September 08, 2007

Even today, this king of the Gods, is engaged in ceaseless search of the cow-treasurer

Indra kills the Vrtra, the coverer, and releases the waters, the Sun, Dawn and Soma. Indra, helped by the Angirasa rishis with their hymns, breaks open the cellars of the nether world, releases the cows and drives them upward so that they are accessible. The divine power of intuition, the goddess Sarama, often imaged as a divine hound, shows Indra the cave where the cows are imprisoned.
"This is the constant work of Indra in which he is Supreme. Though he has originally achieved and established for the benefit of mankind this victory of the recovery of the cave with the ancient Angirasa rishis, even today, this king of the Gods, engaged in ceaseless search of the cow-treasurer, repeats his feat for the benefit of man" (Kapali, vol. 10, p. 6).
Seer Hiranyastupa hymn to Indra. I just relate the valorous deeds performed mainly by Indra He killed the demon Ahi, struck the hill and released the waters.
(1) He struck the demon hidden in the hill. The divine sculptor fashioned for him a bolt of the luminous worlds (svar). The flowing waters reached the ocean by a straight path like lowing cows the calves.
(2) Acting like a bull, he drank the Soma in three infusions, Opulent, he wielded the weapon vajra and struck this first born of demons.
(3) O Indra, thou struck the first born of demons, and destroyed the deceptive knowledge of the fraudulent. Illuminating the Sun (Surya), the dawn (Ushas) and the heaven (dyau) thou had not got at the enemy.
(4) Indra, with a mighty blow of vajra, cut off the shoulders of the superb coverer Vritra. The vile one lay dormant close to the earth like tree trunks specially cut with an axe.
(5) The haughty and intoxicated Vritra challenged the great warrior Indra, the remover of foes. He (Vritra) ground to a halt the rivers. He could not parry the impact of blows.
(6) Bereft of hands and feet, he fought Indra, who struck him at the crown. Like a eunuch desiring to act virile, Vritra fell down with his limbs shattered.
(7) Like a river breaking the bank The waters which mount the minds of men flow over Vritra lying on the floor. The Vritra lay at the very feet of those whom he besieged with his might.
(8) Vritra's mother lowered her arms; Indra flung the striking weapon below her; The Mother was above, the son below; She lay like a cow with the calf.
(9) Vritra's body lay concealed at the bottom amidst the changing currents of waters. Vritra lay in prolonged sleep.
(10) The waters constrained by Vritra stood fettered like the cows confined by the Pani. The striker of Vritra uncovered the closed aperture of the waters.
(11) O Indra, when he struck thee back thou chased him away. O the supreme God, thou was the Soma, and released the seven rivers to flow.
(12) When Indra and Vrtra fought each other, neither the lightening, the roar, nor the rains nor the thunderclap got at Indra. And Indra surmounted other deceitful tricks as well.
(13) In thy mind a doubt arose, who else is the slayer of Vritra; Doubting, thou traversed the ninety-nine rivers and worlds like a hawk.
(14) vajra-armed Indra is the king of the mobile and the immobile; the quiescent and the forceful. He, as a king rules over men is around them all like the rim encircling the spokes.
(15) Notes on the hymn 1.32.
In hymn 1, Vritra is called by the name Ahi, the serpent, to indicate that he is a man of energy without any fixed shape.
In hymn 2, it is stated that the Indra's weapon vajra, translated here as bolt, was made by the divine sculptor tvasta from the luminous world of svar, the world beyond the reaches of the lower mind. Clearly in the world of svar all the objects are fashioned out of light, not out of any matter as in our earth. Note that the poet says "the flowing waters, released by Indra, reach the ocean by a straight path." The rain water or rivers do not reach the ocean by a straight path. Hence these waters are not the physical rivers of northern India, but the streams of consciousness held up by Vritra.
In mantra 3, the three infusions of Soma taken by Indra are nothing but the essence of the three worlds of matter, life and mind.
In mantra 4, poet states that the demon Vritra is not an ordinary cloud. By the killing of Vritra, the deceptions of the fraudulent are also destroyed.
In mantra 5, for Vritra, the poet adds the adjective Vritranam, clearly indicating that among the coverer, he is the most coverer.
In mantras 7 and 8, Indra has cut off the limbs of Vritra and the demon's body is lying on the floor of the ocean over which the waters flow. Again the poet describes the waters as "mounting the minds of men."
In mantra 9, the mother of Vritra, Diti, is mentioned. She is said to protect her son by placing herself above her son, Vritra.
In mantra 11, the poet says that the Indra removed the closed aperture in the hill and allowed the waters to flow. In the inner yoga of tantriks, these closed apertures are the closed knots (or granthas) which have to be cut before the psychic energy can flow freely.
In mantra 12, the seven rivers are the seven streams of consciousness.
Mantra 13 says that when the battle was going on, the whole of nature was in a turmoil, indicated by the roaring winds, pouring rains, the thunderclaps, etc. This turmoil was caused by the tricks of Vritra, but had no effect on the outcome.
Since Vritra's body was hidden under his mother's body, the rik 14 indicates that Indra could not see the Vritra's body; hence Indra had a fear that Vritra was not slain and looked for him in many places. Vedic Literature > Rig Veda > Gods of the Veda > Indra

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