The march of ants (A Parade of Ants)


 

Indra: King of the Gods

Indra: King of the Gods

#1: Indra: God of Weather and War, King of the Gods

Image source: #1: Indra: King of the Gods

Bronze sculpture of Hindu God Indra

Bronze sculpture of Hindu God Indra

#2: Hindu God Indra
Nepal Kathmandu Valley 16th century gilt bronze with gemstones

Image source: #2: Bronze sculpture of Hindu God Indra

Airavat

Airavat

#4: Airavat: Multi-trunked king-god of elephants is the mount of God Indra
from Hindu mythology, at Juna Mahal, Dungarpur.
#5: God Indra

Image source: #4: Airavat

 

 

Indra and Vrtrá


God Indra
God Indra
Image source: photobucket.com

Vrtrá
Vrtrá
Image source: www.amazon.com

King of gods kills the vritrasura with a thunderbolt
King of gods kills the vritrasura with a thunderbolt
Image source: commons.wikimedia.org
Reference: en.wikipedia.org: Vritra

Vrtrá, an asura, stole all the water in the world and Indra drank much Soma to prepare himself for the battle with the huge serpent. He passed through Vrtrá's ninety-nine fortresses, slew the monster and brought water back to Earth.

In a later version of the story, Vrtrá was created by Tvashtri to get revenge for Indra's murder of his son, Trisiras, a pious Brahmin whose increase of power worried Indra. Vrtrá won the battle and swallowed Indra, but the other gods forced him to vomit Indra out. The battle continued and Indra fled. Vishnu and the Rishis brokered a truce, and Indra swore he would not attack Vrtrá with anything made of metal, wood, or stone, nor anything that was dry or wet, or during the day or the night.

Indra used the foam from the waves of the ocean to kill Vrtrá at twilight.

Here is another version:
Vrtrá, a monsterous asura, was created by Tvashtri to get revenge for Indra's murder of his son, Trisiras, a pious Brahmin whose increase of power worried Indra. Vrtrá sat on Himalayan mountain in the shape of a dragon and blocked all the waters running up to heaven and down to earth. Indra drank much Soma to prepare himself for the battle with the huge serpent. Vrtrá won the battle and swallowed Indra, but the other gods forced him to vomit Indra out. The battle continued and Indra fled. Vishnu and the Rishis brokered a truce, and Indra swore he would not attack Vrtrá with anything made of metal, wood, or stone, nor anything that was dry or wet, or during the day or the night.

Indra used the thunderbolt to kill the dragon at twilight.

 

 

Indra and the Ants


Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu
Image source: photobucket.com

In this story from the Brahmavaivarta Purana, Indra defeats Vrtrá and releases the waters. Elevated to the rank of King of the gods, Indra orders the heavenly craftsman, Vishvakarma, to build him a grand palace. Full of pride, Indra continues to demand more and more improvements for the palace. At last, exhausted, Vishvakarma asks Brahma the Creator for help. Brahma in turn appeals to Vishnu, the Supreme Being.

Vishnu visits Indra's palace in the form of a brahmin boy; Indra welcomes him in. Vishnu praises Indra's palace, casually adding that no former Indra had succeeded in building such a palace. At first, Indra is amused by the brahmin boy's claim to know of former Indras. But the amusement turns to horror as the boy tells about Indra's ancestors, about the great cycles of creation and destruction, and even about the infinite number of worlds scattered through the void, each with its own Indra. The boy claims to have seen them all. During the boy's speech, a procession of ants had entered the hall. The boy saw the ants and laughed. Finally humbled, Indra asks the boy why he laughed. The boy reveals that the ants are all former Indras.

Another visitor enters the hall. He is Shiva, in the form of a hermit. On his chest lies a circular cluster of hairs, intact at the circumference but with a gap in the middle. Shiva reveals that each of these chest hairs corresponds to the life of one Indra. Each time a hair falls, one Indra dies and another replaces him.

