Indra’s Pride and a lesson well taught
Brahma’s sons Indra (the king of gods), Agni (the god of fire) and Vayu (the god of air) were very proud of their powers. They once shared with Brahma how they could destroy anything they wanted.
Brahma, who had already been taught a lesson, got a blade of grass and asked his sons, “If you are that powerful, why don’t you destroy this?” Agni tried to burn it, but failed, Vayu tried to blow it away and failed and Indra tried to beat it with his weapon, called Vajra, but failed.
“What does this mean” asked the gods. Brahma said, how could you boast of your powers when you couldn’t even hurt a small creation of the almighty Shiva. Agni and Vayu understood, but Indra, the King of Gods was still very proud of himself. He went to Kailash, and found Shiva.
He said: “Shiva, how dare you challenge me, I am the king of the gods”. Shiva stood silent, Indra, intimidated, raised his Vajra to kill Shiva – Shiva grew angry and opened his third eye. Brahma knew what was about to happen, he immediately appeared on the scene and asked Shiva not to kill Indra as it would create an imbalance in the cosmos.
Shiva directed the power of his third eye to the ocean, and said: “Soon Indra will meet his match who shall teach him a lesson”.
From Shiva’s third eye, Jalandhara took birth. Jalandhara was a powerful demon. He was so powerful that even Indra wouldn’t dare fight him.
He went to Brahma and asked “How could I defeat Jalandhara?” Brahma said: “You can’t; only Shiva can”. “But would he help someone who insulted him” asked Indra. Brahma explained “He is Shiva and forgives easily, if he realizes someone has learned the lesson they were meant to”.
Jalandhara declared “I am the greatest warrior in the world”. Indra said: “You are not, Shiva is”.
Jalandhara headed to Kailasha to fight Shiva. He asked Shiva to fight him. Shiva said: “If you can hold this rock on your head, I shall fight you”.
Jalandhara laughed and picked up the rock on his head. The rock started growing exponentially, and grew big enough to break Jalandhara’s back. Shiva said: “I carry the moon on my forehead and you couldn’t even bear a small rock on your head. What made you believe that you are the strongest in this cosmos?”
There are two messages that Shiva communicates with us through this story. Firstly, that pride is unnecessary and there shall always be someone more powerful than you. Secondly, you almost always have to be forgiving and shouldn’t keep grudges against people. It isn’t healthy for you or for your relationship with others. We must learn to forgive and forget.
Shiva repeatedly communicates through several of his stories that the biggest enemy that someone faces in their own lives is pride. We must understand and stay humble as we progress, that shall lead us to a greater future.
Dr. Nilima Chitgopekar
The Shiva Experience