Biography of Lord Indra (The King of Heaven)

King of the Gods, Devaraja Indra is also known as Swargapati (the Lord of Heaven), Vajrapani (who has thunderbolt in his hand), Surendra (Chief of deities), Vasava (Lord of Vasus), Meghavahana (Rider of the clouds), Devendra (Lord of deities). In Vedic religion, Lord Indra used to be an important God who became a major worshipable figure in Hinduism and Buddhism. The King of the Gods, Indra Dev is generally depicted as a benevolent God who is generous to his worshippers since he delivers beneficial rainstorms and ends droughts thereby, providing prosperity to mankind. Ages later, Devaraja Indra was transformed merely as a mythological figure from a worshipped God.

Indralok- the abode of Indra is a dream abode which every devotee wishes to attain after death. Seekers believe heaven is a happy abode attaining which souls will get liberated and enjoy the luxurious life the same as the King of Heaven relishes. 

However, the facts narrated in Holy scriptures mention that Indra Dev always fears of losing his post of the King of Heaven, therefore, always disturbs Hindu monks with the belief that these self-realized beings ie. sages, saints due to performing austerity will gain several spiritual powers and become more powerful than him with which they might become eligible to hold the post of Devaraja; then Indra will have to surrender his post. This raises doubt in the mind of devotees

  • Does the King of heaven truly lead a happy and prosperous life?
  • Does Lord Indra lead a highly insecure life?
  • Why is Lord Indra always portrayed fighting with demons and disturbing Hindu monks?
  • Is Heaven truly a happy abode?
  • Should seekers worship to attain Heaven whose King leads an insecure life?

This write-up will explain the biography of Lord Indra basis facts from Holy scriptures which will make devotees think 

  • Should worship be done aiming to attain Heaven?
  • Is there elsewhere; an eternal and happiness giving ultimate abode?

The following will be the highlights of this write-up

  • Biography of Indra Dev.   
  • Arrogant Indra sent torrential rains to drown Vrindavan. 
  • When Lord Indra was cursed for lust?.
  • Curse by Sage Durvasa and the fall of Heaven.
  • Lord Indra fears to lose his throne hence acts foolish and incurs sin.
  • Indra hit child Hanuman with a lightning bolt.
  • Satlok is the eternal abode.

Biography of Indra Dev 

Indra Dev is well known for the luxurious life he leads as the King of Heaven. Although the Vedic Indian literature portrays him as a powerful hero; yet Indra is noted for his virility who constantly gets into trouble because of his adulterous, hedonistic, and drunken habits since he is too fond for ‘Soma’ which he does not always take in moderation. Straight forward, Lord Indra is an Alcoholic Elixir due to which most of the time he suffers from its after-effects. 

To know more about Lord Indra; first of all, it is important to know how is the post of Devaraja Indra obtained?   

  • How is the post of Devaraja Indra obtained?
  • Family, Abode, and Mount of Indra Dev?
  • What is the Age of Devaraja Indra?
  • What is the Age of Shachi, wife of Devraj Indra?

How is the Post of Devaraja Indra Obtained?

Ref: Chapter “Parakh Ka Ang”, speech no. 200-202, Page 244-Mukti Bodh book.

The post of Indra (King of Heaven) is obtained in two ways

  • When a seeker performs forced meditation (Hatha Yoga) ie. severe penance.
  • When a seeker performs 100 religious sacrifices (Dharm Yagya) with a quintal of clarified butter (desi ghee) by abiding the rules of religious ceremony. If rules are not strictly followed then the religious ceremony gets fragmented. 

Such fierce tenacity and religious sacrifices are done by seekers bearing religious nature. Indra is a Saint devout. He showers rain on the earth in which millions of creatures sway, they die. Oysters are formed. In this, Indra is not at fault. According to the constitution of God; the creatures who do not do true worship are liable to receive both virtues gained because of auspicious deeds as well as have to bear punishment incurred due to sins resulting which Indra Dev after death becomes a donkey. He destroys his virtues by becoming the King of Heaven. 

Note: Devaraja Indra always fears to lose his post because the eligible seeker immediately receives the throne of heaven and the current Indra’s position is stripped in between, therefore, Indra always remains focused not to let the austerity and religious sacrifice of the seeker get successfully accomplished. He makes all crooked attempts to dissolve the austerity no matter whatever he may have to do. Hence, insecure and adulterous Lord Indra goes to the lowest level and even sends his wife Apsara Urvashi (Celestial maiden) to dissolve the austerity of sages, saints by maintaining illegal relations with seekers.