No longer interested in wealth and honor, Indra rewards Vishvakarma and releases him from any further work on the palace. Indra himself decides to leave his life of luxury to become a hermit and seek wisdom. Horrified, Indra's wife Shuchi asks the priest Brihaspati to change her husband's mind. He teaches Indra to see the virtues of both the spiritual life and the worldly life. Thus, at the end of the story, Indra learns how to pursue wisdom while still fulfilling his kingly duties.

 

 

 

 

The March of Ants


Indra
Indra: The king of gods
Image source: en.wikipedia.org

Vishvakarma
Vishvakarma: The divine architect of Universe
Image source:   en.wikipedia.org

Vishnu
Lord Vishnu
Image source:   en.wikipedia.org

Lord Vishnu
The deity Vishnu reclines on the coil of the great serpent Shesha, while the four-headed Brahma springs from his navel. Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort, caresses his feet with devotion.
Image source:   Wikimedia.org

Shiva
Lord Shiva
Image source:   en.wikipedia.org
Image source: photobucket.com

Vrtrá, a monsterous asura, was created by Tvashtri to get revenge for Indra's murder of his son, Trisiras, a pious Brahmin whose increase of power worried Indra. Vrtrá sat on Himalayan mountain in the shape of a dragon and blocked all the waters running up to heaven and down to earth. Indra drank much Soma to prepare himself for the battle with the huge serpent. Vrtrá won the battle and swallowed Indra, but the other gods forced him to vomit Indra out. The battle continued and Indra fled. Vishnu and the Rishis brokered a truce, and Indra swore he would not attack Vrtrá with anything made of metal, wood, or stone, nor anything that was dry or wet, or during the day or the night. Indra used the thunderbolt to kill the dragon at twilight.

Having saved the world from a great disaster, Indra was elevated to the king of the gods. He went up to Mount Mero, the cosmic mountain, the axis mundi, and decided to build the finest palace worthy of such as he. He summoned for the services of Vishvakarma, the divine architect of Universe.
The god of arts and crafts went to work on the project, and in a quick order built a splendid palace marvelous with gardens, lakes and towers. But when Indra came to inspect it, he wasn't satisfied and demanded additional terraces and pavilions, more ponds, groves and pleasure grounds. As the work progressed, whenever Indra arrived to appraise the work, he had bigger ideas about how grandiose the palace should be. Finally the miraculous carpenter, brought to despair, realized that he had to do something to stop the king's folie.

Vishvakarma decided to seek assistance from above and turned to Brahma, the world creator. Brahma sat on a lotus, the symbol of divine energy and compassion. The lotus grew from the navel of Lord Vishnu, the maintainer of world order, who was asleep on the Cosmic Ocean dreaming up the Universe. So the carpentor presented his case to Brama. Brama said," you go home. I will fix this up." Brama, after consulting his beloved Vedas, found out he was way over his heads, all four of them. He got off his lotus and knelt down to address His Lord Supreme. Vishnu, in half asleep, responded,"Don't worry, I shall dream up something."

The next day, a most beautiful blue-black brahmin boy appeared at the entrance and announce his visit to the king. The boy, slender, some ten years old, radiant with the luster of wisdom was invited in. Seated on his golden throne, the king god asked for the purpose of the venerable boy's visit.
"Well," replied the boy with dark and brilliant eyes and a deep voice like thunder rolling on the horizon," I have been told that you are building a palace mightier than those built by all of the Indras before you."
The king god was perplexed by this mere boy's pretension to a knowledge of Indras earlier than himself. He asked for the multitudes of Indras that the boy had seen or at least had heard.

The Power of Myth: The boy said,"Indras before you. I have seen them come and go, come and go. Just think, Vishnu sleeps in the cosmic ocean, and the lotus of the universe grows from his navel. On the lotus sits Brahma, the creator. Brahma opens his eyes, and a world comes into being, governed by an Indra. Brahma closes his eyes, and a world goes out of being. The life of a Brahma is four hundred and thirty-two thousand years. When he dies, the lotus goes back, and another lotus is formed, and another Brahma. Then think of the galaxies beyond galaxies in infinite space, each a lotus with a Brahma sitting on it openin his eyes, closing his eyes. And Indras? There may be wise men in your court who would volunteer to count the drops of water in the oceans of the world or the grains of sand on the beaches, but no one would count those Brahmas, let alone those Indras."

