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Read also   Story of Five Indra

Among the expansive Hindu pantheon of Devtaa, Indra is neither the most powerful nor the most fearsome, but yet he is the King of all Devtaa. Many odd stories can be heard about him, still despite all his faults, Indra has a charm which distinguishes him from other Devtaa. Rig Ved writes about him "Indra, You lifted up the outcast who was oppressed, you glorified the blind and the lame."

Indra is not the name of any Devtaa as people might think of. Indra is a position one gains through his good Karm, that is why Indra always is afraid of his kingdom and whoever does good Karm, he tries to disturb his good Karm, so that he cannot snatch his kingdom - Swarg. In the past Raajaa Nahush has been Indra for some time. In next Manvantar Raajaa Bali will be Indra.

Indra's Family
Indra is married to Pulomaa's daughter Shachee or Indraanee. They have two children, one son Jayant and one daughter Jayantee. Indra has two earthly sons also - (1) Baali who was living in Tretaa Yug and was the son of Brahmaa's son Riksh Raaj; and (2) Arjun, born to Kuntee on request of Paandu to invite Indra to give them a son. Once Indra took Avataar also - he was born in Kushik's house as his son Gaadhi.

Indra's other names are
--Devendra - because he is the god of gods
--Shatkratu - once Indra did a Yagya in which he sacrificed 100 horses, since then he has been known as Shatkratu,
--Sahastraaksh - because he is with thousand eyes (read Indra and Gautam Rishi below and Ahalyaa as how he got 1,000 eyes)
--Tuvigyaat - is also a name of Indra

Indra and Durvaasaa
This story comes in Vishnu Puraan, 1/2 and in Padm Puraan, 5/37. Once Indra was going somewhere riding on his Airaavat elephant. Durvaasaa Muni was coming from opposite side from Bhagavaan's court. He had a garland in his hand. Considering Indra the Swaamee of Trilok he thought that this garland would be appropriate for Indra as Prasaad. So he threw that garland on coming Indra. Indra didn't care for it and he threw it on Airaavat's head, and Airaavat picked it from his head, threw it on the ground and crushed it under his feet. Seeing the insult of Prasaad, Durvaasaa Muni got very furious and he gave Shaap to Indra: "You will loose your wealth, grace and kingdom very soon." and went away.
[Read Saagar Manthan story to read what happened after this]

Indra and Krishn
(1) When Krishn was about 14 years old, He saw that Nand Baabaa was preparing for some grand worship. Innocently He asked - "Who are you going to worship?" Nand Jee said - "Indra." Krishn tried to shatter Indra's pride so He said to Nand Jee that they should worship Govardhan Parvat not Indra, because Indra does not give us rains, that is his duty, only our Karm gives us comfort. So He arranged not to worship Indra but Govardhan Parvat. Seeing this Indra got angry and he started raining heavily over Brij area. This rain continued for seven days and seven nights. Whole Brij was flooded. To save Brij people, Krishn lifted Govardhan Parvat on His left smallest finger and kept it there for all he seven days and seven nights. Seeing this Indra got ashamed of his act and came to beg pardon of Krishn. Krishn pardoned him and then asked him to ask for any Var. Indra said - "Bhagavan, My son Arjun is on the Earth. Please take care of him." Krishn said - "So be it."

(2) His another incident comes from Bhaagvat Puraan, 10/u8, happens, when he goes to Krishn in Dwaarakaa and requests Him to kill Bhaumaasur (Narakaasur). Krishn kills Bhaumaasur and goes to Indra Lok to return earrings of mother Aditi to her and other things to Indra taken by Bhaumaasur. He took Satyabhaamaa also with Him, so she was also with Him. Satyabhaamaa went to see Shachee, that at the same time her maids brought some Paarijaat flowers to her. She thought that Satyabhaamaa was an earthly woman that is why she was not the right person to have them, so she used them herself and did not offer to Satyabhaamaa.

Satyabhaamaa felt insulted and she told this to Krishn. Hearing this Krishn uprooted the whole Paarijaat tree and kept it on His Garud, asked Satyabhaamaa to sit upon it and started for Dwaarakaa. When Indra saw Krishn taking his Paarijaat tree, he objected it saying that it was meant only for Dev Lok and it could not go to Prithvi Lok, but Krishn told him that it would be in Prithvi Lok only till He would be there. At this Indra got angry and fought with Him. But how could he fight with Bhagavaan, so soon he had to surrender. Krishn said - "I am taking it to Prithvi Lok and from today it will be there only to please my wife Satyabhaamaa. When I will leave Prithvi, both Sudharmaa Sabhaa which He got from Indra's Lok for Ugrasen) and this Paarijaat tree will come to you." And Krishn flew to His Dwaarakaa.

