Lord Indra: The Leader & King of Gods
Lord Indra is believed to be the Leader of Gods. He is the ruler of heaven or the Swarga-loka. He is also the God of Rain and Storms. He rides the white elephant known as Airavata and has a horse named Uchchaishrava. He lives in the Mount Meru in the heaven. Indra is known to be a very mischievous Lord, who gets into trouble easily. He is also punished for the same reasons.
Indra is known by many other names like Sakra – powerful one, Vṛṣan – mighty, Devaraja – King of Deities, Vṛtrahan, Meghavāhana – he whose vehicle is a cloud, Devendra – the Lord of Deities, Surendra – Chief of Deities, Svargapati – the Lord of Heaven, Vajrapani – he who holds a thunderbolt, Vasava – Lord of Vasus and many more.
Indra is believed to be golden in colour with gold nails, hair, and body. He wore perfumed garments and rode a golden chariot.
According to Hindu mythology, he was born with his brother Agni from the mouth of the primitive god. He controls the universe and balances the earth on his palm. He is the creator of the rivers and streams and shaped the mountains and valleys using his sacred axe.
He along with Varuna, the Rain God and Mitra is one of the Adityas, who are the Chief Gods of the Rigveda. He enjoys drinking soma, and is a fun-loving God.
He defeated the Vrtra and became a hero by freeing all the rivers. He also smashed off the vala cave where the panis had locked up cows called Ushas or Dawn.
He also broke the Stone Fortress of Dasyu. He is believed to have persistently fought against Asuras or the demons that opposed the Gods. Indra is also believed to be the God of Directs, particularly the East. There are 250 hymns in Rig-Veda especially dedicated to Indra.
He is said to be a romantic person, who leads a jolly life amidst beautiful women. The angels in heaven called as Apsaras and Gandharvas dance and entertain Indra. Indra’s court is filled with celestial sages, angels, kings and warriors.
Though the Vedas boast of his characters, later on in the history, as other Gods including the Trimurthis were created, Indra became a notorious God, who was constantly punished for his misdeeds.
He is not worshipped, or there are no temples for him because he was cursed that way.
The weapon in Indra’s hand is the Vajrayudha meaning a lightning thunderbolt. He also used bow, net, and hook. Infact, the rainbow is believed to be Indra’s bow, thus the name Indradhanush.
He is married to Shachi Devi also known as Indrani and Pulomaja. He has two daughters named Jayanti and Devasena. Jayanti married Shukracharya while Devasena wedded Kartikeya.
In many stories, he is portrayed in a less favourable light making him the troubled God. But yet, he is still considered the Leader of the Gods.