Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 1:25 AM
According to the Hindu Mythology, Indra is the supreme King of the gods and Heaven, who is also known as the God of War, Storms and Rainfall. He was the defender of gods and mankind against the forces of evil. He is described as a very powerful god, with a reddish complexion and with either two or four very long arms. About 250 hymns dedicated to him in the Rigveda. Indra is the king of the heaven, though of course he has no power or influence over the Triad. His functions remain much the same as in the Vedic period, though many aspects of his character are more emphasized, particularly the less worthy ones such as his love of soma, his crime of Brahminicide, his flirtations, and his impotence before the curses of sages, which sometimes cause him to be worsted by demons.
As god of storms, Indra remains a fearful figure, hurling lightning and thunderbolts and using the rainbow as his bow. But he is no longer altogether the warrior god: he exercises his power in more dignified fashion as regent of the atmosphere and guardian of the eastern quarter of the compass. Instead of riding a chariot or his wonderful horse Uchchaisravas, he mounts the massive white elephant Airavata. Indra resides in great splendor in his heaven, which is situated on Mount Meru and whose capital is known as Amaravati. Heaven is a magnificent abode of Indra.
The king of the celestials still wages constant war against the demons, but not always successfully partly because according to the new beliefs power is to be obtained not through drinking of soma, from which the demons were excluded, but from the austerities to propitiate the supreme triad and partly because lndra is obstructed by his old crime of Brahminicide. A King Nahusha gained supremacy over the three worlds and decided to abduct Indrani, wife of Indra, he was foiled and Indra's honour saved, only because Agastya was annoyed Nahusha accidentally touched his foot. Agastya pronounced a curse on him, so that he fell down to earth again as a serpent.
Another king who gained control of the three worlds by propitiation of the gods was Bali, who defeated lndra and expelled him from his heaven. Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, also humbled lndra. When Ravana's army marched against Indra, he found himself unable of defending heaven (Swarga). He himself was arrested by Ravana's son, Meghanada. Meghanada was Ravana’s very powerful son who had been granted the boon of invisibility by lord Shiva. Meghnada bound up the god and took him to Lanka, where he held him hostage. Under the guidance of Brahma, all other gods went to Lanka to sue for their release and Brahma offered Meghnada the title Indrajit. All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.