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I heard many stories about deeds of Indra and other gods in Puranas.

For e.g. rape of Ahilya by Indra, rape of Tara by Saima etc. So my question is how can a God do this?

Are they really God? If they are not God why did Vedas praise them? Is there anything from Hindu scriptures, especially in Vedas or Upanishads, that denies them as God?

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5 Answers 5

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The question is

I heard many stories about deeds of Indra and other gods in Puranas.

For e.g. rape of Ahilya by Indra, rape of Tara by Saima etc. So my question is how can a God do this?

Are they really God? If they are not God why did Vedas praise them? Is there anything from Hindu scriptures, especially in Vedas or Upanishads, that denies them as God?


Rig Veda 2.1 says

2 Thine is the Herald's task and Cleanser's duly timed; Leader art thou, and Kindler for the pious man. Thou art Director, thou the ministering Priest: thou art the Brahman, Lord and Master in our home.

3 Hero of Heroes, Agni! Thou art Indra, thou art Viṣṇu of the Mighty Stride, adorable: Thou, Brahmaṇaspati, the Brahman finding wealth: thou, O Sustainer, with thy wisdom tendest us.

In the 1st mantra, AGNI was eulogised as BRAHMAN, the Almighty. In the subsequent mantras AGNI was eulogised as INDRA, VISHNU, etc.

So the names (AGNI, INDRA, VISHNU, etc.) used in the Veda, are epithets of same Almighty.

In Rig Veda III.36.2 Indra was eulogised as the Regulator of TIME.


The story of Indra and Ahalya is allegorical in nature, which was re-written demeaning Indra.

In the post Vedic period, the epithets of the Almighty God were deified and speicific physical characteristics were attributed to each God, ie., (i) 3 eyes, serpent in the neck, Thrishula in Hand, etc, in respect of Shiva, (ii) Sudarshana in hand, Garuda as Vehicle, etc, in respect of Vishnu, and so on.

Puranas were composed at a later date, to eulogise VISHNU/SHIVA/SHAKTI, etc, as SUPREME GOD.

As such there is no concept of SUPREME GOD and demi Gods in Veda

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Indra is a post which qualified living beings occupy and it changes with each manvantara. 11th Chapter of 3rd canto of Bhagavata says:

Text 24: Each and every Manu enjoys a life of a little more than seventy-one sets of four millenniums.

Text 25: After the dissolution of each and every Manu, the next Manu comes in order, along with his descendants, who rule over the different planets; but the seven famous sages, and demigods like Indra and their followers, such as the Gandharvas, all appear simultaneously with Manu.

Aitareya Brahmana 1.1.1 states:

agnirvai devanamavamo vishnuh paramah tadantara sarva devatah

Agni is the lowest and Vishnu is the highest among devas. All other gods occupy positions that are in between.

Taittiriya Upanishad 2.8.1 states:

bhishasmad vatah pavate bhishodeti suryah bhishasmad agnis candras ca mrityur dhavati pancamah

It is out of fear of the it(Brahman) that the wind is blowing, out of fear of Him that the sun rises , and out of fear of Him that fire acts. It is only due to fear of Him that death and Indra run( to perform their respective duties)

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  • You did not answer the question.
    – Wikash_
    Jul 3, 2020 at 6:47
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Indra, Agni,Vayu etc., and other 33 Koti deities are divine forms but are born from one infinite immortal formless Brahman and absorbed in it in the end. This has been explained in Kena Upanishada and story of Devi Bhagvatam as well.

Kena Upanishada

Once Brahman won victory for the devas. But unknowing the devas were proud of victory. Thought they, "Ours alone is victory and to us only belongs all the glory."

Brahman knowing their vanity appeared in front of them as an Yaksha (ethereal spirit). But they did not know who that great Yaksha was.

So they said to Agni, "Jataveda, know well what this Yaksha is." And as requested Agni agreed.

He rushed to the Yaksha and the Yaksha (Brahman) asked, "What power do you have and of what nature?" And Agni replied," I am Agni (fire), the omniscient. I can burn all that is on earth."

Then Brahman placed a blade of grass in front of Agni saying, "Burn it." Agni rushed to it with all his strength, but could not burn it. He returned to the gods saying," What the Yaksha was I could not find."

So they said to Vayu (the wind) " O great Vayu, go and find out what this great Yaksha is and from where ." And as requested Vayu agreed.

He (Vayu) rushed to the Yaksha and Brahman asked him who he was. Replied Vayu, " I am Vayu. I am really the master of all skies."

And Brahman enquired," What is the nature of your power in you." And replied Vayu, "All this, whatever that is here , I can blow away."

Brahman placed before him a blade of grass saying, "Blow it away." Vayu approached it with his full might, but could not move it even a little. He too returned to the gods saying, "I could not find that which this Spirit is."

Then the gods requested Indra, "Chief of gods, find out for us this great Spirit and from where." But as he approached, the Spirit disappeared.

And at the very same spot in the sky appeared extremely charming Uma Haimavati (daughter of Himavat). He (Indra) asked her who the great Yaksha was.

Chapter IV "Indeed It was Brahman," she replied. "Through Him alone you all achieved victory." Then only Indra could discern who the incredible Brahman was.

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    You disappointed me with this answer my friend. You can write better . You have to write from vedas @Manu Kumar Oct 31, 2019 at 16:15
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    @srimannarayanakv Kena Upanishad is part of Vedas.
    – Ikshvaku
    Oct 31, 2019 at 16:56
  • @srimannarayanakv i already explained in detail in some of the previous answer,hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/35071/… there are several deities, but God is one and for it there is no action, actions and forms are prone to mistakes,fears and finiteness.
    – user16530
    Oct 31, 2019 at 17:39
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Indra is a job. Lord Indra is a jiva who is temporarily holding the post of Indra. A jiva can only get such a job if he has exceptionally good karma. This job is, however, inferior to moksha.