While the boy was talking, an army of ants had emerged in the hall and paraded across the floor in military style. The boy laughed when he saw them, and Indra's hairs stood on end, "Why do you laugh?", stammered Indra,"who are you? why you know so much? What are these ants doing here?" "The truth hurts." answered the boy,"Don't ask unless---you really want to know?"
The now humble Indra said, "I am asking and I want to know. Please teach."
Thus requested to teach, the boy pointed to the ants and said,"These ants are all former Indras. Each, like you, by virtue of courageous act once ascended to the rank of king god. But now, through many lifetimes of pompous deeds, each has become again an ant.

While the boy revealed to Indra the hidden wisdom of reincarnation, an old yogi appeared on the scene. He had the appearance of a hermit. He wore a black deerskin around his loins and he carried a grass parasol. On his chest was a circular cluster of hair, It was intact at the circumference, but in the middle all the hairs had fallen out. He squatted on the floor and remained there motionless. Whereupon the boy greeted the holy man, asking the very questions just what Indra was about to ask. "Who are you, where is your house and why you are here? What is the meaning of this grass parasol? And what causes that curious pattern of hair on your chest?

Patiently the old yogi smiled and replied. "Hairy is my name and I haved come here to pay my respect to the king god. I have no family and I don't have a house. I exist by begging alms. To shield myself from sun and rain I carry this parasol of grass."
"As to the circle of hair on my chest. Every time an Indra dies, one hair drops. That is why, in the center all the hairs have gone. Pretty soon they will all be gone and I myself shall die too. Life is short; what is the use of a family, or of a house?
"Every blink of the great Vishnu registers the passing of a Brahma. Life is short; that is why I devote myself to meditate on the lotus-feet of supreme Vishnu, and think of eternity."

Then the two vanished. The boy was Vishnu, the Lord Protector, and the old yogi was Shiva, the destroyer of the world. The king god was alone, sitting there on his golden throne, baffled and pondered. He no longer felt any desire to magnify his heavenly splendor. He summoned and informed Vishvakarma his decision of quitting the building of palace.

Indra had acquired wisdom and wished only to be free. He prepared to retire to the hermit life of the wilderness. When his beautiful queen, Shachi, heard of Indra's plan, she went to their priest, the Lord of Magic Wisdom, Brihaspati. She implored him to change her husband's mind.

The Power of Myth: So they sat down before the king's throne, and the priest said, "I wrote a book for you many years ago on the art of politics. Now you are in the position of the king of the gods. You are a manifestation of the mystery of Brahma in the field of time. This is a high privilege. Appreciate it, honor it, and deal with life as though you were what you really are. And besides, now I am going to write you a book on the art of love so that you and your wife will know that in the wonderful mystery of the two that are one, the Brahma is radiantly present also." And with this set of instructions, Indra gave up his idea of going out and becoming a yogi and found that, in life, he could represent the eternal as a symbol of the Brahma.



The Art of Love----Oh! Calcutta Delight.


The girls in Professor Albertson’s class resent the way he keeps introducing sexual innuendo in his lectures. They agree to walk out the next time he says anything sexual. The next day in class, Professor Albertson is discussing India and can’t help but introduce sexually explicit material. “Indian men,” he mentions, “are notorious lovers. Some of them are able to maintain an erection for days.” With this, the girls jump up and start to march out of the room. The professor says, “Don’t rush. The next plane to Calcutta isn’t until tomorrow morning.”

 

 



A Hindu Parable: A Parade of Ants


God Indra
God Indra
Image source: photobucket.com

Indra slew the Dragon that had been resting on the mountains in the shape of a cloud, holding the waters of heaven captive in its belly. The waters burst free and streamed in ribbons across the land, to circulate once more through the body of the world.

This flood is the flood of life and belongs to all. It is the sap of field and forest, the blood cursing in the vein. The monster had taken it for him self, away from the world. But now it was released and the gods returned.

