The Sanskrit word Asura relates to the word Sura or a God. In this way the word Asura has the meaning of being not a God. In some schools of thought the word Asura is defined as Anti-God or demon. The many types of Asuras and stories of their adventurous antics can be found in the Indian Puranas and other traditional sources.
The two races Sura and Asura have long been locked in mortal combat with advantage falling to both sides from time to time. Neither race could actually destroy the other. Both groups worked towards the goals of life in the form of artha, dharma and kama, but only the Suras (Devas) ascribed to the fourth goal of life, moksha or final release.
The Guru of the Asuras was named Shukra and this name is synonymous with the planet Venus.
The metaphor of two warring celestial races is intended to suggest the idea that human beings reflect aspects of both races. Tendencies towards moksha or spiritual life are described in some schools of Indian thought to be of the Devas and preoccupation with materialistic concerns, of the Asuras.