Nature spirits associated with South Asian and Southeast Asian mythologies / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The yakshas (Sanskrit: यक्ष yakṣa; Pali: yakkha) are a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, but sometimes mischievous or capricious, connected with water, fertility, trees, the forest, treasure and wilderness. They appear in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist texts, as well as ancient and medieval era temples of South Asia and Southeast Asia as guardian deities. The feminine form of the word is yakṣī or yakshini (Sanskrit: यक्षिणी yakṣiṇī; Pali:Yakkhini).
In Hindu, Jain and Buddhist texts, the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is also a darker version of the yakṣa, which is a kind of ghost (bhuta) that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travellers, similar to the rakṣasas.