Indra and Vishwaroop - Indra Distributes His Brahm Hatyaa
Bhaagvat Puraan, 6/4 lists this incident. Once Brihaspati Jee went to the court of Indra. There all Devtaa stood up and welcomed him but Indra did not get up from his throne to greet him. So he got angry and went to his home. When he had left the court then only Indra realized that he had committed a mistake, so he thought that he should ask for his pardon. Brihaspati Jee knew that this would happen, so he disappeared from his house. Indra could not find him. Without Guru he did not feel secured so they went to Brahmaa Jee to give them a Guru. Brahmaa Jee suggested the name of Vishwaroop, Twashtaa's son, to appoint their Guru. Indra went to Vishwaroop to become their Guru. After some hesitation he agreed to become their Guru.

Vishwaroop had three heads. From one mouth he drank Som Ras, from the second mouth he drank wine and from his third mouth he ate food.

Now his mother was from an Asur family, so whenever he used to do Yagya, he gave Aahuti for Devtaa standing and speaking loudly but politely because his fathers were Twashtaa etc 12 Aaditya Devtaa. But because his mother was from an Asur family, that is why he used to offer a share to Asur also in his Yagya. Indra noticed that, that thus he was deceiving Devtaa. Indra got frightened and he swiftly cut his all the three heads. Vishwaroop's head which used to drink Som Ras became Papeehaa bird, the head which used to drink wine became Gauraiyaa bird, and the head which used to eat food became Teetar (partridge) birds [all three are Indian birds].

Now since Indra killed a Braahman, he got the sin of Brahm Hatyaa attached to him. If he wanted he could wash his sin soon, but he did not do so for one year. Then he divided his Paap (sin) into four parts and gave them one part each to Prithvi, water, trees and women. Prithvi accepted Indra's Brahm-Hatyaa Paap in exchange of a Var that wherever there will be any ditch it will automatically fill up. Because of this Shaap there are barren land lots appeared on Earth. Trees accepted Indra's second quarter of Shaap in exchange of the Var that their whichever part will be cut, it will be sealed itself and this Paap reflects in them in the form of flowing gum. Women accepted this Paap in the exchange of the Var that they could have sex anytime. That Paap reflects in them in the form of menses every month. Water accepted this Paap in exchange of the Var that it will always be increasing. This Paap reflects in it in the form of foam and bubbles, that is why people drink water after removing them.

Another Version - Indra and Brahm Hatyaa
Read also   Indra and Vishnu on One Chariot

Padm Puraan, 5/16 describes the above incident with a different flavor. "Shiv Jee said - "Once Indra and Vritraasur had a great fight which continued for 11,000 years. Indra lost, so he came to me. He pleased me by worshipping me on the banks of Vaartraghnee, so I appeared in sky. At that time, some ash fell from my body on the banks of Gangaa and a holy Ling appeared there. It got known as "Bhasm Gaatra". I said to Indra - "I will give you everything whatever you want to have and you will kill Vritra by this Vajra." So he took that Vajra and went to Vritraasur again to fight with him and killed that Daitya with that Vajra. But when he came back to his Puree that a Brahm Hatyaa appeared from his body and started searching for him and caught him by his neck. Indra could not get freed from it.

So Indra went to Brahmaa Jee in the same condition. Brahmaa Jee remembered the Brahm Hatyaa, so she came to him. He asked her to free Indra. She said - "I will free him, but then give me some other place to live. You yourself has fixed all this." Brahmaa Jee called Agni and asked him to take 1/4th part of Brahm Hatyaa. Agni Dev asked - "Then what is my way to be free from this Brahm Hatyaa?" Brahmaa Jee said - "Who will find you in burning form and will not put any seed, herb, Til, fruit, root, Samidhaa and Kush etc, at that time this Brahm Hatyaa will leave you and will attach to him."

In the same way Brahmaa Jee called trees, herbs, straws etc and proposed the same to them too, and they also asked him the same question - "How we will be free from this Brahm Hatyaa?" He said - "Whoever will cut you, this Brahm Hatyaa will attach to him only." In the same way Brahmaa Jee gave 1/4th part of Indra's Brahm Hatyaa to Apsaraa saying that whoever will have the sexual contact with a menstruating woman, she will attach to him immediately. Then Brahmaa Jee called Water and gave him the last 1/4th part Indra's Brahm Hatyaa saying that he will be free from this when somebody will urinate or spit in it unknowingly.

Mahaadev Jee said - "Hey Sureshwaree, Thus Brahm Hatyaa left Indra and went to these four places and Indra became free from her.

