The Thunder Gods of South Asian Mythology

The mythology of every corner of the world is always interesting and near to our heart and culture. The mythological gods are always surprise us since childhood like Thor, Hercules, and Shiva, etc. When we talk about the mythological stories, the Greeks and the Indians are always on the top list due to their origin and diversity. They are popular in modern cultures also.

The South Asia is our door to Hinduism, Buddhism, and several other oldest religions of the world. Usually, the polytheistic folks of a lot of beliefs have claimed a thunder god, the personification or source of the forces of thunder and lightning.

Here is a list of thunder Gods depicted in the South Asian Mythologies

Indra

Photo Dharma from Sadao, Thailand, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Indra is considered as the king of the gods in the Hindu Vedic mythology. He is also mentioned in the Rigveda. Rigveda describes Indra as one of the supreme deities. When we think from a global perspective, he can be considered as equivalent to the Odin, Zeus.

In initial religious literature, Indra can be seen playing various types of roles. When he is a king, he fights against the indigenous people of the region i.e., dasas to protect his own people.  The Indra is always associated with the rain. He is a thunderbolt deity so he is responsible for bringing the rain on earth according to the Hindu mythology.

Indra is also a great combatant because he has defeated the asuras(antigods).

One of the most famous stories is about the defeat of Vritra. Vritra was a dragon and a leader of dasas. He was also known as the demon of drought. Vritra was suspect as a devil of stealing water, cows, and walloping the sun.

Indra is immortal because he had drink soma “the elixir of immortality”. Priests offer it in the sacrifice. The Rudras, Maruts are his allies. They are responsible for the clouds and storms. Indra is occasionally mentioned as “the thousand-eyed.” After earlier phase of Hinduism, people do not worship him but still Indra plays the significant mythical acts of rain god, proxy of the skies, and protector of east. Later literature depicts that disruption in the adoration of Indra. In Mahabharata literature, Indra was the father of the great Arjuna.

Parjanya

As per as the Vedic literature, Parjanya is a god of rain and thunder. He fertilizes the planet. The poet of Atharvaveda said that the Parjanya and Prithvi are the father and mother of all livings. Parjanya’s additional companions are Bhūmi and also a holy cow, whose name is Vasa. He is from time to time called as a rain-bull in the control of the God Indra. The arrow is known as his son. He is also known as a guardian of poets and an adversary of fire.

Raja Indainda

He is a deity of thunder. Raja Indainda is also known as a spy and envoi of the various deities. Soripada may be his father. He is a god in Batak mythology. Batak is the initial culture that was accepted by the Batak folks of North Sumatra and Indonesia before the influx of Islamic.

Vajrapāṇi

Terren, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

He is one of the initial bodhisattvas of the Mahayana cult of the Buddhism. He is the guard and guide of Lord Buddha. He represents the power of Buddha. He was used widely in the iconography of Buddhism. There are three protective divinities adjacent the Buddha, he is one of them. Each bodhisattva represents virtue of Buddha.   These three bodhisattvas are Manjusri, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani. Vajrapāni is also related with Acala, where he is sang as the container of the vajra. Acala is known as Fudō-Myōō in Japanese culture.

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