Vishwakarma, celestial architect and engineer, had a daughter Sanja married to Surya, the Sun God. However Surya was too fierce and bright and Sanja found it difficult to look at her husband or even live with him. So she sought her father’s help.
THE VOICE WITHIN
Thinking intensely over the problem, Vishwakarma devised a solution. He removed the outer layer of ‘sun dust’ from Surya, to make him less fierce. From that powerful sun dust, Vishwakarma created Lord Shiva’s trishula and Lord Vishnu’s sudharsha chakra. He also built the flying chariot pushpaka vima for Kubera, which was later taken away by the rakshasa King Rava of Lanka.
But on another occasion, Vishwamitra’s creativity and ingenuity was put to severe test by Indra, King of the Devas. This was after Indra had defeated the mighty demon Vritrasura in a great battle. And he had to take recourse to subterfuge to secure his victory. In the aftermath, Indra lost all interest in ruling over Devalok.
The worried Devas then all came together and paid obeisance to Indra, extolling his virtues and accomplishments, singing fulsome praises of how he had prevailed over Vritrasura whose demonic forces had threatened all Creation.
Before long, all the tributes and worship got to Indra’s head. He began to feel he was the only entity in Creation who could have destroyed Vritrasura. Crowned King of the Devas again, he soon grew arrogant and vain.
Feeling he now deserved a grander palace, Indra summoned Vishwakarma to his presence and issued a string of instructions. Vishwakarma listened intently and got to work. A magnificent palace came up that left everyone wonderstruck.
But Indra felt the palace was not fit for the King of the Devas who wielded the fearsome thunderbolt in battle, to whom people prayed for securing victories. So he found faults with the palace, and crestfallen Vishwakarma had to go back to the drawing board. And each time he rebuilt the palace in more exquisite and amazing fashion, Indra grew more discontented.
Filly, Vishwakarma realized there was no satisfying Indra. Approaching Lord Brahma, Creator of the Universe, a desperate Vishwakarma appealed for help. Lord Brahma then spoke to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, and they agreed Indra had to be taught a lesson...
A beautiful dark boy soon appeared outside Indra’s palace, admiring it profusely. As a pleased Indra sought more praise, the boy said: “This is by far the grandest palace built by any Indra so far.”
“There have been other Indras before me?” asked the King of the Devas with foreboding.
“But of course! Every time Lord Brahma goes to sleep, the Universe is destroyed; each time he awakens, a Universe is created with an Indra to rule over it. I have seen all the Indras so far!”
And then, seeing a row of ants marching inside Indra’s palace, the boy began to laugh. “These are all former Indras. They begin from the smallest creatures and become the most enlightened entity. But once they become King of the Universe, they grow proud and go back to being ants to restart their journey,” the boy explained.
Just then a hermit came in with a peculiar circular pattern of hair on his chest. On being asked by the boy why the hair at the centre was missing, he said: “Every time an Indra dies, a strand of hair falls out. Before long, all the other hair would be gone too.”
Indra now realized he was in the presence of Supreme Deities transcending the Universe and beyond Time. The boy and the hermit vanished and Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva appeared in their place. Overwhelmed with remorse, Indra fell at their feet and said: “O Lords! I became proud and lost control over myself. I now wish to go away and meditate. There are so many things I need to understand.”
Securing the blessings of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, Indra renounced Devalok and went into deep contemplation. The Devas then elected husha as their next Indra.