That is why
--Wherever any fire is burning, one must offer him something, even a leaf of grass is enough.
--One should not cut the trees
--One should not have any sexual contact with a menstruating woman, and
--One should not urinate or spit in a water body even unknowingly.

I read the following on Internet, how much authentic information this is, is questionable. It is said that to wash his sin of killing Vishwaroop, Indra consecrated five Vishnu temples --
(1) Bindu Maadhav - at Kaashee, (UP)
(2) Venee Maadhav - at Prayaag (Allahabad, UP)
(3) Kuntee Maadhav - at Peethpuram
(4) Setu Maadhav - at Raameshwaram (Tamilnaadu)
(5) Sundar Maadhav - Anant Padmanaabham (Trivendram, Kerala)

The temple of Bindu Maadhav was consecrated near Panch Gangaa Ghaat, but it was destroyed by Muslim invaders and a Mosque was constructed there.

Yet Another Version - Indra and Nahush
From  Vaishno Devee    See also   Nahush and Indra

When Indra had killed Vishwaroop and Vritraasur, he was attached to the sin of Brahm Hatyaa. If he wanted he could detach himself from that Brahm Hatyaa, but he did not. Most saints and Rishi went to the forest for meditation and peace. When Twashtaa, their father, heard his sons' killing he cursed Indra to have a similar fate. Because of this Brahm Hatyaa his luster started fading and soon he became lusterless. One day he also left his palace, went to Maan Sarovar Lake and hid himself in a stalk of a lotus flower so that nobody could find him. Now Indra's sudden disappearance created a chaos in Tri-Lok. Wind stopped blowing, trees stopped blooming, rain stopped falling etc etc. Seeing all this Devtaa decided to appoint another Indra.

King Nahush, the grandson of Pururavaa and the father of Yayaati, was found suitable for this position. Although Nahush was a saintly person, but as soon as he sat on Indra's throne, he got proud of his status and he started enjoying Indra Lok's pleasures. One day it came into his mind that if he was Indra, why not Indraanee should entertain him. So he sent a message of this matter to Indraanee. Hearing this Indraanee got very sad and worried. She could not think of any way to save herself. She did not even know that her husband was alive or not. She went Dev Guru Brihaspati and asked for his help. Brihaspati Jee suggested her to accept Nahush's invitation only after knowing whether her husband was alive or not. he also advised her to pray Vishnu and when He is pleased, worshipping Devee and performing an Ashwamedh Yagya to ask for forgiveness for killing Vishwaroop. In this way she will be able to restore Indra's old status and end Nahush's time.

Indraanee pleased Devee and asked her the boon to restore her husband's status and powers and saving her form Nahush. Devee granted her wishes. She could find her husband and as a strategy she asked Nahush to come in a unique carriage which is driven by sages. Nahush was very happy to hear this, he forgot all Punya and Paap. He called sages and asked them to bring a carriage and drive him to Brihaspati's Aashram. In happiness he asked the sages to drive him faster and faster - "Sarp, Sarp." In Sanskrit Sarp means go fast as well as snake. When the sages could bear no more they cursed him to be a Sarp (snake) for 1,000 years, till he would find Yudhishthir to free him from this curse. Brihaspati and other Devtaa then went to Lake Maan Sarovar and asked him to come out of the lotus stalk and take up his throne again.

Indra Curses Agni Dev and Vaayu Dev
Read this story under Agni Dev-2

Indra and Gautam Rishi    see    Ahalyaa
This story is in several flavors.

Indra and Virochan
There are two incidents of Indra and Virochan.

(1) According to Chhaandogya Upanishad (read the Story of Virachan and Indra here), Indra and Virochan went to Brahmaa Jee to learn about Aatmaa. There they both practiced Brahmcharya for 32 years and when Brahmaa Jee told them about Aatmaa, Virochan was convinced with that explanation and came back; while Indra pondered over it again and again and stayed there for very long time until he was convinced with Brahmaa Jee's explanation.

(2) Bhrigu told Virochan that he had danger for his life so suggested him to do Tap. It was because hhis son Bali was not born in favorable stars for him. He did Tap and Soorya Bhagvaan gave him a crown which would protect him from all adversities. After coming from Tap, Virochan announced that only Vishnu should be worshipped in Asur Lok. This made Indra angry and he decided to kill Virochan. Indra called Malayaketu and asked him to ask Soorya to break Virochan's journey to home. Indra stole his crown (given by Soorya Dev to him). Later on he had a duel with Virochan and killed him.

