Indra (इन्द्रः)

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Indra (Samskrit: इन्द्रः) is the adhipati (अधिपतिः । leader) of the Devatas and rules over Svargaloka, also called as Amaravati. He is the presiding deity of rain and thunderstorms. Indra is the most important deity, who along with Agni, is greatly worshiped in the Rigveda mantras. Innumerable anecdotes, legends and events are connected with Indra through different yugas (ages) in different puranas.

Indra is also described as a position, which may be achieved by one who performs one hundred ashvamedha yajnas.

परिचयः || Introduction

Indra, is the most celebrated deity and worshiped since ages in Sanatana Dharma. He is highly revered for his power as a slayer of rakshasas (demons) and asuras, and protector of rishis and dharma as seen in the Vedas.

In the Mahabharata and the Puranas, numerous anecdotes of Indra describe his strengths, rivalries, wars, vices, disguises, hasty actions and decisions, often seeking refuge in either Brahma, Vishnu or Mahadeva for overpowering his adversaries. Apart from all these qualities, he is revered for his power and protection of Dharma. Following are the different aspects associated with Indra across the various texts.[1]

  • यज्ञपालकः || Yajnapalaka : As the Protector of Yajnas, he plays a significant role. There are more than 250 Rk Suktas that glorify Indra by performance of Yajnas and offering of Soma rasa for him, he is the chief receiver to be pleased at any Yajna.
  • सुरपतिः || Surapati : As a protector, Indra rules over the earth and heavens, suras (devatas) including Maruts and other beings such as Gandharvas, Apsaras, Asuras and Rakshasas. He is the master of all these entities including nishadas.
  • स्वर्गाधिपतिः || Svargadhipati : He is engaged in a constant vigil to protect Svargaloka which is the home for all ratnas (gems or treasures) and nidhis (divine heavenly treasures) such as Kalpavriksha (wish-fulfilling tree studded with precious stones), Amrita (nectar), Kamadhenu (divine wish-fulfilling cow), Airavata (divine elephant), Ucchaishravas (उच्चैश्रवस् । divine horse), and Parijata vrksha (divine flowering tree with unfading flowers) among other things.
  • मरुतवान् || Marutavan : As the presiding devata for clouds and rain, he also controls thunder, lightning, and his discord is often seen as heavy downpour and thunderstorms. In Shrimad Bhagavata, Bhagavan Srikrishna protects the residents of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra who impounds them with incessant heavy rain for refusing to worship him. Similarly, in Mahabharata, in Khandava vana dahana (खाण्डववनदहनम्), Indra protects his friend, Takshaka from Agni, who wants to burn the forest.[1]
  • गोरक्षकः || Gorakshaka : He plays a chief role in the retrieval of the cows hidden by Panis in the mountains. Angirasa rishi, the "padajna" helps him locate the cows and then he fights Panis to bring them back.[2]

व्युत्पत्तिः || Etymology

Amarakosha defines the following about Indra in स्वर्गवर्गः (Prathama kanda Shlokas 41- 44)[3]

इन्द्रो मरुत्वान्मघवा बिडौजाः पाकशासनः । वृध्दश्रवाः सुनासीरः पुरुहूतः पुरंदरः ॥ (Amara 1. स्वर्ग. 41)

जिष्णुर्लेखर्षभः शक्रः शतमन्युर्दिवस्पतिः। सुत्रामा गोत्रभिद्वज्री वासवो वृत्रहा वृषा॥ (Amara 1. स्वर्ग. 42)

वास्तोष्पतिः सुरपतिर्बलारातिः शचीपतिः। जम्भभेदी हरिहयः स्वाराण्नमुचिसूदनः॥ (Amara 1. स्वर्ग. 43)

संक्रन्दनो दुश्च्यवनस्तुराषाण्मेघवाहनः। आखण्डलः सहस्राक्ष ऋभुक्षाः ------- ॥ (Amara 1. स्वर्ग. 44)

indro marutvānmaghavā biḍaujāḥ pākaśāsanaḥ । vṛdhdaśravāḥ sunāsīraḥ puruhūtaḥ puraṃdaraḥ ॥ (Amara 1. svarga. 41) 

jiṣṇurlekharṣabhaḥ śakraḥ śatamanyurdivaspatiḥ। sutrāmā gotrabhidvajrī vāsavo vṛtrahā vṛṣā॥ (Amara 1. svarga. 42)

vāstoṣpatiḥ surapatirbalārātiḥ śacīpatiḥ। jambhabhedī harihayaḥ svārāṇnamucisūdanaḥ॥ (Amara 1. svarga. 43)

saṃkrandano duścyavanasturāṣāṇmeghavāhanaḥ। ākhaṇḍalaḥ sahasrākṣa ṛbhukṣāḥ ------- ॥ (Amara 1. svarga. 44)

Like many other deities, Indra is also called by many names - Marutvan (मरुत्वान्), Maghavan (मघवान्), Pakashasana (पाकशासनः), Vrddhashravaha (वृद्धश्रवाः), Sunaseera (सुनासीरः), Purohuta (पुरोहूतः), Purandara (पुरन्दरः), Shakra (शक्रः), Shatamanyu (शतमन्युः), Sutrama (सुत्रामा), Vrtraha (वृत्रहा), Meghavahana (मेघवाहन), Vajri (वज्री), Gotrabhit (गोत्रभित्), Namuchisudana (नमुचिसूदनः), Surapati (सुरपतिः), Sachipati (शचिपतिः) and others.

According to Shabdakalpadruma, Indra is derived from the dhatu (root) "इन्द" meaning "परमैश्वर्य " parama aishwarya (wealthy).

Nirukta : Maharshi Yaska in his Nirukta (10.8)[4][5] explains the meaning of Indra as follows

1. इरां दृणातीति वा ॥ irāṁ dr̥ṇātīti vā ॥

2. इरां ददातीति वा ॥ irāṁ dadātīti vā ॥

3. इरां दधातीति वा ॥ irāṁ dadhātīti vā ॥

4. इरां दारयतीति वा ॥ irāṁ dārayatīti vā ॥

5. इरां धारयतीति वा ॥ irāṁ dhārayatīti vā ॥

6. इन्दवे द्रवतीति वा ॥ indave dravatīti vā ॥

7. इन्दौ रमत इति वा ॥ indau ramata iti vā ॥

8. इन्धे भूतानीति वा ॥ indhe bhūtānīti vā ॥

9. तद्यदेनं प्राणैः समैन्धंस्तदिन्द्रस्येन्द्रत्वम् ॥ tadyadenaṁ prāṇaiḥ samaindhaṁstadindrasyendratvam ॥

10. इदं करणादित्याग्रयणः ॥ idaṁ karaṇādityāgrayaṇaḥ ॥

11. इदं दर्शनादित्यौपमन्यवः ॥ idaṁ darśanādityaupamanyavaḥ ॥

12. इन्दतेर्वौश्वर्यकर्मणः ॥ indatervauśvaryakarmaṇaḥ ॥

13. इन्दञ्छत्रूणां दारयिता वा द्रावयिता वा अादरयिता च यज्वनाम् ॥ indañchatrūṇāṁ dārayitā vā drāvayitā vā aādarayitā ca yajvanām ॥

According to Shabdakalpadhruma, इरा has different meanings; two of the relevant ones here, are Prithvi or Bhumi (earth) and Jala (water).  

