Real Name: Ravanna (Ahriman is the name he was known as in Ancient Persia)
Occupation: Chieftain of the Rakshasas, god of evil and misfortune
Legal Status: Citizen of Patala
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence of Ahriman except as a mythological character; he was well-known in Ancient India and Persia.
Other Aliases: "Satan," Angra Mainyu, Hiranya-kasipu, Sisupala, Erlik (Altaic name), Aswang (Balinese name)
Place of Birth: Unknown
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Visravas (father), Nikasha (mother), Khumbakarna, Khara,
Surpanakka, Bibhishan (brothers), Maricha (sister), Kubera (half-brother), Mandodari
(wife), Akah Manah,
Apaosha, Saura, Ahzi Dahaka, Nasu, Bushyanta, Indrajit, Meghanda (sons),
Dushana (nephew), Pulastya (grandfather),
Group Affiliations: The Asuras Gods of the Underworld), member of a unnamed council of underworld-gods
Base of Operations: Patala, formerly Lanka
First Appearance: (historical) Giant-Size Conan #1, (recent) Superman: Man of Steel #126
History: Ravanna is a member of an extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Rakshasas, a race of demonic entities related to the Devas, the gods of India. It is unknown as to how old he truly is, but he possibly predates to before written history. According to some accounts, he is the dark twin of the god Varuna, better known in Persian religion as the divine god, Ormazd. Varuna wanted to create a world of paradise on earth for mortal man, but Ravanna interceded and created extreme conditions such as harsh weather conditions, smoke, darkness, sickness, disease and other evils. Varuna tried to instill faith in his worshippers while Ravanna created doubt. According to some accounts, Ravanna was the basis for the devil in Judeo-Christian faith. Ravanna eventually killed Geush Urvan, the sacred bull who fed Gayomart, the mortal son of Ormazd, who was the divine ancestor of the Kings of Persia. Ravanna was given two means to clear his name. He was offered to live through seven lives as a friend of the god Vishnu or through three lives as an enemy of Vishnu. Ravanna took the latter choice in order that he could return to the heavens faster.
In his first life, Ravanna was born as the demon-king Hiranya-kasipu. In this form, he gained a boon from the god Brahma that he could not be killed by man or beast, indoors or outdoors during the day or night. Secure he could not be killed, he then dethroned Indra as ruler of the Vedic Gods and exiled the gods from heaven. To his dismay, Hinranya-kasipu eventually discovered that his son, Prahlada, worshipped the god Vishnu, and tried to dissuade him from doing so, but finally decided to destroy him. Before he could do so, Vishnu appeared in his fourth avatar as the lion-god Narasimha and slew Hiranya-kasipu by attacking him at twilight in the archway at his home. Because Narasimha was neither man or beast, he was able to slay Hiranya-kasipu and place his son Prahlada on the throne in his absence.
In his next life, Ravanna was reborn as another demon. He discovered Sita, the mortal wife of Prince Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu. He abducted her and took her to the island of Lanka which the Rakshasas had conquered and taken away from the monkey-god allies of the Hindu Gods. Rama obtained help from General Hanuman of the monkey-gods to invade Lanka and rescue Sita by slaying Ravanna.
In his third life, Ravanna was born as Sisupala, the mortal son of King Damaghosha and Srutadeva of Ayodha. They were upset to discover he was born with three eyes and four arms. The voice of Brahma told them that Sisupala would have a life that was both famous and fortunate, and that they would be able to recognize who would eventually kill Sisupala. When the infant was placed on the knee of his future killer, his extra eye and arms would vanish. King Damaghosha and Srutadeva traveled from kingdom to kingdom placing their son on the knee of each ruler they visited, but nothing ever happened. When they visited Krishna, King of Mathura, the eighth avatar of Vishnu, Sisupala was placed on his knee and the extra eye vanished and the extra arms fell off. Srutadeva begged Krishna to forgive her child should he ever offend him and Krishna agreed to the promise.
