Narach Philosophy

THE GODS OF THE VEDAS: INDRA


We saw that the direction of the point of the Golden Egg, representing Ether, was turned to the East in order to indicate the position of Agni, who is said to be the regent of the eastern world; similarly its point must be turned to the South to indicate the position of Indra, said to be the lord of the southern region. The following figure would, accordingly, represent Indra.

Idea of Indra: We see from the figure that Indra faces the region of the Mind, to which his energy flows down, in the direction of Ether. Accordingly he is a god of Buddhi, one degree higher than the Mind; and we see that the line of his name is a Purushic one.

We have already pointed out that Agni represents Buddhi energy associated with Purushic Ether and the senses of knowledge, while Indra represents the same energy in relation to Prakrtic Ether and the senses of action; and inasmuch as action is related to the energy of the Heart, often identified with breath or air, the element of action, and the Heart is akin to the Mind, Indra is associated with all of these. If this is correct, we should get an indication of the idea of Indra from the letters composing his name.

Name Indra: According to our analysis, Indra may be resolved into I, n, d, r, a; and would mean, a giver (d) of Buddhi (a) associated with Mind (i), Purushic Ether (n) and Prakrtic Ether (r, speed or change of place in motion, characteristic of Prakrtic Ether) Thus we see that the Indra idea arises from the twofold character of Ether (represented by the letters n and r), and is associated with the energy of Buddhi and Mind.

Idam-Dra: Indra is spoken of as Idam-dra in the Upanishads and the literal meaning of the expression is, This (Idam) is dra; and dra (d, r, a) would mean, a giver (d) of Prakrtic Ether (r) in relation to Buddhi (a); and we see that this conveys the idea of Indra exactly as explained.

A Buddhi God: As Indra is characterised by Buddhi, he is identified with Surya or the Sun, symbolizing it.

Indra and the Mind: Inasmuch as he is associated with the Mind, he is spoken of as the lord of thunder, and thunder armed and goes to work with lightning flashes, and his bolt is irresistible. Further, he has the Moon for his confederate, in whose mansion dwells his creative power he is the lord of Soma, identified with Mind or the Moon; drinks Soma juice, the energy of the Mind; and in the rapture of his draughts performs his wonderful deeds.

Indra and Heart Energy: It has been shown that the energy of the Mind is akin to that of the Heart, which is characterised by self-conscious Atman, Prana or breath and so is Indra identified with Prana or breath, or the conscious self (Prajnatman).

Indra and Ether: Birth of Indra: It has been observed that the idea of Agni and Indra arises out of the twofold character of Ether, Purushic and Prakrtic, the former being associated with Agni, and the latter with Indra; and in the light of this we have explained how Dyu and Prthvi (our planet Earth) are spoken of as the parents of Agni. If this explains the birth of Agni, it should do so of Indra too, for both of them arise from the same twofold character of Ether viewed in relation to Buddhi or the energy of the Sun. Accordingly we are told that Dyu is the father of Indra, and his mother is Aditi, and one of the dictionary meanings of the latter is our planet Earth; and the dual form, Aditi, means Heaven and Earth or Dyu and Prthvi.

Indra and Vrtra: It has been pointed out that Vrtra represents Prakrti or the Golden Egg in a state of rest, and implies a negation of Motion as well as the Supreme Purusha. Accordingly, inasmuch as the flowing of the flood (Water, Prakrti) is law, he is killed, or assigned to Prakrti, by all the principal gods of the Vedas, and by none more than Indra, who represents Buddhi in relation to Prakrtic Ether (characterised by speed or change of place in motion) Indra kills him with the thunderbolt and sets the waters free to flow.

Indra and the Cow: As Indra is connected with Purushic Ether (n), he is associated with the Cow, and uncloses the firm-shut stall of the kine, bursts the mountains for them, and drives them forth.

Indra and Horses: The Horse refers to the senses and so to Ether, as already explained; and the red or the white horse is associated with Purushic and the black-red or bay with Prakrtic Ether. Accordingly, as Indra is connected with Prakrtic Ether, he is the lord of bay horses lord of horses, lord of kine giver of horses and kine and his power is linked with the bay steeds, and on both sides to his car they yoke the two bay steeds dear to him.

Indra and Agni: As has been observed both Agni and Indra are Buddhi gods and owe their origin to the twofold character of Ether; hence they are closely associated with each other, and a number of Vedic hymns are addressed jointly to them.

