Do evil “daayans” and “chudails” still exist in this day and age? Yes, they do. There is one who lives in a forested area in Delhi — modern India’s capital — itself and most local people who pass through that area are understandably very wary of her and avoid going there even during the daytime if the day is cloudy. I have encountered evil daayans and chudails in several villages too. In India, “daayan”, derived from the Sanskrit word “dakini”; which refers to a female supernatural being is a term for a witch.

 Since ancient times, there have been many kinds of daayans in India who operate in different ways but eight supernatural things are common to all evil daayans. One, they are all — obviously — evil. Two, they are all extremely powerful.  Three, they can all change their form at will and when trapping someone or taking revenge is involved,  usually appear as a beautiful, seductive woman. Four, they have the power to know what has taken place without being present at the spot.

Five, they can only be controlled or “killed”, i.e., a draining away of power from them, if their source of power and method of operating is known. Six, their source of sustaining their power is drinking the blood of a live creature/person or a creature who they have just killed or in some cases, who has just died. If they cannot get human blood, they have been known to feed on animal blood.  Seven, their invocatory power is rooted in a female goddess, usually Kali and sometimes Durga. Eight, they are at their most powerful and in their most active phase during no moon.

Most daayans frequent lonely areas but when in search of prey or seeking vengeance, venture into crowded, well lit places too. However, night time is their most preferred time for venturing out.  It is when daayans are on a search for blood to drink to replenish their powers that they are most dangerous. Because if this feeding is not done regularly and they are not able to find blood in time, their powers will fade away and it can take them many years to become daayans again. Therefore, they are operating, often desperately, under a crucial time limit and will go to any lengths to get their victim within that time span.

All daayans have a weak “spot” which can destroy their power and render them powerless. For example, some daayans cannot face a hexagonal mirror or any kind of mirror. Some daayans can be made powerless by using an iron knife above their neck area. Some daayans can be made powerless by cutting off their hair. Others can be made powerless by burning “loban” or burning red chilies and so on. It’s a very long list.

It is obviously important not to assume that all beautiful women are daayans. But yes, when it happens to be after dusk and a beautiful woman moves in a sinuous manner, if her eyes look at you in a penetrating fashion but then quickly look away, if she is very swift in her movements and she tries to entice you or tempt you with something, one needs to be very cautious. It’s also important not to confuse evil daayans with Wiccan witches who are quite different.

According to WikiHow, ‘Also known as “The Old Religion” and “The Craft,” Wicca is a religion with its own practices, tenets and beliefs rooted in pagan traditions… there is a variety of paths and types of Wicca, and people practice it according to their own beliefs and lifestyles…Wicca is based on a belief of the Goddess at the center of all life and creation. Some versions of Wicca weigh goddesses and gods equally, as there is a general sense in Wicca to believe in duality or balance in the universe…The Wiccan Rede, or creed, is the central tenet that Wiccans follow, which is: “If You Harm None, Do What You Will.”

In India, it was in 1986 that Ipsita Roy Chakraverti  created a sensation when she declared herself a witch. Described as a “Wiccan Priestess, an artist, a writer, an activist”, she has been credited with “throwing new light on the taboo subject of witchcraft in India, and the rest of the world”. Her writing, which includes the books “Beloved Witch” and “Sacred Evil: Encounters With the Unknown” has won critical acclaim. Ipsita who has also inspired and been part of movies and tele-serials has approximated that there are around 5000 Wiccans both men and women across India.

Last year, when Kangana Ranaut, the highly talented and highly outspoken Bollywood actress  was in New Delhi to receive her third National Award, she spoke in defence of witchcraft. “Witchcraft is an ancient art, everyone should know about it. What is wrong with witchcraft? Don’t we like Harry Potter? I would want my daughter to know about witchcraft,” she said. Yet, while modern day connotations of witches and witchcraft have undergone changes, all over India stories of real encounters with evil witches and chudails abound, the most common belief being that a woman who has died during childbirth becomes a daayan.

Whatever the reason behind the form of a daayan, they are known to frequent lonely spots, especially in forests, graveyards, old buildings. The chudail I encountered in Dehra Dun had been living on this tree close to a cobblers’ settlement for many generations according to the locals, but that’s a story for another column. It’s very important to distinguish between spirits which have become daayans or chudails after death and living persons who are tragically and most unfairly branded as daayans or chudails who practice witchcraft and are hounded to death.   

 Is there anyway of giving “mukti” to an evil daayan? A highly evolved sadhu I know has been trying for years. But though he has learnt the art of controlling all kinds of daayans and rendering them powerless, he has not yet succeeded in giving “mukti” to their souls. There are reasons for this linked to their origin, but too long to elaborate here.   Needless to say, dealing with evil daayans is a highly specialised task as it is important to first identify and then “disconnect” or disable their source of power. So if you feel threatened by an evil daayan, do make sure you seek help from a very knowledgeable and experienced guruji or sadhu, paranormal expert or priest.


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