Meaning of Indra is thus, as per Shabdakalpadhruma,

  • one who is closely related to water (दारयति ज्ञातिबन्धूनिति | dārayati jñātibandhūniti | Indra is related to clouds which give water)
  • one who bears water (rain bearing clouds)
  • one who gives water (ददाति) (clouds give rains)
  • one who holds water (clouds hold water)
  • one who pierces the clouds and supplies water for the growth of plants
  • In another sense, one who makes prithvi (earth) pierce and makes crops grow thus, providing grains.[2]

Megha (clouds), Indu (Moon) and Maruts (winds) are all interrelated and are the fundamental cause for nourishment of all tree and plant species including medicinal plants. Thus, Indra is the power which can cut through the clouds and provide rain for the sake of loka kalyana, for loka sangraha. 

Dha (धा) root word means 'to bear' (धारणे) and 'to supply or nourish' (पुष्टौ). Because Indra showers rain water, and nourishes (धारयति) the plants and thus, he provides food or fuel for living beings (इन्धे भूतानीति वा). Indra also one rejoices or shines in presence of Chandra (moon) as meant in इन्दौ रमत.  

इन्द्रियम् इन्द्रलिंगम् इन्द्रदृष्टमिन्द्रऋष्टमिन्द्रौष्टमिन्द्रात्तं इति वा । ५.२.९३ (Ashtadhyayi 5.2.93)[6]

indriyam indraliṃgam indradṛṣṭamindraṛṣṭamindrauṣṭamindrāttaṃ iti vā । 5.2.93 (Ashtadhyayi 5.2.93)

According to Panini, the name Indriya (sense organs) is fulfilled as they are empowered through the power of the Atma form of Indra.[7]

For seeds to grow in the form of plants, the earth has to be very favorable, when bhudevi becomes coarse and hard, agriculture is not possible. A farmer tills the land with the plough piercing the land. Indra establishes the dharma “iram utpadayatum karshaka mukhe kena bhumi vidarayati iti indrayaha”.[2]

Role of Indra

In the Vedas, Indra has a very significant position as a Protector of Yajnas (यज्ञ-s) and the chief recipient of havis (हविस् । Yajna offerings). He is also the most feared destroyer of Panis, Dasyus and Asuras like Vrtra, who obstructed the performance of Yajnas. He is also the chief deity in Soma yaga, and is the chief beneficiary of Soma rasa. There are more than 250 Rigveda suktas that glorify Indra.

शक्रः || Shakra

Indra is called as Shakra meaning, शक्नोति दैत्यान् नाशयितुम् । śaknoti daityān nāśayitum । (Shabdakalpadhruma) ie. one who is capable of destroying the Daityas or Rakshasas.

इन्द्रो यातूनामभवत्पराशरो हविर्मथीनामभ्या विवासताम् | अभीदु शक्रः परशुर्यथा वनं पात्रेव भिन्दन्त्सत एति रक्षसः || (Rig Veda 7.104.21)[8]

indrō yātūnāmabhavatparāśarō havirmathīnāmabhyā vivāsatām | abhīdu śakraḥ paraśuryathā vanaṁ pātrēva bhindantsata ēti rakṣasaḥ || (Rig Veda 7.104.21)

Meaning : Indra is the destroyer, like the Parashara, of those Rakshasas that harm (हविर्मथिः) the one who offer havishya (by performing Yajnas), just like the परशु (axe) that destroys the forest is capable of smashing the earthen vessels. Rigveda describes the strength and valor of Indra and the faith of Devatas in his might, in the following mantra

नहि नु यादधीमसीन्द्रं को वीर्या परः | तस्मिन्नृम्णमुत क्रतुं देवा ओजांसि सं दधुरर्चन्ननु स्वराज्यम् || (Rig. Veda. 1.80.15)[9]

nahi nu yādadhīmasīndraṁ ko vīryā paraḥ | tasminnr̥mṇamuta kratuṁ devā ojāṁsi saṁ dadhurarcannanu svarājyam || (Rig. Veda. 1.80.15)

Meaning : For the Devas know no other person in their knowledge, who have surpassed Indra, in strength. In him, the deities have placed their courage, wisdom, valor and prowess.  

सोमपा || Somapa

Indra is also called Somapa (One who delights in drinking soma rasa). Soma is considered, as a tender plant from which the juice is extracted, by many scholars. However, many different versions about Soma exist in a broader sense. All plants, medicinal herbs and food are called Soma, and the energy obtained by the digestion of this food is called Soma as in Shatapatha Brahmana (अन्नं वै सोमः | annaṃ vai somaḥ |)[7]

मरुत्वान् || Marutvan

Indra is called as Marutvan, meaning, मरुतो देवाः पालनीयत्वेन | maruto devāḥ pālanīyatvena | (Shabdakalpadhruma) because he rules the Marut devatas. Maruts are 49 in number and they are the children of Diti, the mother of Daityas. At the loss of her children in the war between devatas and asuras, Diti prays to her husband Kashyapa to grant her a son who can slay Indra, the son of Aditi.

अकृत्वा पादयो: शौचं दिति: शयनमाविशत् | निद्रां चाहारयामास तस्या: कुक्षिं प्रविश्य स: ||३७ (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 37)

वज्रपाणिर्महागर्भं चिच्छेदाथ स सप्तधा | सम्पीड्यमानो वज्रेण स रुरोदातिदारुणम् ||३८ (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 38)

मा रोदीरिति तं शक्र: पुन:पुनरभाषत | सोऽभवत्सप्तधा गर्भस्तमिंद्र: कुपित: पुन: || ३९ (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 39)

मरुतो नाम देवास्ते बभूवुरतिवेगिनः । यदुक्तं वै मघवता तेनैव मरुतोऽभवन् । देवा एकोनपञ्चासत् सहाया वज्रपाणिनः ।। ४० ।। (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 40)

akṛtvā pādayo: śaucaṃ diti: śayanamāviśat | nidrāṃ cāhārayāmāsa tasyā: kukṣiṃ praviśya sa: ||37 (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 37)

vajrapāṇirmahāgarbhaṃ cicchedātha sa saptadhā | sampīḍyamāno vajreṇa sa rurodātidāruṇam ||38 (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 38)

mā rodīriti taṃ śakra: puna:punarabhāṣata | so'bhavatsaptadhā garbhastamiṃdra: kupita: puna: || 39 (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 39)

maruto nāma devāste babhūvurativeginaḥ । yaduktaṃ vai maghavatā tenaiva maruto'bhavan । devā ekonapañcāsat sahāyā vajrapāṇinaḥ ।। 40 ।। (Vish. Pura. Chap 21. 40)

This famous legend given in Vishnupurana (Part 1, Chap 21, Slokas 30 to 41[10]) recounts how Indra, goes to serve Diti, when she was pregnant with a son who is capable of killing him. Her hundred years of penance gets disturbed when she falls asleep without washing her feet. Taking this impious opportunity, Indra enters her womb and cuts the embryo within into seven pieces, with his Vajrayudha (वज्रायुधः). As the child began to cry, Indra asked it not to cry by saying "Maa Ruda" (मा रुद). So repeatedly saying he cuts each of them onto seven pieces, thus generating 49 pieces. Upon Diti's request of making them subservient to him, Indra refrains from destroying them. Thus, they are 49 Marutganas, who became the assistants of Indra in the form of "vayuskanda" (वायुस्कन्धः) of Indra. This legend is also referred in Valmiki Ramayana (Balakanda, Sarga 66)[11] Bhagavata Puraṇa (Skanda 6, Adhyaya 18 and 19),[12] Matsya Puraṇa (Adhyaya 6.47[13]).

