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The Story of Indra's Penance
After Vritrasura had been killed all the saints and sages feeling guilty of their dubious deed of having killed a Brahmin left for forests for meditation and peace. When Tvashta, Vritrasur's father, heard that his son had been killed by Indra through nefarious designs, he cursed Indra that he too would have to face similar mortification. Whispers of Indra's act started to spread all over and all his lustre began to fade. With each passing day, Indra started becoming more remorseful of his sin of killing a Brahmin. One day he left his palace for lake Mansarovar and immersed himself in the stem of a lotus so as to be found by none. He was so over wrought by his sinful conduct that in his despair he forgot the necessary duties he was supposed to perform. Indra's sudden disappearance caused a chaos among the Devas as clouds stopped raining, wind stopped blowing and the lands became infertile. As a functionary of Indra, the Devas thought of placing some one in his seat to smoothly carry on with the celestial order till the time Indra would be located. All the Devas decided to place the sage Nahush in his throne . Although Nahush was a saintly person but as soon as he ascended to the office of Indra, his outlook towards life took a complete transformation and he started partaking in the pleasures. One day he demanded that Indra's wife Indrani should be called to please him. Indrani turned for help to Brihaspati the guru of all Devas. Brihaspati advised her to gain time by telling Nahush that she is willing to serve him but after knowing whether her husband is alive or not. Brihaspati also advised to pray to Vishnu. Lord Vishnu, on getting pleased, suggested to indrani worshipping the Goddess and performing an Ashwamedha Yagya for seeking forgiveness from the Goddess about Indra's sin of killing a Brahmin, to accelerate the process of Indra's power restoration and the end of Nahush's era.

Indrani started praying the goddess with vigour and devotion. The goddess was happy and appeared before her to grant her the boon. Indrani requested for reunion with her husband also the restoration of his powers besides saving her from Nahush. The goddess granted her the boons desired. On locating Indra, Indrani apprised him of Nahush's dubious demands. As a strategy to tackle the unacceptable demands of Nahush, Indrani went to him and told him that she was ready to please him provided he was able to locate Indra and also if he comes to her in a unique carriage, the cart driven by the great sages. By this time the Maya of the Goddess over-powered Nahush. He ordered the sages for pulling his chariot. They were too amused but agreed to it. The chariot driven by the sages left for Brihaspati's Ashram. The thought of possessing Indrani excited Nahush so much that he began to urge the sages to move faster by repeatedly saying 'Sarp'. 'Sarp' in Sanskrit means to move faster but it also means 'snake'. Finally, when the anger of the saints could not be contained, they cursed Nahush to become a snake for a thousand years till he would meet Yudhisther, the Pandav, who would release him of the curse. Brihaspati and the other Devas then went to lake Mansarovar and requested Indra to come out of the place of his hiding and retake his position as the king of Devloka.
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