Indra Mantra

This page is borrowed from http://maghavan.wordpress.com (Thanks Arjuni!)

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indra mantra

This page is here to serve anyone who wants to learn Indra’s mantras for various occasions and wishes, or simply for the joy of bhakti.

I am only a devotee and by no means a Vedic scholar; my Sanskrit knowledge is very slight. If you find errors in my IAST rendering of these texts, please do bring the mistake(s) to my attention.

May you know the wonder of the Lovely One’s grace!

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***The original fount of Indra mantras is the bounteous Rig Veda itself, of which over one-quarter is sung to Indra! The Sanskrit Rig Veda is available online at the provided link, and so very blessed are those who may truly understand it.

Acharya David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) writes, “In fact, all of the Vedic chants are rooted in Indra. Note also that Vedic Indra is much like Shiva and should not be identified with Indra of the Puranas, who is only the lord of heaven.”
He also tells the student of Rig Veda, in his Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, that, “The hymns to Indra give higher powers of prana, will power, and deeper perception…aid in the opening of the third eye and help us gain mastery over all external forces.”

Rig Veda is indeed the greatest, the primordial source for wisdom and knowledge of Indra – as well as ourselves and the whole universe. Fortunately, there are also mantras accessible to those of us who are not Vedic scholars!

***One excellent source is the priceless gift of Kāvyakaṇṭha (Śrī Ganapati Muni), a great scholar and a disciple of Śrī Ramana Maharshi. Śrī Kāvyakaṇṭha scouredRig Veda for Indra’s epithets and compiled the Indra Sahasranāma, the thousand names of Indra. The link is hosted by my wise and well-named friend Satya, and contains my best efforts at translation. Conveniently, the names are all provided in the correct grammatical tense for chanting; just stick an “oṃ” before and a “namaḥ” after each one!

Individual mantras are provided below.

Mantras for particular events/purposes:
***For Ugadi (New Year/Caitra Śukla Prathama – March/April in the Western calendar):
In some areas of India, indra-dhvaja pūjā, or the worship of the flag of Indra, is performed at the new year. A 4- to 5-foot long stick is decorated with sunna (caustic lime), haldi (turmeric) and kunkuma. The stick is made to stand by suitable means. At the top of the stick, a silver vessel is inverted. A blouse piece or angavastram, and flowers, are tied to the stick just under the silver vessel.
This is worshipped with the mantra:

Indradhvaja namaste’stu sarvābhīśṭa phala pradā |
Praptesmin sanvatsare nityaṃ madgrahe mangalaṃ kuru ||

(I bow down to the supreme Indra in the form of this flag; may all of our desires be fulfilled.
I pray that in this New Year, all holy and pious things come to my home.)

***For Akṣaya Tritiyā (Akshaya Tritiya/Vaisakha Śukla Tritiyā – May/June in the Western calendar):
Though Akshaya Tritiya is best known as the auspicious day to purchase gold, it is also an ideal day to perform acts of charity and donation. Wheat dānam on this day is sacred to Indra, to thank him for the rains that make the crops grow, and the mantra to be said when giving wheat is from Rig Veda, 2.21.6:

indra śreṣṭhāni draviṇāni dhehi cittiṃ dakṣasya subhaghatvaṃ asme |
poṣaṃ rayīṇāmariṣṭiṃ tanūnāṃ svādmānaṃ vācaḥ sudinatvamahnām ||

Two translations are:
Oh Lord, grant us of boons the best: a mind to think and a smiling love, increase of wealth, a healthy body, speech that is winsome and days that are fair. (Raimon Panikkar)
Indra, bestow on us the best of treasures, the spirit of ability and fortune; increase of riches, safety of our bodies, charm of sweet speech, and days of pleasant weather. (Ralph T.H. Griffith)

***There is a traditional recitation that is said to stop nightmares and/or protect from lightning-strike (!). One may please Indra by praising his son Arjuna, with the recitation of “Arjuna’s Ten” as follows:

Arjuna (bright, shining), Phalguna (one born under nakshatra Uttara Phalguna), Jiṣṇu (unconquerable, leader of the heavenly host), Kirīti (who wears the shining diadem), Śwetavāhana (whose chariot is drawn by shining steeds), Bhībhatsu (fair fighter, terrifying to behold in battle), Vijaya(victorious), Partha (scholar-student, son of Kuṃtī), Savyasāchi(ambidextrous one), Dhanañjaya (winner of great wealth).

