Indra has tried to disturb penance of many including Demons (Hiranya Kashyapu, Ravana etc.), saints (Vishvamitra, Narada etc.) and even of small kid (Dhruva). The list is so long. And this thing also can't be denied that He only did this for his own insecurity or protection (more like greed I guess). He didn't want to loose his Heaven that's why He always try to disturb penance of almost everyone.

Point to note here is that, as per Divine rule, whoever will do penance then he will surely get merits. Even Indra became King of heaven by doing Ashwamegha yagyas. He did penance in form of yagyas and Became King of heaven. Thus he took merits of Diving rule and achieved everything. Question here arises if he himself can take advantage of Divine rule then how he can stop someone from doing same? Who gave him rights to disturb penance of anyone he like?

My concern here is not about why Indra does this? My question here is that why no one ever try to stop him from doing this? Trideva (Creator, Preserver, Destroyer) also never lift even a finger to stop Indra's this cruelty and greed act. They didn't even say something about it. They seen all but keep their silence. If someone is doing penance of any Lord then isn't it becomes little bit duty of that Lord to give some protection to the person who is doing deep penance in name of him? Why Lord never got involve when Indra tried to disturb penance of their devotees?

Only one example I know when Shiva stepped in, but he came only after death of devotee(not when he was alive). When all other ways of disturbing deep penance of demon (forgot name) failed then Indra chopped his head during his penance. He killed an ascetic while he was unconscious from outer world. Then Shiva tried to teach Indra a lesson. But still it was not Indra's last attempt but he keep doing this work as per his free will. As no-one(even Trideva) has rights to stop Indra from doing this.

Why Indra was never being stopped from doing this?

  • 4
    Current Indra himself was disturbed by the previous Indra. Only those who survive the disturbances can reach post of Indra. And those who reach that post don't want to give it up easily, so they disturb others who try to reach it. And if people reach the post easily, then they won't have power to rule 3 worlds. Think of it as Finals exam, the tougher it is, the better the caliber of those who pass. If Brahma prevented Indra from disturbing others, then those others would reach the post without truly testing their weaknesses.
    – ram
    Dec 28, 2017 at 22:50
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    Because all these are puranic stories and not depicted in the vedas Dec 29, 2017 at 0:30
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    @Rishabh dude no need to get agitated but its a fact that Indra is cheif vedic deity which is discussed elsewhere in the group and its character in the Vedas is dramatically different from the puranas. You can compare it yourself. And also research on the fact that how Vedic worship was replaced by puranic ... Dec 29, 2017 at 12:21
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    Puranas also say that some of the puranas are tamasika and they lead one to hell. Now howcome such things are possible.? So T.V. SHOULD not be sole source of information but there should be a comparative analysis Dec 29, 2017 at 12:24
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    Out of thousands of Shakas of Vedas, we only have a few remaining. Some of them are about Indra. Tomorrow if we lost those branches, @RakeshJoshi might then say 'there is no deity called Indra because he is not in Vedas'. We only know a bit of Vedas. The rest of the meaning and dharma-shastras are in Itihasa-Puranas. If we blindly hang on to only what Vedas survived (and more importantly, based on our limited-brain's interpolation of them without help of Itihasa-Puranas), then we shall be blindly hanging on to half-baked knowledge.
    – ram
    Dec 30, 2017 at 4:00

2 Answers 2


True penance is when no external force can disrupt it. Also the true mark of such a person is complete control over his mind and senses. Only if it has not been achieved, can one get disturbed. In order to eliminate those who hadn’t got complete control, Indra used damsels, erratic weather as weapons, this was for good. He hence wasn’t stopped .

  • 2
    If Indra had complete control over his senses, why did he want to enjoy carnal pleasures, even with wives of other men ?
    – ram
    Dec 28, 2017 at 22:53
  • "True penance is when no external force can disrupt it" That level of penance can't be get in few months or year. One need time to reach that level. If someone disturbs penance of anyone before reaching that level, then? And only Lord (Whose penance is being done) has rights to check the level of penance. Only Lord can test penance, not others. Who gave Indra this rights?
    – Vishvam
    Dec 29, 2017 at 4:29

Why no one ever tried to stop Indra from disturbing penance?

