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In chapter 3 of the Kaushitaki Upanishad, the prince Pratardana, son of the famous king Divodasa and seer of a Vedic hymn as I discuss here, dies and goes to Devaloka (heaven), where he meets Indra. Indra offers him a boon, and Pratardana asks Indra to give him whatever boon is most beneficial. So Indra decides to tell him about Indra himself! (This isn't as absurd as it sounds, because Brahman is the soul of the gods and thus truly understanding Indra will allow you to understand Brahman.) In particular, Indra says this about himself:

Know me only; that is what I deem most beneficial for man, that he should know me. I slew the three-headed son of Tvashtri; I delivered the Arunmukhas, the devotees, to the wolves (sâlâvrika); breaking many treaties, I killed the people of Prahlâda in heaven, the people of Puloma in the sky, the people of Kâlakañga on earth. And not one hair of me was harmed there.

The Aitareya Brahmana of the Rig Veda says the same thing.

When the gods excluded Indra (saying) 'He hath misused Vishvarupa, Tvastri's son, he hath laid low Vritra, he hath given the Yatis [Sanyasis] to the hyaenas, he hath killed the Arurmaghas, he hath contended with Brhaspati', then Indra was deprived of the Soma drinking[.]

My question is, what is the story of Indra delivering the "devotees" or Sanyasis known as the Arunmukhas to the wolves? Presumably that means they were devoured by wolves.

Sayana, the famous commentator on the Vedas says that the Arunmukhas were actually Asuras in the disguise of Sanyasis, and he characterizes them as "those in whose mouths the reading of the Vedas is not". He also says "their skulls were turned into the thorns of the desert which remain to this day".

But does anyone know if this story is described in any Hindu scripture?

  • I guess because as Brahman is the end all, the finest substance of everything than Brahman himself was Indra, Hitler, Einstein ,Buddha and all people good, bad or downright evil. It is the story from the Kena Upanishad 3:1 "The Eternal conquered for the gods and in the victory of the Eternal the gods grew to greatness. They saw, “Ours the victory, ours the greatness.”" I guess this is a bit fatalistic but this is what I take my religion to be. – user3388 Jul 24 '15 at 7:32
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I found the answer to my question in this excerpt from the Vayu Purana:

Shukra's wife named Angi was the mental daughter of the Soma-drinking Pitris and very famous.... Shukra begot four sons of her, viz. Tvashtri, Varutrin, Shanda, and Amarka. They resembled the sun and in their prowess they were equal to Brahma. Ranjana, Prithurashmi and the scholarly Brihadgiras were the sons of Varutrin. They were devoted to Brahman and became the priests of Suras. They approached Manu with the motive of spoiling sacrificial rites. On seeing Dharma being violated, Indra spoke to Manu: "I would rather have the sacrifice performed through you than through these." On hearing these words of Indra, they fled from that place. When they absconded, Indra released (their) wife Chetana. Then he followed her. On seeing them come there again with the evil intention of killing Indra, he struck at them (while) they slept in the altar of the lord of Devas on the southern side. While they were being devoured by (dogs, jackals and wolves) their heads fell down simultaneously and became dates.

So Indra fed Shukracharya's grandsons Ranjana, Prithurashmi, and Brihadgiras to wolves because they were trying to kill him and disrupt Yagnas.

On a side note, I found an interesting statement by Medhatithi on this subject in this section of his commentary on the Manu Smriti:

Others, however, think that there are a people known as ‘Yatis,’ ‘Hermits,’ inhabiting the Meru mountain; as is clear from what we read regarding ‘India having made over the Yatis to the Sālāvṛkas.’

But I'm not sure what scriptures mention a race of Yatis living on Mount Meru.

  • Very nice find! – Viraj Aug 6 at 7:19

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