Śrīmad Bhāgavatam |Canto 6 Chapter 13
King Indra Afflicted by Sinful Reaction
vṛtre hate trayo lokā
vinā śakreṇa bhūrida
sapālā hy abhavan sadyo
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; vṛtre hate — when Vṛtrāsura was killed; trayaḥ lokāḥ — the three planetary systems (upper, middle and lower); vinā — except; śakreṇa — Indra, who is also called Śakra; bhūri-da — O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, giver of great charity; sa-pālāḥ — with the rulers of the various planets; hi — indeed; abhavan — became; sadyaḥ — immediately; vijvarāḥ — without fear of death; nirvṛta — very much pleased; indriyāḥ — whose senses.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King Parīkṣit, who are so charitably disposed, when Vṛtrāsura was killed, all the presiding deities and everyone else in the three planetary systems was immediately pleased and free from trouble — everyone, that is, except Indra.
daityā devānugāḥ svayam
deva — demigods; ṛṣi — great saintly persons; pitṛ — the inhabitants of Pitṛloka; bhūtāni — and the other living entities; daityāḥ — demons; deva-anugāḥ — the inhabitants of other planets following the principles of the demigods; svayam — independently (without asking permission from Indra); pratijagmuḥ — returned; sva-dhiṣṇyāni — to their respective planets and homes; brahma — Lord Brahmā; īśa — Lord Śiva; indra-ādayaḥ — and the demigods headed by Indra; tataḥ — thereafter.
Thereafter, the demigods, the great saintly persons, the inhabitants of Pitṛloka and Bhūtaloka, the demons, the followers of the demigods, and also Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the demigods subordinate to Indra all returned to their respective homes. While departing, however, no one spoke to Indra.
śrotum icchāmi bho mune
yenāsan sukhino devā
harer duḥkhaṁ kuto ’bhavat
śrī-rājā uvāca — King Parīkṣit inquired; indrasya — of King Indra; anirvṛteḥ — of the moroseness; hetum — the reason; śrotum — to hear; icchāmi — I wish; bhoḥ — O my lord; mune — O great sage, Śukadeva Gosvāmī; yena — by which; āsan — were; sukhinaḥ — very happy; devāḥ — all the demigods; hareḥ — of Indra; duḥkham — moroseness; kutaḥ — from where; abhavat — was.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: O great sage, what was the reason for Indra’s unhappiness? I wish to hear about this. When he killed Vṛtrāsura, all the demigods were extremely happy. Why, then, was Indra himself unhappy?
sarve devāḥ saharṣibhiḥ
naicchad bhīto bṛhad-vadhāt
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; vṛtra — of Vṛtrāsura; vikrama — by the powerful activities; saṁvignāḥ — being full of anxieties; sarve — all; devāḥ — the demigods; saha ṛṣibhiḥ — with the great sages; tat-vadhāya — for the killing of him; ārthayan — requested; indram — Indra; na aicchat — declined; bhītaḥ — being afraid; bṛhat-vadhāt — due to killing a brāhmaṇa.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī answered: When all the great sages and demigods were disturbed by the extraordinary power of Vṛtrāsura, they had assembled to ask Indra to kill him. Indra, however, being afraid of killing a brāhmaṇa, declined their request.
vṛtra-hatyāṁ kva mārjmy aham
indraḥ uvāca — King Indra replied; strī — by women; bhū — the earth; druma — the trees; jalaiḥ — and water; enaḥ — this (sin); viśvarūpa — of Viśvarūpa; vadha — from the killing; udbhavam — produced; vibhaktam — divided; anugṛhṇadbhiḥ — showing their favor (to me); vṛtra-hatyām — the killing of Vṛtra; kva — how; mārjmi — shall become free from; aham — I.
King Indra replied: When I killed Viśvarūpa, I received extensive sinful reactions, but I was favored by the women, land, trees and water, and therefore I was able to divide the sin among them. But now if I kill Vṛtrāsura, another brāhmaṇa, how shall I free myself from the sinful reactions?
ṛṣayas tad upākarṇya
mahendram idam abruvan
yājayiṣyāma bhadraṁ te
hayamedhena mā sma bhaiḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ṛṣayaḥ — the great sages; tat — that; upākarṇya — hearing; mahā-indram — unto King Indra; idam — this; abruvan — spoke; yājayiṣyāmaḥ — we shall perform a great sacrifice; bhadram — good fortune; te — unto you; hayamedhena — by the horse sacrifice; mā sma bhaiḥ — do not be afraid.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Hearing this, the great sages replied to King Indra, “O King of heaven, all good fortune unto you. Do not fear. We shall perform an aśvamedha sacrifice to release you from any sin you may accrue by killing the brāhmaṇa.”
iṣṭvā nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ
mokṣyase ’pi jagad-vadhāt
hayamedhena — by the sacrifice known as aśvamedha; puruṣam — the Supreme Person; paramātmānam — the Supersoul; īśvaram — the supreme controller; iṣṭvā — worshiping; nārāyaṇam — Lord Nārāyaṇa; devam — the Supreme Lord; mokṣyase — you will be liberated; api — even; jagat-vadhāt — from the sin for killing the whole world.