Indra and Two Asvins: It has been pointed out that the Horse in sacred literature refers to the senses, which relate to knowledge and action, and are associated with the twofold character of Ether, Purushic and Prakrtic; and the idea of the two Asvins or the twin Horsemen is the same. Accordingly the Asvins aid Indra in his work they are his closest friends and, with Sarasvati, invest him with heroic powers. Indra is made strong through sacrifice by Asvins and Sarasvati, and together they give him strength and Asvins, Ida, and Sarasvati in Indra's midmost navel have laid store of energy and power.

Indra and Two World-Halves: The idea of the two Asvins brings us to that of the two world-halves, for it is in Ether that the current of life breaks into two, giving us two halves, Purushic and Prakrtic corresponding to which we have the twofold character of Ether. These two are represented by Dyava-Prthvi or Heaven and Earth, as will be explained in the course of this Chapter; and we have shown how they may be conceived as the parents of Indra, Further, it might be observed that the idea of Indra in relation to Ether is twofold; he is associated with both its aspects, for Prakrtic Ether cannot be separated from the Purushic, and this gives us his connection with both the Cow and the Horse; and again he is specially associated with Prakrtic Ether, which is expressed by his love of the bay horse as well as performance of many deeds; and actions, usually regarded as Prakrtic, become Purushic or creative when performed as a sacrifice. Thus by referring to Prakrtic Ether and actions, Indra separates the two world-halves into Purushic and Prakrtic; but through the conception of actions as a sacrifice he joins them together again. Hence he separates the two world-halves, and then joins them together, and completes the work of Day (Purusha) with the Night (Prakti) sunders and churns them apart, and then joins them together by means of the two Asvins, and holds them firmly together thus discovering the hidden pair, Heaven and Earth, and being a counterpart of their union himself.

Indra as a Doer of Deeds: As the Prakrtic aspect of Ether, with its senses of action, is emphasized in Indra, he is spoken of as a doer of fair and wondrous deeds, is; a performer of many sacrifices, and is made strong through them. The idea of sacrifice as creative action has already been explained.

Indra and Three Goddesses, Ida, Mahi or Bharati, and Sarasvati: It has been pointed out that Woman in sacred literature is conceived as Prakrti or an instrument of creation accordingly the three goddesses would represent three different ways of looking at Prakrti. In this connection we have observed that the chief creative energies of life are Heart, Buddhi. Mind, and Ether; and all; except Buddhi, are characterised by duality; the Heart and Mind, being super-electric and electric, have a positive and a negative aspect; while Ether, being magnetic, has a north and a south pole; Buddhi alone, characterised by heat, is devoid of this duality. Thus Prakrti, identified with the negative aspect of electricity or the south seeking pole of a magnetic field, is associated with Heart energy, Mind, and Ether; and if this be correct, we should expect the three goddesses to represent, and Indra to be associated with, these three energies. In connection with Indra we have already shown that he is; for he is conceived as Buddhi energy associated with Mind and Ether; and Mind is akin to the Heart. It now remains to show that the three goddesses also represent the same.

Ida: If the last vowel, a, of Ida, be regarded as a mark of the feminine gender and so omitted from consideration in our letter-analysis, Ida may be resolved into I, d; and I belongs to the region of the Mind and i to that of Air in our diagram of the alphabet. The line of Ida's name may, therefore, be indicated by the following figure, and it will be seen that she represents Rajas or Mind energy as an instrument of Creation.

Mahi or Bharati: Excluding the last vowel, i, as a mark of the feminine gender, Mahi may be resolved into Ma, h; and in our diagram of the alphabet M (a) is the last letter assigned to the region of Purushic Ether, representing, as Anusvara, the union of Purusha and Prakrti; while H is the last consonant assigned to the region of the element "Earth". Mahi, therefore, may be indicated by the following figure, and it will be seen that she represents Tamas Guna, comprehending all the five elements, from Ether to "Earth"; and it has been shown that Tamas refers to Prakrti in the light of Ether.

Mahi is also called Bharati, which is a feminine form of Bharata, meaning, of Bharata; and we have shown that the latter is a name of Agni, who represents Buddhi energy associated with Purushic Ether. As Bharati is a female counterpart of this, she would refer to Prakrtic Ether; hence Mahi and Bharati are identified.

Sarasvati: Sarasvati is a feminine form of Sarasvat meaning, having saras, as the termination vat indicates possession in Sanskrt; and saras may be analyzed into sa, ras, and its meaning would be, the essence or juice (ras) of the Heart (sa or s, No. 13 in our diagram of the alphabet, represents the Heart).

Thus we see that Sarasvati represents the creative energy of the Heart Ida of the Mind; while Mahi or Bharati of Ether.