A general prayer:
***There is a Rig Vedic verse that is given as a general prayer for the benefit of all, and invokes several Vedic deities along with Indra. It is RV.10.63.9 and is as follows:

bhareṣvindraṃ suhavaṃ havāmahe aṃhomucaṃ sukṛtandaivyaṃ janam |
aghniṃ mitraṃ varuṇaṃ sātaye bhaghandyāvāpṛthivī marutaḥ svastaye ||

Ralph T.H. Griffith gives one translation as, “In battles we invoke Indra still swift to hear, and all the holy Host of Heaven who banish grief, Agni, Mitra, and Varuṇa that we may gain, Dyavs, Bhaga, Maruts, Prthivi for happiness.”

Dr. Sudhir Anand of the Arya Samaj gives a much longer version, translating the different Devas’ names as aspects of the Supreme, with, “Dear God, you are King of all kings, Supreme Master and Universe Benefactor. In our life’s journey and struggles, we pray to You, we call You. Please listen to our prayer and be easily available to us. Please help guide us away from sins and resulting unhappiness. You are the creator of divine and giving qualities. You are the Supreme Light and Supreme Leader who enlightens everybody; our Dearest Friend and Closest Companion; Most High and Noble, most sought by the learned. You Alone are worthy of our worship. We pray to You for our happiness and welfare. May the sun, stars, and the earth, air and other physical powers, be benevolent to us for our welfare and prosperity.”

Worship mantras:
***The most well-known of the twelve-lettered “bhagavate” mantras is “oṃ namo bhagavate vasudevāya.” However, variations of this mantra exist, including two for Indra:

Oṃ namo bhagavate mahārājāya.
Oṃ and salutations to the supreme lord of lords/king of kings.

Oṃ namo bhagavate rājadevāya.
Oṃ and salutations to the supreme king of Devas/divine ruler.

***One of the greatest and most sacred Hindu mantras is the Sāvitrī gāyatrī (from RV3.62.10 – tat savitur vareṇyam | bhargo devasya dhīmahi | dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||). However, many mantras in the gāyatrī metre – addressed to different Devas and each requesting the Deva’s guidance and inspiration – exist.

Indra Gāyatrī is usually prescribed for those seeking protection and security, particularly against attack or aggression, but I believe it may be used for general devotion as well. Here are three variants of Indra Gāyatrī:

oṃ devarājāya vidmahe |
vajrahastāya dhīmahi |
tanno indraḥ prachodayāt ||

“Oṃ, let us meditate upon the King of Devas. May that great God who holds the thunderbolt in his hand, inspire and illumine our mind and understanding.”

This version is chanted as track #6, “Indra Gayathri,” on the CD Zodiac Signs – Vrischika Rasi – Scorpio by Prof. Thiagarajan and Sanskrit Scholars.

Another common version given online follows “oṃ” with “sahasranetrāya” (“thousand-eyed one,” instead of “devarājāya,” “king of Devas”). I wonder if this version is a typo that continues to be re-published, because if I understand gāyatrī metre correctly, then this version has one too many syllables in the first line.

Another variant is:
oṃ tatpuruṣāya vidmahe |
sahasrākṣe ne dhīmahi |
tanno indraḥ prachodayāt ||

“Oṃ, let us meditate upon the great Purusha (the Cosmic or Universal Man). May that thousand-eyed God inspire and illumine our understanding.”

I am not certain of the first two words of the second line; that is what I hear, but I can find no writing of this particular version. This is chanted by Prakash Rao as track #27 of CD set (or track #8 of vol. 2), “Indra Gayathri Manthram,” of CDSakala Devatha Gayathri Manthravali.

This last version is one for which I have found a text source:
oṃ devarājāya vidmahe |
vajrahastāya dhīmahi |
tannaḥ śakraḥ pracodayāt ||

“Oṃ, let us meditate upon the King of Devas. May that mighty God, who holds the thunderbolt in his hand, inspire and illumine our understanding.”