Brahmanda Puraṇa (Uttarabhaga, Adhyaya 2, Shlokas 27, 28)[14] and Matsya Purana (Adhyaya 163.33[15]) gives the information about the location of Maruts in Antarikshaloka (अन्तरीक्षलोकः).

लोकपालकः || Lokapalaka

Rigveda mantra 2.12.2[16] explains that Indra rules over the worlds, including Antariksha and Vyoma (व्योम) and without Indra there is no stability for any planet.  

यः पृथवीं व्यथमानाम दृंहद् यः पर्वतान प्रकुपिताँ अरम्णात् | यो अन्तरिक्षं विममे वरीयो यो दयामस्तभ्नात् स जनास इन्द्रः || (Rigveda. 2.12.2)

yaḥ parthivīṁ vyathamānāma dr̥ṁhad yaḥ parvatān prakupitām̐ aramṇāt | yō antarikṣaṁ vimamē varīyō yō dayāmastabhnāt sa janāsa indraḥ || (Rigveda. 2.12.2)

Summary : He who gave relief to the earth from distress, one who laid at rest the mountains (from flying), who supported the heavens, know that he is Indra.

रक्षकः || Rakshaka

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita states “paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṃ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām” (परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्), about protecting the sadhus and destroying the demons. Similarly, Indra is glorified in many mantras of Rigveda, for his might and strength to protect all from Dasyus, Asuras and Rakshasas[2]. Indra fights many asuras namely, Vrtra, Namuchi, Shushna, Sambhara, Thuni, Chumuri, Varchi.[1]

स वज्रभृद् दस्युहा भीम उग्रः सहस्रचेताः शतनीथ ऋभ्वा | चम्रीषो न शवसा पाञ्चजन्यो मरुत्वान् नो भवत्विन्द्र ऊती || (Rig. Veda. 1.100.12)

sa vajrabhr̥d dasyuhā bhīma ugraḥ sahasracētāḥ śatanītha r̥bhvā | camrīṣō na śavasā pāñcajanyō marutvān nō bhavatvindra ūtī || (Rig. Veda. 1.100.12)

Summary: Mighty, fierce, destroyer of Dasyus (asuras) using his Vajra, boundless with knowledge and prayed for by many, May Indra protect us.

यो हत्वाहिमरिणात सप्त सिन्धून् यो गा उदाजदपधा वलस्य | यो अश्मनोरन्तरग्निं जजान संवृक् समत्सु स जनास इन्द्रः || (Rig. Veda. 2.12.3)

yō hatvāhimariṇāta sapta sindhūna yō gā udājadapadhā valasya | yō aśmanōrantaragniṁ jajāna saṁvr̥k samatsu sa janāsa indraḥ || (Rig. Veda. 2.12.3)

Summary : He who killed the himarina (हिमरिणा) to free the sapta sindhu (seven rivers) and brought out the cows from the caves of Vala (वलः). He who brought forth Agni from two stones, know that he is Indra.

गोत्रभित् || Gotrabhit

According to Shabdakalpadruma, गोत्रभित् - गोत्रं पर्व्वतं भिनत्तीति । gotraṃ parvvataṃ bhinattīti ।[17] means "one who destroys his own brothers (born in the same lineage) or mountains". In this context, two legends related to Indra are applicable as a "mountain-breaker" and in the birth of Marutganas.

  • Indra is glorified for protecting the cows from the Panis with the help of Angirasa and Sarama (सरमा). Rigveda mantra 2.12.3 describes that Indra brought the cows out by breaking through the mountains of Vala.

    इन्द्रस्याङगिरसां चेष्टौ विदत् सरमा तनयाय धासिम् | बृहस्पतिर्भिनदद्रिं विदद् गाः समुस्रियाभिर्वावशन्त नरः || (Rig Veda 1.62.3)[18]

    indrasyāṅagirasāṁ cēṣṭau vidat saramā tanayāya dhāsim | br̥haspatirbhinadadriṁ vidad gāḥ samusriyābhirvāvaśanta naraḥ || (Rig Veda 1.62.3)

    Meaning: Indra and Angirasa rishi provided for the offspring of Sarama as desired and Brihaspati broke open the mountain and Sarama found the cows, bringing delight to people.

The story of Gograhana or the stealing of cows by Panis is given in the Rigveda mantras of Mandala 10 (10.108.1 to 22).

  • The legend of Marutganas is symbolic of how Indra controls the rain causing winds by using his Vajrayudha. The story about the origin of Marutganas (Maruts are Vayu devatas of Cosmic Air divisions) has been given in Vayu Purana  (Vayu. Pura. Utta. 6.111), Vamana Purana and Ramayana (Bala. Kand. 47.1 to 7) among other texts.

एवं पुरा स्वानपि सोदरान् स गर्भस्थितानुज्जरितुं भयार्तः। बिभेद वज्रेण ततः स गोत्रभित् ख्यातो...(Vama. Pura. 71.42)[19]

evaṃ purā svānapi sodarān sa garbhasthitānujjarituṃ bhayārtaḥ। bibheda vajreṇa tataḥ sa gotrabhit khyāto...(Vama. Pura. 71.42)

Meaning : Once he (Indra) fearing his brothers, he resorted to killing them, by cutting them with his Vajra and thus, got the name of Gotrabhit.

इन्द्रदेवतास्वरुपम् || Indra Devata Svaroopa

Birth and Family

Indra descended from Mahavishnu in the following order according to Puranic Encyclopedia[1] : Vishnu - Brahma - Marichi - Kashyapa - Indra.

  • Indra is the son of Kashyapa rishi ( son of Marichi, the eldest of Brahma's manasa putras | मानसपुत्र-s) and Aditi, the eldest daughter of Daksha. Aditi had 12 sons (Dvadasa Adityas | द्वादश-आदित्य-s) and another 21 sons, the eldest of whom is Indra. Thus, devatas who originated from Aditi are 33 in number.
  • Indra wields a lightning thunderbolt known as Vajrayudha. He rides on a white elephant known as Airavata. His horse's name is Ucchaishravas (उच्चैश्रवस्).
  • Shachi (शचिः) also known as Indrani (इन्द्राणी) and Pulomaja (पुलोमजा) is the consort of Indra. Jayanta (जयन्तः) is the son and Devasena (देवसेना) is the daughter of Indra. Devasena is the wife of Subrahmanya, son of Maheshwara.

