This answer claims the Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa attached to Sāmaveda also mentions the Indra-Ahalyā affair.

But how exactly is the story narrated in Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa?

Is it any different from the version found in Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa?

1 Answer 1


In the Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa, there is no elaborate tale of Ahalya per say. There is only a mention of Indra being her lover in the Subrahmaṇya Āhvānam, similar to the one found in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa and him turning into someone else (see below) to approach her.

The mention of Ahalya is as follows:

अहल्यायै जारेति ॥२०॥ अहल्याया ह मैत्रेय्या जार आस ॥२१॥

Paramour of Ahalya! He was the paramour of Ahalya Maitreyi.
-Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa, Adhyāya 1, verses 20-21

अहल्यायै जारेति। बहुलवचनात् षष्ठ्यर्थे चतुर्थी अहल्याया जार इत्यर्थः तद्व्याचष्टे अहल्याया ह मैत्रेय्या जार आस इन्द्रः किल मित्राया दुहिता मैत्रेयी तस्या अहल्याया जार: उपपतिरास बभूव।

(grammar rule). It means he was the lover of Ahalya. This is explained as he was the lover of Ahalya Maitreyi. Maitreyi - daughter of Mitrā. Her i.e. Ahalya’s lover was Indra.
-Sayanacharya’s Vedarthaprakasha

In the very next verse Indra has been given the appellation of Kaushika the reason for which has been explained as him transforming into Kaushika to approach Ahalya. Sayanacharya gives further and better explanation for this. The mention is as follows:

कौशिक ब्राह्मणेति ॥२२॥ कौशिको ह स्मैनां ब्राह्मण उपन्येति ॥२३॥

Kauśika Brahmana! Kaushika brahmana approached her.
-Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa, Adhyāya 1, verses 22-23

कौशिक: कुशिकगोत्रोत्पन्नः कश्चिद् ब्राह्मण: एनां प्रकृताम् अहल्यामुपन्येति स्म ह। इण गतौ। लट् स्मे इति परोक्षे लट्। उपनीति उपसर्गौ। उपन्यगच्छत्। उपयेमे किलेत्यर्थः। तस्या जार: सन् तद्भर्तृस्थाने तिष्ठतीति कौशिकब्राह्मणेत्युपचारादामन्त्र्यते।

Kaushika means some Brahmin who has taken birth in the Kushika Gotra, who approached this one I.e. Ahalya. He stood in stead of her husband as her paramour. He (Indra) is thus called Kaushika Brahmana as an upachara while inviting. (Indicating Indra approached Ahalya in stead of her husband in the form of Kaushika Brahmana).
-Sayanacharya’s Vedarthaprakasha

There is a mention of Gautama too. As stated in this answer, there seems to be a slight confusion between Kaushika and Gautama. The texts might have interchanged the two, because Gautama too finds mention in the Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa as follows:

गौतम ब्रुवाणेति॥२४॥ देवासुरा ह सँयत्ता आसँस्तानन्तरेण गोतमः शश्राम तमिन्द्र उपेत्योवाचेह नो भवाँस्पशश्चरत्वित नाहमुत्सह इत्यथाहं भवतो रूपेण चराणीति यथा मन्यस इति स यत्तद्गोतमो वा ब्रुवाणश्चचार गोतमरूपेण वा तदेतदाह गौतमेति ॥२५॥

Called Gautama. "The gods and Asuras were at war with each other. Gotama was performing austerities between them. Indra went upto him and said, 'Go out as our spy.' 'I cannot he replied. "Then I will go in your form'. "As thou thinkest fit.' And because he (Indra) went about in the form of Gotama, passing himself off as Gotama, therefore he says, 'thou who callest thee Gautama."
-Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa, Adhyāya 1, verses 24-25

It’s possible that Indra took the form of Kaushika during the devasura war and Gautama for Ahalya, and in textual transmission it got mixed up. Whatever be the case, from the above, we can infer that Indra approached Ahalya taking the form of her husband. This is almost identical with the version in the Ramayana, with the difference lying in the fact that in the Ramayana, Ahalya’s husband is Gautama, not Kaushika.


  1. Sayanacharya’s Vedarthaprakasha : Source
  2. Help for translation : here
  • If Indra is a brahmana couldn't Matanga just ask to become his son like Madhu and Kaitabha did to Vishnu? It's not like Matanga seems to be attached to anyone at home. Dec 11, 2021 at 14:43

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