Lord Indra the King of Gods and Svarga/Heaven

Lord Indra has been described as the supreme ruler of the Gods. He is considered a Vedic deity in Hinduism. In fact, the Indra God is the king of heaven.

Today, we share with you the different aspects of this very popular Hindu God, Lord Indra.

Who is Lord Indra?

According to Hindu religious scriptures and particularly the Vedas, Indra God is the King of Svarga (Heaven) and the leader of the Devas.

Indra is the God of thunder, lightning, storms, rains, and river flows.

Lord Indra is the God of War, the greatest of all warriors, and the strongest of all beings. Indra is known as the defender of Gods, the one who protects humanity against all the evil forces.

Lord Indra

He rides in a golden chariot (across the heavens) wielding the celestial weapon Vajra, the lightning bolt.

It is believed that his powerful weapon Vajra has been made from the bones of sage Dadichi. Lord Indra also uses the bow, a net, and a hook in battle.

He is attributed to have set order to the cosmos and is considered the one who brought water to earth. He is also regarded as a fertility god as well.

God Indra have special powers which can revive slain warriors who had fallen in battle.

One of the main highlights of Lord Indra is the fact that he is very powerful.

He has a reddish complexion and is said to have two or four very long arms.

In fact, Rig Veda (the oldest of the Vedas) has dedicated more than 250 hymns to Lord Indra. This happens to be the most number of hymns dedicated to any God which goes on to spell the very importance of this heavenly God, Lord Indra.

He has been attributed with numerous titles such as the Sakra (“Powerful”), Vajri (“the Thunderer”), Svargapati (“the Lord of Heaven”), Purandara (“Destroyer of Cities”), and Meghavahana (“Rider of the Clouds”).

Indra God held his court at Svarga which is situated amidst the sacred Mt. Meru. It could move anywhere at Indra’s command. Lord Indra along with his wife presides over their paradise.

His heavenly abode is devoid of any sorrow, suffering, or fear. Apsara and Gandharvas used to perform dance and concerts in his court. Various games and athletic contests were also held in his court.

One of the most notable exploits of Lord Indra is the slaying of the demon Vritra.

According to the legend, Vritra took the form of a mighty dragon and took away all the water from the world.

Indra vowed to teach Vritra a lesson and get the water back to the earth.

Indra drank Soma to get immense power so that he can fight out the demon. Indra challenged Vritra, and they were engaged in a fierce battle.

After a long and fierce battle, Indra eventually overpowered Vritra and became victorious.

Water began to fell from the sky when Indra split open him. All the Devas rejoiced at the victory of Indra. It made Indra the King of the Gods.

However, at times Indra did lose control over the heavens to the demons.

At such times, he approached Lord Vishnu to gain his help in overcoming the demons and for regaining the control of the heavens.

Moreover, in the post-Vedic Indian literature, Indra is often depicted as getting into trouble with his adulterous, drunken, and hedonistic ways.

He used to trouble Hindu monks when they meditate as he feared that self-realized human beings might become very powerful.

Indra has also been featured in Buddhism.

He has been referred by many names such as the Shakra (Pali: Sakka).

However, he is pictured somewhat differently in Buddhism.

Indra has been portrayed as less war oriented.

He is shown as paying homage to Lord Buddha.

The Buddhist texts portray Indra as a God who suffers from rebirth and re-death.

Indra God also finds a mention in the Jainism traditions.

He has been depicted as the King of Gods and is also a part of Jain rebirth cosmology. Some depictions show Indra celebrating the auspicious moments in the life of a Jain Tirthankara.

What kind of God is Indra?

In Hindu mythology, God Indra has been depicted as the King of the Gods. For the Rig Veda, Indra is one of the main Gods.

He is the Indo-European cousin of the Greek Zeus, German Wotan, Roman Jupiter, and Norse Odin.

The Hindu religious scriptures have portrayed Indra in a variety of roles. As a great warrior and king of Gods, Indra is shown to win over the anti-gods (Asuras).

He is the God of thunderbolt and brings rain to the earth. He has defeated many superhuman enemies, notably the dragon Vritra, a demon of drought and a leader of the dasas.

Indra gains immortality by drinking the Soma which is offered to him by the priests. He is served by the Maruts, who ride the clouds and direct storms. Indra is sometimes referred as the “thousand-eyes.”

Indra has played the mythological roles of the God of Rain. He has been the regent of the heavens, and guardian of the east.