The ṛṣis continued: O King Indra, by performing an aśvamedha sacrifice and thereby pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, Lord Nārāyaṇa, the supreme controller, one can be relieved even of the sinful reactions for killing the entire world, not to speak of killing a demon like Vṛtrāsura.
brahma-hā pitṛ-hā go-ghno
śvādaḥ pulkasako vāpi
śuddhyeran yasya kīrtanāt
tam aśvamedhena mahā-makhena
śraddhānvito ’smābhir anuṣṭhitena
hatvāpi sabrahma-carācaraṁ tvaṁ
na lipyase kiṁ khala-nigraheṇa
brahma-hā — a person who has killed a brāhmaṇa; pitṛ-hā — a person who has killed his father; go-ghnaḥ — a person who has killed a cow; mātṛ-hā — a person who has killed his mother; ācārya-hā — a person who has killed his spiritual master; agha-vān — such a sinful person; śva-adaḥ — a dog-eater; pulkasakaḥ — a caṇḍāla, one who is less than a śūdra; vā — or; api — even; śuddhyeran — may be purified; yasya — of whom (Lord Nārāyaṇa); kīrtanāt — from chanting the holy name; tam — Him; aśvamedhena — by the aśvamedha sacrifice; mahā-makhena — the topmost of all sacrifices; śraddhā-anvitaḥ — endowed with faith; asmābhiḥ — by us; anuṣṭhitena — conducted or managed; hatvā — killing; api — even; sa-brahma-cara-acaram — all the living entities, including the brāhmaṇas; tvam — you; na — not; lipyase — are contaminated; kim — what then; khala-nigraheṇa — by killing one disturbing demon.
One who has killed a brāhmaṇa, one who has killed a cow or one who has killed his father, mother or spiritual master can be immediately freed from all sinful reactions simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Nārāyaṇa. Other sinful persons, such as dog-eaters and caṇḍālas, who are less than śūdras, can also be freed in this way. But you are a devotee, and we shall help you by performing the great horse sacrifice. If you please Lord Nārāyaṇa in that way, why should you be afraid? You will be freed even if you kill the entire universe, including the brāhmaṇas, not to speak of killing a disturbing demon like Vṛtrāsura.
evaṁ sañcodito viprair
marutvān ahanad ripum
brahma-hatyā hate tasminn
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam — thus; sañcoditaḥ — being encouraged; vipraiḥ — by the brāhmaṇas; marutvān — Indra; ahanat — killed; ripum — his enemy, Vṛtrāsura; brahma-hatyā — the sinful reaction for killing a brāhmaṇa; hate — was killed; tasmin — when he (Vṛtrāsura); āsasāda — approached; vṛṣākapim — Indra, who is also named Vṛṣākapi.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Encouraged by the words of the sages, Indra killed Vṛtrāsura, and when he was killed the sinful reaction for killing a brāhmaṇa [brahma-hatyā] certainly took shelter of Indra.
tayendraḥ smāsahat tāpaṁ
nirvṛtir nāmum āviśat
hrīmantaṁ vācyatāṁ prāptaṁ
sukhayanty api no guṇāḥ
tayā — by that action; indraḥ — King Indra; sma — indeed; asahat — suffered; tāpam — misery; nirvṛtiḥ — happiness; na — not; amum — him; āviśat — entered; hrīmantam — one who is shameful; vācyatām — ill fame; prāptam — obtaining; sukhayanti — give pleasure; api — although; no — not; guṇāḥ — good qualifications like possessing opulence.
Following the advice of the demigods, Indra killed Vṛtrāsura, and he suffered because of this sinful killing. Although the other demigods were happy, he could not derive happiness from the killing of Vṛtrāsura. Indra’s other good qualities, such as tolerance and opulence, could not help him in his grief.
cāṇḍālīm iva rūpiṇīm
vikīrya palitān keśāṁs
tiṣṭha tiṣṭheti bhāṣiṇīm
tām — the sinful reaction; dadarśa — he saw; anudhāvantīm — chasing; cāṇḍālīm — a woman of the lowest class; iva — like; rūpiṇīm — taking a form; jarayā — because of old age; vepamāna-aṅgīm — whose bodily limbs were trembling; yakṣma-grastām — infected with tuberculosis; asṛk-paṭām — whose clothes were covered with blood; vikīrya — scattering; palitān — grayed; keśān — hair; tiṣṭha tiṣṭha — wait, wait; iti — thus; bhāṣiṇīm — calling; mīna-gandhi — the smell of fish; asu — whose breath; gandhena — by the odor; kurvatīm — bringing about; mārga-dūṣaṇam — the pollution of the whole street.
