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The Removal Of The Crime Of Indra


Indra the king of celestials was engaged in attending to the dancers of his paradise, when his guru (spiritual preceptor) Brahaspati came to see him; and Indra was so very absorbed in this pastime that he did not pay proper attention to the guru nor rise to salute him. Brahaspati departed in great anger; and in consequence of Indra's indifferent attitude to his guru, he had to lose all his prosperity and before that the sympathy of his guru. Having no longer his former preceptor, Indra took a three-headed giant, (asura) for his preceptor, but inducing him to make a sacrifice (yaga), he learned bitterly that the new guru purposed to destroy the gods and favour his clan. Therefore Indra killed him whereby he incurred the sin of Brahma-hatti (crime of killing a brahman). The father of the giant would not allow this act to go unrevenged. He made a yagam, from which Vridhrasura came forth, whom he ordered to kill Indra immediately: the latter struck the giant, but finding that he could not kill him, hid himself in a lotus flower. He them went to Brahma and enquired why he could not kill the asura; and was told that his weapon had become powerless; but he was directed to a place where an old Brahmin named Tatichi had long been performing penance, and was advised to take his shoulder-bone, which would suffice for the object in view; since it was moulded of a good number of powerful weapons that were entrusted to him. The old Brahmin gladly gave up his life and Indra, taking his shoulder-bone by its aid killed the asura, hereby the Brahmahatti was  doubled; and in consequence of its burden, Indra again concealed himself in a lotus flower.

indra worshiping

The celestials were now left without their king, and Nacushan, an earthly monarch, who in order to arrive at the dignity had performed a hundred yagas, became entitled to take the place of Indra. Accordingly he sent word to Indrani, the perpetual consort of the king of heaven, that he was coming, directing her to prepare to receive him. On this message being communicated, she went in consternation to the guru, Brahaspati, to ask his advice, who directed her to sanction the coming of Nacushan in the palanquin of Indra, according to custom borne by the seen rishis. While Nacushan was thus going, owing to his hurry, he exclaimed to the rishis, "Sarpa sarpa", which means both quick and a serpent. The rishis being displeased, put down the palanquin, and pronounced on him a curse "that he should become a serpent"; in which shape he fell down again to the earth. A Council being held of Brahaspati, Agastiyar, and other sages, it was recommended that Indra in order to the removal of his sin, should go down to the earth, visit the sacred places, and bathe in the rivers. This he did, without finding relief till he came to a certain forest of lili (Kadamba) trees, where suddenly he found his burden removed. Being surprised at this, he commanded search to be made around, when a lingam, the emblem of Siva was found under a lili tree, to which he made puja, and so great was his joy that even his speech became confused. As it was a forest, there were no flowers with which to make garlands; but on looking he saw a tank with lotus flowers of which he made garlands and from this use of its flowers the tank obtained the name of Pottamarai or the Golden lotus.


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