देवताधिपत्यम् || Devadhipatya

In the Puranas, the significance of Indra is limited to as the protector of Devaloka, whose activities are restricted to safeguarding his position as Indra.

ऋग्वेदः ॥ Rigveda

The following Rigveda mantras (2.12.1 to 15) proclaim and extol the greatness of Indra as the chief of devatas, the protector of earth and cows, as one who cut the wings of the mountains, as the slayer of Vala and Vrtrasura.

यो जात एव प्रथमो मनस्वान् देवो देवान् क्रतुना पर्यभूषत् | यस्य शुष्माद् रोदसी अभ्यसेतां नृम्णस्य मह्ना स जनास इन्द्रः || (Rig. Veda. 2.12.1)[16]

yō jāta ēva prathamō manasvān dēvō dēvān kratunā paryabhūṣat | yasya śuṣmād rōdasī abhyasētāṁ nr̥mṇasya mahnā sa janāsa indraḥ || (Rig. Veda. 2.12.1)

Summary : As soon as he was born, who was decorated as the Chief of Devas, know that he is Indra.

According to Pt. Bhagavatdatt, Indriyas or sense organs of the body are the representatives of devatas. They gain their strength from Indra and hence are called Indriyas. Indra is Atma who rules over the devatas, and they reside uninterruptedly in the body.[7]

ऐतरेयब्राह्मणम् ॥ Aitareya Brahmana

देवा ऊचुरिन्द्रो वै देवानामोजिष्ठो बलिष्ठः सहिष्ठः सत्तमः पारयिष्णुतमस्तं | (Aitr. Brah. 7.16) [20]

devā ūcurindro vai devānāmojiṣṭho baliṣṭhaḥ sahiṣṭhaḥ sattamaḥ pārayiṣṇutamastaṃ | (Aitr. Brah. 7.16)

Meaning : Among all devatas, Indra is energetic, strong and courageous, he is the one who leads one a long way.[7]

तैत्तिरीयब्राह्मणम् ॥ Taitiriya Brahmana

The legend of Indra's crowning as the Devadhipati (देवाधिपतिः) is explained in Taittiriya Brahmana as given below[21].

प्रजापतिरिन्द्र मसृजतानुजावरं देवानाम् । तं प्राहिणोत् । परेहि । एतेषां देवानामधिपतिरेधीति । तं देवा अब्रुवन् । कस्त्वमसि । वयं वै त्वच्छ्रेयाँ सः स्म इति । सोऽब्रवीत् । कस्त्वमसि वयं वै त्वच्छ्रेयाँ सः स्म इति मा देवा अवोचन्निति । (Tait. Brah.

को ह वै नाम प्रजापतिः । य एवं वेद (Tait. Brah.

विदुरेनं नाम्ना । तदस्मै रुक्मं कृत्वा प्रत्यमुञ्चत् । ततो वा इन्द्रो देवानामधिपतिरभवत् । य एवं वेद । (Tait. Brah. [22][21]

prajāpatirindra masr̥jatānujāvaraṁ dēvānām । taṁ prāhiṇōt । parēhi । ētēṣāṁ dēvānāmadhipatirēdhīti । taṁ dēvā abruvan । kastvamasi । vayaṁ vai tvacchrēyām̐ saḥ sma iti । sō'bravīt । kastvamasi vayaṁ vai tvacchrēyām̐ saḥ sma iti mā dēvā avōcanniti । (Tait. Brah.

kō ha vai nāma prajāpatiḥ । ya ēvaṁ vēda (Tait. Brah.

vidurēnaṁ nāmnā । tadasmai rukmaṁ kr̥tvā pratyamuñcat । tatō vā indrō dēvānāmadhipatirabhavat । ya ēvaṁ vēda । (Tait. Brah.

Summary : Prajapati created Indra as the youngest of the devatas. He then instructs Indra to go to Svargaloka and rule over the devatas whom he created. Indra on reaching Svargaloka informs the devatas that he would be incharge of their welfare. Hearing thus, the devatas refuse to accept him. Indra returns to Prajapati and asks him for the Tejas by which he would control the devatas. Prajapati asks him " what will I become if I give you my tejas". Later, Prajapati creates a crown out of his tejas to decorate it on the forehead of Indra, proclaiming him as the leader of devatas.

वृत्रहा || Vrtraha

Rigveda glorifies Indra for the slaying of one mighty asura namely Vrtrasura, and hence, Indra is called Vrtraha.  

वृत्रासुरजननम् || Vrtrasura Janana

There are two versions about the birth of Vrtrasura as given in Puranic Encyclopedia (Page 883).[1]

  • According to Padma Purana (Bhumi Kanda, Chap 23), Hiranyakashipu, the son of Kashyapa Prajapati and his wife Danu, is killed by Mahavishnu for his wrong asuric deeds. Kashyapa grants her another powerful son Vala or Bala, whom Indra kills with his Vajrayudha for stealing the cows. Angered Kashyapa, plucked a hair and made a burnt offering of it, saying that a son would be born who will be the destroyer of Indra.  
  • According to Devi Bhagavata (Skanda 6) Tvastra (त्वष्ट्रा) angered by Indra's killing of his son Vishvaroopa (विश्वरूपः) (also called Trishiras), initiates an Abhicharika yaga (आभिचारिकः यागः | a yaga performed to cause harm to an intended person) to procure a son to kill Indra.  

The ritvijs (ऋत्विज्-s) were to utter the mantra "इन्द्रशत्रुर्वर्धस्व" (indraśatrurvardhasva) with Anta Udatta or Udatta swara (अन्त-उदात्तः) in the end of the mantra (to mean Prosper Oh ! Enemy of Indra). Instead, they used the Adya Udatta swara (आद्य उदात्तः) in the beginning of the mantra (meaning Oh! Indra, one who has enemies, Prosper). The meaning of the mantra changed with the improper utterance of the svara. So, instead of asking for the rise and prosperity of a son to take revenge on Indra, the ritvijas asked for the prosperity and glory of Indra who destroyed Asuras. Thus, Vrtrasura, the son of Tvastra was born, an enemy of Indra, but eventually Indra was rewarded with glory of killing Vrtrasura.[2]

वृत्रासुरवधः || Vrtrasura Vadha

The Rigveda sukta 1.80.1-16 describes the war of Indra against Vrtrasura. Indra's power and strength in wielding the Vajrayudha is beautifully described in these mantras.   

