Indra


Indra
/in"dreuh/, n.
1. Hinduism. the chief of the Vedic gods, the god of rain and thunder.
2. a male given name.

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In the ancient Vedic religion of India, chief of the gods and patron of warriors.

Armed with lightning and thunderbolts and strengthened by drinking the elixir soma, he vanquished demonic enemies and killed the dragon that kept the monsoon rains from breaking. In later Hinduism Indra was demoted to a rain god and regent of the heavens. He was father to Arjuna, hero of the Mahabharata. Indra also appears in Buddhist and Jain mythologies.

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▪ Indian deity
      in Hindu (Hinduism) mythology, the king of the gods. He is one of the main gods of the archaic Sanskrit collection of hymns, the Rigveda, and is the Indo-European cousin of the German Wotan, Norse Odin, Greek Zeus, and Roman Jupiter.

      In early religious texts Indra plays a variety of roles. As king, he leads cattle raids against the dasas or dasyus, native inhabitants of the lands over which his people range. He brings rain as god of the thunderbolt, and he is the great warrior who conquers the antigods ( asuras). He also defeats innumerable human and superhuman enemies, most famously Vritra, a dragon and a leader of the dasa. Vritra is accused in his dragon form of holding back the waters and the rains, as a dasa of stealing cows, and as an antigod of hiding the Sun. Indra is strengthened for these feats by drinks of the elixir of immortality, the soma, which priests offer to him in the sacrifice. Among his allies are the Rudras (Rudra) (or Maruts), who ride the clouds and direct storms. Indra is sometimes referred to as “the thousand-eyed.”

 In later Hinduism, Indra is no longer worshipped but plays the important mythological roles of god of rain, regent of the heavens, and guardian of the east. Later texts note this break in the worship of Indra. In the Mahabharata, the great Sanskrit epic, Indra fathers the great hero Arjuna and tries in vain to prevent the god of fire, Agni, from burning a great forest. In the Puranas, ancient collections of Hindu myths and legends, Krishna, the great god and avatar of Vishnu, persuades the cowherders of Gokula (or Vraja, modern Gokul) to stop their worship of Indra. Enraged, Indra sends down torrents of rain, but Krishna lifts Mount Govardhana on his fingertip and gives the people shelter under it for seven days until Indra relents and pays him homage.

      In painting and sculpture, Indra is often depicted riding his white elephant, Airavata. Indra also plays a part in the Jain (Jainism) and Buddhist (Buddhism) mythology of India. When Mahavira, the Jain saviour and reformer, cut off his hair to signify his renunciation of the world, Indra, as king of the gods, received the hair into his hands. In Buddhist mythology, Indra is sometimes mocked and is sometimes portrayed as a mere figurehead.

Wendy Doniger
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • INDRA — Nom d’un dieu puissant qui domine le panthéon védique, porte le titre de roi et exerce sa souveraineté, au moins théoriquement, sur l’ensemble de la création. Cette dernière est d’ailleurs son œuvre: alors que les autres dieux ne parvenaient pas… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Indra IV — (973 982) C.E. was the last king and a nephew of the king of Western Ganga Dynasty, a staunch feudatory of the Rashtrakuta. The Ganga king Marasimha II tried hard to keep the dwindling Rashtrakuta empire intact but in vain. Marasimha II committed …   Wikipedia

  • Indra — Indra, ind. Gott, in der vedischen Zeit der gefeiertste von allen, vorwiegend ein Kampfesgott, der im Kampf mit dem schlangengestaltigen Dämon Vritra (ursprünglich Personifikation der Trockenheit) siegt und auch in der Männerschlacht Sieg gewinnt …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Indra — era el dios principal de la cultura védica en la India. Aparece como héroe y figura central en el libro Rig Veda. Es considerado el dios de la atmósfera y el cielo visible. También es el rey de todos los semidioses o dioses inferiores Su arma es… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Indra — (Dewa I., Dewandren), bei den Indern Gott des Himmels, der erste der acht Beherrscher des östlichen Theiles; er war Sohn des Kasyapa u. der Aditi. Seine Gemahlin heißt Indrani (Satschi); sein Paradies Indraloga befindet sich in der Luft u. in… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Indra — Indra, der höchste Gott der Inder in ältester Zeit, der später hinter Çiva und Vishnu zurücktritt …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Indra — [in′drə] n. [Sans] the chief god of the early Hindu religion, associated with rain and thunderbolts …   English World dictionary

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  • Indra — Para otros usos de este término, véase Indra (desambiguación). Indra y su esposa Sachi sobre su vehículo …   Wikipedia Español


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