mythic elements of a more symbolic nature take over--the 'young man' is heard inside the cave, moaning in pain, and when Mimoto calls to him he informs her that he has "a needle in his throat," presumably the needle which she had used to attach the thread to his garments. After some coaxing, he is persuaded to come out into the light of day, and the villagers of Siota behold his true form: that of a Ryu, or dragon. He is ashamed to show his true appearance, and the people are understandably distressed. The dragon informs his lover that he will die soon, due to the prick of the needle, and that she is also pregnant with his child, whom he apparently can't take with him into "his world" due to his imminent demise.
Again we see the typical motifs associated with reptilian humanoids, called demons in the ancient scriptures of all religions: The kidnapping of a beautiful young lady, shape-shifting and underground origins are all present in this Japanese tale. We even see that this particular reptile humaniod experienced some discomfort in the light of the Sun and could not engage in his shape-shifting while exposed to it. Perhaps this accounts for the subterranean residence of the creature - the ultraviolet frequency which is also present in visible light does not penetrate the surface of the Earth.
Underground, carnivorous and shape-shifting demons are not limited to ancient Vedic scriptures and Japanese folklore, however. On page 175 of Alien Identities, Dr. Richard L Thompson ( http://www.afn.org/~bvi ) relates a modern-day, underground abduction case where the underground base was accessed through the sea by a UFO: On the evening of Januray 3, 1979, Cardenas, his friend Fernando Marti and Marti's wife and 13 year old daughter were driving around on the outskirts of Hialeah, looking for a pig they could buy for a roast. They were unsuccessful, and on the way home their car engine quit.
The two men testified that the lights and starter wouldn't work, and so they got out and began to look under the hood. At this point, they suddenly saw red and violet alternating lights reflecting off the engine and heard a sound like 'many bees.' ... Filiberto felt paralyzed, and he began to rise in the air shouting Don't take me, don't take me. Later he recounted a strange and elaborate story that began when he awoke to find himself sitting, paralyzed, in the presence of a robot-like being and two men in tight-fitting suits. ... Filiberto said the alien beings looked quite human. They had elongated eyes with eyelashes, small flattened noses, long lipless mouths, and light beards. They also wore a symbol on the right of their chests, consisting of a serpent on a lazy X.
The story becomes even more extraordinary: The beings proceeded to take Filiberto to an underground base, traveling beneath the sea at high speed through a tunnel of firmed water that seemed to open in front of the craft so that water did not touch it. At the base, he met a human who was working with the aliens, and he was led through what seemed like a city.
Dr. Thompson goes on to relate that Filiberto had several experiences while in this underground base accessed through the sea, some of them biological, some of them suggestive of mind control, then he was finally dropped of again on the surface.
And here is another account of an underground UFO abduction: Betty Andreason ( Alien Identities, page 201 ) recalled being taken in a UFO through a tunnel bored through solid rock. This tunnel led through a strange landscape with a view of an ocean, a distant city and a pyramid.
In this way, abductions to underground worlds by insect-like and reptile humaniods, the demons of other traditions, are not things of the past, but are definitely current phenomena. UFO abductions are nothing new to anybody, but that the craft hail from underground worlds wherefrom their occupants simply make forays to the surface in order to carry out their activities is certainly unknown. This information has not really been brought to the attention of the community of UFO researchers nor to the attention of the general public. For these same reasons, no one has really been confronted with the implication of this revelation - that is to say, the underground manipulation of the surface world. Indeed, the implications are probably far beyond the ability of the average person to assimilate.
Branton is another researcher who has gained fame in recent times through his writings on subterranean worlds. Here is a sample, for what it's worth:
A woman by the name of Barbara who worked as a hair stylist in Dougway, UT., stated that reptilians passing themselves off as human beings had infiltrated the adjacent Dougway base. She had seen ONE OF THE BASE COMMANDERS transform temporarily before her eyes into a reptilian-like entity. These "chameleons" have also been seen working in the surface installations of the underground bases near Dulce, N.M.; Groom Lake, NV; Deep Springs, CA; and the Madigan facility south of Seattle. Sources have indicated that much of the Groom Lake alien-interaction activity has been extended into the Dougway underground and similar underground structures below Idaho. There are also reports of " androids " working at the Dougway base as well. The EG&G corporation, which does much of the hiring for the Nevada Test Site, is also very active in the military bases near Dougway Proving Grounds.
In closing, we will make the observation that, although Maricha may have been the most famous of shape-shifting demons - his nefarious exploits being recorded in the Ramayana and exposed to various millennia of readers in the Vedic tradition - he was certainly not the last of them - Unfortunately for us!
Ossendowski on Tibet