Indra and Soma: Reference has already been made to Soma, the divine nectar, the essence of the Moon, which the gods delight to drink. According to our letter analysis Soma may be resolved into Sa, u, ma, meaning, He who (Sa) is Mind (ma) in relation to Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge (u); hence his name, Rajan connected with Rajas, the Guna of the Mind. This will explain why Indra and all the gods of the Vedas delight to drink Soma, the energy of the Mind associated with the senses of knowledge; for all of them represent the great energies of life Heart, Buddhi, Mind, and Purushic Ether and of these the Mind, with the senses of knowledge, is most significant.

As will be shown in the course of this Chapter, Soma, though representing Mind energy in connection with Purushic Ether is also associated with its Prakrtic counterpart, for the two cannot be separated and are like twins; and this, as will be shown, is indicated by the "purification" of Soma. Again it has been pointed out that Indra represents Buddhi energy completed in Prakrtic Ether, and is associated with Mind energy as well as the energy of the Heart. Accordingly, Indu, which is another name for Soma (Moon or Mind energy) is Indra's self, and Indra's friend and Indra is the chief of the Soma drinking gods; hence also Soma, like Indra, is the primeval soul of sacrifice.

Indra and Agni: It has been pointed out that the idea of both Agni and Indra arises from the association of Buddhi with the twofold character of Ether. Purushic and Prakrtic; and we have seen how the idea of Agni develops into that of Indra, and the energy of the Sun (Buddhi) completes its action in Prakrtic Ether more than Purushic. Accordingly the worshipper prefers Indra and says I leave the Father (Agni), for my choice is Indra.

Indra and Varuna: The idea of Varuna will be examined in detail in due. It is enough to mention here that, according to our letter-analysis, Varuna may be resolved into Va, r, u, na, and means, a personification (a) of an energy higher than Buddhi (na), in relation to Prakrti (V), and Purushic (u) and Prakrtic Ether (r, indicating speed) As we shall see, Varuna represents an energy higher than Buddhi (the Heart), and this is indicated by the letter n, which, though it belongs to the region of Buddhi, expresses the idea of strength in a special manner. Varuna, therefore, represents the Heart (ii) conceived as Prakrtic (Va) and associated with Purushic (u) and Prakrtic Ether (r) As Indra represents Buddhi, and is associated with the Heart (higher than Buddhi) only indirectly, the Varuna idea would appear to be an advance upon the Indra idea from one point of view. This will explain the rivalry between the two deities but in the end Indra is found to supersede Varuna, and the devotee chooses Indra in preference to Agni, Varuna, and Soma. It will be interesting to understand the cause of this, for if the Varuna idea is higher than that of Indra in respect of the Heart, why is the latter preferred?

While Varuna marks an advance upon Indra in connection with the Heart, he represents the latter as Prakrtic in character. Accordingly, as will be seen from the figure representing Varuna, the Purushic half of the Golden Egg is situated below the Prakrtic one; and as Purusha must lie either above or on the Right side of Prakrti, this defect vitiates the whole conception of Varuna; hence his supersession by Indra.

The defect in the Varuna idea may also be expressed from another point of view. He represents Heart energy conceived as Prakrtic and associated with Purushic and Prakrtic Ether; and there is no reference in him to Purusha made manifest as Buddhi or Mind. Further, as we have seen in the case of Indra, the twofold character of Ether separates the universe into two world-halves; but by means of sacrifice (creative or Purushic action) the senses of action are linked up with those of knowledge as twins, and the two halves are united once more. But the idea of Purushic action or sacrifice is wanting in Varuna; and so while Indra separates the two world-halves to join them again, Heaven and Earth, (the two world-halves) by Varuna's decree stand parted each from each and he surveys them separate, well-formed, and well-fashioned.

Friendship of Indra and Varuna: But, while differing in some material points, Indra and Varuna agree in others; and both of them are by law Vrtra-slayers both are allied together both drink the Soma draught they are invoked together, and with equal honour, one being called Monarch and the other Autocrat and both are true to holy law.

Indra and Vishnu: The idea of Vishnu will be examined in detail due. It is enough to mention here that he is associated with the position of the Golden Egg in respect of the Supreme Purusha corresponding to that of "the Bowl with its mouth inclined and bottom upwards", agreeing with the idea of Vishnu as the guardian of the Dhruva or the polar region. It will be observed from the figure representing him that, like Varuna, he refers to the energy of the Heart, expressed by the letter n, and his position in respect of the Golden Egg is the most correct of all. According to our letter-analysis, Vishnu may be resolved into V, i, sh, n, u, and would mean, Heart energy (n) in connection with Prakrti (V), Mind energy, (s and i), and Purushic Ether (u).

