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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Pishacha (पिशाच) was a republic known to Panini and mentioned as a race in Mahabharata (VI.46.49),(VI.83.8),(VI.83.8),(VIII.30.44),(VIII.30.78),(IX.36.21),(XIV.8.5), (XIV.8),

Mention by Panini

Pishacha (पिशाच), a warlike tribe, is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [1]


V. S. Agrawala[2] mentions Sanghas known to Panini which includes - Pishacha (पिशाच), under Parshvadi (पर्शवादि) (V.3.117).

V. S. Agrawala[3] mentions Ayudhajivi Sanghas in the Ganapatha, which includes - Pisācha – Literally a people who were consumers of raw flesh. Grierson has conclusively shown that the inhabitants of the North Western Frontier, i.e. Gilgit, Chitral and Kafiristan, where of Pishacha tribe, were cannibalism, eating raw flesh, once prevailed and he also observed that in the south of the Kafir country, round about Laghman, are the

[p.448]: Pasai Kafirs whom Dr. Hoernle proposed to identify with Pishacha as a phonetically sound equation (Pishacha, JRAS, 1950, pp.285-288). They were originally Aryan people, who inhabited north west India and parts of Himalayas, and were closely connected with Khasas, Nagas and Yakshas. Pargiter agrees to this that they were the real human beings. The existence of Pishachi prakrit language is so well attested to by literary references.

According to one legend, they are sons of Kashyapa and Krodhavasa, one of the daughters of Prajapati Daksha. The Nilamat Puran of the 7th century mentions the valley of Kashmir being inhabited by two tribes: the Nagas and the Pisachas.

The origin of Piśāca is unknown, although it may be the personification of the will-o'-the-wisp.[4]

Pāṇini, in his Aṣṭādhyāyi, described the Piśāca as a "warrior clan". In the Mahābhārata, the "Piśāca people" (equivalent to the modern day Nuristani people) are said to live in Northwest India and they are descendants of Prajāpati Kaśyapa.[5]

In Mahabharata

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 46 tells that Pishacha fought in Yudhisthira's army mentioned in verse (VI.46.49).... "And Yudhishthira with ....the Pisachas, with the Kundavishas, and the Mandakas, Madaka, Kadaka and Tanganas other Tanganas,....[6]

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 30 description about blaming the Vahikas and Madrakas. It mentions Pishacha in verse (VIII.30.44)....that There are two Pishachas named Vahi and Hika in the river Vipasha. The Vahikas are the offspring of those two Pishachas. [7]

Shalya Parva, Mahabharata/Book IX Chapter 36 describes Baladeva's journey along the bank of the Sarasvati river. Pishachas are mentioned in verse (IX.36.21)....."There dwell Yakshas, and Vidyadharas, and Rakshasas of immeasurable energy and Pisachas of immeasurable might, and Siddhas, numbering thousands. [8]

Aswamedha Parva, Mahabharata/Book 14 Chapter 8 mentions that There is a peak named Munjaban (Punjavan) on the summits of the Himalaya mountains, where the adorable Lord of Uma (Mahadeva) is constantly engaged in austere devotional exercises. Pishacha as attendants are mentioned in verse (XIV.8.5)...[9]

External links


  1. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.447, 448
  2. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.500
  3. India as Known to Panini,p.447-48
  4. Sanskṛit-English dictionary : etymologically and philologically arranged with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages (Corrected ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 2005. p. 628. ISBN 81-208-3105-5.
  5. The Piśāca languages of north-western India, Sir George Abraham Grierson, Royal Aisatic Society, 1906
  6. पिशाचा दरदाश चैव पुण्ड्राः कुण्डी विषैः सह, मडका कडकाश चैव तङ्गणाः परपङ्गणाः (VI.46.49)
  7. बहिश च नाम हलीकश च विपाशायां पिशाचकौ, तयॊर अपत्यं बाह्लीका नैषा सृष्टिः परजापतेः (VIII.30.44)
  8. यक्षा विथ्याधराश चैव राक्षसाश चामितौजसः, पिशाचाश चामितबला यत्र सिथ्धाः सहस्रशः(IX.36.21)
  9. भूतानिपिशाचाशनासत्याव अश्विनाव अपि, गन्धर्वाप्सरसश चैव यक्षा थेवर्षयस तदा (XIV.8.5)