Indra is mostly portrayed as a warrior in the Vedas but there is one verse that talks about his domestic troubles in a rather human fashion. Rig Ved verse 10.86 gives us this interesting story where Shachi is fighting with her husband and complaining about his friend Vrishakapi. Indra is confused and trying to cool her down asks his wife:

3 What hath he done to injure thee, this tawny beast Vrsakapi, With whom thou art so angry now? What is the votary's foodful store? Supreme is Indra over all.

Shachi is in no mood to relent though and condemns Indra's friend to be attacked by a hound:

4 Soon may the hound who hunts the boar seize him and bite him in the car, O Indra, that Vrsakapi whom thou protectest as a friend, Supreme is Indra over all.

5 Kapi hath marred the beauteous things, all deftly wrought, that were my joy. In pieces will I rend his head; the sinner's portion shall be woo. Supreme is Indra over all.

6 No Dame hath ampler charms than 1, or greater wealth of love's delights. None with more ardour offers all her beauty to her lord's embrace. Supreme is Indra over all.

9 This noxious creature looks on me as one bereft of hero's love, Yet Heroes for my sons have I, the Maruts’ Friend and Indra's Queen. Supreme is Indra over all.

These passages suggest that perhaps the Vrishakapi had a teeny bit of a crush on Shachi and perhaps even disturbed her favorite things. However Indra is still supporting his friend and says:

12 Never, Indralni, have I joyed without my friend Vrsakapi, Whose welcome offering here, made pure with water, goeth to the Gods. Supreme is Indra over all.

Some online sources are mentioning him as a reference to Hanuman!

So my question is - Who is this Vrishakapi who is causing trouble in Indra's domestic bliss & is there a relation between him and Hanuman?

  • 1
    I think its a name of Shriman Narayana..."vrishakapirameyatma sarva yoga vinhisrutaha" Vishnu Sahastranaam.
    – Yogi
    Aug 1, 2017 at 12:51
  • 1
    @Yogi Vrishakapi is a name of Vishnu, but that's not the Vrishakapi being referred to here. Aug 1, 2017 at 12:59
  • You are getting a very incomplete picture of Book 10 Hymn 86, which is what is making you say "perhaps the Vrishakapi had a teeny bit of a crush on Shachi". In reality Vrishakapi and Shachi had an affair. You can read the full hymn in my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/3459/36 But warning, it's quite inappropriate. Aug 1, 2017 at 13:02
  • @Yogi it is possible since most of the online leading me to that conclusion but how does it fit here? Aug 1, 2017 at 13:14
  • 1
    @Dr.VineetAggarwal You may find it easier to read the original image file: i.stack.imgur.com/sVg5l.jpg In any case, Vrishakapi is an ape who's friends with Indra. Aug 1, 2017 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


Vrishaakapi was born of water when Indra did a penance to Shiva and Vishnu, to kill Indra's enemy MahaShani.

Since Vrishaakapi killed the Asura MahaShani for ShataKratu's favour, so the two became friends.

DevaRaaja used to frequently go to Vrishaakapi's house, so Shachi thought Indra was having illegitimate meetings with some other woman. So Indra consoles Paulomi that he goes to no-one but Vrishaakapi. This was the reason why Vrishaakapi was indirectly creating problem in Indra's domestic life, due to misunderstanding of Shachi.

The story is in Brahma Puraana, Chapter 129

The verses which talk about Vrishaakapi are included in latter par of this answer. First let look at story.
Here is the story in short-

  1. Asura Hiranya did penance and became unconquerable to all Gods.

  2. He then got a son MahaShani who too was insuperable to Gods and he defeated Indra and offered Indra, along with Airaavata elephant, to his father Hiranya, and imprisoned Indra.

  3. Then MahaShani fought with other Devas, and when he came to fight with Varuna, He married His daughter to MahaShani.

  4. Then all three worlds became void of a King and asked Vishnu for advice, but Hari said He alone cannot kill the Asura. Vishnu then suggested that PaashaDhara Varuna is father in law of MahaShani, so He must ask him to free Indra.

  5. Then Prachetaa went to his son in law Asura and asked him to free Indra.

  6. MahaShani on his father in law's request freed ShachiKaanta and makes fun of Him by reprimanding Him thus- 'O Indra! Varun saved thee. So He is now Thy Guru. Thou understandest! Be Thou always humble to my father in law or I will put Thee again into the prison.'

  7. Indra thus insulted goes to His wife Shachi and tells His sorrows to Her.

  8. Shachi tells Sahasraaksha- 'O Indra! with me Thou go to Dandaka forest where Ganga flows. We shall do rituals there to get what Thou desirest.'

  9. Then Indra, with Brihaspati and Pulomajaa, did penance to Shiva, on the banks of Ganges. When Shiva appeared, Indra tells Him the purpose of penance.

  10. Then ChandraDhara tells Suresha- 'O Shakra! I alone cannot kill the Asura. Thou pleasest RamaaDhava. He alone is the refuge of this world.'

  11. So Indra worships Vishnu and Hari confers blessings to Indra.

  12. Then by the blessing of Vishnu, Shiva and Ganga, a man emerged from waters.

  13. This was Vrishaakapi, He had form of both Vishnu and Shiva, He held Chakra in one hand and Trishoola in other.

  14. Then Vrishaakapi went down to Rasaatala(lower dimensions of existence) and killed MahaShani.

  15. He then became friends with Indra and was also known by name Abjaka(one born of water).

  16. Indra, even after His re-establishment, used to frequently go and meet Vrishaakapi.

  17. Indraani became restless thinking Indra is deceiving Her. So Shakra tells Her that He goes only to Abjaka's house and no illegitimate affairs were there.

  18. Then Indra praises Pulomajaa- 'O beloved Shachi! only because of Thee am I now again become Indra, as Thou suggestedst me to go to Ganga and I got blessings of Shiva, Vishnu and Ganga. My friend Vrishaakapi and Thou art my best friend, other than you two, there is no beloved friend of mine.'

  19. And then, Indra tells a bit more about glories of Vishnu, Shiva and Ganga, and tells about the Indra Teertha, where Indra performed the penance and Vrishaakapi emerged.

Here are the verses from the very chapter that talk especially about Vrishaakapi, and the story is what has been explained above.

After Indra's penance to Shiva and Vishnu, as explained above-

तत्राभवच्छिवस्यैव गङ्गाविष्ण्वोः प्रसादतः॥ ९७ ॥
अम्भसा पुरुषो जातः शिवविष्णुस्वरूपधृक्।
चक्रपाणिः शूलधरः स गत्वा तु रसातलम्॥ ९८ ॥
निजघान तदा दैत्यमिन्द्रशत्रुं महाशनिम्।
सखाऽभवत्स चेन्द्रस्य अब्जकः स वृषाकपिः॥ ९९ ॥

Then by the blessings of Shiva, Ganga and Vishnu, a man born of water, appeared there.

He had form of both Shiva and Vishnu. In one hand he had Chakra, and Trishoola in the other hand, and going to the Rasaatala(a dimension of existence which exists under Earth), killed the Daitya MahaShani, the enemy of Indra.

He then became friends with Indra and became known as Abjaka and Vrishaakapi.

Problem in Indra's domestic life, due to misunderstanding of Shachi-

दिविस्थोऽपि सदा चेन्द्रस्तमन्वेति वृषाकपिम्।
कुपिता प्रणयेनाभूदन्यासक्तं विलोक्य तम्॥
शचीं तां सान्त्वयन्नाह शतमन्युर्हसन्निदम्॥ १०० ॥

Even after Indra was again established in the Heavens, He used to always visit Vrishaakapi.
This made Indraani contemptuous due to amorous affectionate infatuation, when She used to see Him go frequently and thought He is in love with someone else.
Then Shatamanyu Indra, consoling Her, tells Shachi smilingly this-

इन्द्र उवाच।
नाहमिन्द्राणि शरणमृते सख्युर्वृषाकपेः।
वारि वाऽपि हविर्यस्य अग्नेः प्रियकरं सदा॥ १०१ ॥ नाहमन्यत्र गन्ताऽस्मि प्रिये चाङ्गेन ते शपे।
तस्मान्नार्हसि मां वक्तुं शङ्कयाऽन्यत्र भामिनि॥ १०२ ॥
पतिव्रता प्रिया मे त्वं धर्मे मन्त्रे सहायिनी।
सापत्या च कुलीना च त्वत्तोऽन्या का प्रिया मम॥ १०३ ॥
तस्मात्तवोपदेशेन गङ्गां प्राप्य महानदीम्।
प्रसादाद्देवदेवस्य विष्णोर्वै चक्रपाणिनः॥ १०४ ॥
तथा शिवस्य देवस्य प्रसादाच्च वृषाकपेः।
जलोद्‌भवाच्च मे मित्रादब्जकाल्लोकविश्रुतात्॥ १०५ ॥
उत्तीर्णदुःखः सुभग इत इन्द्रोऽहमच्युतः।

Indra tells Shachi-
O Indraani! I do not go to anyone except for my friend Vrishaakapi. Water too always benefits Agni of Havish(Yagya). So do I also oath that I go to nowhere else other than Thee, O Beloved! Thus O my Lover! Thou art not to suspect me of going other places.

Thou art devoted to me, art my beloved, assistest me in Dharma and advicest me right things, Thou hast good progeny, art from good family, so who other than Thee is my beloved?

It is only by Thy advice I went to the great river Ganges, and got blessings of the Vishnu,Who holds Chakra in His hands and Who is Lord of Gods; and I got blessing of Lord Shiva. And by thier blessings my friend Vrishaakapi, Who is born of water and is renowned in all worlds as Abjaka, liberated me from my sorrows, and O Prosperous Shachi! now I am Indra again and will not fall from this position. It is all because of Thee.

Now Indra explains glories of Vishnu, Shiva and Ganga-
गङ्गायाः सदृशं नास्ति श्रुणु चान्यद्वरानने॥ १११ ॥
धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाणां प्राप्तये पापमुक्तये।
शिवविष्ण्वोरनन्यत्वज्ञानान्नास्त्यत्र मुक्तये॥ ११२ ॥
तस्मात्तव धिया साध्वि सर्वमेतन्मनोगतम्।
अवाप्तं च शिवाद्विष्णोर्गङ्गायाश्च प्रसादतः॥ ११३ ॥
इन्द्रत्वं मे स्थिरं चेतो मन्ये मित्रबालात्पुनः।
वृषाकपिर्मम सखा यो जातस्त्वप्सु भामिनि॥ ११४ ॥
त्वं च प्रियसखी नित्यं नान्यत्प्रियतरं मम।

O Beautiful-faced Shachi! listen, there is no other place like Gangaa which can confer Dharma, Artha, Kaama, Moksha, and liberate one from sins, and there is no other means of liberation other than the knowledge of non-difference between Shiva and Vishnu. This all things O Virtuous One! is to be established by Thee in Thy mind by Thy intelligence.

By the blessings of These very three Gods- Shiva, Vishnu and Ganga, that I thus attained again this stable position of Indra by the power of my friend.
O Beautiful Shachi! Vrishaakapi is my friend and He is born of water, and Thou also art always my beloved friend, and no one other than you two is beloved of me.

तीर्थानां गौतमी गङ्गा देवानां हरिशंकरौ॥ ११५ ॥
तस्मादेभ्यः प्रसादेन सर्वं चेप्सितमाप्तवान्।
मम प्रीतिकरं चेदं तीर्थं त्रैलोक्यविश्रुतम्॥ ११६ ॥

Gautami Gangaa is best of Teerthas(pilgrimage places) and Hari and Shankara are best of Gods. By grace of These, all desired things are obtained. So is this IndraTeertha renowned in the three worlds and is very dear to me.

[Note- this IndraTeertha is at bank of Ganges where all this episode of incarnation of Vrishaakapi happened. This Teertha is also called Abjaka and Vrishakapa, and Shiva, Indra, Vishnu, Ganga reside there. This is explained in the very chapter]

अत्र तु स्नानमात्रेण सर्वे ते मुक्तिमाप्नुयुः।
पापिष्ठाः पापतो मुक्तिमाप्नुयुर्ये च धर्मिणः॥ १२० ॥
तेषां तु परमा मुक्तिः पितृभिः पञ्चपञ्चभिः।

By mere bathing in this Teertha all get liberation. Even the best of sinners get freedom from sins, and those people who are religious they get the supreme state of liberation and are freed from the debt of forefathers(Pitri) and from the other five debts.

  • 4
    What a fabulously detailed answer! It is so true that unless you read the Puranas it is difficult to understand the purport of many Vedic verses. This also shows that Hanuman and Vrishaakapi are not related in any way as some online portals seem to suggest. Nov 6, 2017 at 4:59
  • 4
    @Dr.VineetAggarwal Thank you for your kind words. And yes, Hanumaan is not related to Vrishakapi, except for the fact that Hanumat-Teertha, and Vrishaakapa Teertha are not very far from each other. Also, Vrishaakapi means man like ape, so maybe that's why Hanuman is called Vrishaakapi. But the Vrishaakapi in your question is clearly not Hanumaan. Also, Vishnu and Shiva are sometimes called Vrishaakapi, because the Vrishaakapi had form of both Vishnu and Shiva, as He was born of blessings of Vishnu, Shiva and Ganga.
    – user9392
    Nov 6, 2017 at 9:14
  • Very interesting
    – Viraj
    Jan 3, 2020 at 6:42

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