It will be noticed that, as in the case of Varuna, there is a great deal in common between Indra and Vishnu. Accordingly Vishnu is a friend of Indra a number of Vedic hymns are addressed to them together they slay Vrtra drink Soma together and Vishnu through Indra's might strides with his three great steps.

But, as has been observed, Vishnu represents the most correct position of the universe in action, viz., the inclined one; but the point of the Golden Egg is turned vertically southwards in the case of Indra; and so he desires to give up his incorrect position and assume the more correct, or inclined, one. But, as we shall see, except in the case of Vishnu, the point of the Golden Egg in respect of the Supreme Purusha is always made to face vertically or horizontally the four cardinal directions and so Indra is told of the ancient and accepted pathway by which all the gods have come into existence, and he is asked not to destroy his conception (Mother) by seeking to alter it. But he desires to question and combat this notion, refuses to accept the vertical position of the Golden Egg assigned to him, and seems determined to issue forth from the side obliquely, like Vishnu. In the end, however, at the request of his dying Mother (his idea or conception), he is persuaded to withdraw his word and follow the path assigned to him. Had he refused to do so there would have been a confusion of thought between the Indra and Vishnu conception of the creation of the universe; and it was to prevent this that the two were kept distinct and apart.

Indra and Vayu: We have observed that both Varuna and Vishnu are associated with the energy of the Heart, expressed by the letter n as well as their position in relation to the Golden Egg. But in the case of Vayu the idea of air or breath and, through that, of the Heart, is more clearly expressed. The word commonly used for Vayu in the Rig Veda is Vata, which may be analyzed into V, a, ta, and would mean, Air or Breath (V) leading to (a) the breast (t). Thus we see that Vata or Vayu refers to breath associated with the breast or the Heart. Accordingly he is spoken of as born from the breath or Prana of the Supreme Purusha, and is said to fill our hearts with health and joy. As representing the energy of the Heart, he is the earliest born, for the Heart is the first in order of creation. For the same reason he is the Universe's Monarch, and has the voice of thunder, for the energy of Heart is electric, and so is thunder; and so is he the germ of the world, the Deities' vital spirit, and though his voice is heard, his shape is ever viewless for he is identified with Prana, the energy of the Heart, and though we can hear its voice or coming-in and going-out, no one can see its form.

Vayu or Vata, being a personification of Prana or Heart energy (t), and at the same time associated with Prakrti (V), is conceived as partly a Purushic and partly a Prakrtic energy, for such is the character of the energy of the Heart itself and so it became necessary to distinguish between the two in later sacred works of the Hindus.

Thus we see that Vayu and Indra are closely connected together, for both refer to the energy of the Heart or Prana, and through that to action, whose element is Air (Breath or Prana.) The difference between them is that while in the case of Indra his association with Heart energy is to be inferred from his description and deeds, in the case of Vayu or Vata it is direct and defined, and identified with Prana. But as Indra is a Buddhi god, the energy of the Heart is conceived as Purushic in association with him; while in the case of Vayu it is left undefined or regarded as Prakrtic (V) However, as there are several points of agreement between them, they are both spoken of as Soma drinkers, and invoked together to partake of the juice they are friendly-minded a pair, a sovereign pair of heroes and are associated with horses and cows. Maruts, who are engendered from the womb of Vayu, are the friends and helpers of Indra as well as a band of Vishnu and Maruts, as will be shown in due course, represent the twofold character of Ether, Purushic and Prakrtic, or the energy of the three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas combined, for that is the meeting place of them all.

Indra in Post-Vedic Literature: The idea of Indra in post-Vedic literature follows the line of thought in the Vedas. He is the lord of bay steeds, a protector of the cows, and is called a bull he slays Vrtra, wields the thunderbolt, drinks Soma, is the deity of sacrifice, and performs many mighty deeds. Soma is his faithful companion, but unpressed Soma does not give him any delight. He is created out of Prajapati, is the child of Dyaus, and is born from Yajna and Vak. He is identified with Surya and Vayu, is a friend of Vishnu, the lord of Maruts, and placed at the head of the Rudras. He is like Agni many prayers and offerings are made jointly to them and they are the two arms of Prajapati, Indra being the left and Agni the Right one. Again, he is conceived as the Self, as self-conscious Prana or the energy of the Heart, and to him are said to belong the in-coming and outgoing breaths as well as the vital airs of the centre of the body. Then he is thunder, he is Mind, and the Kshatriya caste is identified with him. Arjuna is his mystic name, and in the story of the Mahabharata he is spoken of as the father of the Pandava hero of that name.