By Swami Harshananda
Pramathagaṇa literally means ‘the group of beings who punish the evil ones’.
Lord Śiva is said to be surrounded by a very large retinue of secondary deities or semi-divine beings whose number is said to be 360 millions. They are called as Pramathagaṇa. They are capable of taking any form. Generally they appear like ascetics with jaṭā and ardha-candra on the hair. They are deeply devoted to Śiva and spend their time in his service. They also fight on his behalf when necessary as on the occasion of destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice. Sometimes they are pictured more like horrible goblins. They attack sinners and transgressors of dharma, generally in the night. However, good people who follow the dictates of dharma, cannot come under their influence.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore