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Mylavarapu Srinivasa Rao is a well-known scholar of Hinduism and its philosphy in Telugu states.

He talks about Greatness of Indra in this video (in Telugu). He says

Indra is king of all Devas who did 100 yajnas (referring to Aswamedha Yajnas). He will test the sages who do tapasya with Kama (lust), Krodha (wrath), Lobha (greed), Moha (delusion or infatuation), Mada (pride) and Matsyarya (envy). People generally think Indra sends Apsaras to sages or Rishis who are engrossed in Tapasya to deviate them and protect his position of Indra, but this is not correct. If this behavior of Indra was true, Devas indeed wouldn't allow him to be their leader. A person performing Tapasya should undergo six kinds of test.

Vishwamitra failed in test of Kama when Indra sent Menaka. Indra got no Dosha here but it's the mistake of Vishwamitra who failed in test. If an examiner sets tough paper and student fails, it's the mistake of student who failed in examination rather than examiner. Vishwamitra didn't even have altercation with Indra as Indra had every right to test him.

If a person wins in Kama, he tests the person in Krodha. He tested Gautama muni in Krodha. Indra didn't do any sin in case of Ahalya. Those who have read Valmiki Ramayana verses properly can't deny this fact. Ahalya too didn't commit any sin and this is the reason Sri Rama, embodiment of Dharma, did Padabhi Vandana for Ahalya. Here Dosha is for Gautama Muni.

He says it's duty or right of Indra to test a person or Rishi undergoing tapasya. What scriptures mention that Indra has right to test with Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Matsyarya? If scriptural evidence for this is found, these actions of Indra can be justified.

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  • Does the upanyasakar say why Ahalya is sinless ?
    – ram
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 12:46
  • @ram Upanyasakar says Ahalya didn't do sin because Dharma embodied Rama Himself did Padabhi Vandana to Ahalya. He says if Ahalya had done any sin, Rama woudn't have done Padabhi vandana as Sri Rama can never do any mistake. RAmo Vigrahavan Dharmaha.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 12:56

2 Answers 2

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The Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa itself mentions the objective of Indra's visit to Gautama's āśrama which was to simply take away the ascetic powers of Gautama. So, contrary to what the speaker in the video says, in this instance, it was not a test.

After Gautama delivers his curse on Indra, Indra returns to his loka and says:

कुर्वता तपसो विघ्नं गौतमस्य महात्मन: ।
क्रोधमुत्पाद्य हि मया सुरकार्यमिदं कृतम् ।।1.49.2।।

'I have accomplished the objective of the devatas by creating obstacles to Gautama's austerities, evoking in consequence the wrath of the magnanimous sage'.

अफलोऽस्मि कृतस्तेन क्रोधात्सा च निराकृता ।
शापमोक्षेण महता तपोऽस्यापहृतं मया ।।1.49.3।।

'By his (Gautama's) wrath I have been deprived of my testicles. She (Ahalya) has been deserted by him. He has lost his ascetic energy through the pronouncement of this great curse'.

तस्मात्सुरवरास्सर्वे सर्षिस्सङ्घास्सचारणा: ।
सुरसाह्यकरं सर्वे सफलं कर्तुमर्हथ ।।1.49.4।।

'For that reason, O rishis, charanas and great devatas it is your duty to restore my testicles for the benefit I have given you'.

If it is the duty of other devatas to make Indra virile again, it must be the duty of Indra to go disturb the tapasyā of sages. In this instance, however, had Gautama not punished Indra for his despicable act, Indra would have failed his task.

Rāmāyaṇa from Gorakhpur Gita Press also suggests that Indra was just trying to protect his throne:

Deprived of his testicles, Indra with timid eyes then (sought the presence of and spot to the gods headed by Agni (the god of fire), as well as to the Siddhas, Gandharvas and Caranas (as follows):- (1) "Hampering as I did the austerities of the high-souled Gautama by exciting his wrath (and thereby foiling his attempt to claim my throne), I have only just served the cause of gods. (2) In a fit of anger I have (accordingly) been deprived of my virility and Ahalya (too) has been disowned by him. He has (thus) been robbed by me of his spiritual energy by being incited to pronounce a great curse (on me as well as on his wife). (3) Therefore, with (the co-operation of) the host of seers and the celestial bards, O jewels among gods, you should all see me restored to my manhood, since I have served the cause of gods. (4)


The case of Rambhā

Before Rambhā appears on the scene, this is what Vālmīki says:

तस्मिन् सन्तप्यमाने तु विश्वामित्रे महामुनौ ।।1.63.25।।
सम्भ्रमस्सुमहानासीत्सुराणां वासवस्य च ।

महामुनौ when the mighty ascetic, तस्मिन् विश्वामित्रे that Viśvāmitra, सन्तप्यमाने while performing penance, सुराणाम् for devatas, वासवस्य च for Indra also, सुमहान् greatly, संभ्रम: आसीत् perturbance over took.

