Rigveda I.32 gives a detailed account of famous Indra and Vritra battle. After killing Vritra and his mother Danu, however, Indra flees the battle scene.


  1. Whom did you see, Indra, as the avenger of the serpent when fear came into your heart after you smashed him, and when you crossed over the ninety-nine flowing rivers, like a frightened falcon through the airy realms?

Now, IV.18 might give one hint why did he flee because after he killed his father someone was about to dishonor his mother


  1. And his mother followed the track of the buffalo, (thinking,) “Yonder gods are abandoning you, my son.” Then Indra said as he was about to smash Vritra: “Viṣṇu, my companion, stride out widely.”
  2. Who made your mother a widow? Who tried to smash you as you lay, as you wandered? What god was merciful toward you when you destroyed your father, having grasped him by the foot?
  3. [Indra:] Out of need I cooked for myself the entrails of a dog. I found none who was merciful among the gods. I saw his wife being dishonored. Then the falcon carried the honey here to me.

I suppose, Indra became weak and started to lose his strength that's why he cooked dog meat. He gained strength after drinking the Soma stolen by the falcon from the heaven which I asked here

Now here is what I want to ask if we have puranic accounts of:

  1. Do we know in details what made Indra fleed the battle scene since he was a winner
  2. Out of need, why did he cook dog meat. Is there any significance here.
  • you have raise two important but most controversial events mentioned in RigVeda which seems to be basis of charcterisation of Indra in the later scripture. Let us see what actually Rigveda conveying to us in original. I like to discuss these questions thus upvoted the question. – B.N. Bhaskar Nov 16 '17 at 5:25
  • Do you want to get answer from RigVeda as well or only from Puranic sources? – B.N. Bhaskar Nov 16 '17 at 6:01
  • @B.N.Bhaskar please provide both if you have – user12262 Nov 16 '17 at 6:02

Let us begin with the beginning. RV.1.32 (14)- "aher yatar kam pashya Indra hridi"(after seeing Ahi (Vritra)reduced Indra by heart)"yat te jaghnuso bhir gachchat" (there you killed those fleeing by fear)

"Nav cha yan navati cha sravanti"(those nine and ninety (water sources)are flowing) "shyeno na bhito ataro rajansi" (shyena (Indra ) has broken by moving around the dominion).

Thus we find here in the first line " yat te jaghnuso bhir gachchat" that Indra killed those fleeing away by fear and not that Indra became fearfull and fled himself.This mis-interpretation was carried into later scripture to justify that Indra flew away for the commiting sin of 'Brahma Hatya'.

Second RV.4.18 (11-13) The interpretation of hymn(11) is almost right except that term Mahish is an adjective for Indra's mother thereby meaning a dominant lady and not as 'trail of buffalo'.

The hymn (12) could also be interpreted differently as " who can make your mother widow in this circle of habitation, who can kill you while you wander around; who can be more merciful than you among gods,by moving forward you minimised (the importance of) your father (ancestor) while moving on their foot- print. Here the term 'prakshina' does not mean killing.

The hymn (13) is the narration by Gautama Rishi of his own condition. Almost all translators agree on this point. I can't think of any translator who can put Indra in bracket before the translation.However the translation is good enough except the last para where translator misses to point out who sent Madhu through shyena and it is 'madhva jabhar'(Indra knowing). Thereby meaning that after knowing the condition of Rishi Indra sent madhu(honey) through Shyena.

The hymn (13) could be the root of the later myth that Indra defiled Rishi Gautama's wife Ahilya.

  • Who is Indra's father as per Rigveda? – Aks Nov 16 '17 at 14:15
  • 1
    @Aks RigVeda does not give the name of Indra's father. But Avesta ( Persian Religion) provides his name as Athyava - a name also appear in RigVeda but does not explain as father of Indra. If interested I can provide the exact location in RigVeda. I have to look out for it. – B.N. Bhaskar Nov 16 '17 at 14:36
  • @B.N.Bhaskar There Are verses In Rig veda which say Dyaus is Indra s father,What do you think about these verses? – Karmanya Nanda Nov 17 '17 at 5:22
  • Btw can you tell me what does Indra crossing of 99 rivers means?I thought when Indra deva killed vritra,he liberated the 7 rivers then what does Rigveda mean by saying 99 flowing rivers? – Karmanya Nanda Nov 17 '17 at 6:48
  • @KarmanyaNanda The hymn does not mention river so it could be small rivulets or springs which are easy to obstruct. The term 'dhyo' needs a detail explaination, better you raise a separate question. My undertanding comes from the analysis of internal context of RigVeda and so far I have an uderstanding that it could mean a kind of social/political world. – B.N. Bhaskar Nov 17 '17 at 8:40

According to Shreemad Bhagvat Purana , Indra did fleed after killing Vrtrasura. After killing him the sinful reaction for killing a brahmana i.e. Brahma-Hatya started chasing Indra.

तां ददर्शानुधावन्तीं चाण्डालीमिव रूपिणीम् ।
जरया वेपमानाङ्गीं यक्ष्मग्रस्तामसृक्पटाम् ॥12॥
विकीर्य पलितान् केशांस्तिष्ठ तिष्ठेति भाषिणीम् ।
मीनगन्ध्यसुगन्धेन कुर्वतीं मार्गदूषणम् ॥13॥

tāḿ dadarśānudhāvantīḿ
cāṇḍālīm iva rūpiṇīm
jarayā vepamānāńgīḿ
yakṣma-grastām asṛk-paṭām
vikīrya palitān keśāḿs
tiṣṭha tiṣṭheti bhāṣiṇīm
kurvatīḿ mārga-dūṣaṇam

Indra saw personified sinful reaction chasing him, appearing like a candala woman, a woman of the lowest class. She seemed very old, and all the limbs of her body trembled. Because she was afflicted with tuberculosis, her body and garments were covered with blood. Breathing an unbearable fishy odor that polluted the entire street, she called to Indra, "Wait! Wait!"SB 6.13.12-13

And from the fear of this Brahma-Hatya. Indra did fled from the scene.

नभो गतो दिशः सर्वाः सहस्राक्षो विशाम्पते ।
प्रागुदीचीं दिशं तूर्णं प्रविष्टो नृप मानसम् ॥14॥

nabho gato diśaḥ sarvāḥ
sahasrākṣo viśāmpate
prāg-udīcīḿ diśaḿ tūrṇaḿ
praviṣṭo nṛpa mānasam

O King, Indra first fled to the sky, but there also he saw the woman of personified sin chasing him. This witch followed him wherever he went. At last he very quickly went to the northeast and entered the Manasa-sarovara Lake.SB 6.13.14

Now regarding your second question about cooking dog meat. There is no mention of Indra cooking dog-meat for himself in Shreemad Bhagvat Purana. But he was starving when he was hiding from Brahma-Hatya in lotus flower in Manas-Sarovara for thousand years.

Since Indra eats his share of food through mouth of "Agni" the fire god, i.e. The fire-god used to bring him his share of all yajñas,and the fire god was afread to enter into water ,Indra was practically starving in all those years. as stated in next verse.


Indra was the planet Mars that orbited the Earth for 14.4 years (a manvantara)and then left for 15.6 years. This happened one hundred times, between 3687 andnd 687 BC. Indra's thunderbolts were not ordinary lightning and broke up the glaciers in the Himalayas, releasing the waters. Its leaving the earth after having clobbered the vritra was astrophysical clockwork and happened many times, so the rishi who asked the question should have known better. https://cycliccatastrophism.org/2017/10/07/how-mars-formed-the-continents/

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