Please Ponder

  • Devaraja Indra the Lord of deities goes to the lowest extent where; to save his throne/post; he involves his wife to dissolve the penance of seekers. What type of character is of the King of Heaven; is well understood?
  • The insecurity to Indra Dev proves the aspiration to attain Heaven by devotees is sheer foolishness. Even heaven is not a happy abode. When the King is so highly insecure what will be the status of other deities and creatures residing in ‘Swarglok’ is self-explanatory?
  • After fierce penance, the post of King of Heaven is obtained which is also temporary. This signifies arbitrary worship like forced meditation (hatha yoga) is a useless practice which is strictly prohibited in pious Bhagavad Gita chapter 16 verse 23-24. 

Family, Abode, and Mount of Indra Dev?

‘Kashyap’ and ‘Aditi’ are the parents of the Lord of ‘Swargaloka’, Indra. He is the twin brother of Agni; believed to be born of the sky god Dyaus (Pita-Father Heaven) and goddess Prithvi (Mata). 

Shachi (Indrani) is the consort, warrior Arjuna, Vali, Jayanta, Devasena, Midhusa, Nilambara, Rbhus, Sitragupta, Rsabha, and Jayanti are the children of the King of Heaven-Indra Dev. His attendants are called the ‘Maruts’. He is affiliated with Devas according to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. ‘Amaravati’ the capital of ‘Indraloka’ in ‘Swarga’ is the abode of Lord Indra, surrounded by the highest peak of the sacred mountain Meru (Sumeru). This heaven could move in any direction on its Lord’s command. Several Apsaras and Gandharvas dance and entertain those who attend the court, athletics, and gaming contests are also held in ‘Swarg’.   

Indra is the God of rains. He is the owner of 96 crore Meghamala (clouds). He is the Lord of thunder, storms, lightning, and is associated with war who is usually portrayed wielding a thunderbolt; his weapon ie. Vajra, he also carries ‘Chakra’ (discus), ‘Tanka’ (an Axe), and ‘Ankusha’ (Elephant goad). 

‘Airavata’ (white elephant) and Uchchaihshravas (white horse) are the mounts of Indra Dev on which he is often shown riding. ‘Airavata’ was obtained by Devaraja Indra at inception, during the churning of the ocean. Indra also has a golden chariot drawn by 10,000 horses.

What is the Age of Devaraja Indra?

The term of rule of one Indra is 72 Chaturyuga.

One Chaturyug has 43,20,000 years of human beings.

One Chaukri (Chaturyuga) is made up of four Yugas which are as follows. 

1. Satyuga - 1728000 years 
2. Treta Yuga - 1296000 years 
3. Dwapar Yuga - 864000 years 
4. Kalyuga -432000 years.

Total 4.32 million human years.

After death, Lord Indra becomes a donkey. Then he suffers in other life forms and remains in the vicious cycle of birth and death. This is the constitution of God.

What is the Age of Shachi, Wife of Devraj Indra?

The name of the Queen consort of Indra Dev is Shachi (Indrani) whose age is 1008 Chaturyuga. Due to a lack of true spiritual knowledge seekers perform arbitrary worship (hatha yoga). On the same ground; the creature who becomes eligible to hold the position of the Empress (wife) of Indra Dev continues for one Mahakalp* and mates 14 Indra during her tenure as the wife of the King of Heaven. 

The age of Indra is 72 Chaturyuga. 

The age of Shachi is 72 Chaturyuga x14= 1008 Chaturyuga.

*(One Kalp=1000 chaturyuga which is also one day of Brahma Ji)

Note: After death Shachi (Urvashi) becomes a mare similar, as Indra Dev becomes a Donkey. Then both of them spend life on earth suffering pain in 84 lakhs life species. This process continues until the creature comes in the refuge of a Tatvadarshi (enlightened) saint and does true worship by remaining in rules.

In Gita Adhyay 8 Shloka 16 it is said that seekers after the attainment of Brahmlok remain in recurrence. They do not get relieved from the vicious cycle of birth and rebirth ie. do not attain salvation.

Almighty KavirDev tells in his nectar speech

इंद्र कुबेर ईश की पदवी ब्रह्मा वरुण धर्मराया।
विष्णु नाथ के पुरखो जाकर तू फिर भी वापिस आया।।

Please Ponder: The King and Queen of Heaven are in the cycle of birth and death, similar is the situation of other deities and all creatures in Heaven. They do not get liberated even after attaining heaven, the abode which is mistakenly the most aspired abode of all devotees. 

Therefore, it is the advice to seekers; do not worship demi-gods, stop arbitrary worship. Seekers should do true worship which finishes the long illness of birth and death, hence,  salvation is attained.  