In the epic Mahabharata, Indra is depicted as being the father of the great hero Arjun.

Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, prevents his cowherds and instructs them to stop worshiping Indra. Enraged Indra sends down torrents of rain, but Lord Krishna protects the people by lifting Mount Govardhan on his fingertip.

Lord Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan

Eventually, Indra relents and pays him homage.

Indra is also an important part of Jain and Buddhist mythology of India.

What is the meaning of the name Indra?

The meaning of the name Indra is “possessing drops of rain.”

It is derived from the Sanskrit word इन्दु (indu) meaning “a drop” and र (ra) which means “acquiring, possessing”.

It is the name given to the Vedic warrior god of the sky and rain, “Indra”. He is among the chief Gods in the Vedic text Rig Veda.

How was Lord Indra Born?

The story of God Indra’s birth is an interesting one.

In fact, Indra was in her mother’s womb (Goddess Earth) for several thousands of months. Moreover, his mother tried to hide him as she considered it a disgrace if she let him out.

Finally, the embryo was swallowed by Kusava, a river.

The Kusava waters were very favorable to the child, and he grew strong, mighty, and graceful.

When he was fully grown up, Indra created a way to come forth from the womb. He defied the conventional norms.

Indra was well aware of his mission to get rid of demon Vritra. Indra went on to drink Soma (heavenly beverage) and assumed a huge form. He struck Vritra with his thunderbolt and released all the waters from the captivity.

So, Indra accomplished a massive task that was beyond the capacity of all Gods.

Who is the father of Indra?

The Sky God Dyaus Pita is the father of God Indra.

His mother is the earth Goddess Prithvi.

Indra was born fully grown and fully armed from his mother’s side.

What is the name of Lord Indra wife?

Shachi (also known as Indrani, Aindri, Mahendri, and Poulomi) is Lord Indra’s wife.

She is often described as “The Endless Beauty.”

She is one of the seven Matrika (the Sapta Matrika) – the seven divine mothers in Hindu religion. She is immensely beautiful having the most beautiful eyes.

Lord Indra and his wife IndraniImage Credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

With Indra, Shachi is the mother of Jayanta and Jayanti, Midhusa, Rsabha, Nilambara, Rbhus, and Chitragupta.

She is mostly associated with lions and elephants. She has the same Vahana or vehicle as Indra – a white elephant.

A puja dedicated to goddess Indrani is done during the Ashada Navratri.

The Vedic literature has given much importance to Shachi. She has been identified with the idea of Shakti denoting feminine might and power.

In fact, Shachi became the role model for all the Goddesses in the later-Vedic period.

The Rig Veda has described Shachi to be very beautiful. One of the Rig Vedic hymns pictures her as jealous of rivals.

She has an independent character of her own.

In fact, Indra is often known as Shachipati – meaning possessor of Shachi. Moreover, Shachi is considered a most fortunate female for Indra.

Who is the main God in the Rig Veda?

Indra and Agni are the most prominent deities in the Rig Veda.

There are about 1000 hymns in the Rig Veda that are dedicated to specific deities.

The Rig Veda has also given much importance to the ritual drink, Soma, as there are several hymns dedicated to it.

There are also some figures that are invoked in groups such as the Maruts and Ashvins, as well as the Vishvedevas (the “all-gods”).

Some of the other prominent Gods that feature in the Rig Veda are the Surya and Vayu.

Rivers are defined as Goddesses such as the Sapta Sindhu and the Saraswati River.

Yama is also worshiped as a deity being the God of death.

Rudra and Vishnu are present as marginal gods.

What is the name of the Elephant of Lord Indra?

Airavata is a mythological white elephant that carries the Hindu God Indra. It is also called as ‘abhra-Matanga,’ meaning “elephant of the clouds.”

It is also known as ‘Arkasodara,’ meaning “brother of the sun.” Airaavatha possesses ten tusks and five trunks and is spotless white. ‘Abhramu’ is said to be the elephant wife of Airaavatha.

Airavata Elephant

Concluding

So, Lord Indra is a widely acclaimed Hindu God that has much prominence in the Rig Veda. More than 200 hymns are dedicated glorifying Indra in the Rig Veda.

He is the Gods of the Devas and the King of The Heavens. He is very powerful and helps in eradicating evil from the earth.

Moreover, The Indra God is acknowledged as the giver of rains. We hope that this post has given all details related to the very important Hindu God, Lord Indra.

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