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I was reading the Indra Ahalya incident in Valmiki Ramayana and other parts. I see that Valmiki has referred Indra as 'Sahasraksh' most of the times. 'Sahasraksh' meaning one with thousand eyes. I am a little confused how can one's appearance will be with 1000 eyes. Does this name has a different meaning. Or thousand eyes means something else. Also if there is any reference of 'Sahasraksh' name in any other books and may be any story about it. Can somebody please explain?

  • Indra has a thousand eyes as he was cursed to have a thousand eyes all over his body by Rishi Gautama. This was because Indra had raped Ahalya in the absence of Rishi Gautama... Also, it is ‘Sahasraksha’, and not ‘Sahastraksha’. In Sanskrit, ‘Sahasra’ means thousand and ‘Aksha’ refers to the eye, and hence ‘Sahasraksha’ means ‘Thousand Eyes’ or ‘The One with a Thousand Eyes’. – Hayagreev Ram Sep 8 '18 at 11:23
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    @HayagreevRam It was not eyes first. Gautama cursed Indra would get what he wanted (the reason why he came to Ahalya: Yoni). Indra went and stayed in cave out of shame and Brahma asked him to tapasya to get rid of Yonis and thereafter he changed them to eyes and only few can see these eyes. – The Destroyer Sep 8 '18 at 11:31
  • @TheDestroyer oh ok didn’t know about that little detail... – Hayagreev Ram Sep 8 '18 at 11:34
  • But dont create an image of Vedic gods based on puranas. Refer vedas instead – Rakesh Joshi Sep 9 '18 at 21:42
  • Here only spiritual meaning should be taken as Indra is primary deity of all Indriyas of all he is shahsraksha by default this is not curse at all secondly Sage Gautama was acquiring powers over and above his capacity so Indira created this play to reduce power of Gautama Ahalya is blessed with Ramas – Prasanna R May 28 at 2:38
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As per PADMA-PURANA: SRSTIKHANDA: Chapter 54,

4-5a. Suresa (i.e. Indra) had vaginal marks (on his body) because of having outraged Ahalya only. Then again, due to the favour of Goddess (Indraksi / Indrakshi), he, became well known as Sahasraksa / Sahasraksha (one having a thousand eyes). This is known in the entire mobile and immobile world.

Here is the curse,

29-31a. (The sage [Gautama] said:) "Since for amorous pleasure, you have done such a fraudulent and rash act, therefore, there will be a thousand vaginas on the limbs (of your body). O you most sinful one, your genital organ shall fall here (only). O fool, get (away) from my presence to the heavenly abode of gods: Best sages, men, and Siddhas with serpents (will) see you."

Then, Indra, being ashamed, remained in water for a long time. Remaining in water, he eulogized the goddess called Indraksi / Indrakshi in order to give up the ugly form caused by the sage's curse. The goddess blessed Indra:

47b-50a. To him [Indra] the goddess said: "O lord of gods, to destroy that blemish caused by the sage's curse, gods like Brahma alone are capable, I am not able (to do so). But I shall find out such an idea as you will (i.e. your sores will) not be noticed by people. You will have a thousand eyes which will have a thousand (forms resembling) vulva; (and) being famous as 'Thousand-eyed' you will rule well over (your) kingdom; and due to my boon your penis will be like a goat's scrotum."

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    Thanks for your detailed answer. It solved all confusions. In Valmiki Ramayana, the 1000 yoni thing was not mentioned, i think only falling of Indra's genitals and other Gods helping him by fixing Goat's genital is there. Good to find the story of diff curse. – Aby Sep 9 '18 at 10:25
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Originally The Purusha Sukta describes the Almighty God as having 1,000 ( Unlimited) eyes.(hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda). Later versions in other Vedas have some variations. (interpolations)

ōm sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākśaḥ sahasrapāt, sa bhūmiṁ viśvato vṛtvā'tyatiṣṭaddaśāgulam.

Thousand-headed is the Purusha, thousand-eyed and thousand-legged. Enveloping the earth from all sides, He transcends it by ten fingers’ length.

During Rig Veda period, Indra was described as King of Gods (विबुध ईश्वरम्) , Chief Invitee of rituals (पुरु हूतस्य). It was in Puranas that the status of Indra was degraded and described as womaniser, and Vishnu was elevated to the status of Supreme God.

So Sahasraksha refers to Indra.

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The Ahalya and Indra story in Bala Kanda of Ramayana was an interpolated story.

Indra got the name Sahasraksha from Rig Veda but not from the interpolated stories of Ramayana and Puranas.

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