Indra and Shukraachaarya
Devee Bhaagavat tells how Shukraachaarya became angry from his demon-disciples. After Shukra had gained Mrit Sanjeevanee Vidyaa from Shiv, he used it to bring Asur alive died in Dev-Asur war. (Read How Shukraachaarya Was Called Shukra) To distract Shukraachaarya from the revival of demons Indra deputed his daughter Jayantee to win him over with her charm. Jayantee succeeded in winning over Shukraachaarya and they spend their time together in a remote Heaven for years together.

Another Version
When Indra found Shukraaachaarya Jee bringing alive all dead Asur in Dev-Asur war, he got worried, because he had lost lots of Devtaa and Dev Guru Brihaspati did not know this Vidyaa so he could not bring alive dead Devtaa. At last this was decided that Brihaspati's son Kach will go there and learn this Vidyaa from Shukraachaarya. When Kach was going to him, he was given a hint of getting favor of Shukraachaarya that he loved his daughter Devayaanee very much, so if he could somehow attract her towards him the chances to get that Vidyaa will be more. So Kach went there as Shukraachaarya's disciple, learnt the Vidyaa and came back. Since he bagged the curse of Devayaanee while coming back, he himself could not use it but he taught to others to use it. (Read this story at "Devayaanee and Kach"

Indra and Raavan
There are two incidents of Indra and Raavan
(1) The first one is not actually Indra and Raavan face to face, but Indra was affected by Raavan's presence - read  Raavan Wins Raajaa Marut. Here when Indra goes to win Raajaa Marut, he was doing a Yagya  and all four Digpaal were there. As Raavan came there they changed themselves in to Tiryak Yoni and after he had gone, they again changed them selves to their original form. Since all four Digpaal took the help of the form of those animals and birds - peacock, crow, chameleon and swan; to save themselves, they all granted boons to them.

(2) The second incident is when Indra was attacked by Raavan, arrested by Meghnaad and then got freed by his grandfather Pulastya Jee. Read   Raavan Wins Indra Lok and Immortality of Meghnaad

Indra and Karn
Indra is very cunning. In Mahaabhaarat times, several Devtaa produced their sons. Among them Indra produced Arjun and Soorya produced Karn, both from Kuntee. Unfortunately Karn was born to Kuntee when she was unmarried, so Kuntee flowed him in Gangaa River. King Shaantanu's charioteer found him, took him to his home, and since he had no child he brought him up like his own son. Karn was born with Kavach (armor) and Kundal (earrings) on his body as the protector of his life. Till they were on his body nobody could defeat him even if Indra came to fight with him. First thing he secured his son asking a boon from Krishn when Krishn was a child (read the story "Indra and Krishn" above

Second, he secured his son Arjun by begging Kavach and Kundal of Karn from him. When it was decided that Mahaabhaarat war would have to happen, he got afraid of Karn, because till Karn had his Kavach and Kundal, nobody could defeat him, and for the victory of Paandav Karn's defeat was necessary. So he decided to beg for his Kavach and Kundal from him at the time when he used to donate everyday to whoever came to him. Learning about this Soorya Dev warned him about this, but Karn did not move from his vow. Then Soorya Dev asked him to ask for Indra's Power.

Here Indra did the same mean Karm which he did with Ahalyaa. Everybody knew that Karn was a great donor and a great worshipper of good Braahman. He worshipped Soorya Dev everyday around noon time. After this Poojaa he used to donate to whoever came to him and whatever he asked for. Nobody went empty handed from his door. Taking the advantage of the same, Indra disguised himself as a Braahman and came to him and begged. Karn had recognized him still he asked him - "Braahman Devtaa, What do you need?" Indra cunningly said - "I don't need your money or clothes, or gems or cows." Karn asked him - "Tell me what do you need, I will give it to you." Indra said - "I need your Kavach and Kundal." In spite of knowing what he was giving to whom, he gave his Kavach and Kundal to him. Indra felt embarrassed, so he showed his real form and asked him to ask for anything. Karn remembered Soorya Dev's words. He said - "It is against my habit that I should ask something from the person to whom I give, but I do not want to defame you, that is why I am asking you. Give me your Power." Indra gave him his Power and said - "I give you this Power, but you will be able to use it only once. I know why are you asking this Power from me, but remember this Power will not affect Arjun." Karn replied - "Does not matter. A Kshatriya's Dharm is to fight to his best, result is in the hands of God." And Indra got disappeared.

It seems,
--Indra also took birth on Prithvi - read Indraprasth Teerth and Shiv Sharmaa's Story in Padm Puraan 5/28;
----------------------------------  - read His Birth on Shaunak Jee - he was born as Shaunak Jee.
--He also went to Param Dhaam not to come back - read "Glory of Geetaa's Chapter 18 in Padm Puraan, 5/22".



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 06/15/13