Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna


  • Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_514-1


Yakshas, a sort of demigods, fall under nature spirits. Like Shakespearean Puck, Yakshas are mischievous, fickle-minded, and sexually charged spirits, but at the same time, they are subtle caretakers of hidden natural resources found in the tree roots and the wealth buried underneath. They are physically attractive – very handsome or extremely beautiful – as well as they are very prosperous [4]. Like ayyars in Khatri’s Chandrakanta, Yakshas could change their forms at will. They live in forests, trees, caves, mountains, water bodies, and esoteric cities in the sky. We can find their near relatives as sprites, gnomes, and fairies in the European tradition. The feminine form of Yaksha is Yakshini or Yakshi. The excavation of the Indus Valley sites and the unearthed artefacts depicts them as humans, animals, and gods and goddess. One such seal shows a female divinity, resembling like Yakshas or nature beings, being worshipped in a tree.

Representation of Yakshas in Religions


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  1. 1.
    Coomaraswamy AK, Schroeder P, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (1993) Yakṣas: essays in the water cosmology. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Misra RN (1981) Yaksha cult and iconography. Munshiram Manoharlal, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Sharma JP (1996) Jaina Yakshas. Kusumanjali Book World, JodhpurGoogle Scholar
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    Srinivasan AV (1984) A Hindu primer: Yaksha Prashna. IND-US, E. GlastonburyGoogle Scholar
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    Sutherland GH (1992) Yakṣa in Hinduism and Buddhism: the disguises of the demon. Manohar, New DelhiGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities & Social Sciences – Languages & LiteratureShri Mata Vaishno Devi UniversityKatraIndia