Article selection from “Indra”, by Rajendro Nauth Dutta | Notes by H.P.B.

Indra1 is the name of one of these Hindu deities that were worshipped more especially in the Vedic period of the Aryan religion, but enjoyed a great legendary popularity also in the Epic and Puranic periods. . . .

Whether the idea of an incarnation of the deity, which, at the Epic and Puranic periods, played so important a part in the history of Vishnu, did not exercise its influence as early as the composition of some of the Vedic hymns in honour of Indra, may at least be a matter of doubt. He is, for instance, frequently invoked as the destroyer of cities—of seven, of ninety-nine, even of a hundred cities—and he is not only repeatedly called the slayer of the hostile tribes which surrounded the Aryan Hindus, but some of the chiefs slain by him are enumerated by name. The commentators, of course, turn those ‘robbers’ and their ‘chiefs’ into demons, and their cities into celestial abodes; but as it is improbable that all these names should be nothing but personifications of clouds destroyed by the thunderbolt of Indra, it is, to say the least, questionable whether events in the early history of India may not have been associated with the deeds of Indra himself; in like manner as, at the Epic period, mortal heroes were looked upon as incarnations of Vishnu, and mortal deeds transformed into exploits of this god.2 . . .


1. Derived from the Sanskrit Id, which probably meant “to see, to discover,” hence literally, “he who sees or discovers,” scil, the doings of the world.—ED. THEOS. [H.P.B.]

2. The attentive reader of the Christian Bible is constantly impressed with its strong resemblance to the Aryan sacred writings, and since the Hebrews are a far younger nation than the Aryas, it is a fair inference that if their literature was not copied from, it was at least inspired by, the primitive sublime model. Compare the Vedic conception of Indra, for instance, as alike the protector of his worshippers and the destroyer of cities, with these passages from the Psalms of David.

The Lord knoweth the days of the upright; and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time; and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied . . . for such as be blessed of him shall inherit the Earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. Ps. xxxviii

The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail, strones and coals (sic) of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them . . . He delivered me from my strong enemy, etc. Ps. xvii

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thundereth; the Lord is upon many waters . . . the Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea the Lord sitteth King for ever. Ps. xxix

And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. Ps. xviii

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name, extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. Ps. lxviii

He (the Hebrew God) cast out the heathen also before them (the Hebrews) and divided them an inheritance by line, etc. Ps. Lxxviii. God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. Ps. lxxxix

A great king above all gods. xcv. He is to be feared above all gods. xcvi.

Who smote great nations, and slew mighty Kings; Sihon, King of the Amorites, and Og, King of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan. cxxxv.

Scores of similar passages might be quoted to show that for thunder-hurling, the martial tutelar deity of the Hebrews, JAH or JAHVE, who was adopted by the Christians as the chief personage of their Trinity and made the putative father of their second personage, Jesus, was almost if not quite a reminiscence of the Aryan Indra.—ED. THEOS. [H.P.B.]