The Vishnu Purana (abridged)

27,616 words

The Vishnu Purana (Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is a religious Hindu text and one of the (most important) eighteen Mahapuranas. It is also known as Puranaratna ("gem of Puranas"). Presented as a dialogue between Parashara and his disciple Maitreya, the major topics discussed include creation, stories of battles fought between asuras and devas, the Avat...

Pururava’s son Ayu had five sons. Their names were Nahusha, Kshatravriddha, Rambha, Raji and Anenah. Raji had five hundred brave sons. Many years ago, the devas and the asuras fought a war. Both the devas and the asuras went to Brahma and asked, “Who will win this war?” Brahma replied that the side for which King Raji fought would win.

The asuras came to Raji and asked him to fight on their side. “I will,” said Raji, “provided that you make me Indra after the devas have been defeated.

“This we cannot do,” replied the asuras. “We cannot promise you one thing and do another. Prahlada will be our Indra.”

The gods too came to Raji and asked him to fight on their side. And faced with the same condition, they replied. “Yes indeed, you will be our Indra.”

Raji fought on the side of the gods and killed the demons. After the enemy had been defeated, Indra touched Raji’s feet and said, “You have protected us, so you are like my father. And since I am Indra, my father is obviously the supreme ruler of the world.” Although Raji saw through the flattery, he permitted Indra to continue as the king of the gods and returned to his capital.

But after Raji died, Raji’s sons demanded that Indra shoud hand over that which had been promised to them. This Indra refused to do. So Raji’s sons defeated Indra and themselves assumed the title of Indra. After many years had passed, Indra went to Brihaspati and prayed that his kingdom might be returned to him. Brihaspati performed sacrifices so that Indra’s powers might increase and slowly weaned Raji’s sons away from the path of righteousness. He made them do evil deeds and turned their minds against the Vedas and the brahmanas. Indra could now easily defeat and kill the sons of Raji. Indra could now easily defeat and kill the sons of Raji. He assumed the title of Indra.

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