Moving ahead we will study a few true stories mentioned in our holy books which reveal certain characteristic and behavioral facts about Indra Dev.

Arrogant Indra Sent Torrential Rains to Drown Vrindavan 

The God of Rains, Indra owns 96 crores Meghmala (clouds). In Dwaparyug, Lord Vishnu had incarnated and was playing divine spectacle in the cover as Lord Krishna who told the people of Vrindavan to stop worshipping deities. Upset with this the deities went to Indra Dev and requested him to resolve the issue. Annoyed with this decision of Shri Krishna and to teach him the lesson; the egoist Indra, considering himself to be the sole protector of Gokul sent torrential rains and flooded Vrindavan and destroyed the town heavily. Indra had been showering blessings before this by providing adequate rainfall at the right time till he was worshipped. The moment his worship was stopped he became revengeful. 

Almighty Kavir Dev is the protector. He showers blessings on his dear souls when in crisis. God Kabir tells in his nectar speech 

Karey karavey saaiyan mann mein lehar uthai, Dadu sirjan jeev ke aap bagal ho jaye

करे करावे साइयां मन में लहर उठाए , दादू सृजन जीव के आप बगल हो जाए ||

Vishnu Ji is the son of God Kabir who came in His refuge in some earlier birth but was not liberated and remained in Brahm-Kaal’s trap similar to all other souls. God Kabir blessed Shri Krishna at that time of crisis and by the grace of God Kabir; Shri Krishna raised Govardhan hill on his little finger and saved all Gokulvasi and their cattle from drowning who took shelter beneath the hill like a giant umbrella until heavy rains stopped after seven days. Krishna was highly glorified for this divine act by the people who whooped in delight for their beloved boy Krishna. 

Arrogant Indra was bewildered since he was ignorant of the divine spectacle of God Kabir and finally stopped the rains and apologized to Shri Krishna. His bloated ego was punctured. 

Note: These demi-gods are hungry for applause. Indra is a demi-god and possesses vices like lust, pride, arrogance. The revengeful attitude highlights arrogance in the King of Gods, Indra. God never punishes his devotees no matter whatever might be the situation.  Aforesaid, highlights the behavioral flaw of Devaraja Indra. This makes proud Indra a non-worshipable deity. 

When Lord Indra was Cursed for Lust?

The weakness of Lord Indra’s character is depicted in a true tale when Indra duped Ahilya. It so happened, Sage Gautam was the spiritual guru of Indra Dev. It was time for the engagement of Indra with Ahilya. The assembly was filled with guests, all preparations were set and the ceremony was to start. Gautam Rishi entered the royal court. As a matter of respect, Indra Dev stood from his throne and offered it to his guru sage Gautam and sat near the feet of his guru ji. In the meantime, due to some urgency, Indra left the court for some important work. 

In the meantime, Ahilya’s father came along with his Purohit who told him that the auspicious time for the ceremony is running out we must hurry and complete the ritual hence, mistakenly anointed (tilak) Gautam Rishi instead of Indra Dev. Soon, the mistake was realized but it was late and nothing could be done. Sage Gautam and Ahilya got married. Indra Dev although tried to show he was normal in this episode but the deep desire to make Ahilya his wife remained intact, but he remained quiet.

Indra noted for his virility and the notorious way was enamored for Ahilya. He made a notorious plan and told one deity named ‘Shukla’ to cock before two hours than the due time in the morning near the residence of Gautam Rishi. The same was done, hearing the voice of a cock crowning; sage Gautam woke up thinking its dawn and went for his holy bath in the nearby river. 

In the meantime, Indra Dev descended to earth and assumed the form of Gautam Rishi and stealthily entered inside the room in the hut where Ahilya was asleep and demanded her to make love for him. She could not recognize it was Indra and not her husband Gautam and consented.

Sage Gautam, noticing that it was too early the cock crowned got suspicious and after bath hurried to rush back to his hut. On the other hand, with his lust having been fulfilled Indra got scared of sage Gautam’s wrath. He hurried to exit; just then the sage arrived and caught Indra sneaking out of his hut. As expected, rage erupted on sage’s countenance and without wasting a minute Gautam rishi cursed Indra Dev for his notorious act that he will carry his shame in the form of one thousand vulvae on his body in a grotesque and vulgar display; also his reign as the King of Gods would meet with disaster and catastrophe. Annoyed Sage Gautam also cursed his wife Ahilya to become an ordinary rock for ages to come.