Indra saw personified sinful reaction chasing him, appearing like a caṇḍāla woman, a woman of the lowest class. She seemed very old, and all the limbs of her body trembled. Because she was afflicted with tuberculosis, her body and garments were covered with blood. Breathing an unbearable fishy odor that polluted the entire street, she called to Indra, “Wait! Wait!”
nabho gato diśaḥ sarvāḥ
prāg-udīcīṁ diśaṁ tūrṇaṁ
praviṣṭo nṛpa mānasam
nabhaḥ — to the sky; gataḥ — going; diśaḥ — to the directions; sarvāḥ — all; sahasra-akṣaḥ — Indra, who is endowed with one thousand eyes; viśāmpate — O King; prāk-udīcīm — to the northeast; diśam — direction; tūrṇam — very speedily; praviṣṭaḥ — entered; nṛpa — O King; mānasam — the lake known as Mānasa-sarovara.
O King, Indra first fled to the sky, but there also he saw the woman of personified sin chasing him. This witch followed him wherever he went. At last he very quickly went to the northeast and entered the Mānasa-sarovara Lake.
sa āvasat puṣkara-nāla-tantūn
alabdha-bhogo yad ihāgni-dūtaḥ
varṣāṇi sāhasram alakṣito ’ntaḥ
sañcintayan brahma-vadhād vimokṣam
saḥ — he (Indra); āvasat — lived; puṣkara-nāla-tantūn — in the network of the fibers of a lotus stem; alabdha-bhogaḥ — not getting any material comfort (practically starving for all material needs); yat — which; iha — here; agni-dūtaḥ — the fire-god messenger; varṣāṇi — celestial years; sāhasram — one thousand; alakṣitaḥ — invisible; antaḥ — within his heart; sañcintayan — always thinking of; brahma-vadhāt — from the killing of a brāhmaṇa; vimokṣam — liberation.
Always thinking of how he could be relieved from the sinful reaction for killing a brāhmaṇa, King Indra, invisible to everyone, lived in the lake for one thousand years in the subtle fibers of the stem of a lotus. The fire-god used to bring him his share of all yajñas, but because the fire-god was afraid to enter the water, Indra was practically starving.
tāvat triṇākaṁ nahuṣaḥ śaśāsa
nītas tiraścāṁ gatim indra-patnyā
tāvat — for so long; triṇākam — the heavenly planet; nahuṣaḥ — Nahuṣa; śaśāsa — ruled; vidyā — by education; tapaḥ — austerities; yoga — mystic power; bala — and strength; anubhāvaḥ — being equipped; saḥ — he (Nahuṣa); sampat — of so much wealth; aiśvarya — and opulence; mada — by the madness; andha — blinded; buddhiḥ — his intelligence; nītaḥ — was brought; tiraścām — of a snake; gatim — to the destination; indra-patnyā — by Indra’s wife Śacīdevī.
As long as King Indra lived in the water, wrapped in the stem of the lotus, Nahuṣa was equipped with the ability to rule the heavenly kingdom, due to his knowledge, austerity and mystic power. Nahuṣa, however, blinded and maddened by power and opulence, made undesirable proposals to Indra’s wife with a desire to enjoy her. Thus Nahuṣa was cursed by a brāhmaṇa and later became a snake.
tato gato brahma-giropahūta
pāpas tu digdevatayā hataujās
taṁ nābhyabhūd avitaṁ viṣṇu-patnyā
tataḥ — thereafter; gataḥ — gone; brahma — of the brāhmaṇas; girā — by the words; upahūtaḥ — being invited; ṛtambhara — on the Supreme Lord, who maintains truth; dhyāna — by meditation; nivārita — impeded; aghaḥ — whose sin; pāpaḥ — the sinful activity; tu — then; dik-devatayā — by the demigod Rudra; hata-ojāḥ — with all prowess diminished; tam — him (Indra); na abhyabhūt — could not overcome; avitam — being protected; viṣṇu-patnyā — by Lord Viṣṇu’s wife, the goddess of fortune.
Indra’s sins were diminished by the influence of Rudra, the demigod of all directions. Because Indra was protected by the goddess of fortune, Lord Viṣṇu’s wife, who resides in the lotus clusters of Mānasa-sarovara Lake, Indra’s sins could not affect him. Indra was ultimately relieved of all the reactions of his sinful deeds by strictly worshiping Lord Viṣṇu. Then he was called back to the heavenly planets by the brāhmaṇas and reinstated in his position.
taṁ ca brahmarṣayo ’bhyetya
yathāvad dīkṣayāṁ cakruḥ
tam — him (Lord Indra); ca — and; brahma-ṛṣayaḥ — the great saints and brāhmaṇas; abhyetya — approaching; hayamedhena — with an aśvamedha sacrifice; bhārata — O King Parīkṣit; yathāvat — according to the rules and regulations; dīkṣayām cakruḥ — initiated; puruṣa-ārādhanena — which consists of worship of the Supreme Person, Hari; ha — indeed.