Under the leadership of Vrtrasura, his followers, the Kalakeyas (कालकेय-s) and other rakshasas besieged the Devatas. The battle raged for a long time between Indra and Vrtrasura but Vrtra was invincible. Devatas along with Indra approach Mahavishnu for a solution to kill Vrtrasura. Mahavishnu informs them that Vrtra can be killed only with the bone of Dadhichi rishi. Thereby, from the bones of Dadhichi rishi, Indra prepares his weapon called "Vajra", and with a fatal stroke of Vajra, Vrtra falls dead. Hence, Indra gets the name Vrtraha (वृत्रहा). (Mahabharata. Vana Parva. Chap 101 [23]. Shanti Parva. Chap 281. Verses 13 -21)   

By killing Vrtrasura, Indra incurred the papa (पापम्) of Brahmahatya (ब्रह्महत्या). He goes to the Manasa sarovara to expiate for the papa. It was at that time that King Nahusha, takes the place of Indra. Cursed by Agastya rishi, Nahusha becomes a serpent and goes back to earth, then the Devatas reinstate Indra as Loka palaka. (Mahabharata Udyoga parva Chap. 18). According to Valmiki Ramayana (Balakanda 24 Sarga), Devatas take Indra to Sharayu river for a holy bath to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya.[1]

Indra and Mountains

ऋग्वेदः ॥ Rigveda

Rigveda talks about Indra as one who protects the earth from the distress of flying mountains by chopping off their wings.[1]

यः पर्थिवीं व्यथमानाम दृंहद् यः पर्वतान् प्रकुपिताँ अरम्णात् | यो अन्तरिक्षं विममे वरीयो यो दयामस्तभ्नात् स जनास इन्द्रः || (Rig. Veda. 2.12.2)[16]

yaḥ parthivīṁ vyathamānāma dr̥ṁhad yaḥ parvatān prakupitām̐ aramṇāt | yō antarikṣaṁ vimamē varīyō yō dayāmastabhnāt sa janāsa indraḥ || (Rig. Veda. 2.12.2)

Summary : He who gave relief to the earth from distress, one who laid at rest the mountains (from flying), who supported the heavens, know that he is Indra.

रामायणम् ॥ Ramayana

Valmiki Ramayana, Sundarakanda, lends support to the story of Indra cutting off the wings of mountains with his Vajrayudha. Mainaka (मैनाकः), is the mountain that stands at the entrance of Patalaloka (पातालस्याप्रमेयस्य द्वारमावृत्य तिष्ठसि | pātālasyāprameyasya dvāramāvṛtya tiṣṭhasi | Valm. Rama. 5.1.93[24]) guarding against the entrance and rise of the asuras. Upon being urged by Samudra, Mainaka raises himself to offer supporting place to Hanuman, who started his journey across the ocean to reach Lanka. In this context, Mainaka describes, the story of presence of winged mountains in Kritayuga.

पूर्वं कृतयुगे तात पर्वताः पक्षिणोऽभवन् | ते हि जग्मुर्दिशः सर्वा गरुडानिलवेगिनः || (Valm. Rama. 5.1.123)

pūrvaṃ kṛtayuge tāta parvatāḥ pakṣiṇo'bhavan | te hi jagmurdiśaḥ sarvā garuḍānilaveginaḥ || (Valm. Rama. 5.1.123)

Meaning : In the past, in Kritayuga, mountains, having wings, used to fly at great speeds, all over, like Garuda and Vayu.

ततस्तेषु प्रयातेषु देवसंघः सहर्षिभिः | भूतानि च भयं जग्मुस्तेषां पतनशङ्कया || (Valm. Rama. 5.1.124)

tatasteṣu prayāteṣu devasaṃghaḥ saharṣibhiḥ | bhūtāni ca bhayaṃ jagmusteṣāṃ patanaśaṅkayā || (Valm. Rama. 5.1.124)

Meaning : When they were so freely flying in all directions, the devas, and other living beings along with Rishis, doubted and feared that these mountains would fall on them.

ततः क्रुद्धः सहस्राक्षः पर्वतानां शतक्रतुः | पक्षान् चिच्छेद वज्रेण तत्र तत्र सहस्रशः || (Valm. Rama. 5.1.125)

tataḥ kruddhaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ parvatānāṃ śatakratuḥ | pakṣān ciccheda vajreṇa tatra tatra sahasraśaḥ || (Valm. Rama. 5.1.125)

Meaning : Angered by that, the thousand-eyed Indra chopped off wings of hundreds of mountains, then and there, using his Vajrayudha.

Agastya Rishi and Indra

Once, Agastya rishi offered the havishya or oblation to Marut which was meant for Indra.[2]  When Indra came to know, he became distressed, as given in the following mantras of Rigveda  

न नूनमस्ति नो श्वः कस्तद् वेद यदद्भुतम् | अन्यस्य चित्तमभि संचरेण्यमुताधीतं वि नश्यति || (Rig Veda 1.170.1)

na nūnamasti nō śvaḥ kastad vēda yadadbhutam | anyasya cittamabhi saṁcarēṇyamutādhītaṁ vi naśyati || (Rig Veda 1.170.1)

Summary : Indra says “Oh Agastya no one understands what happens in the present or future. Man’s mind is wavering. How can he understand wisdom with such mind? But you, who are man of wisdom and full of Vedic knowledge, if your intelligence gets disturbed what to speak of others?” 

किं न इन्द्र जिघांससि भ्रातरो मरुतस्तव | तेभिः कल्पस्व साधुया मा नः समरणे वधीः || (Rig Veda 1.170.2)

kiṁ na indra jighāṁsasi bhrātarō marutastava | tēbhiḥ kalpasva sādhuyā mā naḥ samaraṇē vadhīḥ || (Rig Veda 1.170.2)

Summary : Agastya rishi requests, “hey Indra, are you not the brother of Maruts, if I offer to Maruts, does it not go to you? If we do not offer then it’s your responsibility to give all that bhoga. It’s your responsibility. Therefore, we are not at fault, you please share the oblation with maruts, justly. Do not harm us just like you have power to harm demons.” 

किं नो भ्रातरगस्त्य सखा सन्नति मन्यसे | विद्मा हि ते यथा मनोऽस्मभ्यमिन्न दित्ससि || (Rig Veda 1.170.3)

kiṁ nō bhrātaragastya sakhā sannati manyasē | vidmā hi tē yathā manō'smabhyaminna ditsasi || (Rig Veda 1.170.3)

Indra answers: “Oh my dear brother Agastya, you are my friend for long time. Why are you neglecting us? Your nature of mind is known. You do not have the desire to give oblation to us”  

अरं कर्ण्वन्तु वेदिं समग्निमिन्धतां पुरः | तत्रामृतस्य चेतनं यज्ञं ते तनवावहै || (Rig Veda 1.170.4)

araṁ karṇvantu vēdiṁ samagnimindhatāṁ puraḥ | tatrāmr̥tasya cētanaṁ yajñaṁ tē tanavāvahai || (Rig Veda 1.170.4)

Agastya recognizes Indra’s piercing and touching answer, and the altar to offer Yajna to Indra is prepared with samidha (समिधः) a special kind of wood. The blazing fire of Yajna indicates the nectar or in one sense which rekindles the knowledge. 

तवमीशिषे वसुपते वसूनां तवं मित्राणां मित्रपते धेष्ठः | इन्द्र त्वं मरुद्भिः सं वदस्वाध प्राशान ऋतुथा हवींषि || (Rig Veda 1.170.5)

tavamīśiṣē vasupatē vasūnāṁ tavaṁ mitrāṇāṁ mitrapatē dhēṣṭhaḥ | indra tvaṁ marudbhiḥ saṁ vadasvādha prāśāna r̥tuthā havīṁṣi || (Rig Veda 1.170.5)

Summary : “Oh Indra! You are the master of wealth and treasures, you are the master of the Mitra and supporter of Mitra. Oh! Indra, please be kind to the Marut devatas and accept the havishya of those yajnas that are performed in different seasons and be satisfied." 

