God Indra

Indra, the Indian Zeus, is a grand mythical figure. According to the Vedas (Indian Scripture), Indra is the Ruler of the Hindu Pantheon. He is also known as Sakra ("Powerful"), Vajri ("the Thunderer"), Purandara ("Destroyer of Cities"), Meghavahana ("Rider of the Clouds"), and Swargapati ("the Lord of Heaven").

His parents were the sky god Dyaus Pita and the earth goddess Prithvi. As the lord of war, Indra is described as being very powerful. He has a reddish complexion, with either two or four very long arms. His wife is Indrani, and his attendants are called the Maruts. He rides a stately Chariot or the mighty elephant Airavat. His main weapon is the lightning bolt ('Vajra') but he also employs the bow, net, and hook.

Indra created the world by bringing order into the cosmic chaos. He also brought water to the world and is regarded as the God of fertility. His most renowned exploit was against the asura (demon) called Vritra. Indra is the King of the Gods; therefore he is endowed with an unmistakable aura of luxuriant gleam and glory. He leads a lavish life, often enjoying the intoxicating charms of Soma (Soma is a golden hued nectar derived from the Soma plant. The drink causes hallucinations and the drinkers feel ecstatic. Soma is what gave the Vedic gods their immortality). Indra resides in and rules from the paradisiacal 'Swarga' (heaven in the clouds surrounding the highest peak of the sacred mountain Meru). This heaven is not static and can go anywhere at its Lord's command. Swarga is the Utopia, free from all cares and cries. It is a place of eternal bliss, pleasure, enjoyment and contentment. Heavenly melodies and unearthly rhythm flow from the Apsaras (Nymphs, expert at the art of dance) and the Gandharvas (spirits of nature, mates of Apsaras, skilled at music). Regular entertainment is also provided in the form of athletics and sports sessions.

However, the awe inspiring magnanimity and splendour of Indra lost its charm during the post-Vedic periods in India. In Brahamanic and later times, Indra slowly lost much of his grandeur and eventually was given the role of weather god and lord of the lesser gods.

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