This commentary answers your question:

Indra is a position assigned to some high-souled being on acquiring considerable merit. He functions as a CEO of the universe, maintaining seasons, rains, thunders, thunderbolts, crops, earthquakes, and every aspect of nature, whether they are good or bad for us. If any Vedic-ritual were performed, this Indra would be too happy, as he and his deputies like Rain-god, Fire-god, Air-god, et al., will receive many oblations from that ritual. But if it is tapas 'the practise of asceticism, penance, or ascesis' by single sage, Indra will be highly perturbed. Usually sages will be practising this ascesis for attainment of higher abodes of Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva. Some practise this to overthrow present Indra and try ascending to his position, or to attain immortality and thereby rout out Indra, as with the case of Ravana. When that practise is about to materialise, Indra sends his agents, like voluptuous celestial beauties, namely the apsara-s, to infatuate those sages with their beauty. Once the sage's concentration fails, his practise becomes futile. Thus, Indra retains his present position. Here, though Sage Gautama did not practise his ascesis for Indra's post, Indra had to hinder it in his own apprehension, and when the fury of Gautama is incited, Gautama's practise also failed and he had to redo his ascesis until he overcomes his passions. Thus, this 'causing hindrance' is a divine-act as proclaimed by Indra to other gods. In doing such 'divine-acts' Indra will also be maligned, for which the higher gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, or other higher beings will come to his rescue.

This is how Indra himself explains this in Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda - Sarga 48 - 49:

गौतमेन एवम् उक्तस्य स रोषेण महात्मना |

पेततुः वृषणौ भूमौ सहस्राक्षस्य तत् क्षणात् || १-४८-२८

When that great-souled sage Gautama spoke that way with rancour, the testicles of the cursed Thousand-eyed Indra fell down onto ground at that very moment.

अफलः तु ततः शक्रो देवान् अग्नि पुरोगमान् |

अब्रवीत् त्रस्त नयनः सिद्ध गन्धव चारणान् || १-४९-१

The emasculated Indra then with panicked eyes spoke to gods, siddha-s, gandharva-s, and carana-s, keeping Fire-god as their helms-god.

कुर्वता तपसो विघ्नम् गौतमस्य महात्मनः |

क्रोधम् उत्पाद्य हि मया सुर कार्यम् इदम् कृतम् || १-४९-२

I have Indeed incited fury in that noble-souled Sage Gautama by effectuating hindrance in his asceticism, but I have accomplished a task of gods.

अफलो अस्मि कृतः तेन क्रोधात् सा च निराकृता |

शाप मोक्षेण महता तपो अस्य अपहृतम् मया || १-४९-३

By Gautama's anger I am rendered testicle-less and his wife Ahalya is also rejected by the sage, and thus by his releasing a severe curse his propriety for ascesis is dwindled, therefore his ascesis is pre-empted by me.

तत् माम् सुरवराः सर्वे स ऋषि संघाः स चारणाः |

सुर कार्य करम् यूयम् सफलम् कर्तुम् अर्हथ || १-४९-४

Therefore, oh, all gods with the assemblages of sages and caarana-s, it will be apt of you to make me virile again, as I have acted for the benefit of gods.' Thus Indra spoke to all gods.

  • "but I have accomplished a task of gods" Sorry, I am not agree here. Purana says Indra did this only because he was jealous of Rishi Gautam. Indra wanted to marry Ahilya (daughter of Brahma) but he married with Gautam instead. And Indra came to know that Rishi Gautam is going to create "Nyaya Sutra" with blessing of Shiva then He scared coz like this the person who stole his love, will become more famous. Hence coz of jealousy he did that sin. He was just making execuses later that he did work of Gods. Even Mata Parvati got anger on Indra coz of this.
    – Vishvam
    May 28, 2018 at 3:56
  • @Rishabh It's written in Ramayana shloka १-४९-२ "मया सुर कार्यम् इदम् कृतम्" itself...but this shloka is Indra's own clarification on his own action...now it's individuals's wish whether he/she agree with Ramayana shloka or not...
    – YDS
    May 28, 2018 at 7:14
  • "now it's individuals's wish whether he/she agree with Ramayana shloka or not" This line of your is wrong. IMHO You shoud have write this instead "Now this is individual's wish whether he/she agree with Indra's own clarification or not".
    – Vishvam
    May 29, 2018 at 12:00

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