Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Indra and Vritra Part 2 of 2

The Devas took the unconscious Indra to Vaikunta – Lord Vishnu's place. When Indra gained conscious, he looked at the Dark Lord, with tears streaming down his eyes. He was feeling guilty. He had again and again acted without thinking and now the whole world was paying for his mistakes. He wondered how Lord Vishnu was going to get all of them out of this mess. But Indra had no doubt that Lord Vishnu would help them.

He looked at the Dark Lord, 'Narayana! Please just say you will help us...' Indra shook his head heavily, 'I have learnt my lesson. It was my foolishness that brought all of us here.' He looked at the other Devas, 'If it was not for my friends, I would not even be alive....'

Lord Vishnu smiled and realised that Indra had truly learnt his lesson. He looked at the Devas, 'First Indra you have to become friends with Vritra.'

Hearing this Indra looked at dismay at Lord Vishnu. 'Lord, how do you...?

However Lord Vishnu was not yet finished, '...There is no other way Indra. You have to be close with him and talk to him and the people close him, if you have to learn his weaknesses, Indra.'

Indra looked at Lord Vishnu and realised that he had no other choice in this matter. He had to go to Vritra. He looked long at Lord Vishnu and nodded his head.

Lord Vishnu then continued, '...You and the other Devas have to go to Sage Dadhichi.'

Agni looked at Lord Vishnu puzzled, 'Why Sage Dadhichi, my Lord?'

Lord Vishnu said softly to himself, 'His time on earth has come to an end. He has to attain salvation. But before that he has to pass the final test. I have to know whether he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice...'

The Devas looked at Lord Vishnu waiting for his answer. Lord Vishnu smiled at the Devas. He looked at the Devas and looked at Indra, 'His bones are very strong from the power of penances, Indra. If you had a weapon made from the bones of Sage Dadhichi, you can defeat Vritra.'

Indra looked at Lord Vishnu horrified, 'You want us to ask Sage Dadhichi to die so that we can make a weapon out of his bones?'

Lord Vishnu nodded is head but did not say anything.

Horrified Indra realised that he had no choice other than to approach the sage. Indra was already feeling guilty. If sage Dadhichi agreed to this...

With no other option, Indra and the other Devas set out for Sage Dadhichi's ashram. With every step towards the ashram, Indra felt his heart grow heavy. But he knew that he had no other choice.

He walked forward like a man in a dream and did not speak to the other Devas. The other Devas realising what Indra must be feeling, did not break the silence.

At last Indra and the other Devas stumbled into the Ashram of Sage Dadhichi. The sage was sitting deep in meditation. His body was glowing from a bright light coming from within his body. Looking at Sage Dadhichi, Indra looked at the peaceful face and more than ever felt like running away from there. Only the faces of the humans and animals starving on earth, kept Indra there.

The Devas waited for Sage Dadhichi to open his eyes. The sage was so engrossed that he did not even know of the Devas coming. At last Sage Dadhichi opened his eyes and saw the Devas. His face lit up a real smile. 'Devas, what brings you to my Ashram? But wait! You must be tired. I will get you something to eat.' Sage Dadhichi went inside his house and brought a variety of fruits and laid them before the Devas.

Indra felt more and more terrible. None of the other Devas took the fruits. Sage Dadhichi frowned and looked at the Devas. 'What is the matter? I am guessing you are not here for a very happy reason.' He looked at the Devas patiently.

Indra wished the other Devas would speak so that he would not have to explain, but the other Devas remained silent looking at Indra. Indra swallowed once and then started speaking.

'Sage Dadhichi,' Indra took a deep breath, 'You see it was my fault...all my fault. Sage Brihaspati our guru....'

Indra told Sage Dadhichi everything. Sage Dadhichi was a patient listener. Indra told him of his defeat in the hands of Vritra and how he went to Lord Vishnu.

Sage Dadhichi looked at Indra smiling at the mention of the name of Lord Vishnu, 'What did Lord Narayana say?'

'He..He said..I came here...because...' Indra fumbled unable to go on.

Sage Dadhichi encouraged Indra, 'Go ahead Indra. You have come all the way here. Please go ahead..'

Indra looked at the peaceful face of Sage Dadhichi and found some strength, 'Lord Vishnu said that only a weapon made from your bones...would kill Vritra' Indra finished looking at his feet not wanting to look at the Sage.

Then the Sage did something, which Indra was not expecting. The sage started laughing. 'You were hesitating to tell me this...Oh God!' Sage Dadhichi laughed some more. 'My time has come Indra. I am indeed blessed that I would be of some use in my death...' Sage Dadhichi looked at Indra even more peacefully, which made Indra feel more terrible.

Then and there, Sage Dadhichi sat down cross-legged in a state of intense concentration. The Devas saw as a bright light emerged from the body of the Sage and then nothing but his body was left. The sage had sacrificed his life for all of them.

Indra wanted to cry out loud at what the Sage had done. Compared to what the Sage had done, what had he done...behave foolishly...Indra felt more and more ashamed of himself. Only the thought of Vritra alone sustained Indra. The Devas removed the bones from the spine of Sage Dadhichi and used it for making a Vajrayudha – Indra's thunderbolt.

