According to The Taittiriya Brahmana, Indra, given to his sensuous desire for women, chose Indrani as his wife from a number of competing goddesses simply because of her magnetic and voluptuous attractions. However, there are 8th stone sculptures depicting Indra forcibly carrying Indrani away after killing Indrani’s father, Puloman. Puloman had discovered that Indra had ravished Indrani and was about to pronounce a curse. Indra, however, forestalled the ploy by slaying him. He then took Indrani by force. Thus he seems to have committed a double crime. Although Indrani got to share the Swarga throne as principal queen, Indra embarked an endless series of love affairs. Kambar’s Ramayana covers one of the most famous concerning Ahalya, in which Indra’s body despite being branded with thousand yonis did not deter him from further sexual adventures. Ahalya's issue of consent is dealt elsewhere.
Later sculptures and literature shows the couple more dignified reigning the heavens – Swargaloka. Flanked by his queen, Indrani and his advisors, the Vasus they lived in Mount Meru, whose capital is Amaravati. This Swarga could be moved anywhere like a chariot. As queen, Indrani sat amidst celestial trees filled with birdsongs and the scent of flowers. She was attended to by the Maruts, the major gods, sages and saints. With the advent of the Trinity, Indra and Indrani are pushed to second place. They are said to preside over minor deities and souls of virtuous people who have merited a respite from the rounds of rebirths on earth.
Legend has it that it was at this time, that Indra was at the mercy of all and sundry. One King Nahusha gained supremacy over the three worlds. He decided to abduct Indrani. He was foiled and Indra’s honour saved only because, Agasthya Muni, one of the thousand rishis who bore Indra’s chariot up to Swargaloka, was annoyed when Nahusha accidentally brushed his foot. Agahsthya fell down because of the incident. He pronounced a curse on him to become a serpent and he was pushed down to earth.
As per the Rig Veda, Indrani is considered to be the most fortunate female as Lord Indra was granted immortality. ‘Among all females Indrani is the most fortunate; for her husband shall not at any future time die of old age’. Not everyone successively attains to the throne of Lord Indra. It is a perpetual office as Indra is immortal. Many kings and queens come and go, but by the very nature of Indra’s immortality Indrani also continues as perpetual queen. In the bhakti school Indrani ranked as one of the nine major Goddess of the south. She is rarely worshipped as an independent Deity and is usually part of the Sapta Matrikas.
It is said that she had a son, Chandraguptha. He later becomes Lord Yama’s book keeper reading out the sum total of the virtues and sins of the dead. Owing to a curse by Goddess Uma, many goddesses could not become mothers. Indrani practiced austerities in order that she might not be childless. Her austerities were fruitful and it is said that Indrani suffered pain attendant on childbirth and nursed the child when born. It is believed that by offering prayers to Goddess Indrani, one has the blessings of fore-sight into future events and freedom from ignorance. Women victimised by husbands with frailty for foreign flesh, find solace in Goddess Indrani.Those quick with child pray to her. Her favourite offerings are vermillion, cooked rice mixed with curd, milk-gruel, fruits, betels and areca but slices.
DEPICTION: Indrani is depicted cradling a child, Karthikeya, in her lap. The imagery symbolises motherly love. She is the epitome of beauty with three eyes. She has four arms, two hands holding the Vajra and flag. Otherwise she is depicted to hold a trident and the damaru. The other two hands are in Varada and Abhaya Mudra. In her seated pose, she is on a lion skin. Indrani is of red or gold complexion. She wears a prominent crown, the Krida or Kirita and ornaments such as the kundala and the ottiyana, the waist band. The white elephant, similar to Indra’s Airvata, is her divine vahana. This is also the emblem of her banner. Sometimes she is depicted to be mounting an elephant or in her seated position. She is also shown to sit below a Kalpaka tree. According to the Vishnudharmottra, Indrani should have a thousand eyes and be of golden colour. She should have six arms, four of the hands carrying the sutra, Vajra, Kalasa- pot and Paatra - vessel. The Devi Purana mentions that Indrani carries the Ankusa and Varjra only and holds a lotus.
SAPTA MATRIKA: Hindus are comfortable by relating to the divine by considering her as the Mother. Thus we have Nava Durga, which is the core of Dasara festivities. In comparison, there is also Sapta Matrika worship, common to Mysore geography and its neighbours. Sapta Matrika means Seven Mother Goddess. It is said that the Sapta Matrikas nursed Lord Kartikeya during his childhood. The Matrikas are also venerated as Mother Goddesses who fight the negative forces represented as demons.
‘Sapta Matrika Sevaka’ means servant of the Seven Mother Goddess implying followers of devotees. In the olden days, Kings named themselves ‘Sapta Matrika Varaprasada’ meaning ‘boon of seven mother goddesses. Goddess Indrani is one of the Sapta Matrikas, the others being Goddess Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Maheswari, Chandika, Varahi and Brahmi. In their deity traditional arrangements, the seven bedecked Devis, clockwise, are Braahmi riding a swan, Maheswari mount on a bull, Kaumari riding a peacock, Vaishnavi on Garuda mount, Varaahi riding a buffalo, Indrani on an elephant and Chandika on her lion.
SOUNDARYA LAHARI SLOKA 40- Shri Indrani Devi: ‘I worship that unique dark blue rain cloud which abides ever in the manipura with lightning in the form of Shakti, dispelling darkness, with the rainbow formed by the dazzling variegated gem-decked ornaments of Devi, sending showers on the Universe that been burnt by the sun of Rudra’. Hari Om