When the mighty ascetic Viśvāmitra was performing penance, the gods as well as Indra got deeply perturbed.

Again, if Indra's duty is to merely test if a saint has mastered his senses, why should he be a "deeply perturbed"?

So in conclusion, from the sages' point of view, such acts of Indra are for their own good, but from Indra's point, he's just trying to protect his padavī.

OP also mentions:

Indra didn't do any sin in case of Ahalya. Those who have read Valmiki Ramayana verses properly can't deny this fact. Ahalya too didn't commit any sin ...

But the Tilaka commentary says Indra committed a sin:

Why did Indra, the upholder of dharma, engage himself in this sinful act?

He did this mission of the gods, otherwise Gautama would have taken away all the places of gods by means of his severe penance. Gautama rejected Ahalya. This was also the purpose of the gods. When Gautama curses her, his power of penance would be taken away. Had he not cursed, there would have been no loss of penance. In fact, Indra's mission was to arouse anger in Gautama, which would destroy his penance.


PS. One has to simply wonder why Indra and other gods are always trying to protect their posts and also why didn't they make such appearances to disrupt the tapasyā of Rāvaṇa and Kumbhakarṇa.

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    @TheDestroyer I think your main question has no basis. You are assuming the speaker is right, I'm saying he's not. Ahalya did commit a sin. So did Indra. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 7:30
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    Indriya and Indra are closely related. Like how our Indriyas control (rule) our body, Indra rules Devaloka. Understanding proper correlation between them may answer this question. Even he seduced (or tested?) Kubera's wife when she was performing Tapasya (Indra got enchanted by seeing her beauty) at Manasa lake near Mount Kaliash. I am tending to believe Srinivasa Rao gari words as true.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 7:40
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    @TheDestroyer "Indriya and Indra are closely related." - Add Indrajāla and indradhanus also to that list! :P "I am tending to believe Srinivasa Rao gari words as true." - take a look at what Chaganti says. Adultery is one of the worst possible sins, doesn't matter who does it, man, woman or deva for whatever reason. In Viśvāmitra's case, in spite of all the so called tests (Menaka, Rambhā etc.) he still becomes a brahmarṣi. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 18:11
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    @ChinmaySarupria In my answer, I was merely stating what Vālmīki says Indra's job is as OP wanted to know what scripture says on this topic. Whether you and I agree with what it says is a different matter. "Well if Indra goes and disturbs each and every sage" - you can read the commentary here. Indra may not view every sage as a danger to his padavī (post). Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 18:24
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    @sv. You should post the commentary along with the verse you linked, that explains the question quite nicely.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 13:10
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Indra Deva is related to the Indriyas which in turn are related to the mind (Manas).

The Atharva Veda itself explicitly says that Indra is the lord of the mind.

Indro Manasaspata.

Indra is the Lord of the Divine Mind.

Atharva Veda Samhita, Kanda 7, Sukta 97, Mantra 8.

There is another Mantra in the same Samhita which asks Indra to kill the Shada Ripus which are the six enemies of a human mind.

UlukayAtum ShushulukayAtum Jahi SvayAtum Uta KokayAtum SuparnayAtum Uta Grdhrayatum Drshadeva Pra Mrna Raksha Indra.

Oh Indra! kill the delusion (owl), anger (wolf), jealousy (dog), the lust (chakravAka), arrogance (eagle) and the greed (vulture).

Atharva Veda 8.4.22

[Here, the Mantra mentions the six enemies by means of six relevant animals.]

So, its Indra who not only rules the mind but who also kills its 6 enemies.

Thus, its quite natural to think that Indra reserves the right to test the minds of all specially of those Tapasvins whose main objective is to have control over mind and senses.

So, what the Acharyaji has said makes complete sense to me.

And, may be we can find more explicit references of what you are looking for in the Puranas.

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  • Thanks for the refs, but I am sorry to point out that the first mantra (7.97.8) is written incorrectly and misinterpreted by you. This is the actual mantra- mánasas pata imáṃ no diví devéṣu yajñám / vā́hā diví svā́hā pr̥thivyā́ṃ svā́hāntárikṣe svā́hā vā́te dhāṃ svā́hā // The devatā of sūkta is Indrāgni but this mantra isn't referring to the devatā in 'mánasas pata imáṃ' isn't referring to devatā but to the yajamāna, who's performing the yajña.
    – Bingming
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 3:20
  • You can check this out archive.org/details/… I am not mistaken regarding this, because I checked both PaippaIāda saṁhita & Śaunaka saṁhitā and you have used Śaunaka surely, of the two śākhās. I am sorry that I sometimes end up pointing out some inaccuracies in some of your msgs, but it's just that I go on and check the refs you use, and I do value your answers. So, please don't be offended.
    – Bingming
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 3:30
  • I am not interpreting the mantras personally .. I am simply following R.L.Kashyap's translations. Also it is perfectly ok to point out mistakes in my answers. There can be many such mistakes as I am no expert. @Bingming
    – Rickross
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 11:55

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