सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Indra"







In General

Indra is a position one acquire because of merit, Yajna and Tapa and is the lord of svarga. Indra is the son of Kasyapa and Aditi, the eldest daughter of Daksa. Indra of purana and Veda are entirely different. To Veda, Indra is a benevolent force but to Purana Indra is a powerful God with all human passion good and bad. Genealogy: VishnuBrahma - Marici – Kasyapa - Indra.


Indra is the lord of luminous mind. The Indra mantra account as the largest number epithet for devas in Rig_Veda. The chanting for Indra mantra is preliminary to any spiritual initiation. Indra is adored for perfect planning of a project and Agni is for will power. So, without these two deities no activity move forward. Indra is the king of luminous mind, he fight on behalf of human against vritra, the forces of ignorance.


Aditi had 21 sons as Devas and another 12 as Adityas. Indra is the eldest of the 33 sons. Airatvata is Indra's elephant, Uccaissravas, his horse, and Vajra his weapon. Being a very prominent God there are many stories about Indra.

Indra and Garuda: Kasyapa had two sons, Garuda and Aruna by Vinata and a large number of Nagas by his other wife, Kadru. Kadru and her children kept Vinata and her son Garuda as their servants. Kadru agreed to set them free if they brought Amrta from Devaloka. Garuda decided to earn his freedom by bringing Amrta from Devaloka. With determination, he flew up into heaven and secured Amrta. The enraged Indra attacked him with his weapon, Vajra. But Garuda spread his feathers in such a way that he was not wounded. Indra was struck with wonder, and pleased with the beautiful feathers (Parna) of Garuda, named him 'Suparna'. At last Indra was pleased and allowed Garuda to take Amrta with him.

Indra and Arjuna: Kunti had received five mantras from Durvasas for begetting sons. Pandu was cursed not to touch women, so to beget children Kunti used these mantras. By one of the Mantra she attracted Indra and a son, Arjuna was born. To test the integrity of Arjuna Indra once sent Urvasi to Arjuna with advances of love. Arjuna who refused to yield to her temptations was turned into a eunuch by her curse. But Indra lifted the curse by saying that this curse would be an advantage to him during the incognito life of the Pandavas. Meanwhile Indra sent Citrasena to accompany Arjuna and teach him music, Dance and other arts. In order to ensure Arjuna's victory in battle, Indra, disguised as a Brahmin, obtained by begging Karna’s Kavacha.

Indra and Vrtra: A famous exploit of Indra was the killing of Vrtra. Under the leadership of Vrtra, the Asuras fought with Devas. The battle raged furiously. Indra fell down unconscious owing to the shower of arrows from Vrtra. Vasistha came to the rescue and Indra got back his consciousness. Finding it impossible to kill Vrtra, the Devas under the leadership of Indra approached Mahavishnu. Vishnu told them that Vrtra could be killed only with the bone of the sage Dadhica. So all of them approached Dadhica. Realising the situation, Dadhica let Indra have his bone for the purpose. Indra made his weapon Vajra with that bone and receiving a fatal stroke from it, Vrtra fell down dead. After killing Vrtrasura, Indra hid himself in a lotus flower in the Manasa lake, to expiate for the sin of Brahmahatya. It was at that time that Nahusa became Indra. After Nahusa had been forced to go back to the earth as a serpent by the curse of Agastya, the Devas brought back Indra.

Indra Sabha: Maya undertook to build a sabha (assembly hall) for the Pandavas at Indraprastha. When it was being discussed, the sage Narada described to them Indra's sabha as given below : Indra has a Sabha which dazzles with divine effulgence. It is 150 yojanas in length and 100 yojanas in breadth. It has a height of five yojanas. Beautiful storied buildings and divine trees add to the grandeur of the sabha. Indra is seated within the holy light in it. Sacidevi takes her seat near him. Indra is very handsome. He wears a crown; he is dressed in spotlessly pure clothes, and wears a garland round his neck. Maruts, Siddhas, Devas, Rishis and a host of others stand around attending on him.

Indra and Prahlada: The great King Prahlada once conquered Heaven. Indra, who lost his kingdom and glory, accepted Brhaspati's advice and went to meet Sukracarya to learn from his mistakes. Sukra told Indra that Prahlada was the noblest person and that he had earned that nobility by his good qualities. Indra decided to acquire those good qualities from Prahlada. Indra disguised himself as a Brahmin boy and approached Prahlada with a request for moral and spiritual advice. Prahlada accepted him as his pupil and gave him moral and spiritual advice. Pleased with the pupil's devotion, Prahlada agreed to give him whatever boon he wanted. The pupil said that he wanted only the good qualities of the Guru. Prahlada agreed to it. Thus from that day, Prahlada began to decline in his good qualities and Indra began to prosper.

Indra and Dharmaputra: Another anecdote about Indra which deals with the last part of Dharmaputra's life is given in the Mahabharata. The Pandavas, towards the end of their lives entered the forest and were travelling to the north. Dharmaputra who was walking in front, was followed by a dog. On the way the four brothers and Pancati fell down dead. Dharmaputra continued his journey accompanied by the dog without turning back or looking behind. At the end of the journey, Indra was waiting for him with his chariot. He told Dharmaputra that his brothers and wife had already taken their places in Heaven and that he should leave behind the dog and get into the chariot to go to Devaloka. Dharmaputra pleaded that it was not right for him to enter Devaloka after deserting the dog which had followed him so far. Even though Indra pressed him very much to enter the chariot without the dog, Dharmaputra did not yield. At last the dog assumed the form of Yama who appeared and explained to them that he had taken the form of a dog and followed his son Dharmaputra to test his noble nature. They were all happy and all the three of them proceeded in the chariot to Devaloka.

Indra's theft of a Horse: Chandravamsa King Sagara once performed an aswvamedha sacrifice. A hundred such Yaga could unseat Indra from the throne of Svarga, so, Indra stole the sacrificial horse. Sagara sent all his 60,000 sons in search of the horse. They dug up the earth and went to the Nether worlds where they saw the horse tied in front of the sage Kapila. The enraged sons of Sagara tried to capture horse and bind the sage. But Kapila reduced all the 60,000 princes to ashes by his curse.

Indra's term of Life: There are fourteen Manvantaras during the life of the present Brahma. This means that fourteen Manus will be born and will die one after another during this period. Each Manvantara will have its own Indra and the Devas.

Indra, Ahalya and Meghanda. Ravana conquered the world with the help of Brahma's blessing. In his pride he came into conflict with Indra. After a fierce battle, Ravana's son, Meghanada defeated Indra. He took Indra to Lanka as a prisoner. Ravana chained Indra's hands and feet and tied him to his flagstaff. The Devas in distress approached Brahma for help. Brahma went to Lanka and secured the release of Indra. After giving the title of Indrajit to Meghanada, Brahma returned to Brahmaloka. Sometimes before this event Devendra had committed adultery with Ahalya, the wife of Sage Gautama. At that time Gautama had uttered a curse on him, that he would have to spend a year in prison, chained by an enemy. His life in Ravana's prison in Lanka was in fulfillment of that curse.

Indra becomes victim of old age. Once the sage Durvasas went to Devaloka. The goddesses gave him a grand reception at which Menaka presented him with a garland made of fragrant flowers. The sage gave it to Devendra. Indra placed it on Airavata's tusk. The fragrance of the garland attracted a large number of bees to it. They swarmed round the head of the elephant and annoyed it. Airavata picked up the garland trampled it under his foot, pulled it to pieces and threw it away. Durvasas took this as an insult to himself and pronounced a curse that all the gods would be subjected to wrinkles and grey hair of old age. Indra and the other gods fell victims to old age. Indra requested Durvasas to release him from his curse. The sage relented and told him that if the Devas drank Amrta obtained by churning the ocean of milk they would recover their youth. Accordingly, the ocean of milk was churned by the joint effort of the Devas and Asuras and in the end the Devas snatched it away.

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