Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Sons of Indra and Surya

Sunrise in Uttarakhand

The feud between Karna and Arjuna in the Mahabharata can be seen as a continuation of the ancient rivalry between the two Gods: Surya (the Lord of the Sun) and Indra (the Lord of Swarga-Loka or heaven). Karna is Surya’s son; Arjuna is Indra’s son. In the Mahabharata war, Arjuna killed Karna with the help of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. 

In the Ramayana, which happened in an earlier Yuga, the rivalry between Surya and Indra has been depicted through a clash between the two brothers Vali and Sugriva. Vali was the son of Indra and Sugriva was the son of Surya. In this case, Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, sided with Sugriva. With Rama’s help, Vali was slain and Sugriva proclaimed the king of Kishkindha, the kingdom of the divine vanaras.

Thus, in the Mahabharata, Indra’s son destroyed Surya’s son; in the Ramayana, Surya’s son destroyed Indra’s son. The decisive role in both cases was played by the avatar of Vishnu. Victory went to the side supported by Vishnu. The question of who is more powerful between the two Gods—Indra and Surya—remains unanswered till this day.

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