Indra in Ramayana

Although the legend of Ahalya and Indra happened in a different yuga, this anecdote is recounted by Vishvamitra rishi to Shri Ramachandra and Lakshmana, in the Balakanda, on his way to Mithila.

अहल्या || Ahalya

There are different versions of how Ahalya, the wife of Gautama (गौतमः) rishi, was cursed to become a "stone" in different puranas. However, according to Valmiki Ramayana, Indra tricked Ahalya, when Gautama rishi went out for bath by taking his form. Gautama punished Indra with a curse of losing his manliness and Ahalya too was cursed of being invisible to the eyes of everyone, to take the form of a stone. He declared that her original form would return when Shri Ramachandra touched the stone. Indra's testicles were replaced with testicles of goat. (Val. Rama. Bala kanda)[11]

हनुमान् || Hanuman

Vayuputra, commanly called as Hanuman, in his younger days sprang up to Surya, mistaking it for a fruit to eat. Ascending towards the Devaloka, he sees Airavata, the vahana (वाहनम्) of Indra and goes towards it to swallow it. Seeing the tussle between Maruti (मारुतिः) and Airavata, feeling threatened, Indra uses his weapon Vajrayudha to cut the " hanu" (हनुः । jaw bones) of Maruti and he falls dead on earth. Vayu, grieving the loss of his son, takes him to Patalaloka, where Brahma and other devatas console him and revive Maruti. As the "hanu" was cut by Indra's vajra, Maruti gets the name of "Hanuman". Indra also blesses him to be a chiranjeevi and would die only when he wished so. (Valm Rama, Kish Kand, 66th Sarga)[25].

इन्द्रजित् || Indrajit

The asura Ravana conquered the world with Brahma's blessing. His son Meghanada, defeated Indra in a fierce battle and took him to Lanka as a prisoner. Upon Brahma's intervention, he was released. Thus, Meghanada got the title of Indrajit, one who gained victory over Indra (Uttara Ramayana).

Indra in Mahabharata

Many anecdotes are described in Mahabharata about Indra involved in various events in this great epic. Mahabharata is the treasure of references of events that happened in the eons prior to Mahabharata.

गोवर्धनः || Govardhana

Shrimad Bhagavata illustrates the subjugation of Indra's pride as in the story of Govardhana hill where Bhagavan Shri Krishna carried the hill and protected his devotees when Indra, angered by gopalas not worshiping him, launched torrential rains over the village.

अर्जुनः || Arjuna

Kunti, Pandu's wife had received a mantra from Durvasa rishi for begetting sons through devatas. Invoking Indra, Kunti begets a son named Arjuna. (Maha. Adi parv. Chap. 123).

कर्णः || Karna

On a day towards the end of his training, Karna (in the guise of a brahmana) offers Parashurama his lap to rest his head and nap. But while Parashurama was asleep, Indra in the form of a bee stung Karna's thigh and despite the pain, Karna did not move, so as not to disturb his guru's sleep.

Indra afraid of the fighting skills of Karna took the form of a bee and stung Karna's thigh in order to benefit his son Arjuna. With blood oozing from his wound, it was revealed to Parashurama that Karna was not a brahmana, and so cursed Karna that he would forget all the mantras required to wield the divine weapon Brahmastra, at the moment of his greatest need. Later this incident saved the life of Indra's son Arjuna from certain death.

Indra, king of the gods, asks in charity Karna’s natural armor 'Kavacha and Kundala'. Karna donates this leaving himself vulnerable.[1] (Maha. Aranya parva. Chap 44, verse 9).

खाण्डववनदहनम् || Khandava Vana Dahana

In Mahabharata (Adi Parva. Khandava daha parva Chap. 221 to 226), there is a legend about Agni who suffered from stomach ailments (due to the Yajnas of Shvetaki King) was advised to consume the Khandava forest which contains the medicinal herbs that can treat his condition. In the process, Indra protects Takshaka who resides in the same forest, thus, preventing Agni from consuming the medicinal plants.

In this parva, Krishna and Arjuna, are requested by Agni (in the guise of a Brahmana) to quench his hunger. Realizing his true form, they agree to prevent his obstacles (Indra from sending heavy rain) in consuming the forest. Thus, ensues a battle between Arjuna and Indra (father of Arjuna).[1]

Indra as a Position

Devi Bhagavata 3rd, 5th and 9th Skandas describe the time period or kalamana (कालमानः) of celestial beings such as Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. As given in Puranic Encyclopedia (Page 326, 372) there are 14 Manvantara (मन्वन्तराणि) during the life of Brahma, and each Manvantara will have its own Manu, Indra and Devatas. Thus, 14 Manvantaras make a Kalpa (कल्पः) which corresponds to a day in the life of Brahma. Since in every Manvantara one Indra changes, 14 manvantaras will have 14 different Indras.

Like other Puranas, Vishnupurana also describes that one thousand chaturyugas (चतुर्युग-s) form one day of Brahma and it has 14 Manus.

The following is the list of Manus and Indras of one Kalpa given in Vishnupurana (3.1)[26]

स्वायंभुवो मनुः पूर्वं परः स्वारोचिषस्तथा । उत्तमस्तामसश्चैव रैवतश्चाक्षुषस्तथा ॥ ३,१.६ ॥ (Vish. Pura. 3.1.6)

svāyaṁbhuvō manuḥ pūrvaṁ paraḥ svārōciṣastathā । uttamastāmasaścaiva raivataścākṣuṣastathā ॥ 3,1.6 ॥ (Vish. Pura. 3.1.6)

षडेते मनवोतीताः सांप्रतं तु रवेः सुतः । वैवस्वतेयं यस्त्वेतत्मप्तमं वर्ततेन्तरम् ॥ ३,१.७ ॥ (Vish. Pura. 3.1.7)

ṣaḍētē manavōtītāḥ sāṁprataṁ tu ravēḥ sutaḥ । vaivasvatēyaṁ yastvētatmaptamaṁ vartatēntaram ॥ 3,1.7 ॥ (Vish. Pura. 3.1.7)

No Manvantara/Manu Indra
1 Svayambhuva (स्वायंभुवः) Yajna (Avatar of Vishnu) (यज्ञःस्वायंभुवेन्तरे।... 3.1.36)
2 Svarochisha (स्वारोचिषः) Vipaschit (विपश्चित्तत्र देवेन्द्रो... 3.1.10)
3 Uttama (उत्तमः) Sushanti (सुशान्तिर्नाम देवेन्द्रो... 3.1.13)
4 Tamasa (तामसः) Shibi or Shatakratu (शिविरिन्द्रस्तथा... 3.1.17)
5 Raivata (रैवतः) Vibhu (र्विभुश्च तत्रेन्द्रो... 3.1.20)
6 Chakshusha (चाक्षुषः) Manojava (मनोजवस्तथैवेन्द्रो... 3.1.26)
7 Vaivasvata (वैवस्वतः) Purandara (the present Indra) (पुरन्दराय त्रैलोक्यं... 3.1.43)
8 Savarni (सावर्णिः) Bali (बलिरिन्द्रो भविष्यति... 3.2.18)
9 Daksha Savarni (दक्षसावर्णिः) Adbhuta (भविष्यति अद्भुतो... 3.2.22)
10 Brahma Savarni (ब्रह्मसावर्णिः) Shanti (शान्तिर्नाम... 3.2.26)
11 Dharma Savarni (धर्मसावर्णिः) Vrsha (श्चेन्द्रश्च वै वृषः ...3.2.30)
12 Rudra Savarni (रुद्रसावर्णिः) Rtudhama (ऋतधामा च तत्रेन्द्रो...3.2.32)
13 Rauchya Savarni (रौच्य) Divaspati (दिवस्पतिर्महावीर्यस्तेषामिन्द्रो... 3.2.39)
14 Bhautya (भौत्यः) (alternatively भौमः।Bhauma) Suchi (शुचिरिन्द्रः... 3.2.42)

