All posts in Stories of Indra in Mahabharata

Story – When Krishna tricked Kalayavan and took him to the cave where Muchukunda was sleeping

Jarasandha, the mighty king of Magadha forges alliance with Kal Yavana after suffering numerous defeats from Krishna-Balarama led Yadavas. Lord Shri Krishna to save humanity from the evils of an yet another imminent battle with combined forces of mighty Jarasandha and Kalyavana moves his kingdom to newly built Dwarka. Kalayavana, who stood by Jarasandha chases Shri Krishna to Dwarka. Pretending to flee yet again from war field, Shri Krishna lures Kalayavana into the cave where the great king of Treta yuga, Muchukunda, one of the forefathers of Lord Shri Rama was in a deep slumber of thousands of years after helping devas in an epic war with asuras. Contemplating an absolutely undisturbed sleep he was given a boon by Lord Indra that anyone who dared to disturb his sleep would get burnt to ashes immediately. Fast forward to Dwapara yuga, in the darkness deep inside the cave, Kalayavan mistakenly wakes up Muchukunda from his sleep, and sure to Muchukunda’s powers Kalayavan was decimated into ashes instantaneously with a fiery glance. This was followed by Shri Krishna & Balarama destroying Kalayavana’s armies. Jarasandha tried to attack tired Yadava armies but Krishna using his yogic power took all his comrades to Dwaraka thereby avoiding mass destruction. And then Muchukunda was delighted to see Lord Shri Krishna there, who was none other than Lord Vishnu. Sri Krishna advises him to perform Tapas to cleanse the accumulated sins to attain Moksha (liberation). After meeting with lord, Muchukunda sets out of the cave. And the story narrates that he is astonished to see that all creatures had shrunken in size over time while he rested in cave, indicating long ages gone by. Muchukunda then goes north to Gandamadana Mountain and from there to Badrikashrama for doing penance and finally achieves liberation, the Moksha.

Story – When Yudhishthira sees his brothers and wife in Naraka but Duryodhana & his allies in Swarga

On reaching heaven, Yudhishthira did not find either his virtuous brothers or his wife Draupadi. Instead, he only saw Duryodhana and his allies. The Gods told him that his brothers were in Naraka (hell), atoning for their sins. Yudhishthira loyally went to Naraka to meet his brothers, but the sight of gore and blood horrified him. After hearing the voices of his beloved brothers and Draupadi calling out to him, asking him to stay with them in their misery, he remained. Yudhishthira ordered the divine charioteer to return. He preferred to live in hell with good people than in a heaven with his enemies. Eventually this turned out to be another illusion to test him and also to enable him to atone for his sin of deceiving his guru during the war where he half-lied to Drona about Ashwatthama’s death. Thereafter, Indra and Krishna appeared before him and told him that his brothers (including Karna) were already in heaven but so were his enemies.

Story – When Menaka genuinely falls in love with Vishwamitra

In Hindu mythology, Menaka is considered one of the most beautiful of the heavenly Apsaras. Menaka was born during the churning of the ocean by the devas and asuras and was one of the most beautiful apsaras (celestial nymph) in the world with quick intelligence and innate talent but desired a family. Vishwamitra, one of the most respected and revered sages in ancient India, frightened the gods and even tried to create another heaven- Indra, frightened by his powers, sent Menaka from heaven to earth to lure him and break his meditation. Menaka successfully incited Vishwamitra’s lust and passion when he saw her beauty. She succeeded in breaking the meditation of Vishwamitra. However, she fell in genuine love with him and a baby was born to them who later grew in Sage Kanva’s ashram and came to be called Shakuntala. When Vishwamitra realized that he had been tricked by Indra, he was enraged. But he merely cursed Menaka to be separated from him forever, for he loved her as well and knew that she had lost all devious intentions towards him long ago.

Story – When Indra got threatened because of great archer Shardwana (Sharadvana)

Gautama Maharishi had a grandson called Shardwana (or Sharadvana). Shardwana was born with arrows, making clear he was a born archer. As he matured, he became such a great archer, and began doing penance to become an unbeatable one. This threatened the gods, especially Indra. He then sent a beautiful Apsara, Janapadi, from heaven to distract the celibate saint. Shardwana was distracted by the sight of such a beautiful woman and lost some control, dropping his weapons and retreating into the forest to undergo more penance. His semen fell on some weeds by the wayside, dividing the weeds into two – from which a boy and a girl were born. The king of Hastinapura, Shantanu was crossing from there and saw the children by the wayside. One look at them was enough for him to realize that they were the children of a great Brahmin. He named them Kripa and Kripi, and decided to take them back with him to his palace.

Story of previous birth of Revati (Balarama’s wife) as Jyotishmati

The Garga Samhita narrates the previous birth of Revati as Jyotishmati, the daughter of King Chakshush Manu, who ruled over the Earth. The king performed a special fire sacrifice, out of which a divine lady was born to him as his daughter, Jyotishmati. Upon asked by her father, she said, she would like to marry the mightiest of all. The god Indra (lord of clouds and rain) informed the king that the wind Vayu was powerful than him. Vayu directed Manu to Parvat (the mountain), who said the earth-god Bhumandal was more powerful than him. Ultimately, the earth said that Shesha, the serpent who carries the earth and the worlds on his hoods, is the most powerful; Balarama would be Shesha’s most powerful form. Jyotishmati went to Vindhya mountains and performed tapas (austerities) to marry Balarama. Numerous deities tried to dissuade her and win her over as wife, however she cursed all of them. In counter-curse, Indra cursed Jyotishmati that she would not have sons. Finally, Brahma pleased with her penance blessed her that she would marry Balarama, but warned that he would be born 27 yugas (eons) later. An enraged Jyotishmati threatened to curse Brahma too. He pacified her by giving her another boon that she would be born as Revati, daughter of King Kakudmi, whose actions would lead to the 27 eons passing in a jiffy.

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