What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
I need to be very, very careful with this question, particularly because Indra has few modern-day worshippers; there’s the potential, with this question, to frame myself as some sort of mouthpiece for Him. This seems a question based entirely on UPG, so I want to emphasise that these are my opinions only, and that Indra Himself has not made known to me any sort of agenda.
Because Indra is the Lord of battle, who also played a pivotal role in bringing the healing gift of Ayurveda to humanity, I think veterans’ issues would matter to Him a great deal, particularly the care and healing of wartime injuries, both physical and mental. Treatment for trauma and PTSD would be vital, because such anguish can trap a person in the past, while Indra is the Lord of freedom.
He is a master of disguise, who transcends social standing, gender, and other “obvious” external signs, and even seems to delight in pranking those who judge by appearances; because of this, I would think Him quite opposed to discriminatory behaviour and hate crime, and to protect especially those who call upon Him for help in such matters. As a lover, a helper in matters of marriage, and a guardian of children, Indra might also have special concern for issues that arise within the family and from outside romantic and sexual interactions. Certainly I believe He would not stand for ill treatment, particularly abuse or rape, especially as He has been accused of the latter Himself.
Śrī Indra revels in difference and multiplicity and reveals Himself in a myriad of forms; He would desire the preservation of dying diversity, taking an interest in fading languages, art forms, even species. Culture in all of its fascinating manifestations would please Him, rather than assimilation and uniformity.
When I consider Him as Lord of limitlessness, I think He would care about any issue that tends to imprison, degrade, or restrain mankind, whether in a literal sense (wrongful conviction, obstruction of justice, poor treatment of criminals, etc.) or a more figurative one (bigotry, intolerance, censorship, etc.). And I feel He does not hesitate to correct those in error, for the Indra I know is not a soft-hearted, nurturing sort of God. His domain is liberation and illumined action; He is swift, terrifying, marvelous. He comes in an enlightening (en-lightning!) flash and, while both beautiful and tender Himself, is not exactly subtle. Thus, while Indra is a deeply caring God, those suffering the effects of any problem mentioned here may not wish to ask His help; let me explain, using another’s words to start.
There’s a book by Ellen Cannon Reed – Circle of Isis: Ancient Egyptian Magick for Modern Witches – which I recommend to everyone regardless of Egyptian pantheon affiliation, because it contains the words of a priestess who has obviously worked with the Gods and is thus able to offer many useful insights about divinity. And there’s a passage in this text that speaks so much about “my” Indra:
“In the Craft, Dark Ladies are usually referred to as Crones or Hags. Often, they are portrayed as old women, but Crones, Dark Ladies, are not necessarily old. In our hallway we have a glorious picture of Hecate in which the Lady is pictured as young and voluptuous, and every inch a Dark Lady.
They are found in many traditions, in many pantheons. Among the best known are Hecate, the Morrigan, and Kali. If I say that I love and adore these Ladies with all my heart, what is your reaction?
Are you horrified? Are you frightened? If I started to invoke Hecate, would you run from the room? Do you think They are evil, mean, and nasty?
If you do feel that way, you are certainly not alone, but if you continue to feel that way, you’ll never learn much.
Those who refuse to deal with the Dark Ladies (and Dark Lords) are usually those who feel any event that is difficult or painful is bad, and evil. They are mistaken.
Where is it written that all your lessons are easy ones? The important ones never are! Never!
Problems that are easily solved are easy because you already had the knowledge to solve them. Hard lessons require learning–that’s what makes them hard!
The most difficult of these lessons come from Dark Ladies and Dark Lords. Mother Goddesses will teach you table manners. They will hold you and comfort you, and when you make a mistake, They will stroke your hair and say, ‘My darling, perhaps you should consider that you might have handled the situation another way.’
Dark Ladies will hit you on the head with a 2 x 4 (just to get your attention) and say ‘Hey! You screwed up! Fix it!’ They will not coddle or baby you. They will call a spade a spade, and they will tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not, and they will teach you the Mysteries of the Universe!
The most fascinating thing about these Goddesses (and Gods) is the devotion They inspire in those who come to know Them. If you come to know any of Them, you’ll understand, and the devotion you feel will be inspired by love, not fear.”
I typed out that entire section because I don’t think I could have written a better description of Indra’s “feel” myself. And so I would carefully consider – in the “careful what you wish for” sense – when bringing Indra an issue in hopes of soothing tact in response. The essence of Ayurveda is that returning to God brings the ultimate healing, and my perception of Indra is that He will do whatever it takes to reach that goal; for Him, the ends justify the means (1). His way of addressing problems is to tackle them head-on, and someone whose wounds are raw or fresh may desire more comfort and tenderness, the mothering sort of help described above. If I wished Indra’s aid in a delicate situation, I would pray Him by one of His gentler names (and I’m pleased that this project asked for “names and epithets” before moving on to this topic!).
Indra is a great helper of humankind, though His help may not be exactly what the petitioner requests. He exposes human foolishness for the folly it is and, just in case you doubted that the world is absurd, He shows Himself in the delightful, wondrous rainbow, which disappears as we pursue it. He won’t let us lean on anything – even Him – when we have inner strength and His love to push us ever-onward.
In the end, I can’t think of any problem to which He’d be completely indifferent; Indra seems deeply invested in humanity. So many stories speak of Him walking among humans and directing mortal affairs, everything from sanctifying the field Kurukshetra long before anyone knew its future importance, to ensuring that people had avian alarm clocks to wake them up in the mornings! If there’s an issue that involves us, He’s probably got an eye on it – which might explain best why He has a thousand of them.
(1) This is a constant theme in His stories, as well; Indra frequently commits prideful, lustful, or otherwise “immoral” actions, and so begins a chain of events that ends with tremendous benefits for Devas and humanity alike. He is seldom credited for this catalyst role!
© Arjunī and ridiculously reverent. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Arjunī and ridiculously reverent with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.