Pretas: The Ghosts Of Hinduism And Buddhism…

Pretas: The Ghosts Of Hinduism And Buddhism

It’s not just western culture that has a belief of ghosts…

Many cultures- including the eastern traditions- have a strong belief in spirits or entities that roam unseen. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhs all have their own versions of ghosts, and they all have the same name: a preta.

And not just the name is similar, but also the general concept:

Free roaming spirits that try to satisfy their desires. Many of these spirits were jealous, liars, or greedy in a past life, or are too attached to let go and move on to the next stage of development. In many cases, pretas are depicted as having lots of small jagged teeth, an emaciated frame, and desperately looking for food that they simply cannot eat, which is a representation of their search for the fulfillment of their desires and attachments.

The Different Types of Pretas

Pretas exist for different reasons and usually have different “objectives”:

Family and Friends- 

If an individual is too attached to their former lifestyle and dwelling to move on, they will visit and stay in order to try and relive their life. They might even try and make contact with a family member. If this is the case and you or someone else can feel their presence, you should try and help them leave.

Former Tenet-

If someone died in a place you live and they become a preta, this person is likely to haunt their former living space.  They may try and get your attention by making strange noises or moving objects, because they may need help to get out of their situation.

Roaming Pretas-

These types move around looking around for a specific emotional connection or experience.

Demons and Poltergeists-

Demons are usually attracted to those that habitually use drugs or alcohol, as they seek to influence their decisions.


In the eastern traditions, pretas are understood to be people- that is, they shouldn’t be feared, rather understood and empathized with. Prayers, mantras, meditations, and even verbally talking aloud to the entity can help them to move on.


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Matt Caron

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Matt is the content manager of the Sivana blog, an enthusiastic Yoga teacher, and life voyager. He strives to inspire…

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