Several years later as an adult, Sisupala was attending a great sacrifice hosted by King Yudhishthira of the Pandavas, who decided that the first homage should be to Krishna. Sisupala became enraged by that choice by declaring that there were other guests more worthy than Krishna. He appealed to the god Brahma who then decided that Krishna should arbitrate the dispute. Sisupala became outraged and insulted Brahma by telling the guests present the predictions of his birth. As Sisupala continued to insult Brahma, Krishna's flaming disc rose into the air and cleaved Sisupala in two for dishonoring the god. Sispala's sword then caught fire and was absorbed by the god's feet.
Under unrevealed means, Ravanna was restored to existence. In the Twelfth Century BC, Ormazd handed down to the sage Zarathrustha the basic tenets for the religion of Zoroasterism. In those texts, he had described Ravanna as the eternal enemy of gods and man under the name Ahriman. Ahriman was blamed for all the evils of earth and created objects of demonic power in order to procure the astral energies, or "souls," of human beings. He was feared by many cultures in the Far East; many of whom know him by different name. The Altaic tribes to the North called him, Erlik, possibly naming him after a forgotten Hyborian god, and the Filipino tribes of Indonesia knew him as Aswang. Over the years, Ahriman dispatched Rakshasa agents to the mortal realm to cause strife, misfortune and disaster among mortals. Two of the demons were subsequently destroyed by an investigative reporter named Carl Kolchak and paranormal investigators Sam and Dean Winchester. After several defeats on Earth, Ahriman entered into a pact with other demonic entities and gods of the underworld to try to corrupt the heroes of Earth into their own agents. He entered into a pact with the gods Morrigan, Mixcoatl, Baal and Izanami to corrupt Superman but failed in that attempt. Ahriman later helped the Titan Cronus to invade and briefly overthrow the Hindu Gods from Nirvana, but they were defeated by Wonder Woman and the Hindu hero, Rama.
Unusual Physical Features: Ahriman is known to take several forms from
a humanoid male to a black mist. In his typical form, he appears as a
red-skinned humanoid with two horns in his head and clawed fingers.
Strength Level: Unknown, but Ahriman can magically augment his physical strength to unknown levels.
Known Superhuman Powers: Ahriman possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Rakshasas except on a far greater scale than any other member of his race, as well as vast supernatural power inherent to being a degenerated god. He has supernatural powers, such augmentation of his physical strength, levitation, teleportation, the projection of mystical energy as force blasts, invisibility, matter manipulation, image projection, size transformation of his own body or other people and objects, the creation of temporary dimensional apertures and so on. He also seems to be capable of imbuing objects with occult energies; two such items have been described: the Heart of Ahriman and the Eye of Ahriman.
Ahriman seems just as powerful as other demonic beings of his class including Mephisto and Satannish. He also has undefined powers enabling him capture and detain the astral bodies (sheaths of the soul) of recently deceased human beings. Ahriman does not have jurisdiction over all the souls of humanity's recently deceased. It is not known what the prerequisite conditions are for him to manipulate a human soul, nor the precise means by which he accomplishes the known feat. Apparently, these conditions require that the human being in question willingly agree to submit to Ahriman's will. It is unknown how a human being can release himself from bondage to Ahriman, nor whether Ahriman will forever retain control of the souls he has obtained. Nor is it known whether or not Ahriman "feeds" on the psychic energies of human beings as human beings do.
Apparently, Ahriman can entrap a living being human being within his realm through sheer physical force, even if the person did not submit his or her will to him. He is functionally long-lived, but not immortal like the Olympian Gods, and beyond such mortal needs such as food, air or sleep. His body appears to be composed of a supernatural substance analogous but not identical to that of the Hindu gods, yet just as durable and resilient to harm than human flesh and tissue. If he is somehow harmed, his blood can form into miniature versions of himself controlled and manipulated by his own consciousness. These miniature bodies can eventually increase to his full size if not destroyed and be remerged with Ahriman at will.
Weaponry: Ahriman oft times wields an enchanted sword, but he usually avoids direct contact with his enemies and instead uses any one of multiple minor subjects as agents.
Last updated: 02/12/12
Back to Main Page