After it was made, Indra held it in his hands. He felt a surge of power flow through him. He felt Sage Dadhichi being with him. Indra smiled. Compared to talking with Sage Dadhichi, the next work was almost easy. Indra went to Amravathi and stood outside the gates of his palace. The place had changed too much. Indra saw the place full of fortresses. The place was fiercely protected. Indra saw Vritra suddenly emerged from one of the fortresses.

'Ah...Indra..So you have come to die...' Vritra said patting his stomach, where the water of the world was stored.

Indra felt a wave of anger pass through him, but he curbed it. He looked at Vritra, 'No Vritra, I have come to ask your...your forgiveness.' Indra almost hated himself for saying the words. 'I want to be ...friends with you.'

Vritra laughed, 'You want to be friends with me? Am I supposed to believe that Indra? The only thing that you care about is how to kill me. Why should I be your friend?'

Indra shrugged, 'I know I cannot beat you, so I have come to join you.'

Vritra looked at Indra, trying to understand what Indra was saying. Vritra was so proud of himself, he felt that nobody on earth or the heavens could destroy him. So he reasoned being friends with Indra was not going to hurt him at all. Indra may be an important ally. Why he may even turn the other Devas into his friends and then they would work for him...Vritra thought all that and he held out his hands. 'I accept.' He said simply.

The first part of his mission accomplished Indra spoke with everyone in the palace to know about Vritra's weaknesses. He also came to know that Vritra had constructed 100 fortresses inside Amravati. Vritra stayed in any fortress on any day randomly, so that it would not be easy to track him.

On the very first day of being with Vritra, Indra was surprised to see a small sea near one of the fortresses. No doubt Vritra had put some of the water from the earth there. Indra looked at Vritra who carelessly said, 'I like hearing to the sound of the sea...' Indra burned in anger. People were thirsty and this demon was using the water as an amusement...Patience... Indra told himself.

Indra came to know that Vritra had a very powerful boon which was protecting him. Vritra had a boon that nobody could kill Vritra with any weapon made of wood, metal or stone, with anything dry or wet or at any time during the day or night. Indra despaired as he learned of this boon

How on earth do you kill someone without a weapon which was neither wet nor dry. Indra pulled out his secretly concealed Vajrayudha. It was a dry weapon. So that was out.

Indra walked silently drawn towards the sea. Vritra also followed Indra boasting about his greatest victories. Indra was only half listening as he saw the water waves wash up the shore. Indra watched the sun set on the beach when he felt like someone had hit a switch inside his head...

Neither wet nor dry...Water...Foam from the water was neither wet nor dry. The sun was setting it was evening – neither day nor night. Foam was not made of wood, metal or stone. Indra pushed Vritra back and yelled loudly, as he turned at Vritra. 'Vritra! I Indra challenge you to a fight to the death...' He said as he ran towards the sea.

Vritra was stunned but recovered in a second. He bellowed loudly. 'I was waiting for you to change colours, you double crosser. I am going to kill you now and none of your friends can come and protect you.'

Indra first attacked Vritra with his Vajrayudha. Though Vajrayudha hurt Vritra it did not kill him. The two of them fought fiercely and Indra destroyed 99 fortresses of Vritra.

He finally met Vritra during the last stages of the evening. Indra looked at the setting sun. It was going to be night soon.

Vritra snarled and jumped and lashed his tail towards Indra. Indra dodged and plunged his Vajrayudha inside Vritra tail. Vritra bellowed loudly and almost bit Indra. Indra fell back at the right time to avoid being swallowed by the demon again.

Vritra lashed out at Indra unexpectedly. Indra fell back dazed. Through blurred eyes he saw Vritra coming towards him. Indra saw the Vajrayudha in his hands and felt Sage Dadhichi smile at him as if he were beside him. He remembered Lord Vishnu's words. His bones are very strong from the powers of penance...The power in his bones could be transferred to any other source. Indra realised. He ran towards the sea and plunged the Vajrayudha inside the foam. The Vajrayudha melted inside the foam and Indra splashed the foam on Vritra's face.

There was a loud shriek of agony as Vritra yelled where the water had hit him. Indra realised that his plan was working. Indra threw some more foam at Vritra.

Vritra bellowed loudly as he fresh wounds started appearing where the foam hit Vritra. Indra pushed Vritra. From the heaven, Vritra fell down hard on the earth dead and motionless.

Tired Indra then drew out his sword and slashed Vritra's stomach. Then all the water stored inside the stomach of the demon Vritra came down splashing on the earth.

As Vritra swallowed up all the water, he is called as the demon of drought. Indra is also called as Vritrahan.

The other Devas had watched the fight. The Devas and the humans rejoiced as Indra had ended the drought. However Indra was a changed man. He no longer wanted to be part of the rejoicing. He just wanted to be free.

Indra pushed himself down and stopped the other Devas and told them, 'Friends, I no longer wish to be your king. I am neither deserving nor a good man.' He said looking at his friends. The Devas looked at him surprised. Indra however was not finished. 'Please choose someone else as your king, someone more smart and better in control of himself. I am leaving to atone for my sins.' Indra walked away without looking back.

The other Devas looked at each other stunned. 


However after much cajoling the Devas convinced Indra to continue as their ruler. However what happened after that is another story!

3 comments:

  1. DRAJ - This was the uncovered mythology for me. Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete