The following is from Rig Veda (VII.20.5)

वर्षा जजान वर्षणं रणाय तमु चिन नारी नर्यं ससूव |

पर यः सेनानीरध नर्भ्यो अस्तीनः सत्वा गवेषणः स धर्ष्णुः ||

A Bull begat the Bull for joy of battle, and a strong Mother brought forth him the manly. He who is Chief of men, their armies' Leader, is strong Hero, bold, and fain for booty.

HYMN XX of 7th Mandala was dedicated to Indra. However, if we go by Puranic story of the Skanda or Subrahmanya, this particular mantra appears to be referring to Subrahmanya (Skanda).

Is there any link between Indra and Subrahmanya (Skanda)?

  • 2
    how u concluded bdw... before Skanda someone was army chief right? ...Indra himself was army chief in many wars...and other gods too in other...as there was boon that only Shiva's son can kill one asura, Skanda was born and he was chosen as army chief but it doesn't mean before him there was no army chief...
    – YDS
    Jul 27, 2019 at 2:17
  • I have not concluded yet. I am just questioning :-) @YDS Jul 27, 2019 at 4:19

1 Answer 1


I came across Rig Veda (VII.20.5), while going through a book on Vedic Literature. As stated in the question, HYMN XX of 7th Mandala was dedicated to Indra. However, going by the phrases used, ie., Bull begat the Bull, He who is Chief of men, their armies' Leader, I thought there must be some link Indra and Subrahmanya (Skanda).

I had discussed this issue with my friend, who is a Vedic scholar. He agreed to my presumption, and stated that there were some indirect references in Rig veda and Satapatha Brahmana.

  1. The Subrahmanyâ litany, which refers to Indra, calls 'Subrahmanyôm! Subrahmanyôm! Subrahmanyôm!'. So Indra was called as Subrahmanya.

  2. Rig veda 1.164.46 says the one Brahman is called by many names, i.e,, Agni, Indra, etc.

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān. To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.

  1. Rig veda 1.65.1 & 2 speaks about Agni.
  1. ONE-MINDED, wise, they tracked thee like a thief lurking in dark cave with a stolen cow: Thee claiming worship, bearing it to Gods: there nigh to thee sate all the Holy Ones.

  2. The Gods approached the ways of holy Law; there was a gathering vast as heaven itself. The waters feed with praise the growing Babe, born nobly in the womb, the seat of Law.

Vedacharya David Frawley explains the meaning of above 2 mantras as follows:

In the state of Self-realisation, Agni, or the individual soul, becomes the Sun or the Supreme Soul. There are certain aspects of Agni that are most involved in this process of Self-inquiry.

Guha is the form of Agni that dwells in the secret cave of the heart where the Self is realized. Kumara is the child form of Agni that represents our spiritual rebirth as a realised soul. Vaishvanara is the cosmic form of Agni identified with the Sun, but also indicates the liberated soul. Agni's Vaishvana form reflects the process of Self-inquiry.

The inner search is metaphorically styled in the Vedas as a search for cows (gaveshana) hidden in the cave, where they have been stolen by the powers of darkness. This occurs relative to the hymns of Indra, but also at times in the hymns to Agni and other deities.

The vedic cow or Go is a symbol of light, knowledge, and the sould. It is not be literally regarded as a mere cow. The cave is the cavern of the heart.

  1. This epithet of Kumara in the above Rig Vedic mantra was later developed into a story. The story of the birth of Kaartikeya or Skanda was described in 223-224 sections of Vana Parva of Mahabharata. There it was mentioned that Skanda is the son of Agni.

  2. The Rig Veda VIII.1.25 describes Indra's chariot having Peacock tails. In Puranas, Kaartikeya was described to be having Peacock as his vehicle.

Yoked to thy chariot wrought of gold, may thy two Bays with peacock tails, Convey thee hither, Steeds with their white backs, to quaff sweet juice that makes us eloquent.

  1. In Rig Veda III.1.4, there was a mention of 7 rivers tendering the new born AGNI, as mares tender the new born. This an epithet to indicate a newly realised human or jnani being flooded with WISDOM.

    Him, Blessed One, the Seven strong Floods augmented, him white at birth and red when waxen mighty. As mother mares run to their new-born you ling, so at his birth the Gods wondered at Agni.

The new born AGNI is none other than Kumara or Subrahmanya (Su + brAhmana). This epithet of mares tendering the young one was converted into the story of 6 krithikas tendering the young Subrahmanya in Puranas.

Thus, Indra indicates BRAHMAN.

Subrahmanya = Su + BRAHMAN = Good BRAHMAN.

Thus, I am inferring that Indra and Skanda/Subrahmanya might be referring to one BRAHMAN only.

  • I thought you did not consider satapatha brahmana as veda.
    – user16581
    Dec 19, 2019 at 2:33
  • As per Sanskrit dictionary spokensanskrit.org/… Subrahmanya means very kind or dear to brahmanas. Same meaning is given in Monier-williams dictionary. This seems to be the sense in which the word was used in satapatha brahmana, for it says - 'Subrahmanyôm! Subrahmanyôm! Subrahmanyôm!' thus he calls, for the Brahman (brAhmaNa, my emphasis) indeed moves the gods onward.
    – user16581
    Dec 19, 2019 at 2:54

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