The Sin removal of Indra – Madurai Kantam
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The Sin removal of Indra
Indra, the Lord of Heaven was engaged in attending to the dancers in paradise when his guru Brahaspati came to see him. Indra was absorbed in this pastime and did not stand up to pay his respects to his guru, and that left Brahaspati in great anger. Indra’s indifferent attitude to his guru resulted in the loss of his prosperity and the sympathy of his guru. Since he did not have his teacher’s support with him, Indra took a three-headed giant, an asura, as his preceptor and made him make a sacrifice through a yagna. He learned that the new guru wanted to destroy the gods and favour his clan. So, Indra killed him and incurred the sin of Brahma-hatti.
The giant’s father wanted to avenge his son’s death and made a yagam from which Vridhrasura came forth and he ordered Vridhrasura to kill Indra. Indra hid in a lotus and went to Brahma and asked why he couldn’t kill the asura, and was told that his weapon had become powerless but that he had to go to a place where an old Brahmin called Tatichi had been performing a penance. He was advised to take his shoulder bone since it was moulded into a number of powerful weapons that were entrusted to him. The old Brahmin gladly gave up his life and Indra took his shoulder-bone and killed the asura. Indra’s Brahma-hatti doubled.
The apsaras were now left without their king and Nacushan, an earthly king performed a hundred yagas. He was entitled to take the place of Indra. Accordingly, he sent word to Indrani, the perpetual consort of the king of heaven, that he was coming, directing her to prepare to receive him. She was upset and went to Brahaspati for his advice. He directed her to sanction the coming of Nacushan in the palanquin of Indra according to custom. While Nacushan went this way, he exclaimed to the rishis, “Sarpa sarpa”, which means both quick and a serpent. The rishis were angry and set the palanquin down and cursed him to become a serpent. A Council was held of Brahaspati, Agastiyar and other sages and it was recommended that Indra should go to earth and visit the sacred places, and bathe in the rivers for his sin to be removed.
He did this without relief till he came to a certain forest of Kadamba or lili trees. Suddenly, he found his burden being removed there. He was surprised at this and commanded a search to be made around when a lingam, the emblem of Siva was found under the tree. He performed a puja to the tree, and since it was a forest, he didn’t find flowers to make garlands with. He saw a river with lotus flowers with which he made garlands. This gave the river the name of Pottamarai or the Golden lotus.
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