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If Lord Indra is a "womaniser" as described as in the Puranic Literature, can anyone tell as to how many women fall prey to him?

Only Ahalya's story occurs to me. So we have to closely examine the only story available about Lord Indra's adultery.

The story of Ahalya and Indra was mentioned first in Srimad Ramayana. Sage Vishvamitra narrates the legend of Ahalya to Rama and Lakshmana.


Indra is infatuated with Ahalya and desires a union with her, for which she complies. However, Gautama catching them unawares curses both Indra and Ahalya.

With that curse, the testicles of the cursed Thousand-eyed Indra fell down onto ground at that very moment. And, Devatas replaced ram's testes to Indra, and from then onwards Indra has became one with the testes of a goat.

Vishvamitra while continuing the narration of the legend of Ahalya asks Rama to enter her hermitage where Ahalya is living unseen by anybody.

When once Rama steps into that hermitage she manifests herself from her accursed invisible state. She emerges with her divine form and accords guest-ship to Rama and Lakshmana. Sage Gautama also arrives at this juncture to accept his depurated wife Ahalya.

पुष्प वृष्टिः महती आसीत् देव दुंदुभि निस्वनैः |
गन्धर्व अप्सरसाम् च एव महान् आसीत् समुत्सवः || १-४९-१९

"There chanced an abundant floral fall form firmament to the drumbeats of god's drums, and the celestials like gandharva-s, apsara-s revelled in a splendid festivity that is superb. "


We will come across the story of Ahalya in Puranas also, but with some variations.

Now, let us examine the above story.

  1. If the "womaniser" Indra regained his virility after attached with the testes of a goat, why did not he try to woo another woman? Was he really a "womaniser". A Big NO!

  2. It was described in Bala Kanda that after Ahalya manifested herself with the entrance of Sri Rama, abundant flora fall on them and drumbeats of god's drums could be heard. What was achieved by Sri Rama at that juncture? Nothing.

  3. Was similar fall of abundant flora and occurrence of drumbeats of god's drums happened when Sri Rama eliminated Subaahu and threw Maaricha in the Ocean, in Siddhasrama? The description in Bala Kanda at that time was as follows:

    स हत्वा राक्षसान् सर्वान् यज्ञ घ्नान् रघुनंदनः |
    ऋषिभिः पूजितः तत्र यथा इन्द्रो विजये पुरा || १-३०-२४

    When Rama, the delight of Raghu's dynasty, has eliminated all of the demons that are the hinderers of Vedic rituals, the sages available there in that hermitage idealised him as Indra was idealised once, when he became victorious on demons.

  4. This is the style of Sage Valmiki. He described that the ascetics in Siddhasrama appeciated him and regarded him as INDRA.

  5. The description of fall of abundant flora and occurrence of drumbeats of gods' drums, in this type of occasions can be seen in Puranas only.

  6. So the conclusion is that the story of Ahalya and Indra in Bala Kanda is a PRAKSHIPTA, an insertion made at a later date, to degrade the fame and greatness of Lord Indra.

Am I correct?

  • Can you explain how to do it? – srimannarayana k v Oct 15 '15 at 16:22
  • Can I edit the already posted question now in the manner you indicated? – srimannarayana k v Oct 15 '15 at 16:39
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    @srimannarayana k v - How can you compare the the Vishnu - Tulasi incident to Indra- Ahalya. Even an insane man, will know. Indra always wanted to posses ahalya. In case of Vishnu - Thulasi, there is no such perverse intentions. It was to eliminate Jalandhara/ Shankhachuda, otherwise shiva was losing the battle and also Jalandhara had gone to the extent of parvati out of lust. So, such a demon has to eliminated...You are trying to compare oranges with apples. – user808 Oct 20 '15 at 15:55
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    @Krishna: Did I mention about any of the Acharyas you are referring to? Why do drag them in to this discussion? I offered my opinion here, and if you do not like it, you can downvote it or leave it. Why are getting exited so much? – srimannarayana k v Oct 20 '15 at 21:42
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    @srimannarayanakv The opening chapter of the Mahabharata says that the Jaya is 8800 verses, and it says that based on those 8800 verses Vyasa composed the 100,000 verses of the Mahabharata. It doesn't say that the Mahabharata only consists of 8800 verses. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 21 '15 at 15:35
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The story of Ahalya is authentic. Here's what this chapter of the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda says:

  1. Thereupon he recites the Subrahmanyâ litany. Even as one would say to those for whom he intends to prepare a meal, 'On such and such a day I will prepare a meal for you;' so does he thereby announce the sacrifice to the gods. 'Subrahmanyôm! Subrahmanyôm! Subrahmanyôm!' thus he calls, for the Brahman indeed moves the gods onward. Thrice he says it, because the sacrifice is threefold.