O King, when Lord Indra reached the heavenly planets, the saintly brāhmaṇas approached him and properly initiated him into a horse sacrifice [aśvamedha-yajña] meant to please the Supreme Lord.
sa vai tvāṣṭra-vadho bhūyān
api pāpa-cayo nṛpa
nītas tenaiva śūnyāya
nīhāra iva bhānunā
atha — therefore; ijyamāne — when worshiped; puruṣe — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva — all; deva-maya-ātmani — the Supersoul and maintainer of the demigods; aśvamedhe — through the aśvamedha-yajña; mahā-indreṇa — by King Indra; vitate — being administered; brahma-vādibhiḥ — by the saints and brāhmaṇas expert in Vedic knowledge; saḥ — that; vai — indeed; tvāṣṭra-vadhaḥ — the killing of Vṛtrāsura, the son of Tvaṣṭā; bhūyāt — may be; api — although; pāpa-cayaḥ — mass of sin; nṛpa — O King; nītaḥ — was brought; tena — by that (the horse sacrifice); eva — certainly; śūnyāya — to nothing; nīhāraḥ — fog; iva — like; bhānunā — by the brilliant sun.
The horse sacrifice performed by the saintly brāhmaṇas relieved Indra of the reactions to all his sins because he worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead in that sacrifice. O King, although he had committed a gravely sinful act, it was nullified at once by that sacrifice, just as fog is vanquished by the brilliant sunrise.
sa vājimedhena yathoditena
iṣṭvādhiyajñaṁ puruṣaṁ purāṇam
indro mahān āsa vidhūta-pāpaḥ
saḥ — he (Indra); vājimedhena — by the aśvamedha sacrifice; yathā — just as; uditena — described; vitāyamānena — being performed; marīci-miśraiḥ — by the priests, headed by Marīci; iṣṭvā — worshiping; adhiyajñam — the Supreme Supersoul; puruṣam purāṇam — the original Personality of Godhead; indraḥ — King Indra; mahān — worshipable; āsa — became; vidhūta-pāpaḥ — being cleansed of all sinful reactions.
King Indra was favored by Marīci and the other great sages. They performed the sacrifice just according to the rules and regulations, worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul, the original person. Thus Indra regained his exalted position and was again honored by everyone.
idaṁ mahākhyānam aśeṣa-pāpmanāṁ
mahendra-mokṣaṁ vijayaṁ marutvataḥ
paṭheyur ākhyānam idaṁ sadā budhāḥ
śṛṇvanty atho parvaṇi parvaṇīndriyam
dhanyaṁ yaśasyaṁ nikhilāgha-mocanaṁ
ripuñjayaṁ svasty-ayanaṁ tathāyuṣam
idam — this; mahā-ākhyānam — great historical incident; aśeṣa-pāpmanām — of unlimited numbers of sinful acts; prakṣālanam — cleansing; tīrthapada-anukīrtanam — glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Tīrthapada; bhakti — of devotional service; ucchrayam — in which there is an increase; bhakta-jana — the devotees; anuvarṇanam — describing; mahā-indra-mokṣam — the liberation of the King of heaven; vijayam — the victory; marutvataḥ — of King Indra; paṭheyuḥ — should read; ākhyānam — narration; idam — this; sadā — always; budhāḥ — learned scholars; śṛṇvanti — continue to hear; atho — as well; parvaṇi parvaṇi — on the occasion of great festivals; indriyam — which makes the senses sharp; dhanyam — brings wealth; yaśasyam — brings fame; nikhila — all; agha-mocanam — releasing from sins; ripum-jayam — makes one victorious over his enemies; svasti-ayanam — brings good fortune for all; tathā — so also; āyuṣam — longevity.
In this very great narrative there is glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, there are statements about the exaltedness of devotional service, there are descriptions of devotees like Indra and Vṛtrāsura, and there are statements about King Indra’s release from sinful life and about his victory in fighting the demons. By understanding this incident, one is relieved of all sinful reactions. Therefore the learned are always advised to read this narration. If one does so, one will become expert in the activities of the senses, his opulence will increase, and his reputation will become widespread. One will also be relieved of all sinful reactions, he will conquer all his enemies, and the duration of his life will increase. Because this narration is auspicious in all respects, learned scholars regularly hear and repeat it on every festival day.