Impure beings cannot purify evil energies. Acquiring of sins by impure people never de-toxicifies evility. But when same sins are absorbed by pious beings, it can overcome the evil elements and spread harmony, peace among others. Women in Hinduism are considered as pious beings; more pious than men.
Indra Punished Vishwaroopa
In the Vedas, Indra is invoked more often than any other deity.Nearly one fourth of the hymns in the Rigveda are addressed to him.The earliest reference to the battle between Indra and Vritra is found in the Rigveda in which Vritra is described as the demon of drought. Indra killed the demon and liberated water , earning the title VRITRAHAN – the slayer of Vritra.
Indra was the God of wars, storms, and the heavens. He was an extremely powerful god with great strength, weapons, and power. His main enemy was the demon of drought, Vritra, which can be translated as the Enveloper. Vritra was a demon in the form of a dragon with sharp claws, large fangs, scales, and a deadly tail the size of the biggest trees.
Indra,King of Gods, always had to battle with the Asuras. And all the time, he was victorious . Under Brahma’s advice Indra sought the three-headed Vishwarupa as his guru. Vishwarupa was the son of Twasht and his mother was related to the asuras (Rakshas). Even then, Indra seeked Vishwarupa’s support. Vishwarupa agreed readily. In due course, Indra won his battles with the asuras but soon he realize that the asuras also have some secret strength.
At one of the sacred ritual Indra overheard Vishwarupa uttering the same secret mantra for the asuras. In anger, Indra drew out his sword and cut off Vishwarupa heads. Meanwhile, Sage Twasht came to know of the incident. He was angered and wanted revenge, thus created the Rakshas demon Vritra to achieve it. Vritra was a very large and selfish demon. He put the whole earth in a drought when he decided to steal all of its water resources for himself.
Indra Killing Vritra
Vritra challenged Indra, and was able to defeat the god and swallow him.
With the intervention of the rishis and Vishnu, a truce was agreed upon, but with the submissive condition; under which Indra agreed never to attack Vritra again with any weapon made of wood, metal, or stone, with anything dry or wet, at any time during the day or night. Indra accorded but still wanted to slay Vritra.
Indra then thought of becoming friend of Vritra. He felt that’s the only way he could know Vritra’s weakness. Vritra later informed him that he received a boon to the effect that he could n’t be killed during the day or at night. So he could only be annihilated in the evening.
Indra then prayed to Yogamaya for help. That day, Indra flew down from his palace on his grand and golden chariot. He circled the mountain that Vritra, the huge serpent, lay coiled around.
“Vritra, you hold the waters that bring life to the earth and the gods of the skies. I command you to release the water or I will force you to do so,” yelled Indra.
(with thunderous sound Vritra responded) “Hisssss… Hissss… Who wakes me during my sleep?”
“I am Indra. I own the heaven and I control the storms. Do as I command or I will release the fury of my powers onto you.”
Vritra struck back egoistically, “Fool! Do n’t you know that I am a demon hero? I am the strongest and largest of all serpent creatures. No one dares to challenge me. Not even the gods Vishnu or Brahma.”
Indra quickly demanded, “You release the waters now or I will destroy you!”
“Never!” said the Vritra
The Rakshas Serpent jumped into the sky, spread his wings and aimed claws toward Indra. The god dodged the attack and struck Vritra in the back of his neck. This was only a small blow and did not affect the Serpent dragon. The two continued exchanging hits and Vritra would sometimes manage a scratch or a bite into Indra’s flesh. The enemies flew through the skies, around the mountains, bursting through the clouds. The gods and demons watched as the two foes battled in the air. It seemed an even fight as neither seemed to gain any ground on the other. (This epic battle was inspiration for the last action scene of the movie matrix 3).
He needed a weapon. Although he had a bow, he decided he need something more powerful that would, in a single blow, destroy Vritra and release the waters that he stored in his belly. Indra reached into the sky, far above the clouds and grabbed his lightning bolt, Vajra. This is indeed Indra’s most powerful weapon. By the illusion created by Yogamaya, Vritra mistook it to be the foamy wave of the sea. As Vritra zoomed towards Indra in a swooping glide with his claws open and mouth snarling, Indra hurled his lightening bolt, Vajra, at the serpent dragon. The bolt hit the demon across his stomach, opening the flesh and releasing all of the earth’s water back to the ground.
The demon, Vritra, fell down to the earth, dead and motionless. Indra had released the earth from the drought and brought back life to the world. For this the god was named king of the gods and was now seen as a powerful and courageous among Devs. Indra returned to Amaravati. He made a temple in the Nandan Kanan – the celestial garden – for the Divine Mother. He also expressed his deep gratitude to Vishnu.
The death of Vritra Rakshas pleased all the jananis (birth givers) – Sea, Earth, Trees and Mothers who were feeding their babies. Water is important source to stay alive and birth givers were cheerful and happy.
But what happened next led to disappointment among pious beings – Earth, Sea, Trees and Women.
Sin of Indra was Distributed to the Pious Beings – Earth, Sea, Trees and Women
Indra Committed Sin of Killing Brahman Demon
A group of powerful (Rakshas) demons attacked Indralok, out of terror, Indra left his kingdom and went to Brahma for the advice.
Brahma introduced him to a Brahman Rakshas (demon) and asked him to make the Brahman Rakshas his guru. Indra followed the orders and helped the Rakshas in Vedic rituals and Hawans, using boon of rituals, he wanted to fight back with the the group of demons however the Rakshas gave all the offerings of yagna to his own mother, a Rakshasni. Indra was very angry so he killed that Rakshas (demon) and his vengeful Rakshasni mother started angrily haunting Indra wherever he went. The sin of Brahman Hatya led to his exile. So to escape her wrath and heinous sin of Brahman hatya, Indra finally decided to hide himself in a flower for 100,000 years and did penance remembering Bhagwan Vishnu.
Vishnu appeared and advised that killing a Brahman is irreversible sin and to dilute its impact on himself, he need to distribute sin among the pious creations of Vedic Gods.
So pious creations of Gods were –
As discussed here, one such pious creation of Vedic Gods were women too, so the women’s menstrual cycle was actually curse of Indra and since then they are forbidden from going to temples or holy pilgrimages as it invoked weakness in them. Penance and austerity is not possible when there are hormonal changes, lack of fluid and loss of blood in the body. Indra passing portion of his sin to women, made them weak for a brief period, during menstrual cycle. Another aspect about women’s importance is that, there is a tradition to bow down with upper torso on ground in front of God but women are not allowed to perform such gratitude. The reason is to offer dignity and respect: woman’s womb is considered to be very sacred and pious and by completely touching the ground even in front of God is an insult to that womb so women are not allowed to do so.
Eventually the absorption of partial Karmic reactions of Indra’s sin lead to
- Cracks on Earth
- Waves in Ocean
- Milk oozing out from Trees
- Menstrual Cycle in Women
Any harm done to Indra would have led to series of droughts and decimation of species, beings. As explained before, Indra was the God of wars, storms, and the heavens. So the distribution of sin among pious beings was done for the prosperity and continuum of the mankind and species.