During the reign of the Dragon the majestic mansions of the city of the Gods had crumbled and cracked. The first act of Indra was to rebuild them. He summoned Vishvakarnan, the God of arts and crafts to build a place fitting the unequaled splendor of the king of the Gods. Vishvakarnan created a shining residence, marvelous with palaces and gardens, lakes and towers. But Indra was not satisfied. He wanted more of everything. Give me bigger ponds, trees, towers and golden palaces! Whenever Vishvakarnan was done with one thing Indra wanted yet another. The divine craftsman was in deep despair. So he complained to the creator Brahma, the Universal Spirit, who abides far above the Gods. Brahma comforted him: Go home, you will soon be relieved of your burden. Brahma then approached Vishnu, the Supreme Being of whom he, Brahma, the creator was but an agent. Vishnu listened and nodded his head.

Early the next morning a Brahmin boy appeared at the gate of the palace asking to see the great Indra, the king of the gods. The boy was slender, ten years old, blue of color and radiant with wisdom. The king welcomed the boy with gifts of honey, milk and fruits. "Oh, tell me, venerable boy, why did you come here?" asked Indra. The beautiful child replied with a voice that was as deep and soft as the slow thundering of rain clouds. "Oh, King of the Gods, I have heard of this palace you are building and have come to ask you some questions. How many years will it take to finish this rich and extensive residence? Surely no Indra before you have ever succeeded in completing such a task."

Indra was amused by the boy. How could this child have known any Indras other than himself? " Tell me child! " he said in a fatherly manner, "How many other Indras have you have seen - or heard of?

The boy replied in a voice as warm and sweet as milk from a cow, but with words that sent a slow chill through Indra's veins. " My dear child, "said the boy " I knew your father, the Old Tortoise Man, progenitor of all the creatures on the earth. And I knew you grandfather, Beam of Celestial Light, who was the son of Brahma. Also I know Brahma, brought forth by Vishnu from a lotus growing from Vishnu's navel. And Vishnu too the Supreme Being, I know."

"Oh king of Gods, I have seen the dreadful dissolution of the universe. I have seen it all perish again and again, at the end of each cycle. At that time every single atom dissolves into the primal pure waters of eternity, whence originally all arose. Who will count the universes that have passed away, or the creations that have risen afresh, again and again from the formless abyss of the vast waters? Who will search through the wide infinities of space to count the universes existing side by side, each containing its own Brahma, its Vishnu and its Shiva? Who will count the Indras in them all? "

As they were talking a procession of ants had made its appearance into the hall. In military precision, the tribe of ants paraded across the floor. The boy noticed them and stared and suddenly laughed. " Why do you laugh?" stammered Indra. The boy answered:" I laughed because of the ants. Tell me why! Pleaded the king. " I saw the ants filing in a long parade. Each of them was once an Indra. Like you, each by virtue of his deeds ascended to the rank of king of the gods. But now through many rebirths each has become again an ant. This army of ants is an army of former Indras.

Piety and high deeds elevate the inhabitants of the world to the glorious realm of gods and goddesses, or even higher to the domains of Brahma and Shiva and to the highest sphere of Vishnu. But wicked acts sink them into the worlds beneath, into pits of grief and sorrow, reincarnated among vermin and pigs and animals of the wild or among insects. It is through deeds that one attains happiness or anguish and becomes a master and a serf.

Life is a cycle of the countless rebirths like a vision in a dream. Perishable as bubbles are the good and evil beings of the dream. In unending cycles good and evil alternate. Hence the wise is attached to neither." Shaken the king Indra sat in wonder. The events seemed to him to have been but a dream. But he no longer felt any desire to magnify his magnificent splendor. He now desired redemption. He wished only to be free. So he sent the divine craftsman home with gifts and thanks. Thus the king of the Gods was humiliated in his boundless pride, cured of his excessive ambition and made to understand his proper role in the wheel of unending life.

( Adapted from Bramavaivarta Purana, Krishna-janma Khanda)

 

 

The Humbling of Indra - a story from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana


Krishna and Radha
Krishna and Radha
Image source: www.flickr.com

Narada asked Narayana, "O ocean of compassion, what further questions were put by Radha to Lord Hari when their amorous pastimes were over? What was said by Hari to her? Please reveal this matter to me."