Vritra became the foe of Indra, but Indra slew him also with the Thunder-bolt. In consequence of the sin of Brahminicide, being thus doubled Indra thus became overcome with a great fear and as the consequence thereof he had to abandon the sovereignty of heaven. He entered a cool lotus stalk that grew in the Manas lake. In consequence of the Yoga attribute of Anima, he became very minute and entered the fibres of that lotus stalk. When the lord of the three worlds, the husband of Sachi, had thus disappeared from sight through fear of the sin of Brahminicide, the universe became lordless. The attributes of Rajas and Tamas assailed the deities. The Mantras uttered by the great Rishis lost all efficacy. Rakshasas appeared everywhere. The Vedas were about to disappear. The inhabitants of all the worlds, being destitute of a king, lost their strength and began to fall an easy prey to Rakshasas and other evil beings. Then the deities and Rishis, uniting together, made Nahusha, the son of Ayusha, the king of the three worlds and duly crowned him as such. Nahusha had on his forehead full five-hundred luminaries of blazing effulgence, which had the virtue of despoiling every creature of energy. Thus equipt Nahusha continued to rule heaven. The three worlds were restored to their normal condition. The inhabitants of the universe once more became happy and cheerful. Nahusha then said, - Everything that Indra used to enjoy is before me. Only his spouse Sachi is not by. Having said this, Nahusha proceeded to where Sachi was and addressing her, said, - O blessed lady, I have become the lord of the deities. Do thou accept me. Unto him Sachi replied, saying – Thou art, by nature, wedded righteousness of behaviour. Thou belongest, again, to the race of Shoma. It behoveth thee not to assail another person’s wife. – Nahusha, thus addressed by her said, - The position of Indra is now being occupied by me. I deserve to enjoy the dominions and all the precious possessions of Indra. In desiring to enjoy thee there can be no sin. Thou wert Indra’s and, therefore should be mine.

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section CCCXLIII

I have not yet mentioned the exceptionally good Karma of Indra. How did he become chief of Gods? The answer is given in the passage posted below.

Devasthana said, ',,The Supreme Ordainer created wealth for sacrifice, and He created man also for taking care of that wealth and for performing sacrifice. For this reason the whole of one's wealth should be applied to sacrifice. Pleasure would follow from it as a natural consequence. Possessed of abundant energy, Indra, by the performance of diverse sacrifices with profuse gifts of valuables, surpassed all gods. Having got their chiefship by that means, he shineth in heaven,'

Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section XX

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Are Devas like indra god?

They are Devas, but they are not the supreme Brahman. They are Jivatmas who have done lots of good deeds, so they are born as deities such as Indra, Rudra, Brahma, Agni, etc.

So my question is how can a Gods do this?

Because deities like Rudra, Brahma, Indra, Agni, etc. are not the supreme Brahman (God); they are impure and still bound by karma and the three gunas.

Narayana (Vishnu) on the other hand is the supreme Brahman and his acts are pure; hence, he does not rape or murder.

Rudra is a created deity still bound by sin (papa), as shown in this Shatapata Brahmana verse:

“Pragâpati said to him [Rudra], 'My boy, why do you cry, when you are born out of labor and trouble?' He said, 'Nay, but I am not freed from sin; I have no name given me: give me a name!' Hence one should give a name to the boy that is born, for thereby one frees him from evil;--even a second, even a third (name), for thereby one frees him from evil time after time” - (Satapatah Brahmana 6:1:3:9)

The medieval Sri Vaishnava scholar Pillai Lokacharya has elaborated on the faults of these mortal Devas, and have shown that they are not adequate protectors:

And more, they [the Devas] are sometimes known to be vanquished by such mighty Asuras as Hiranya and Ravana, and compelled to do for them all sorts of menial services.

But what about Indra, Brahma, and Rudra? an objector may ask. The answer is: It is true that Iinidra is the ruler of the three worlds, and yet it is too well-known how he is in constant fear of losing this high estate. He is often curse-stricken, pays the penalty by suffering for Brahmahatya, is bound as a captive by Indrajit, and allows his sway to get into the hands of such beings as Mahabali. Such then is Indra, weeping and crawling in the dust!

Brahma is no better than Indra, for he is assailed by such evil genii as Madhu and Kaitabha, and is deprived of the Vedas which to him are his 'eyes and treasure.' And his head he allows to be ripped by Rudra (his own son).

Nor again is Rudra any the better. For he is to begin with, the Destroyer par excellence, how can he then protect? Water is wished for by the thirsty, but Rudra of the fire-colour offers himself to such thirsty worshippers of his as fire! He exacts horrid offerings from his devotees by saying, "Kill for me, roast for me." Banasura was his votary, so much so that Rudra pledged himself to guard him so that even 'the flower he wore on his head should not fade.' But when Krishna was hacking Bana's one thousand arms as if they were so many cactus stems, the boasted guardian Rudra shut his eyes and slipped away from his ward uttering, 'If life is spared, I can live by selling salt.' Again, he a sinner, cut the throat of Brahma, the guide of the worlds, his own father, and wandered about after such acts of treason in his won house, with the skull of his father fast clinging to his hand, from door to door, in search of a savior.

So,

Are they really God?

The answer is no.

If they are not God why Vedas praise them?

They do some sins, but generally the Devas are very righteous people. They are devotees of Brahman, protect the universe from Asuras, and are knowledgeable about Brahman.

Is there anything from Hindu scriptures especially in Vedas or Upanishads denies them as God.

See above.

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