[Notes on the Demons of the Zend-Avesta]
Theosophist, June, 1885
Letter Selections by Dhunjibhoy Jamsetjee | Editor’s Note by H.P.B.
The Zendavesta is full of allusions to Devas, Drugs, and Drugnasus. The whole tenor of the book is strongly tinged with tendency to destroy this evil agency. The various manthras and rites lead us to imagine that the main purpose of the book is to fight against the perhaps then prevailing sorcery and also against the evil effects which the evil demons constantly exercise upon mankind. . . .
In the Fargard 17 of the Vendidad the nails and hairs are enjoined to be buried. I can understand that the precept may be due to the bad magnetic aura which these throw out, and which can never be dissipated from them. But, why are the making of circles and the uttering of certain Manthras necessary? . . .
. . . how can physical impurities and magnetic aura be expelled by Manthras alone? But it is a fact that the material demons can be so expelled? Am I right in thinking that the human humidities of the dead body have the property of attracting evil demons? . . .
Drug-Nasus is always supposed to come from the north, and the Manthras always require it to fly away to the north. . . . Will it be reasonable to suppose that the Drug-Nasus is a class of evil demons which always lives at the north pole, the cold and dark region, which is quite congenial to them, and that the human humidities or impurities of blood and other matters attract them from the north? Is it not that the Manthras recited before the dead bodies are as preventatives against the rush from the north of the Drug-Nasus? . . .
Why is the seclusion of women in menses enjoined? Is it due to the flow of bad magnetic aura all round, or is it because, the evil demons are attracted to the impurities or the humidities of the blood? . . .
[Editor’s] Note. [H.P.B.]—From the quotations made in the foregoing letter it is evident that by Devas, Drugs and Drug-nasus the ancient Zoroastrian writers meant, black-magicians, elementaries and elementals respectively. The other names cited by our correspondent indicate some of the various Sub-divisions of elementaries and elemental spirits. These words do not merely mean the magnetic aura of a living or dead body. The question of auric emanations is of course important in considering the case of these agencies.
The injunction regarding the burial of hair and nails is intended to be a safeguard against the sorcery of black magicians who generally try to get possession of these things for purposes of black magic and for establishing a link between the intended victim and the mischievous agencies they evoke.
Mantras are supposed to implore the assistance of good spirits, friendly to man, to counteract the effects of black magic or demoniacal possession and drive away the evil elemental spirits; the recitation of these words must also be accompanied by appropriate ceremonies rendered effective by concentrated will; they are supposed, when the ritual is duly performed, to attract higher powers and induce them to grant the prayers of the person who uses them.
It is generally supposed that a strong terrestrial magnetic current flows from the north-pole towards the Equator bringing with it swarms of elementals (Nasus) who live and have their being in it.
The seclusion of women during the period of menstruation is a time-honoured custom amongst several nations. Elementals, it is said, are easily attracted towards the female during this period; and so are the infernal incubi. If a woman is moving about freely, the contagion of bad magnetic aura is supposed to infect every person and thing in the house and render them amenable to the same influence; and hence seclusion and purification are strictly enjoined in this case by the codes of several nations. Our correspondent himself indicates the reason for the supposed pollution.
Magnetic emanations are constantly radiating from every human being. Their influence is present in the person’s shadow, in his photo or picture as well as everything else with which his aura comes into contact. It is interesting in this connection to refer to the “Chhaya grahini” (Shadow-Catcher), mentioned in Ramayana which was able to arrest the aerial progress of Hanuman by seizing on his shadow on the surface of the Sea. It is a well-known fact that the figure of a person or his picture is a great help to a black magician who intends to affect him by his infernal art.
The remaining questions contained in the letter of our correspondent can be easily answered by the light of the interpretation put upon Devas, Drugs and Nasus in these explanatory notes.