This mantra is given by the Linga-Purāṇa, 2,48.18.

***A fascinating hymn, the Indra-stuti, is chanted by Utaṇka in the Pauṣya Parva, Adi Parva of the Mahābhārata. I find the final line particularly beautiful for devotion. The last two verses of the stuti are given here, with translation:

vajrasya bhartā bhuvanasya goptā vṛtrasya hantā namucernihantā |
kṛṣṇe vasāno vasane mahātmā satyānṛte yo vivinakti loke ||

Oh wielder of the Vajra, protector of the universe, the slayer of Vṛtra and Namuci.
Oh illustrious one, who wears the black cloth, and displays the truth and untruth of the universe.

yo vājinaṃ garbham-apāṃ purāṇaṃ vaiśvānaraṃ vāhanam-abhyupetaḥ |
namaḥ sadāsmai jagadīśvarāya lokatrayeśāya purandarāya ||

Who has for your vehicle, the horse received from the ocean’s depths, the fiery Vaiśvānara,
I salute you, supreme lord of the universe, lord of the three worlds, destroyer of strongholds.

***Finally, the Svacchanda-tantra provides the simple oṃ indrāya vajrahastāya namaḥ.

Bīja mantras:
In my limited journey so far, I have found (and read) that bīja mantra meditation may not be the ideal exercise for a beginner. A bīja or seed mantra is a profound statement of a deity’s essence, so if one is new to Lord Indra and/or mantra meditation, it might be better to start with a mantra to understand Indra personally – oṃ indrāya namaḥ for instance – before approaching a bīja mantra that will convey his subtle nuances, higher wisdom, and powerful energies.

The sources for these mantras and their meanings are the works of Śrī Ganapati Muni and Pandit Vamadeva Shastri; relevant works of the latter include an article entitled “The Mantric Approach of the Vedas” and the bookMantra Yoga and Primal Sound. All writings in quotation marks are the words of Vamadeva.

Hīṃ
“Hīṃ refers to the power of the Vajra or the lightning bolt of pure perception that Indra, the deity of cosmic prana, wields.”

Hūm
“Hūm is more an Agni mantra as Hota, but can be used for Indra as Vidyut-Agni.”
It “is a mantra of the inner fire or thermogenic force. It both calls the divine down into us and offers our soul upward to the Divine for transformation in the sacred fire of awareness…It is used to destroy negativity and creates great passion and vitality. As a powerful mantra it should also be used carefully. Yet it can be used in a more gentle manner to invoke divine grace and protection. Through it we can offer ourselves or our afflictions into the Divine for purification and transformation.
“Hūm is a Vedic mantra of Agni or fire. It is the mantra used to make offerings into the sacred fire. It also is used to call or invoke the fire and to make it flame up more brilliantly. It represents the soul hidden the body, the Divine immanent in the world. It governs the earth and the material sphere in general.”

Īṃ
“Another important mantra for Indra is īṃ, as the lord of higher perception. That is what Ganapati and Daivarata call the Rigvedic Pranava.” (Pranava is “the Cosmic Word: through its power, the secret of all Vedic mantras can be revealed.”)
“It is the power of Divine light and seeing…It projects an energy and power of perception, the electrical force of seeing. It is the mantric sound of the eyes in the Mantra Purusha. The mantra īṃ allows for the awakening of the Shakti of any mantra, and also provides the vision behind the mantra, its knowledge component.”

Krīṃ
Krīṃ is “Vidyut Shakti, which is associated with Indra and the supreme Prana.”
It “is a mantra of Indra, the supreme deity of the Vedas, the Divine as the cosmic lord and enlightenment force. Krīṃ is the thunderbolt or Vajra that destroys the serpent of ignorance and releases the light of absolute truth. It represents the force of the atmosphere…and carries the supreme life force.”

Laṃ
Laṃ is “mainly a mantra for Indra as a directional deity, though [it] also relates to the Vajra.”
It is also the bīja mantra for the mūlādhāra (first/root) cakra.

Oṃ
It is the “power of divine prana and hearing.” It is also associated with Indra as “chhandasama rishibha, the bull of the chants.”

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