Verses And Meanings

The following Rigveda mantras (2.12.1 to 15) describe the greatness of Indra.[16]

यो जात एव प्रथमो मनस्वान् देवो देवान् क्रतुना पर्यभूषत् | यस्य शुष्माद् रोदसी अभ्यसेतां नृम्णस्य मह्ना स जनास इन्द्रः || 1

yō jāta ēva prathamō manasvān dēvō dēvān kratunā paryabhūṣat | yasya śuṣmād rōdasī abhyasētāṁ nr̥mṇasya mahnā sa janāsa indraḥ || 1

Summary : As soon as he was born, who was decorated as the Chief of Devas, know that he is Indra.

यः पर्थिवीं व्यथमानाम दृंहद् यः पर्वतान् प्रकुपिताँ अरम्णात् | यो अन्तरिक्षं विममे वरीयो यो दयामस्तभ्नात् स जनास इन्द्रः || 2

yaḥ parthivīṁ vyathamānāma dr̥ṁhad yaḥ parvatān prakupitām̐ aramṇāt | yō antarikṣaṁ vimamē varīyō yō dayāmastabhnāt sa janāsa indraḥ || 2

Summary : He who gave relief to the earth from distress, one who laid at rest the mountains (from flying), who supported the heavens, know that he is Indra.

यो हत्वाहिमरिणात सप्त सिन्धून् यो गा उदाजदपधा वलस्य | यो अश्मनोरन्तरग्निं जजान संवृक् समत्सु स जनास इन्द्रः || 3

yō hatvāhimariṇāta sapta sindhūna yō gā udājadapadhā valasya | yō aśmanōrantaragniṁ jajāna saṁvr̥k samatsu sa janāsa indraḥ || 3

Summary : He who killed the himarina to free the sapta sindhu (seven rivers) and brought out the cows from the caves of Vala. He who brought forth Agni from two stones, know that he is Indra.

येनेमा विश्वा च्यवना कृतानि यो दासं वर्णमधरंगुहाकः | श्वघ्नीव यो जिगीवाँ लक्षमाददर्यः पुष्टानि स जनास इन्द्रः || 4

यं स्मा पृच्छन्ति कुह सेति घोरमुतेमाहुर्नैषो अस्तीत्येनम् | सो अर्यः पुष्तीर्विज इवा मिनाति श्रदस्मै धत्त स जनास इन्द्रः || 5

यो रध्रस्य चोदिता यः कृशस्य यो ब्रह्मणो नाधमानस्य कीरेः | युक्तग्राव्णो योऽविता सुशिप्रः सुतसोमस्य स जनास इन्द्रः || 6

यस्याश्वासः प्रदिशि यस्य गावो यस्य ग्रामा यस्य विश्वे रथासः | यः सूर्यं य उषसं जजान यो अपां नेता स जनास इन्द्रः || 7

yenemā viśvā cyavanā kṛtāni yo dāsaṃ varṇamadharaṃguhākaḥ | śvaghnīva yo jigīvām̐ lakṣamādadaryaḥ puṣṭāni sa janāsa indraḥ || 4

yaṃ smā pṛcchanti kuha seti ghoramutemāhurnaiṣo astītyenam | so aryaḥ puṣtīrvija ivā mināti śradasmai dhatta sa janāsa indraḥ || 5

yo radhrasya coditā yaḥ kṛśasya yo brahmaṇo nādhamānasya kīreḥ | yuktagrāvṇo yo'vitā suśipraḥ sutasomasya sa janāsa indraḥ || 6

yasyāśvāsaḥ pradiśi yasya gāvo yasya grāmā yasya viśve rathāsaḥ | yaḥ sūryaṃ ya uṣasaṃ jajāna yo apāṃ netā sa janāsa indraḥ || 7

Summary : He, under whose control, the horses, cattle, villages, and chariots exist, He who brought out Surya and Ushas (dawn), who leads the waters, know that he is Indra.

यं क्रन्दसी संयती विह्वयेते परेऽवर उभया अमित्राः | समानं चिद् रथमातस्थिवांसा नाना हवेते स जनास इन्द्रः || 8

यस्मान्न ऋते विजयन्ते जनासो यं युध्यमाना अवसे हवन्ते | यो विश्वस्य प्रतिमानं बभूव यो अच्युतच्युत् स जनास इन्द्रः || 9

यः शश्वतो मह्येनो दधानानमन्यमानाञ्छर्वा जघान | यः शर्धते नानुददाति शृध्यां यो दस्योर्हन्ता स जनास इन्द्रः || 10

यः शम्बरं पर्वतेषु क्षियन्तं चत्वारिंश्यां शरद्यन्वविन्दत् | ओजायमानं यो अहिं जघान दानुं शयानं स जनास इन्द्रः || 11

यः सप्तरश्मिर्वृषभस्तुविष्मानवासृजत् सर्तवे सप्तसिन्धून् | यो रौहिणमस्फुरद् वज्रबाहुर्द्यामारोहन्तं स जनास इन्द्रः || 12

दयावा चिदस्मै पृथवी नमेते शुष्माच्चिदस्य पर्वता भयन्ते | यः सोमपा निचितो वज्रबाहुर्यो वज्रहस्तः स जनास इन्द्रः || 13

यः सुन्वन्तमवति यः पचन्तं यः शंसन्तं यः शशमानमूती | यस्य ब्रह्म वर्धनं यस्य सोमो यस्येदं राधः स जनास इन्द्रः || 14

