Indra and Vrtra

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Oct 18 23:46:56 CDT 2002

On Fri, 18 Oct 2002 Venkatraman.Chandrasekaran at NOKIA.COM wrote:

> Dear Jaldhar,
>    Sorry to interject in the middle of your story on this topic...

No problem. I'm happy when people think about these things even if they
don't agree with me.

>    There are several instances in our puranas where a natural force or
> element is treated as a God or demon and interaction between the
> hero of the story and the force is represented as that between two
> humans. For eg., in Ramayana, Sri Rama conquers the Lord of Ocean by
> threatening him to surrender without risking his arrows.


> If this be
> the case, can you please tell why you reject the idea of ice age being
> terminated by Indra (again he being God of rains)...?

Two main reasons.  One, as I said there wasn't an ice age in Aryavarta
where the "action" of the Vedas supposedly takes place.  Of course if one
believes as some do that the original homeland of the Vedic people was
somewhere other than India then you might be able to make a case but it is
widely accepted that the Vedas as we have them now are distributed in area
from the Afghan-Pakistan border upto Bihar.  Areas without an ice age. the
second, and in my opinion even more compelling, reason is there _already_
is a natural explanation that is evident in the texts (Can you guess it?
Read the translation of a sukta posted by Shrinivas Gadkari for clues.)
and has been interpreted as such by Yaskacharya, Sayanacharya etc.

I'm too tired to write about this further today, but we will get to it

>    The purport of representing a natural force as God or demon in our
> ancient texts is in my understanding to show that all chit entities
> live inter-dependently on these natural elements... and Gods and some
> super-humans (r~shis like Yagnavalkya) could control these natural
> forces by their penance though still these natural forces are only
> elements and not to be taken as a chit entity. So we can't expect
> the Acharyas to explicitly tell in their bhashyas, for eg., that
> the Lord of the Ocean mentioned by Valmiki was in fact the Ocean itself..

Actually a somewhat related idea comes up in the Brahmasutras.  In a
discussion of whether devatas are entitled to upasana (i.e. how could
Surya Bhagawan meditate on the Gayatri which is a prayer to the Sun?) One
view given is that "Sun" "Fire" etc. in the mantras only refers to the
phenomena not to personalities.  It is ultimately rejected but it shows
that even in ancient times some people thought along those lines.

>    On a slightly different note, for eg., in North India, Ganga maatha
> is said to be riding Crocodile and people revere crocodile as a vaahana
> of Ganga Devi. Is it probably because there is a constant fear and awe
> at these reptiles while crossing the river?

Perhaps. This can be a partial explanation but one has to be careful about
carrying it too far.  How does such a view explain why the Vahana of
Ganesh Bhagawan is a rat?  What does a rat have to do with removing
obstacles etc.?

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

>From  Sun Oct 20 07:49:33 2002
Message-Id: <SUN.20.OCT.2002.074933.0700.>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 07:49:33 -0700
Reply-To: braos at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: KRISHNA RAO <braos at YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Advaita Vedanta and Quantum Physics
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I was told by a friend that Schrodinger and others were deeply influenced by Advaita Vedanta in elucidating their theories.

If so, what are these aspects of Advaita that cast an impression on them?



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<P>I was told by a friend that Schrodinger and others were deeply influenced by Advaita Vedanta in elucidating their theories.</P>
<P>If so, what are these aspects of Advaita that cast an impression on them?</P>
<P>Krishna</P><p><br><hr size=1>Do you Yahoo!?<br>
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