Indra apologized for his shameful act and later Gautam commuted the curse to one thousand eyes instead. On the apology made by Ahilya, the sage realized she was not at fault since Indra has disguised and told her that she will regain her form when Lord Rama alias Vishnu Ji in Tretayug will grace her by dusting his feet on her.

Note: This true tale from Puranas depicts the shameless character of the King of heaven, Indra Dev. By reading this, the readers should themselves decide; should they aim to attain heaven?.   

Curse by Sage Durvasa and the Fall of Heaven

Sage Durvasa is known for his arrogance and furious nature. He was the worshipper of ‘Brahm-Kaal’. By chanting the ‘OM’ mantra he has gained several accomplishments. One day while he was walking on a path he met an Apsara who was wearing a pearl necklace. Sage Durvasa asked for that beautiful necklace from Apsara and she gave. Durvasa put that necklace around the hair bun on his head and moved ahead. At that time, mounted on ‘Airavat’ elephant the King of Heaven, Indra Dev was coming from the opposite direction accompanied by several gods-goddesses and Apsaras and Gandharvas singing and dancing. 

Sage Durvasa took that necklace off his head and threw it towards Indra. Indra in turn put the same necklace on the neck of ‘Airavat’. Like, a devotee gifts a garland in the same way, the elephant picked that necklace with its trunk and threw it on the ground. Indra used to put it back on the neck of the elephant while sitting on him. This act continued for some time. Sage Durvasa was observing this and became furious assuming Indra disrespected the necklace he gifted and cursed Indra that ‘his entire kingdom will be destroyed’. Indra repeatedly apologized for his actions but sage Durvasa did not listen. As a result, in a few moments, Indra got destroyed and heaven got ruined. 

Points to Ponder

  • The King of Heaven is cursed by a sage. Indra Dev could not neutralize the curse since his powers are limited. He pleads but in vain. This shows he is a weak King.
  • Indra Dev and his Heaven are subject to destruction. None is eternal.
  • With the worship of butcher Brahm-Kaal the seekers gain powers and become moving atom bombs like sage Durvasa, they curse and can even destroy heaven. This shows arbitrary worship is useless also Heaven is not a permanent and happy abode. It can come to an end anytime.

Lord Indra Fears to Lose His Throne Hence Acts Foolish and Incurs Sin

The tenure of Devaraja Indra is fixed which is 72 Chaturyuga as described above. Indra can even be stripped from his post of the King of Heaven if some soul fulfills the eligibility criterion by successfully completing fierce penance and/or religious sacrifice. Lord Indra therefore, is described in stories as the one who always either fights with demons to save heaven or disturbs Hindu monks so that they should not be able to complete their penance. We will describe two such true stories mentioned in Puranas which describe his fear and notorious behavior.

  • Indra troubled Sage Kapil who killed 60 thousand sons of King Sagad
  • Indra sent Urvashi to dissolve the austerity of Sage Markandeya to save his throne. 

Indra Troubled Sage Kapil Who Killed 60 Thousand Sons of King Sagad

King Sagad had 60 thousand sons who got obsessed to gain reward equivalent to an ‘Ashwamegh Yagya’ thereby, started building a well, a pond, and a garden. They started digging the whole earth with which even there remained no land for cultivation. If someone revolts and causes hindrance in their work then they would fight. They wrote this message in a letter and tied a pamphlet on a horse. Troubled with this, acquiring the form of a cow; once Goddess Earth went to Vishnu Ji to seek help. Vishnu Ji called Indra Dev and told him to beware; if the sons of King Sagar will get success in 100 such Yagya then Indra will have to lose his throne. Fearful Indra sent his attendants to dissolve their Yagya. 

The notorious attendants at night tied that horse with the thigh of Ascetic Kapil who was in deep meditation for years due to which his eyelids had grown very long which touches the earth. In the morning when the horse was not found the sixty-thousand sons got set for the battle and went to search for the horse. They went to the ashram of Sage Kapil following footprints and found their horse tied with the thigh of sage. Intending to fight they pricked spears into the sage’s armpits. When the sage felt the pain he angrily lifted his long eyelids with his hands. Fire arrows were released from his eyes. All 60,000 sons of King Sagad were killed. 

In this way, fearful Indra dissolved the Yagya of the sons of Sagad to save his post also of sage Kapil and incurred sins in his account because he became the cause of the death of 60,000 sons. This reveals the King of Heaven is a deceiver.   

