Much of Goddess Indrani is known through myths surrounding her epithets. She is also known as Sachi, Aindri, Mahendri and Poulomi. Vasvi, literally meaning earth, is also attributed to her as the wife of Lord Indra. Sachi or Indrani is described as being very beautiful and voluptuous woman. She is said to have one-thousand eyes. Her connections with lions and elephants are replete in her myths. Indra and Sachi had many sons named Jayanta, Midusa, Nilambara Rhbus, Rsabha and Sitragupta.
LORD INDRA: Indra is the God of Atmosphere, Storms, Rain, and Battle. Hence he controls weather, rain, thunder and lightning. Indra is a pre-Vedic supreme god or deva according the Rigveda. With over more than two hundred and fifty hymns addressed to him, legends depict him as the most powerful foe with powers to prevent rain that nourishes Mother Earth. In his role as the supreme deity, he served as ruler over other devas who maintained Heaven and the elements, such as Agni -Fire, Varuna -Water and Surya -Sun.
He is also known as Parjanya, Purandara, Sakra. However the Puranas have a distinct story line for Parjanya to show a link as opposed to a shared name. His other name is Meghavahana. As controller of the ‘megha’ or clouds’, he is master of the clouds and is also known as ‘Maghavan. Indra is said to send thunderstorms wherever and whenever he desires. Rig Veda 2.12.7 states: ‘He under whose supreme control are horses, all chariots, and the villages, and cattle; He who gave being to the Sun and Morning, who leads the waters, He, O men, is Indra.’
TAITTRIYA BRAHAMANA: In the Taittiriya Brahamana, Indra desires Indrani as his wife from a number of challenging goddesses simply because of her captivating voluptuous attractions. She was the daughter of cruel demon Puloman who later killed by lord Indra. Indrani was the essence of beauty with one thousand eyes.
RIG VEDA: By the Rig Veda, Indrani is considered to be the luckiest female for her husband who was approved immortality, “for her husband shall not at any future time die of old age.” This may be explained by the fact Indrani is wife to all who may successively attain to the throne of Lord Indra. There is always someone ruling heaven; the office is perpetual and she is the wife of the reigning King, whoever he may be, her husband can never die of old age. Though heaven’s kings come and go, she is the perpetual queen of heaven.
MYTHOLOGY: Indra’s sensuality is much dwelt upon in the Puranas. Once he subjected himself to old-aged sage Gautama’s curse for fiddling with his young wife Ahalya. Much is written on her consent but Indra ends up getting one thousand vaginas on his body as penalty. He was later pardoned and the vaginas turned into a thousand eyes. Indra was also given to Soma. He intoxicated himself beyond redemption while Asparas satiated him, and satiated themselves. Who would not want to be a part of the private life of the Lord of Heavens? Soma, while legitimised acknowledged as source of strength, it led Indra into further weakness and moral laxity.
Indra’ sexual mores are cited in justification of other lapses of his. He is said to have chosen Indrani for her sex appeal. Indra happens to cast his eyes on, the then Sachi by chance. Indeed she was voluptuous. Now in his intoxicated state, he commits a double crime. He literally demanded that they be lovers. Legends have it that Sachi too was taken up by Indra’s influence in the heavens. So they had a secret tryst. Sachi was deflowered before any marriage could be arranged.
In any event, her father, King Puloman learnt of the affair. He was not pleased with a sexually malingering son-in-law who ravished the daughter. He charged at Indra to punish him for depriving Sachi’s virginity. Indra unleashed his majestic appearance. Puloman was smitten and fell dead. Some legends state that Puloman was murdered by Indra. That clears the path for the couple and they leave for Indralokha, where Sachi takes the name Indrani to reflect loyalty and devotion to her husband. Despite his nocturnal activities, Indrani stood by the husband.
In the later part of the Vedic period, Indra becomes more dignified, less active sovereign. He is pictured reigning in his heaven, Swarga lokha, flanked by Queen Indrani and his advisers the Vasus. Indrani was also close with Indra’s priest, Brhaspati. Swarga was among the clouds above Mount Meru and attended by groups of Asparas, which Indra did not give up after wedding Indrani. Ghandarvas, the celestial nymphs and musicians flocked Swarga.
From their capital in Amaravati, Indrani joined her husband to preside over minor deities and virtuous souls. By then the Trinity had usurped most of Indra’s duties. Having not much to do, Indra embarked on an endless series of love affairs, notably with married women. The most noted affair is that of Ahalya. (this was posted under Ahalya)
DEPICTION: She is depicted as a fierce Goddess with one thousand eyes and holding a thunderbolt in one hand and a child in the other. Her complexion is red, and She wears a crown and beautiful ornaments. She is often flanked by an elephant. Indrani curiously shares some of her attributes with Shiva and Kali. In her back hands, she holds a Trishula and Damaru. She is also shown strapped with tiger skin along her waists.
SAPTA MATRIKA: The Divine Mothers are venerated in various ways. 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. This is reflected in the individual art depictions also.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’.
CHITRAGUPTA: For owing to a curse pronounced by Goddess Uma, none of the goddesses could become a mother. Indrani practiced austerities, in order that she might not be childless; by means of this expedient her desire was gratified. At birth of this child, the reputed mother suffered all the pains attendant on childbirth, and she was able to nurse the child when born: Rig Veda.
Hara Hara Mahadeva
(draft Gods, Goddesses, Minor Deities and Sages)
By Yogi Ananda Saraswathi