यः सुन्वते पचते दुध्र आ चिद वाजं दर्दर्षि स किलासि सत्यः | वयं त इन्द्र विश्वह परियासः सुवीरासो विदथमा वदेम || 15

yaṃ krandasī saṃyatī vihvayete pare'vara ubhayā amitrāḥ | samānaṃ cid rathamātasthivāṃsā nānā havete sa janāsa indraḥ || 8

yasmānna ṛte vijayante janāso yaṃ yudhyamānā avase havante | yo viśvasya pratimānaṃ babhūva yo acyutacyut sa janāsa indraḥ || 9

yaḥ śaśvato mahyeno dadhānānamanyamānāñcharvā jaghāna | yaḥ śardhate nānudadāti śṛdhyāṃ yo dasyorhantā sa janāsa indraḥ || 10

yaḥ śambaraṃ parvateṣu kṣiyantaṃ catvāriṃśyāṃ śaradyanvavindat | ojāyamānaṃ yo ahiṃ jaghāna dānuṃ śayānaṃ sa janāsa indraḥ || 11

yaḥ saptaraśmirvṛṣabhastuviṣmānavāsṛjat sartave saptasindhūn | yo rauhiṇamasphurad vajrabāhurdyāmārohantaṃ sa janāsa indraḥ || 12

dayāvā cidasmai pṛthavī namete śuṣmāccidasya parvatā bhayante | yaḥ somapā nicito vajrabāhuryo vajrahastaḥ sa janāsa indraḥ || 13

yaḥ sunvantamavati yaḥ pacantaṃ yaḥ śaṃsantaṃ yaḥ śaśamānamūtī | yasya brahma vardhanaṃ yasya somo yasyedaṃ rādhaḥ sa janāsa indraḥ || 14

yaḥ sunvate pacate dudhra ā cida vājaṃ dardarṣi sa kilāsi satyaḥ | vayaṃ ta indra viśvaha pariyāsaḥ suvīrāso vidathamā vadema || 15

The following slokas from Vishnupurana (Part 1, Adhyaya 21, Slokas 30 to 41) describe Indra's attempt to destroy the unborn child of Diti and thereby creation of Marutganas.

दितिर्विनष्टपुत्रा वै तोषयामास काश्यपम् | तया चाराधित: सम्यक्काश्यस्तपतां वर: || ३०

वरेण च्छन्दयामास सा च वव्रे ततो वरम् | पुत्रमिन्द्रवधार्थाय समर्थममितौजसम् || ३१

स च तस्मै वरं प्रादाभ्दार्यायै मुनिसत्तम: | दत्वा च वरमत्युग्रं कश्यपस्तामुवाच ह || ३२

शक्रं पुत्रो निहन्ता ते यदि गर्भं शरच्छतम् |समाहितातिप्रयता शौचिनी धारयिष्यसि ||३३

इत्येवमुक्त्वा तां देवीं संगत: कश्यपो मुनि: | दधार सा च तं गर्भं सम्यक्छोचसमन्विता ||३४

गर्भमात्मवधार्थाय ज्ञात्वा तं मघवानपि | शुश्रूषुस्तामथागच्छद्विनयादमराधिप: ||३५

तस्याश्चैवान्तरप्रेप्सुरतिष्ठत्पाकशासन: | ऊने वर्षशते चास्या ददर्शान्तरमात्मना ||३६

अकृत्वा पादयो: शौचं दिति: शयनमाविशत् | निद्रां चाहारयामास तस्या: कुक्षिं प्रविश्य स: ||३७

वज्रपाणिर्महागर्भं चिच्छेदाथ स सप्तधा | सम्पीड्यमानो वज्रेण स रुरोदातिदारुणम् ||३८

मा रोदीरिति तं शक्र: पुन:पुनरभाषत | सोऽभवत्सप्तधा गर्भस्तमिंद्र: कुपित: पुन: || ३९

एकैकं सप्तधा चक्रे वज्रेणारिविदारिणा | मरुतो नाम देवास्ते बभूवुरतिवेगिन: ||४०

यदुक्तं वै भगवता तेनैव मरुतोऽभवन् | देवा एकोनपञचाशत्सहाया वज्रपाणिन: ||४१

ditirvinaṣṭaputrā vai toṣayāmāsa kāśyapam | tayā cārādhita: samyakkāśyastapatāṃ vara: || 30

vareṇa cchandayāmāsa sā ca vavre tato varam | putramindravadhārthāya samarthamamitaujasam || 31

sa ca tasmai varaṃ prādābhdāryāyai munisattama: | datvā ca varamatyugraṃ kaśyapastāmuvāca ha || 32

śakraṃ putro nihantā te yadi garbhaṃ śaracchatam |samāhitātiprayatā śaucinī dhārayiṣyasi ||33

ityevamuktvā tāṃ devīṃ saṃgata: kaśyapo muni: | dadhāra sā ca taṃ garbhaṃ samyakchocasamanvitā ||34

garbhamātmavadhārthāya jñātvā taṃ maghavānapi | śuśrūṣustāmathāgacchadvinayādamarādhipa: ||35

tasyāścaivāntaraprepsuratiṣṭhatpākaśāsana: | ūne varṣaśate cāsyā dadarśāntaramātmanā ||36

akṛtvā pādayo: śaucaṃ diti: śayanamāviśat | nidrāṃ cāhārayāmāsa tasyā: kukṣiṃ praviśya sa: ||37

vajrapāṇirmahāgarbhaṃ cicchedātha sa saptadhā | sampīḍyamāno vajreṇa sa rurodātidāruṇam ||38

mā rodīriti taṃ śakra: puna:punarabhāṣata | so'bhavatsaptadhā garbhastamiṃdra: kupita: puna: || 39

ekaikaṃ saptadhā cakre vajreṇārividāriṇā | maruto nāma devāste babhūvurativegina: ||40

yaduktaṃ vai bhagavatā tenaiva maruto'bhavan | devā ekonapañacāśatsahāyā vajrapāṇina: ||41


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Mani, V. (1975). Puranic encyclopaedia : A comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature. Delhi:Motilal Banasidass.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Narayanacharya, K. S. (2011). Veda Samskrita Parichaya. Hubli:​Sahitya Prakashana​.
  3. Amarakosha (Page No 9 and 10)
  4. Nirukta
  5. Nirukta (Adhyaya 10)
  6. Ashtadhyayi (Adhyaya 5)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Bhagavatdatta's Book Titled : Uru Jyoti
  8. Rig Veda (Mandala 7 Sukta 104)
  9. Rig Veda (Mandala 1 Sukta 80)
  10. Vishnupuranam (Prathama Amsha, Adhyaya 21)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Valmiki Ramayana (Balakanda Sarga 66)
  12. Shrimad Bhagavata Puranam (Skanda 6, Adhyaya 18)
  13. Matsya Puranam (Adhyaya 6 Sloka 47)
  14. Brahmaṇḍapuraṇa (Uttarabhaga. Adhyaya 2, Slokas 27, 28)
  15. Matsyapurana (Adhyaya 163.33)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Rig Veda (Mandala 2, Sukta 12)
  17. Gotrabhit (Shabdakalpadruma)
  18. Rig Veda (Mandala 1, Sukta 62)
  19. Vamana Purana (Adhyaya 71)
  20. Aitreya Brahmana (7.16)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Ganapati Sastry. Uppuluri. (2000) Vedasaara Ratnavali, Part 2 Hyderabad : Amba Communications 
  22. Taittriya Brahmana (Kanda 2 Prapathaka 2)
  23. Pt. Ramnarayan. Mahabharat (VanaParva, Adhyaya 101) Page No 343. Gorakhpur: Gita Press
  24. Valmiki Ramayana (Sundara Kanda, Sarga 1)
  25. Valmiki Ramayana (Kishkindha Kanda, Sarga 66)
  26. Vishnupurana (Amsha 3 Adhyaya 1)