Devas regain Swarga, Indra commits/ dissolves ‘Brahmahatya’ and reinstated

As Indra got back his status following the battle of Danavas and Devas, several Danavas were killed where as Devas had the advantage of Amrit. Sukracharya performed severe Tapasya and secured ‘Mrita Sanjeevani’ and sought to revive the lives of Danavas, especially King Bali who committed suicide. Brahma named Vishwarupa as the Priest since Guru Brihaspati was unavailable even before the time of Churning of the Ocean. Vishwarupa had three heads, one to conduct Yagnas and the other two for non-virtuous tasks like drinking. Originally from among Danavas, he was partial to them by reciting pro-Deva mantras loudly and pro-Danava mantras quietly. Indra observed this trend of partiality and fraud and one day by observing the open cheating of Devas by anti Deva Mantras became furious and killed him. Indeed, killing a Brahmana is among the ‘Pancha Pathakas’-‘


Brahma hatya Surapanam Steyam Gurvinyagamah Ithyesha mapyaghavathami –

dameva cha nishkruthih, Namavyaharanam Vishnorthasatdvishayah mathih’


(Those who commit the unpardonable grave sins such as Killing of a Brahmana, drinking alcohol, thieving, and adultry have only one recourse to free from the sins viz. to chant the hymns of Bhagavan which alone would enlighten the mind and fill up with Godliness). Indra left his Loka and kept on running out of fright from the grave Sin and performed Tapasya hiding in a pond for three hundred Divya years. Meanwhile, there was chaos in Indraloka as any Kingdom where a Grave Sinner rules, there would be all round misery, death, devastation and famine. Indra had not only killed a Brahmana, but also molested his Guru- like Gautami’s wife. With great remorse and shame, Indra approached Brihaspati who told Indra that any sin commited knowingly would have far more intensity than otherwise for which there could be no ‘prayaschit’ or remedy. Meanwhile Sage Narad suggested Nahush to become a temporary Indra, till Indra returned after long period of penance. Nahush had performed ninety nine Ashvamadh Yagas. But he did not really deserve to be the King as he desired to have Sachi Devi, the wife of former Indra. She did not indeed like the idea of her becoming Nahusha’s wife; she said that every Devata had one specific ‘Vahan’ (Vehicle) but Nahusha had none and after securing one, he could approach her. Nahush selected for himself a ‘Palki’that flies without the consent of its owners, viz. two well read Brahmanas; Nahusha said: ‘Sarpa Sarpa’, which meant Go Go at once’. The Brahmana owners felt that Nahusha was disrespectable to them and purposively misunderstood that Nahush wanted to become Serpents and threw him down the mountains and he was converted as ‘Ajagara’, a huge serpent. A King like Nahusha who is arrogant, desirous of other’s wife and impertinent to virtuous Brahmanas would indeed deserve this kind of treatment!


As there was no King of Swarga, with Indra was at large for fear of ‘Brahmahatya’ sin and the interim King Nahusha was cursed as an ‘Ajagara’down the mountain valleys, there was disorder and confusion. Indrani and Brihaspati accompanied by Senior Devas discovered Indra hiding in Manasarovar, a waterbody, where the Brahmahatya Shakti could not enter. In fact Brahmahatya Devi was alert to catch Indra if he came out of the water body. Brihaspati made an agreement with the Shakti to divide the Great Sin into four parts; one quarter of the Sin be excused in view of the ‘Devakarya’or the Divine Task of liberating Indra since Indraloka was in confusion without a King and what was worse that Vishvakarma’s had launched a powerful Yagna to obliterate Devas and Sages; the first part of the Sin be borne by Bhu Devi on the understanding that Lord Krishna when born in Dwapara Yuga would purify the entire Earth; the second part of the Sin would be distributed and absorbed in the Oceans, Rivers, Streams and various water bodies all over the Universe; the third part would be shared by trees, forests and the greenery ; finally the fourth part would get dissolved by the proportionate sins committed by women by not following the feminine duties to fathers, grandfathers and husbands and their families. Thus the totality of the ‘Brahmahatya Paataka’of Indra got dissolved and he got reinstalled as the King of Indraloka.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at