Also read Deed of Sage Durvasa

Indra Sent Urvashi to Dissolve Austerity of Sage Markandeya to Save His Throne

Once sage Markandeya was performing austerity in the Bay of Bengal. He was the worshipper of Brahm-Kaal and chanted the ‘OM’ mantra. To dissolve his austerity and to save his post of Devraja; Indra goes to the lowest level, therefore, he sends his wife to disturb the monks by her beauty and invoke lust to maintain the relationship. Urvashi, attired with various ornaments and making the environment pleasant with her powers, started dancing in front of Sage Markandeya but he did not heal her. All her efforts went in vain. Finally, Indra arrived and told; as per God’s law he is deceived and ready to surrender his post to which sage Markandeya denied because he used to consider his level of worship which was beyond heaven ie. his concentration was till Brahmlok.

This crooked and low approach of Indra further reveals the character of the King of heaven.

Once Sage Markandeya was observing the movement of ants in a row and Indra was sitting beside him. Indra asked why is he observing the movement of ants so seriously? Sage Markandeya replied that he is counting how many times these ants have attained the post of the King of heaven. This statement of sage Markandeya shocked Indra. The message was clear that after attaining heaven the creature remains in the cycle of birth and death and suffers in 84 lakhs life species. 

Please Ponder

What is the benefit of attaining the post of the King of Heaven when after completing the tenure the creature has to become a donkey, an ant, bear pain in hell and on earth?

Neither sage Markandeya attained complete salvation by the forced worship (hatha yoga) he did nor Indradev. Both remained in the trap of Brahm-Kaal and wasted their life in arbitrary worship and fake materialistic pleasures of Kaal’s region. 

Also read Markandeya Puran

Indra Hit Child Hanuman With a Lightning Bolt

Once, the child Hanuman mistaking the Sun to be a big red ripe fruit thought to eat it hence took a flight towards it. Lord Indra intervened and while child Hanuman was on the way; Indra struck him with his lightning bolt and injured Hanuman’s jaw. As a result, Hanuman fell onto the earth and became unconscious. Hanuman was the son of Air Lord (Vayuputra) who became furious with this crooked act of Indra. Annoyed, Vayudev took away all air from the earth. The life of living beings got in danger. Later, Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh) and other deities revived the child Hanuman. 

Several true stories mentioned in holy books reveal that arrogant Indra keeps doing such notorious acts leading all in trouble.

Aforesaid, facts prove:-

  • Lord Indra is an Alcoholic Elixir.
  • Indra is noted for his virility.
  • Indra is hedonistic and deceitful.
  • God of war is not robust. Indra always fears of losing his throne.
  • Indra Dev and his Heaven are subject to destruction.

With the facts highlighted, it becomes clear that Heaven is not a happy abode. Then which is the ultimate happy abode which should be aimed by seekers?

Satlok is the Eternal Abode

Devotees after reading this write-up by now would have become confident that there is no point worshipping to attain Heaven and a question arises in the mind- Is there elsewhere; an eternal and happiness giving ultimate abode?

The answer is Yes, Satlok is the immortal abode, the residence of Param Akshar Brahm ie. Almighty KavirDev which is also the native place of all souls residing on earth. ‘Satlok’ is the happiness abode where there is no death, no old age, no vices, no misery. No one uses abusive or indecent language in Satlok. There, the brightness of the body of all souls is equivalent to that of sixteen suns. 

Satlok can be attained by doing true worship of Almighty Kabir by taking refuge from the true spiritual leader. Great Tatvadarshi Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj is the Enlightened Saint to date, who provides salvation mantras chanting which seekers attain the ultimate abode ie. ‘Satlok’ reaching where the soul never comes back in this deceased world and complete salvation is attained. 

Important - Supreme God Kabir comes in all ages on earth to liberate his souls from the web of butcher Brahm-Kaal. He meets virtuous souls, takes them to Satlok. On the way, He shows them regions of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Heaven, Hell. The eye-witnesses describe their experience. God Kabir also introduces those souls to Indra Dev who admits to them that he is in the cycle of birth and rebirth and after completing his tenure he becomes a donkey. Heaven is subject to destruction. 

Conclusion

Indra is a demi-god. He is not above humans in terms of errors and vices. Even after the attainment of the high spiritual level of a demi-god, the arrogance, pride, and ego remain intact in him. Indra and his kingdom remain in constant threat from demons who intend to usurp his kingdom in heaven and Indra keeps fighting. He is never at peace. His abode is not a happy abode. 

Almighty KavirDev tells in his nectar speech

इंद्र दा राज काग की विष्ठा, ना भोगा इंद्राणी नूँ ।
सुखदेव पास पुरन्दा आई, जाके ध्यान लगे निरबानी नू ।।

Therefore, it is the advice to devotees also to all readers; instead of aiming to attain Heaven seekers should aim to attain the eternal abode ‘Satlok’.