A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Rain Gods – Lord Indra

Indra was the King of gods and also referred to as Devendra, god of gods. The Vedic Indra was a very important god of the Hindu pantheon but by the Puranic times, the status of Indra had been significantly lowered, especially due to the rise of other gods like Vishnu, Shiva and others. Our focus here will be Indra of the Vedic times.
During the Vedic times, Indra was amongst the most important gods along with Agni and Surya. Indra was the god of skies with thunder and lightning on two of his hands and according to some hymns was the twin brother of Agni, thus was the son of Heaven and Earth and as we saw earlier, Indra was responsible for separating the two from the eternal embrace.
Indra killing Vrtra
However, the most important aspect of Indra is his conflict with Vrtra who is variously depicted sometimes as a demon and sometimes as a serpent. Vrtra is derived from the root word vr which means “to cover or to envelope”. In the Vedic times when rains became a need of the pastoral life, then Indra became the heroic rain god. He was also seen as a fertility god with his consort Indrani who stood for earth. Indra thus was the god of rains as well as fertility (no different from the other cultures as we have already seen) and his principal adversary was the cloud demon who had hidden all the waters of the land within itself. There are numerous hymns depicting the battle between Indra and Vrtra after which Indra vanquishes the demonic Vrtra to release all the waters from Vrtra as rain. 
Another reference of this confict says that Vrtra had taken control of all the five elements of the world, viz. earth, water, lustre, wind and ether collectively the life-sap of the world. The battle rages and Indra releases one by one each element after smashing Vrtra with his thunderbolt. There are a number of references of Vrtra all in different forms, which come in conflict with Indra with the latter being victorious at the end of it. The entire conflict is to be seen in the form of natural occurrences, every aspect of which is found in nature. The clouds gather all the waters only to release at a point of time. When the clouds get heavy and they don’t ‘release’ the waters, thunder and lightning force them to release the same. The conflict between Indra and Vrtra brings out this seasonal phenomenon very beautifully.
Many scholars have opined that Indra was a mortal hero who during the Vedic times was elevated to a divine status. Acts of his heroism and valour are captured in numerous hymns in Rig Veda. He was demoted from his position during the Puranic times where his role was limited to sending apsaras to seduce sages and relatively minor gods too could hurt his much-maligned status. But that is another subject. All said and done, Indra continued to be the king of gods and the god of rains of the Hindu pantheon.

With this we conclude the myths of Rain gods.
After rains comes the rainbow…..Keep reading....


  1. A nice one. I am also interested in the epics and what they mean to us! Basically how did they influence the so called Indian (Hindu)psyche. Indra is known even in Thailand, where I used to live for a while!

    1. The Blog has a number of articles on the epics, you can type Mahabharata and/or Ramayana and find the related articles. There is also an article on Ramayana, the Thai version, do read it too. Utkarsh