  2. 'Come, O Indra!' Indra is the deity of the sacrifice: therefore he says, 'Come, O Indra!' 'Come, O lord of the bay steeds! Ram of Medhâtithi! Wife of Vrishanasva! Bestriding buffalo! Lover of Ahalyâ!' Thereby he wishes him joy in those affairs of his.

  3. 'O Kausika, Brahman, thou who callest thee Gautama.' Just so has this (formula) been devised in these days by Âruni, to wit, 'thou who callest thee Gautama:' he may say it, if he choose, and if he does not choose, he need not attend to it. 'In so and so many days, to the Soma-feast,' (stating) in how many days from hence the pressing is to be.

The Brahmanas of the Vedas were passed down in the most rigorous fashion, so the chance of an interpolation in the Shatapatha Brahmana is vanishingly small. In any case, "thou who callest thee Gautama" is an allusion to the fact that Indra took the form of Ahalya's husband Gautama. This isn't the only Vedic allusion to the story of Ahalya; the Sadvimsha Brahmana and several Shrauta Sutras also describe it.

By the way, this is by no means Indra's only dalliance; there's plenty of examples in the Vedas. The term "Wife of Vrishanasva" in that verse is an allusion to the fact that he once disguised himself as the wife of Vrishanasva in order to have an affair with Vrishanasva's daughter. And he once took over the mind of sage Devasharma's wife Ruchi in order to have an affair with her, although he was thwarted by the sage Vipula. And the Rig Veda describes how he had an affair with the sister of the demon Vyamsa, as I discuss in my question and answer here.

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    @Aby The Jaiminiya Brahmana of the Samaveda says that Indra is called Kaushika because he once drove away the Vedas and had to relearn them from Vishwamitra. Sayana's commentary on the Rig Veda says that he's called Kaushika because Vishwamitra's father Gadhi was an incarnation of Indra. Subrahmanya is just the name of the hymn in the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda. It's not referring to Kartikeya who is sometimes called Subrahmanya. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 15 '15 at 17:56
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    @Aby The story of Janamejaya you're referring to is described in this chapter of the Harivamsa of the Mahabharata: mahabharata-resources.org/harivamsa/bhavishyaparva/… In this case, he didn't actually have an affair with Janamejaya's wife - he had an affair with the Apsara Rambha and he made her look like Janamejaya's wife. It was all a ploy to disrupt Janamejaya's Ashwamedha Yagna, which would have allowed Janamejaya to become the new Indra. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 15 '15 at 21:02
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    @srimannarayanakv First of all, he was not simply removed for the killing of Vritrasura, that was like the straw that broke the camel's back - here is the full list of sins for which the gods decided to remove him, given in the Aitareya Brahmana of the Rig Veda: "He hath misused Vishvarupa, Tvastri's son, he hath laid low Vritra, he hath given the Yatis to the hyaenas, he hath killed the Arurmaghas, he hath contended with Brhaspati." In any case, Indra isn't removed for every single offense. He's only removed in the rare case that he commits so many sins that he's no longer fit to rule. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 16 '15 at 1:29
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    @srimannarayanakv If you want a deeper reason why Indra has remained unscathed despite all his actions, Indra addresses this in Kaush. Upanishad: "I slew the three-headed son of Tvashtri; I delivered the Arunmukhas, the devotees, to the wolves; 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. And he who knows me thus, by no deed of his is his life harmed, not by the murder of his mother, not by the murder of his father, not by theft, not by the killing of a Brahman." – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 16 '15 at 1:37
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    @srimannarayanakv The quotes from the Aitareya Brahmana of the Rig Veda and the Kaushitaki Upanishad of the Rig Veda are taken from my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/7645/36 What Indra is saying is that reason he's remained unscathed despite his actions is because of the power of Brahman, and that he who realizes Brahman will similarly be able to escape the consequences of his own sinful actions. Another story that illustrates that Indra is successful because of the power of Brahman is the story of the Yaksha given in the Kena Upanishad of the Sama Veda. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 16 '15 at 1:55

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