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Lord Indra – the Rain God
|by P C K Prem|
A folktale from Himachal, India
Lord Indra is considered as the lord of gods. He governs heavens and looks after the affairs of gods and goddesses. He is the most effective and powerful lord and in almost all the wars with the demons in earlier ages, he acted as the chief commander of forces, of gods. It is believed that rains, draughts or famines are dependent on lord Indra. If he is unhappy with man and the world, he causes sufferings to humanity either through annihilating rains or famine like conditions. Hill people have different perception about Indra. In certain parts of the state, people call the deity, Indrunaag, the lord of rain and cloud, thunder, storm, plenty and scarcity, love and anger.
In such a curious and challenging situation, the devotees get glimpses of lord’s anger and displeasure in dreams and therefore, after consultation, they go to the place with a beautifully decorated palanquin and bring the lord to its original seat of habitation. The holy lord sits on the palanquin and returns to the original seat on the pleadings of the devotees, people firmly believe. An amusing situation arises on such occasions when women ironically observe that their men go to bring the lord, and work as bonded labourers of the lord. If women comment so, the lord is again annoyed and goes back. Again, the people go, implore and gratify the lord of rain if they want crops in plenty. Then, the people recall the backdrop of how lord Indra turned Indrunaag.
He called many sages to his court and expressed the desire to travel around the kingdom in a palanquin. He smiled at the sages and looked at the divinely ornamented palanquin. He sat on the palanquin and asked the sages to carry the palanquin on the shoulders. The sages had no alternative and so they silently without a whisper, lifted his palanquin. Unused to such a hard work, they took steps slowly. As the movement was quite slow, the lord was very unhappy and a little irritated and so he asked the sages carrying the palanquin to take step quickly. He uttered words like srip…srip…sarp…sarp. Burdened with load of the lord, the sages felt exhausted and their frail bodies began aching.
On the way, he met a man who earned livelihood through weaving and making thread of cotton wool. He asked the feudal lord the reason of deserting his village. When learnt about the sad incident, the poor weaver advised him to return to his village. He revealed a great and surprising truth to him about his identity that astonished Rana.
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