Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Gautama - Indra's Sin and Punishment


Gautama was a famous sage. His wife was the beautiful Ahalya, who had been much wooed as a maiden, but who had chosen the sage over all her other suitors. One of her suitors was Indra, the king of the heavens, who was resolved to possess her one way or the other.

Accordingly, one morning, when the sage was away to perform his morning sacrifice, he took the form of the sage and seduced Ahalya. While he lay with her, she could perceive that it was not her husband, and she knew immediately that it was Indra. However, she thought, "I am so beautiful that the king of Devas, is willing to commit a deadly sin to possess me", and kept quiet.

Some time after this, Gautama returned. He immediately perceived that something was wrong. He used his yogic powers and divined all that had happened. He cursed both Indra and Ahalya. To Indra he said, "Since you have done this despicable deed, like a woman, by clandestine means, may you become a eunuch.", and to Ahalya he said, "Despite knowing that it was Indra in disguise and not me, you yielded to his desire. May you be turned into a stone now.".

Ahalya repented her sins and beseeched him to reduce the intensity of his curse. So Gautama amended his curse by saying, "You will be a stone for many millenia, at last, you will regain your womanly form, when you are touched by the feet of Rama, the son of Dasharatha, who will be an incarnation of Vishnu." (This incident is narrated in Ramayana.)

Ahalya was immediately turned into a stone and Indra became an eunuch. The sage went away to the forest to continue his penances.

Last Modified At: Fri Nov 5 20:42:54 2004