Saturday 8 July 2017

The Glory of Indra in Vedas - Reclaiming Devaraja Indra

When was the last you visited an Indra temple ? Perhaps, you will exhaust yourself trying to find one.

I had always adored Lord Indra despite His downgraded recognition as a Vedic deity on the contemporary. My friend, Anirudh Sainath ( Molee Art ) 's profound interest and Facebook postings on Lord Indra inspired me to write this article 

               Anirudh Sainath's artwork on Indra

 Why ?

What has happened in the past few decades is that,certain comics and TV serials on Ithihasas and Puranas have portrayed lord Indra in a horrid manner. Even in many narrations.He is made to see as a weakling and nothing more than a wimp.The actual glories of Indra as per the Vedas ( particularly Rg Veda ) are however,nowhere in parallel to this ! 

Typical portrayal of Lord Indra in Serials - as a clown         

Indra is given prestigious importance in the Vedas.In fact,it is said that Indra and Rudra are one with two names.

Pic above : Anirudh's famous artwork on Rudra.

Note that Indra is adored as 'the master of the senses' or 'the aspect of the mind' in the abstract dimension

IndriyANAm rAjna iti indraha = One who knows and controls the Indriyas ( senses , 5 gyanendriyas and 5 karmendriyas )

On the gross dimension,Lord Indra is the King of deities who rules over rain and lightning.He is the Chief of the Devatas.

One who has mastery over his senses attains the position of Indra.

In the Vedas,Indra is extensively brought into picture.To quote a few portions from the Vedas.

Pic above : Verses from Ganapati Suktam from Rig Veda.This Suktam is referred to as 'Ganapati Suktam' but the first 9 stanzas actually denote Lord Indra.This Sukta in real,is for Lord Indra.The word ' Ganapati' only appears in one stanza.

Video above : My Whatsapp Veda Student Pongsakorn from Thailand reciting the entire 'Ganapati Suktam from Rig Veda'.The first verse itself starts of with '' Aa tuu na Indra kshumantam..'' 

Video above : Vishnu Suktam Rig Veda by my Whatsapp Veda Learner Shravanthi.Here,Vishnu is regarded as the friend of Indra.

Pics above : Few verses from the first chapter of Taittriya Aaranyaka of Krishna Yajur Veda ( the part of Yajur Veda traditionally learnt in the forest region in seclusion ) The full chapter ( also called Aruna Prashna ) is rich with reference to Indra - who is the Chief to the forces of nature in the form of Fire,Wind etc

Video : The Malaysian Veda Team of Sathya Sai Unit reciting the first chapter of Taittriya Aranyaka ( Aruna Prashna ) in Brickfields.

Indra is mentioned in the Medha Suktam which is another part from the Taittiriya Aranyaka.In this Suktam,the dimensions of intellect that exists in the cosmos is described in detail.The aspect of intelligence associated with the mastery over the senses is attributed to Lord Indra.We find it in a verse in the last stanza of Medha Suktam

Video : Medha Suktam by my Whatsapp Veda Learner Smt Kavita.The mention of Lord Indra comes in the last stanza.

Chamakam, from Krshna Yajur Veda, has the mention of Indra in abundance in the 6th Anuvaka ( chapter ) . The powers of various devata-s ( Agni,Vishnu,Ashvins etc ) are requested and we invoke them with Indra.These powers over nature ( power of fire,water,wind etc ) are obtained by one who established Himself in enlightenment through the principle of Indra = mastery over senses.

Here,we understand that only by the mastery over the senses,which is verily denoted by Lord Indra,can one actually attain oneness with all other deities.Lord Indra is the chief of all forces of nature.

The Ganapati Upanishad is associated with the Atharva Veda.Here,Lord Ganesha is described as the absolute consciousness ( Para-Brahma ).He is said to be verily Brahma,Vishnu,Rudra,Indra,Agni,Vayu,Surya and Chandra.

Indra is brought along other popular deities of the pantheon of Vedic age.

See,Lord Indra holds a prime position in all 4 Vedas ( Saama Veda is literally Rig Veda sung in a particular fashion.Hence,the content of Saama Veda is the same as Rig Veda and we do not include it as an independent Veda )

In Narayana Upanishad which finds place in the Krishna Yajur Veda/Indra is given reverence along Brahma,Rudra  and the Aditya.Shakra is another name for Indra.

Indra is mentioned in the first verse of Pavamana Suktam , which is chanted as a purificatory mantra in puja and yagyas.In other words, a Yaaga or Puja cannot be initiated without invocating Lord Indra.

In the Rig Vedic portion of Laghunyasah, the invocatory ritual done before Rudram,Lord Indra is glorified as the basis of our strength - both mentally and physically.From the strength derived from Indra,guided by our heart,we utilise it rightly.

In Nyasah  ( purification ) done during puja, Lord Indra is invoked to reside in the shoulder.During Nyasah,various deities are established in different parts of our subtle body.In this,Indra is given an important role.

Lord Indra being referred in the khila verses of Shri Suktam,Rig Veda.Indra is associated with strength,discrimination and intelligence.

A digital artwork of Anirudh Sainath - depicting the saptarishis ( the celebrated 7 sages, the 7 disciples of Lord Shiva as the Adiyogi ) with Indra.

Indra is worth a prestigious recognition at present. His importance as the master of senses and mind must be revived.This is a justice I believe,we should all do.Please  do not fall prey to the unsightly depiction shown in TV serials.

It is evident that disrespecting Indra is equivalent to disrespecting the Vedas.

Indra as the cosmic pillar - the fulcrum of the Universe.Art by Anirudh Sainath.Indra is said to be the cosmic pillar in which all 33 crore devas reside.

Displaying some of his artwork on Indra : 

                  Lord Indra as a child 

                   Lord Indra the dragon slayer 

               Lord Indra as a baby with His mother, Aditi 

The artist himself - Anirudh Sainath




 May we know the devaraja ( King of Devas )
 Let us meditate on the wielder of Vajrahasta ( Thunderbolt - weapon of Indra )
 Let Lord Indra enlighten us.

Also Read :

(1) Rudra and Indra are regarded same in the Vedas

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