Narayana replied, "Lord Hari thereafter finished his enjoyments with Radha and sat down at the root of the graceful fig tree. Then Radha questioned the smiling, lovely Hari about the pleasing, mysterious account of the humiliation of Indra. Sri Krishna said: 'Listen to the story of the humiliation of the king of the Devas, celebrated throughout the three worlds. It is as pleasing as a drop of nectar to the ears.'

(Part I)

Indra, the vanquisher of demons, with a view to chastise his enemy Vritrasura, constructed the thunderbolt with the bones of the great Muni Dadhichi and killed Vritrasura who was a thorn in the way of the Devas.

During the period of the supremacy of Vritrasura, the majestic mansions of the lofty city of the Devas had cracked and crumbled. Indra on his part deputed the divine architect Vishvakarma to reconstruct heaven. Within a year, Vishvakarma completed the construction with excellent gems and wonderful diamonds. There were marvelous palaces, gardens, lakes and towers. It looked very lovely indeed, nay, it was incomparable in the world. But Indra was not, even then, satisfied. The demands of Indra became more exacting and his unfolding visions vaster. He required additional terraces and pavilions, more ponds, groves, and pleasure grounds. Whenever Indra arrived to appraise the work of Vishvakarma, he developed vision beyond vision of marvels remaining to be contrived.

Vishvakarma, unable to leave without Indra's command, sought the protection of Brahma, who, knowing his purpose, addressed him, "Tomorrow, you will be freed from your task." Hearing this, Vishvakarma soon went back to heaven. On the other hand, Brahma went to Vaikuntha, bowed to the Supreme Being Hari, and announced his will. In beatific silence Hari gave ear, and by a mere nod of the head let it be known that the request of Vishvakarma would be fulfilled. Consoled, Brahma returned to Brahmaloka.

Early next morning, a Brahmin boy, carrying a staff and a parasol, dressed in white, with a bright mark on his forehead, made his appearance at the gate of Indra, bidding the porter announce his visit to the king. The gateman hurried to the master, and the master hastened to the entrance to welcome the auspicious guest. The boy was about ten years old, dwarfish, smiling, and radiant with the luster of wisdom. Indra discovered the boy amidst a cluster of enraptured, staring children. The kind bowed to the holy child and the boy cheerfully gave his blessing. Having greeted the boy with oblations of honey and milk, Indra asked him, "Tell me the purpose of your arrival."

That Brahmin who was the Guru of the Guru even of Brihaspati, when he heard the words of Indra, replied with a voice that was as deep and soft as the slow thundering of auspicious rain clouds, "O king of the Devas, I have heard about the construction of your wonderful city, and have come to refer you the questions in my mind. How many years will it require to complete this rich and extensive residence? What further feats of engineering will Vishvakarma be expected to accomplish? O Highest of the Devas, no Indra before you has ever succeeded in effecting such a construction."

Full of the wine of triumph, the king of the Devas was entertained by this mere boy's pretension to a knowledge of Indras earlier than himself. With a loud laugh, he asked, "O Brahmin boy, Tell me! Are they then very many, the Indras and Vishvakarmas whom you have seen, or at least heard of?"

The wonderful guest calmly nodded and addressed Indra using words delightful to the ears like nectar, "My dear child, I knew your father, Prajapati Kashyapa and your grandfather Marichi, the saint whose wealth consisted in his devotion. Marichi was begotten of Brahma, who in turn was brought forth by Vishnu from His navel. And Vishnu Himself, the Supreme Being, supporting Brahma in his creative endeavor - Him too, I know.

"O king of the Devas, I have known the dreadful dissolution of the universe, turning it into a huge mass of water void of all sign of animate being. I have seen all perish again and again, at the end of every cycle. Who will count the universes that have passed away, or the creations that have arisen again and again, from the formless abyss of the vast waters? Who will search through the wide infinity of space to count the universes side by side, each containing its own Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva? Who will number the Indras in them all, reigning in all the innumerable worlds; those others who have passed away before them; or even the Indras who succeed each other in any given line, one by one, ascending to kingship, and one by one, passing away? O king of the Devas, there are among your servants who maintain that it may be possible to number the grains of sand on earth and the drops of rain that fall from the sky, but no one will ever number all those Indras. This is what the Knowers Know.

