The Vedas are the eternal truths of God, Apaurusheya and constant throughout Time. Therefore they must contain all knowledge of all time. But (at least if you go through the other questions) you find that the prominent incarnation used to describe Lord Vishnu is that of Upendra - Vamana Avatara.

Now the Vamana avatara didn't happen until the Vaivasvata Manvantara of the present Kalpa - which is seven Manvantaras from the beginning. Yet if the Vedas are constant, the very same hymns to Vamanadeva would be present even in the earlier Manvantaras. But then, how would people associate with this yet to be incarnated Form of Vishnu?

Also prominently described in the Rig Veda (at least to my knowledge) is the defeat of Vritrasura, which also happened at the beginning of this particular Manvantara. So what would the others of the earlier Manvantaras made of all these (prophetic?) stories? And what would the other Indras have thought about them?

P.S. I know that last sentence is highly speculative.

  • 1
    you need to specify which vedic verses exactly, otherwise your question is mere speculation that it is even in the vedas. Jan 12, 2016 at 10:09
  • @SwamiVishwananda since I have not read the Vedas myself I am going by Keshav Srinivasan's answers - he seems to vouch for this fact.
    – Surya
    Jan 12, 2016 at 11:18
  • You may be interested in my question here, about the views of the Purva Mimamsa school and the Vedanta school on this subject: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/9382/36 Feb 3, 2016 at 14:28
  • 2
    'if you go through the other questions': Can you please add a link to "other questions" to show some sample questions or answers, or point to search results? (IMO, users should not have to guess what you might be referring to) Feb 4, 2016 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


It's because certain names and events recur. From our perspective, the mantras found in Samhitas of the Vedas discuss how our Indra, known as Purandara, defeated a demon named Vritrasura in the present Vaivasvata Manvantara, and how Vishnu incarnated as Vamana, the little brother of the present Indra, and defeated an Asura named Mahabali. And certainly when we chant (say) Rig Veda mantras in a Yagna, those Vaivasvata Manvantara events are exactly what we should be thinking of.

But the Vedas are broader than that. As described in the text of the question, the mantras found in the Samhitas of the Vedas are timeless eternal truths that are constantly reverberating in the Universe. And they make reference not just to individual people, but rather to certain roles that are played by different people in different ages. Here is what Adi Shankaracharya says in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras:

Similarly, although individual gods are admitted to originate, there arises no contradiction in the case of such words as Vasu, and the like, since the species denoted by them are eternal. And that the gods, and so on, belong to different species, is to be concluded from the descriptions of their various personal appearance, such as given in the mantras, arthavâdas, &c. Terms such as 'Indra' rest on the connexion (of some particular being) with some particular place, analogously to terms such as 'army-leader;' hence, whoever occupies that particular place is called by that particular name.

And later on he quotes some Smriti text which makes the same point:

Whatever were the names of the rishis and their powers to see the Vedas, the same the Unborn one again gives to them when they are produced afresh at the end of the night (the mahâpralaya). As the various signs of the seasons return in succession in their due time, thus the same beings again appear in the different yugas. And of whatever individuality the gods of the past ages were, equal to them are the present gods in name and form.

So when the Vedas speak of Indra defeating Vritra, they are not just speaking of our Indra but of all the Indras who each confront a demon called Vritrasura. And when they speak of Vishnu taking three steps of land, they're not just talking about Vishnu's present Vamana incarnation, but about all of his Vamana incarnations. And indeed, in my question here I found out about at least two other Vamana incarnations that have taken place in the present Kalpa.

By the way, in this answer I'm giving the viewpoint of the Vedanta school, which is the school of philosophy followed by almost all Hindus today as I discuss here. But there used to be another school of philosophy called the Purva Mimamsa school, and they believed that there are absolutely no names of human beings in the Vedas at all! I think that's patently false, but see my question here for their viewpoint.

  • 1
    Thanks for the quotes from Shankara. So by all Indras and all Vamanas do you mean those from the previous Kalpa?
    – Surya
    Feb 3, 2016 at 15:30
  • @Surya I mean all the Indras from all the Manavantaras, past, present, and future. Regardless of what Manvantara a person happens to live in, mantras praising Indra for killing Vritrasura apply to their Indra. Feb 3, 2016 at 15:40
  • 1
    But there cannot be multiple Vrtrasuras, since he appears only once from Tvashta's sacrifice.
    – Surya
    Feb 3, 2016 at 15:46
  • 1
    @Surya By the way, the Samhitas of the Vedas never say that Vritrasura was the son of Tvashta. They only refer to him as the son of Danu. The Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda explains that by saying he became the adopted son of Danu after being created by Tvashta, but that's the explanation for this Manvantara. Perhaps in a past Manvantara he may have been the biological son of Kashyapa and Danu. We do know that Kashyapa (and his wives like Danu) were reborn in the Vaivasvata Manvantara. In an earlier birth he might have fathered or created Vritrasura. Feb 3, 2016 at 16:01
  • 1
    @Surya Well, Vyasa doesn't provide that much detail about past Manvantaras, other than important things like the story of the Manvantaras avatara and things like that. He's most concerned with providing history of the beginning of the Kalpa and beginning of the Mahakalpa on the one hand, and recent history on the other hand. He doesn't focus much on what happened in between. Apr 28, 2016 at 13:52

The Rigveda states that the weapon Vajra was made for Indra by Tvastar. The associated story describes Indra using the vajra, which he held in his hand, to slay the asura Vritra, who took the form of a serpent.

Vishnu, when asked to do so by Indra, made space for the battle by taking the three great strides for which Vishnu became famous.

You can go through the following verses from Rig veda 1, Hymn 154, which describes Vishnu taking 3 steps

  1. I WILL declare the mighty deeds of Viṣṇu, of him who measured out the earthly regions, Who propped the highest place of congregation,thrice setting down his footstep, widely striding.

  2. For this his mighty deed is Viṣṇu lauded, like some wild beast, dread, prowling, mountain-roaming; He within whose three wide-extended paces all living creatures have their habitation.

  3. Let the hymn lift itself as strength to Viṣṇu, the Bull far-striding, dwelling on the mountains, Him who alone with triple step hath measured this common dwelling-place, long, far extended.

  4. Him whose three places that are filled with sweetness, imperishable, joy as it may list them

Rig Veda describes the various qualities/natural forces of the SAME Almighty God, as VARUNA, AGNI, INDRA, VISHNU, RUDRA, etc.

We have to understand that mantras 1 to 4 mentioned above, extols the all pervasiveness of the Almighty God.

The word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu is "one who is everything and inside everything".

The story of Vamana, covering 3 areas in 3 steps, has roots in this eulogisation of the Almighty God.

Interestingly, Rig Veda IV.18.5, describes Indra filled, as soon as born, the earth and heaven.

The various epithets/allogorical stories describe the deep spiritual aspects only. Puranas took the epithets/allogorical stories from Vedas, deified the epithets and eulogised respective deity.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .