Indra, aka: Iṇḍra; 25 Definition(s)

Introduction

Indra means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Indra in Natyashastra glossaries]

1) Indra (इन्द्र) is a Sanskrit word referring to a deity. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.88-95, when Brahmā, Indra and all other gods went to inspect the playhouse (nāṭyamaṇḍapa) designed by Viśvakarmā, he assigned different deities for the protection of the playhouse itself, as well as for the objects relating to dramatic performance (prayoga).

As such, Brahmā assigned Indra to the hero (nāyaka). The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.

2) Indra is also to be worshipped during raṅgapūjā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.1-8. Accordingly, the master of the dramatic art who has been initiated for the purpose shall consecrate the playhouse after he has made obeisance (eg., to Indra).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Purana

[Indra in Purana glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र).—One of the nine divisions of Bhārata, a region south of mount Meru, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 74. Indra is surrounded by an ocean (sāgara) and is one thousand yojanas in extent. Meru is one of the seven mountains located in Jambūdvīpa, which is ruled over by Āgnīdhra, a grandson of Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Indra (इन्द्र).—Genealogy. Viṣṇu—Brahmā—Marīci—Kasyapa—Indra. (See full article at Story of Indra from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Indra (इन्द्र) refers to a deity that was once worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) according to the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Indra is described as honoured by and as refuge of the gods. The bright half of Prauṣṭhapada is dedicated wholly to his worship and is given the name Indra pakṣa. Reference is made to his wife Śacī, his gaṇas, his weapons and his mount. His images erected by six sages, namely, Pulastya, Śakra, Bharadvāja, Kaśyapa, Kaṇva and Agastya are mentioned.

(Source): archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1a) Indra (इन्द्र).—(sahasrākṣa, devendra, etc.). A lokapāla. He and three other Lokapālas have their cities on the Mānasottara mountain in Puṣkaradvīpa;1 worshipped for vigour of organs.2 Served as calf for gods to milk from the Earth.3 Presented Pṛthu with a crown.4 Deprived Pṛthu of his sacrificial horse during the hundredth aśvamedha. Urged by Atri, Pṛthu's son pursued Indra, when the latter abandoned the house and disappeared. A second time Indra deprived Pṛthu of his horse; when the king's men pursued him, he left the horse and went away in disguise. This enraged Pṛthu, who aimed his arrow at Indra but was pacified by Brahmā in the name of dharma. A reconciliation was effected when Pṛthu embraced him.5 Invested Vijitāśva with power of moving about unseen by others.6 Jealous of Ṛṣabha, refused rains for his kingdom Ajanābha. Bestowed Jayantī on him.7 During Hiraṇyakaśipu's absence at Mandara hill, Indra captured his queen and took her to his heavenly abode. Nārada intervened and set her at liberty.8 Took up his vajra against Cyavana for allowing Aśvins to partake of soma juice. But Cyavana's tapas tied down his arms, when Indra yielded.9 Assumed the form of a bull over which Kakustha rode and defeated Asuras in a battle. Made the crying Māndhāta suckle his finger.10 Prevented Rohita from entering his city for six years: Awarded Hariścandra a golden chariot after his puruṣamedha.11 Robbed Sagara's sacrificial horse and left it near Kapila's hermitage.12 Performed a sacrifice which was attended by Vasiṣṭha.13 Joined the gods in Tārakāmaya war.14 Asked Gandharvas to take back Urvaśī living with Purūravas.15 Helped by Rāji, gave back his kingdom. After his death, his sons refused to give back the kingdom, and Indra slew all of them.16 Cursed by Durvāsa, he lost all fortune. The three worlds became empty. Varuṇa and other gods conferred with Brahmā. Finding no means to restore their fortunes, they repaired to Hari Ajita when Brahmā belauded Hari as mahāvibhūti. Hari advised them to secure Bali's alliance.17

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 30; Matsya-purāṇa 266. 19.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 3. 2.
  • 3) Ib. IV. 18. 15; Matsya-purāṇa 10. 18.
  • 4) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 14. 26; 15. 15.
  • 5) Ib. IV. 16. 24; 19. 10-17, 19-22, 26-39; 20. 18.
  • 6) Ib. IV. 24. 3.
  • 7) Ib. V. 4. 3 and 8.
  • 8) Ib. VII. 7. 6-11.
  • 9) Ib. IX. 3. 25, 26.
  • 10) Ib. IX. 6. 12-15, 31; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 2. 29-32.
  • 11) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VII. 7. 17-20, 23.
  • 12) Ib. IX. 8. 8 and 10.
  • 13) Ib. IX. 13. 1 and 2.
  • 14) Ib. IX. 14. 7.
  • 15) Ib. IX. 14. 26.
  • 16) Ib. IX. 17. 13-16; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 67. 87-105.
  • 17) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 5. 16-50; 6. 30-31.

1b) The temple of, in Vidarbhā (see indrāṇī).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 53. 49[1].

1c) A son of Vasiṣṭha, and Prajāpati of the Svārociṣa epoch.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 9. 9.

1d) A division of the day.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 41.

1e) One of Danu's sons.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 68. 8.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Katha (narrative stories)

[Indra in Katha glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र).—Indra had been the most powerful God in the pantheon of the Ṛgveda. 250 hums have been addressed to him; but later on he was superceded by younger Gods of the Puranic pantheon of whom Viṣṇu and Śiva became the ruling deities. Soḍḍhala refers to Indra totally with regard to narratives regarding the cutting of the wings of the mountains with his weapon Vajra, Kuliśa or Dambholi and also his curse to Urvaśī for depending to the human world.

His rape of Ahalyā has been referred to by Soḍḍhala. He presides over the eastern direction and hence the direction is said to be Paurandarī. He is endowed with a number of eyes. He is referred to as Śatamakha, Purandara, Ākhaṇḍala, Maghavat, Jiṣṇu, Śatamanyu, Śakra, Valabhid, Vāsava, Surendra, Harit, Saṅkrandana, Indra, Śatakratu, Surapati.

(Source): Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

[Indra in Vyakarana glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र).—Name of a great grammarian who is believed to have written an exhaustive treatise on grammar before Pāṇini; cf. the famous verse of Bopadeva at the commencement of his Dhātupāṭha इन्द्रश्चन्द्रः काशकृत्स्नापिशली शाकटायनः । पाणिन्यमरजैनेन्द्रा जयन्त्यष्टादिशाब्दिकाः ॥ (indraścandraḥ kāśakṛtsnāpiśalī śākaṭāyanaḥ | pāṇinyamarajainendrā jayantyaṣṭādiśābdikāḥ ||) No work of Indra is available at present. He is nowhere quoted by Pāṇini. Many quotations believed to have been taken from his work are found scattered in grammar works, from which it appears that there was an ancient system prevalent in the eastern part of India at the time of Pāṇini which could be named ऐन्द्रव्याकरणपद्धति (aindravyākaraṇapaddhati), to which Pāṇini possibly refers by the word प्राचाम् (prācām). From references,it appears that the grammar was of the type of प्रक्रिया (prakriyā), discussing various topics of grammar such as alphabet, coalescence, declension, context, compounds, derivatives from nouns and roots, conjugation, and changes in the base. The treatment was later on followed by Śākaṭāyana and writers of the Kātantra school.For details see Mahābhāṣya ed. by D. E. Society, Poona, Vol. VII pages 124-127.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

[Indra in Chandas glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र) is the name of a ancient authority on the science of Sanskrit metrics (chandaśāstra) mentioned by Yādavaprakāśa (commentator on Chandaśśāstra of Piṅgala).—Indra is an ancient authority of Prosody, mentioned as Duścyavana.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Indra in Hinduism glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र):—One of the five natural forms of Agni (Vedic god of Divine illumination). This form, known as Indra or Vāyu, represents the power of the lightening which dwells in the clouds. He is the fire of space (of the intermediary world). It is the source of conflagrations and of the dreaded bush-fires (dāva-agni).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Indra is the king of the lesser gods, known as the Devas. He is the son of Aditi and sage Kashyapa, and is one of the Adityas. His capital city is Amaravathi, in the heavens. He posseses an elephant known as Iyravata and a divine cow named Kamadhenu.

Indra is the principal deity of the Rig Veda. Most of the hymns in this primary text of Hinduism are addressed to him. Sometimes he is addressed as a dual Mitra-Indra. He is capable of granting minor boons to his devotees. He is not directly worshipped, but often invoked in sacrifices.

It is said that Indra is not one person, but rather the generic name of the king of heaven. Upon performing certain sacrifices or penances, a mortal can ascend to heaven and attain the position of the king of heaven. His reign shall last till another person becomes eligible for this position.

In the Rig Veda, Indra is depicted as the most powerful god. However, in latter texts, his importance has been considerably diminished. He is no longer all-powerful, instead he is subject to the overlordship of the supreme trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Indra, also known as Śakra in the Vedas, is the leader of the Devas or gods and the lord of Svargaloka or heaven in the Hindu religion. He is the god of rain and thunderstorms. He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as vajra and rides on a white elephant known as Airavata. Indra is the supreme deity and is the twin brother of Agni and is also mentioned as an Āditya, son of Aditi. His home is situated on Mount Meru in the heaven. He has many epithets, notably vṛṣan the bull, and vṛtrahan, slayer of Vṛtra, Meghavahana (“the one who rides the clouds”) and Devapati (“the lord of gods or devas”).

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Indra is the king of the gods and was one of the major deities of the Rig Veda. A quarter of the hymns of the Rig Veda are dedicated to him and he is the national god of the Vedic people. His most lauded activity was the destroying of the demon Vṛtra who had imprisoned the cows in the mountainous cave. Using his famed vajra — diamond thunderbolt.

Indra represents the all-pervading electric energy (vidyut śakti), he is the ruler of the storm but also the cause of fertility. His symbol is Vajra (thunderbolt) — which represents diamond like wisdom which destroys ignorance in the form of the demon-who-conceals.

(Source): Red Zambala: Iconography of the Vedic Deities

In Buddhism

(Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

[Indra in Tibetan Buddhism glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र).—Protector deity of the eastern cremation ground.—Indra is the king of the gods, also called Śakra (Śmaśānavidhi 4) and Devendra (Guhyasamayasādhanamālā). In the Śmaśānavidhi he is described mounted on his elephant, Airāvata. He is white and holds a vajra (left) and skull bowl (right); in Adbhutaśmaśānālaṃkāra he is said to hold a vajra (left), and make the threatening gesture, the tarjanīmudrā (right)

(Source): Google Books: Vajrayogini

Indra (इन्द्र) is the name of the protector (dikpati) associated with Caṇḍogra: the eastern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Vajravārāhī-sādhana by Umāpatideva as found in te Guhyasamayasādhanamālā. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These protectors (eg., Indra) are variously known as dikpati, dikpāla and lokāpala and can be traced to purāṇic legends where eight protectors are assigned to each direction by Brahmā. According to the Śmaśānavidhi verse 20, these protectors are in union with their wives and have four arms, two of which make the añjali gesture of obeisance, while the second pair usually holds a skull bowl and a tantric weapon. They are variously depicted upon their respective mounts, or sitting at the base of the tree.

The Guhyasamayasādhanamālā by Umāptideva is a 12th century ritualistic manual including forty-six Buddhist tantric sādhanas. The term sādhana refers to “rites” for the contemplation of a divinity.

(Source): Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[Indra in Buddhism glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र) refers to the first of the “eight world protectors” (aṣṭalokapāla) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 8). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., aṣṭalokapāla and Indra). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Indra is, besides one of the “eight world protectors” (aṣṭalokapāla), one of the “ten world protectors” (daśalokapāla) and one of the “fourteen world protectors” (caturdaśalokapāla).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Indra (इन्द्र) is the thirty-fourth of sixty digits (decimal place) in an special enumeration system mentioned by Vasubandhu in his Abhidharmakośa (“treasury of knowledge”). The explanations of the measure of years, eons, and so forth must be comprehended through calculation based on a numerical system. Enumeration begins from one and increases by a factor of ten for each shift in decimal place. The sixtieth number in this series is called “countless”.

Among these decimal positions (eg., indra), the first nine positions from one to one hundred million are called ‘single set enumeration’. From a billion up to, but not including countless is “the enumeration of the great companion” and is called the ‘recurring enumeration’.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Buddhism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Indra in Jainism glossaries]

Indra (इन्द्र).—One of the ten sub-types of gods (devas), according to Jain cosmology. The occupation of the indras is to act as king.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Indra (इन्द्र) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as mentioned in Svayambhūdeva’s Paumacariu (Padmacarita, Paumacariya or Rāmāyaṇapurāṇa) chapter 57ff. Svayambhū or Svayambhūdeva (8th or 9th century) was a Jain householder who probably lived in Karnataka. His work recounts the popular Rāma story as known from the older work Rāmāyaṇa (written by Vālmīki). Various chapters [mentioning Indra] are dedicated to the humongous battle whose armies (known as akṣauhiṇīs) consisted of millions of soldiers, horses and elephants, etc.

(Source): archive.org: Een Kritische Studie Van Svayambhūdeva’s Paümacariu

Indra (इन्द्र).—The episode of Indra engaged in his abode with certain activities is a ‘must’ in an illustrated kalpasūtra. His realization of the epochal moment of Mahāvīra’s arrival on the jambūdvῑpa, and his role in the transference of the embryos. Certain ambitious Jaina painters have depicted Indra in the activity of witnessing dance performance scene. The large, seated figure of Indra is over-seeing the activity of entertainment. The delineation of dancing figures is testimony to the Jaina painters command on the movements of human body.

(Source): Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts

Indra (इन्द्र).—The Sanskrit word indra is used as a noun for the king of a group of gods. Śvetāmbaras admit a total of 64 indras.

  • Bhavanavāsin (20 indras),
  • Vyantara (16 indras),
  • Vāṇavyantara (16 indras),
  • Vaimānika (12 indras).

These divinities live in the upper world of the Jain universe, in the kalpas or heavens. The most famous is Śakra, the lord of the gods who reside in the Saudharma, the lowest of the 12 kalpas in the upper world.

(Source): JAINpedia: Deities

Indra (इन्द्र, “lord”) refers to refers to one of the ten grades (ranks) of celestial beings (deva), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.4. These celestial beings (devas, gods) are of four orders /classes” and each class of celestial beings has ten grades (eg., Indra).

Who are called Indras / chief? Indras are powerful beings endowed with extraordinary occult powers not possessed by others. They are like kings. In the first two orders/classes (viz., bhavanavāsī and vyantara) there are two lords (indras).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Indra in Marathi glossaries]

indra (इंद्र).—m (S) The name of the deity presiding over Swarga (the Hindu paradise) and the secondary divinities. He is also regent of the south-east quarter, and is more particularly the deity of the atmosphere. 2 A king or chief; a main or a principal. In comp. as mṛgēndra, viprēndra, khagēndra, kapīndra, pakṣīndra. 3 An order among Gosavis and Sanyasis, or an individual of it.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

indra (इंद्र).—m A king or chief (In comp. as mṛgēndra &c.) The name of the deity presidin??er svarga.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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