"The life and kingship of one Indra endure seven yugas, and when 28 Indras have expired, one day and night of Brahma has elapsed. But the existence of one Brahma, measured in such Brahma days and nights, is only one hundred and eight years. Brahma follows Brahma, one sinks, the next arises; the endless series cannot be told. There is no end to the number of Brahmas, to say nothing of Indras.

As delicate boats float on the waters of the world, the Brahmandas (egg of Brahma - the genesis of creation) float on the fathomless, pure waters that form the body of Vishnu. Out of every pore of the body of Vishnu, a universe bubbles and breaks. Will you presume to count them? Will you calculate the gods in all those worlds - the worlds present and the worlds past?"

While the best of the beings was speaking thus, a procession of ants had made its appearance in the hall. In an array, in a column four yards wide, the tribe paraded across the floor. The boy noted them and laughed loudly, but immediately subsided into a profoundly indrawn and deep silence.

Indra, when he heard the ballad of the Brahmin boy and witnessed his laugh, was astonished. The king's throat, lips and palate had gone dry, and he stammered, "O Brahmin, why did you laugh? Who are you in the disguise of a boy? You seem to me an Ocean of Virtues, enshrouded in deluding mist."

The magnificient boy resumed, "I laughed because of the ants. The cause is mysterious. Do not ask me to disclose it. The seed of woe and the fruit of wisdom are enclosed within this secret. It is the secret that smites with an axe the tree of worldly vanity, hews away its roots, and scatters its crown. This secret is a lamp to those groping in ignorance. This secret lies buried in the wisdom of the ages, and is rarely revealed even to saints. This secret is the living air of those Yogis who, versed in the Vedas, renounce and transcend mortal existence; but it crushes the pride of foolish worldlings."

The Brahmin boy, having said so, paused with a smile. Whereupon Indra regarded him, unable to move, and with his lips, throat and palate parched again, asked, "O son of a Brahmin, I do not know who you are in the guise of a boy. You seem to be Wisdom incarnate. Reveal to me this secret of the ages, this light that dispels the dark."

Thus requested to teach, the boy opened to the god the hidden wisdom rarely acquired even by the Yogis, "I saw the ants, O Indra, filing in long parade. Each was once an Indra. Like you, each by virtue of Karma once ascended to the rank of an Indra. But now, through many rebirths, each has become again an ant. This army is an army of former Indras.

"Piety and high deeds elevate the inhabitants of the world to the glorious realm of heaven or the domains of Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva, but wicked acts sink them into the worlds beneath, into pits of pain and sorrow, involving reincarnation among birds and vermin, or out of the wombs of pigs and animals of the wild, or among trees, or insects. It is by Karma that one attains to the position of a Brahmin or a god or Indra or Brahma or acquires happiness or sorrow. It is through Karma that one becomes a master or a servant, acquires beauty or deformity, or is reborn in the condition of a monster. This Karma is subservient to character which in its turn is controlled by habit.

"This is the whole substance of the secret. This wisdom is the ferry to happiness and beatitude, across the ocean of hell.

"Life in the cycle of the countless rebirths is like a vision in a dream. The animate and inanimate objects of the world are like apparitions in this phantasy. But Death administers the law of time. Ordained by time, Death is the master of all. Perishable as bubbles are the good and evil of the beings of the dream. Hence, the wise are attached to neither, neither good nor evil. The wise are not attached to anything at all."

The great Vipra (learned person) concluded the appalling lesson and quietly regarded his host. The king of the Devas, for all his celestial splendor, had been reduced in his own regard to insignificance. Meanwhile, another amazing apparition had entered the hall. It was a very old ascetic, great in wisdom and years...

(Part II)

The great Muni (sage) was dressed in the skin of a black deer, and had a bright mark on his forehead. His head was piled with matted hair, shaded by a paltry parasol of grass. The cluster of hair on his chest was circular and intact at the circumference, but in the center had disappeared. This saintly figure strode directly to Indra and the boy, squatted between them on the floor, and there remained, motionless as a rock.

The great Indra, when he saw the newcomer, joyfully bowed to him, reverentially offered him oblations of honey and milk, humbly enquired into his welfare, and with pleasure and esteem offered him the hospitality due to a guest. Whereupon the boy addressed the holy man, asking the very questions Indra himself would have proposed, "O Brahmin, whence have you come? What is your name and what brings you to this place? Where is your home and what is the meaning of the grass parasol over your head? Why in your chest is the circle of hair dense at the circumference, but almost bare at the center? Be kind enough to answer, in brief, these questions. I am anxious to understand."

The Muni, hearing the words of the boy, slowly began his reply, "My name is Lomasha (the hairy one). The cause of my arrival is to behold Indra. Since I know I am short-lived, I have decided to build no house, neither to marry nor to seek a livelihood. I exist by begging alms. To shield myself from sun and rain I carry over my head this parasol of grass. As to the circle of hair on my chest, it is a source of fear to the people of the world, but nevertheless teaches wisdom. With the fall of an Indra, one hair drops. That is why in the center all the hairs have gone. When the other half of the period allotted to Brahma expires, I myself am destined to die. O Brahmin boy, it follows that I am somewhat short of days; what, therefore, is the use of a wife and a son, or of a house?

"When the mere twinkle of the eyes of Hari causes the fall of a Brahma, it necessarily follows that all this is unreal. That is why I am always thinking of the incomparable lotus-feet of Hari. Faith in Hari is greater than redemption and is rarely to be secured. All prosperity is transient like a dream and interferes with one's belief in Hari. Shambhu (Shiva), the highest spiritual guide, taught me this wonderful wisdom, and void of faith, I do not wish to attain even the four kinds of redemption - Salokya, etc."

So saying, the Muni abruptly vanished and returned to Kailasa, for He had been Shiva Himself, and Vishnu in the guise of the boy also disappeared. Indra was amazed to behold this wonderful phenomenon, which seemed to him to have been a dream. He no longer felt the slightest desire to secure worldly prosperity. The lord of a hundred sacrifices (i.e. Indra, who is known as Shatakratu since he achieved his position as the king of the Devas by performing a hundred sacrifices) summoned Vishvakarma, graciously greeted him with sweet words, heaped on him a very large number of precious gems, then with a sumptuous celebration, sent him home.

Indra now desired redemption, having acquired wisdom. He entrusted the pomp and burden of his office to his son, and prepared to retire to the forest. Shachi, his beautiful and passionate queen, was overcome with grief, and resorted to Indra's spiritual guide, Brihaspati. She implored him to divert her husband's mind from its stern resolve. The spiritual guide conducted her to the presence of Indra, and according to the rules of ethics, Shachi comforted her husband. Brihaspati himself composed a treatise dealing with the stratagems of married love, and expounded its doctrines to Indra. This priceless book established on sound foundations the married life of the reunited pair.

----

Hari concluded the story and said to Radha, "O Devi, I have narrated to you everything connected with the humiliation of Indra, and how he was once cured of excessive ambition."

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[Ramana Maharshi narrated, with a slight variation, the above story of Lomasha Maharshi and said that one should never be proud of a long life.]

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"He is never born, nor does he die at any time, nor having once come to be will he again cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, permanent and primeval.
He is not slain when the body is slain." -Bhagavad Gita
"What then is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I want to explain it to someone, I do not know." -St. Augustine

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Original puranic version: Curbing the pride of Indra

Source: library.utoronto.ca Brahma-Vaivarta Puranam - Translated by Rajendra Nath Sen, 1922 (pages 305-312)
archive.org Brahma-Vaivarta Puranam - Translated by Rajendra Nath Sen, 1922 (pages 305-312)

The Humbling of Indra Curbing the pride of Indra The Humbling of Indra Curbing the pride of Indra The Humbling of Indra Curbing the pride of Indra The Humbling of Indra