The Story of Ahalya: The Enchanting Tale of Passion and Penance

The story of Ahalya is so charming. It has been narrated in various Indian texts, including the Puranas, the Epics, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and other Vedic scriptures. However, the Valmiki Ramayana Uttarakand narrates the beautiful Vedic Story of Ahalya’s creation. The Ramayana mentioned how Lord Brahma molded her with a lot of creative energy to check his utmost creative power. Ahalya, one of the panchkanyas of Vedic literature, is often narrated as the most delicate and beautiful young woman in Indian mythology.

Brahma Purana and Vishnudharmottara Purana also mentioned the birth story of Ahalya and described her as “Ayonija Sambhava.”

In the Ramayana, the tribal group of Bhil narrated the story of Ahalya, saying that she had been created through a sacrificial fire, or Yagna, by the Saptarishi, seven reversed sages.

In another Hindu myth, Lord Brahma created Ahalya from the water bodies to smash the unbreakable pride of Urvashi, the Apsara of Heaven. However, in the last version of the story of Ahalya mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Harivamsa, she was the daughter of King Mudgala and the sister of King Divodasa.

The Birth Story of Ahalya: The Most Ethereal Beauty and Creation of Lord Brahma

Lord Brahma decided to use his entire creative power to mold a beautiful human. He created the ever-charming and ethereal Ahalya with his hands and was awestruck after seeing her. She was a breathtaking and wondrous creation of Brahma. He began to feel astonished and vain. Brahma thought, “Who could have created such a delicate and eminent beauty?” Ahalya had blemish-free skin and perfect features. She had a graceful, slender figure with soft blossoms and a beautiful smile.

Lord Brahma thought of giving her even a unique name, justifying her flawlessness that nobody could ever forget. He named her Ahalya, the one with no ugliness.

Soon, Brahma became anxious about who should be the perfect recipient of his divine creation, whom he could gift.

By this time, the entire universe knew about Ahalya, the most beautiful woman. The gods were eagerly waiting for the lucky recipient of the divine Ahalya. Indra, the king of heaven, declared that he deserved Ahalya, as she was the most enchanting and heart-throbbing woman among his apsaras and must settle with him.

Brahma Visioned the Greater Future for Ahalya

Lord Brahma began to think about how he could value the life and story of Ahalya, his greatest creation in the world. He thought if he gave Ahalya away to Indra, the King of Heaven would reduce her value by making her like the other apsaras and courtesans.

Ahalya deserved more than that. The entire world should know her as my greatest creation, and her name must be inscribed in stone for the rest of this current Kalpa.

Thereafter, he thought of sending her away with Maharishi Gautama, as he was beyond sensual pleasures. Gautama took great care of Ahalya and was not influenced by her beauty.

The Story of Ahalya’s Wedding

Lord Brahma announced a great wedding ceremony for Ahalya and invited everyone from the different Lokas. Brahma told Devas, Rakshasas, Rishis, Gandharvas, and other honorable people to travel around the Earth. He even declared that whoever came first would get Ahalya’s hand in marriage.

While on the quest to win Ahalya’s hand, Maharishi Gautama saw baby Kamdhenu, a divine cow, taking birth. He was overwhelmed by seeing such a divine act of the creator, Brahma, and out of respect, he encircled the baby cow and Shivalingam.

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Maharishi Gautama Married Ahalya

Lord Brahma, through his divine powers, saw everything and decided to give Ahalya to Rishi Gautama. When everyone came back, Brahma narrated the whole story of Maharishi Gautama. He told Sage Gautama that a cow who had given birth to baby Kamdhenu was equal to Mother Earth, and moving around the Shivalingam was equal to traversing the Earth. Therefore, Maharishi Gautama, you deserve to marry my Ahalya.

However, when Gautama Rishi knew he was the winner, he was perplexed.

Gautama asked Lord Brahma, “Why should I marry Ahalya? You could give her away to Devas.” Lord Brahma told him that “Indra desires Ahalya and wants to take her away for himself. Indra could not control his desire for Ahalya. If you marry, he will not dare to think about her once she becomes your lawful wife.”

Thereafter, Lord Brahma got Ahalya married to Maharishi Gautama.

Marriage Changed Maharishi Gautama

Maharishi Gautama was a pious sage with divine powers, and he never considered marrying. He thought marriage would end his meditation pursuits and spiritual journey. However, after marrying Ahalya, he knew he was no exception to the others.

Gautama Rishi desired sexual relations after he touched delicate Ahalya for the first time. He began to feel restless and crave her like other men. Sage Gautama savored sensual pleasures and felt content in married life. Soon, he went back to his spiritual journey with new goals, and the physical attraction he had reduced left Ahalya unhappy.

Indra: The Secret Admirer of Ahalya

Indra, the King of Heaven, waited for such an opportunity to express his desire for Ahalya after he learned about her birth and the story of Ahalya. After Gautama Rishi married Ahalya, Indra could not stop feeling for her, and his desire grew. He hatched a plan with the help of the Moon God to take the form of a cock.

A Sinful Act of Indra

As per the plan, Indra asked the Moon to take the form of a cock and wake Rishi Gautama for his ritual bath. Gautama woke up and went for the morning bath. Indra, on the other hand, assumed his form and soon came to Ahalya. He was filled with lust when he saw Ahalya with lustful eyes draped in a simple sari, covering her sloppy breasts and body. Ahalya was shocked to see Gautama Rishi return so soon. She told Indra, who assumed Rishi Gautama, that the breakfast had not been ready yet.

Indra could not control his desire to have a physical relationship with Ahalya any longer and began to kiss her passionately. Ahalya stepped back, and doubt filled her mind about whether this man was her husband. However, the doubt lasted only a few seconds when Indra again caressed her body. She felt her bodily desire and pushed back the doubts.

Both felt content and fulfilled their desires. Ahalya was happy and was about to settle her sari when Rishi Gautama opened the door and witnessed the sinful act of his wife. Ahalya realized that the man who was making love with her was not her husband and felt horror. Indra, on the other hand, came to know his real self.

Gautama Rishi Cursed Ahalya

Seeing Ahalya in such a scene with Indra, he cursed Ahalya and said, “Your vanity, your elegant beauty, and this body forced you to do such a sin and this grave error. May you lose your ethereal beauty and turn into a rock. May you turn invisible to the whole world.

Ahalya narrated that it was not only she who committed this sin. Gautama Rishi understood and told her that she would retain her life after Lord Rama, the 9th avatar of Lord Vishnu, came to the ashram and bestowed his blessing on her with a touch.

Sage Gautama Cursed Indra

After cursing Ahalya to turn into stone and doing penance for 1000 years until she was redeemed by Lord Rama, an avatar of Srihari, he turned to Indra. Indra was trying to escape the scene when Gautama found out about his real self in the form of a cat. Gautama Rishi thundered, “Where do you go, shameless King of Heaven? Wait, get your possession for doing such a sinful crime.” He cursed Indra, saying, “May your strength, which caused you to do such a heinous sin, get damaged. You may become impudent by losing what is needed to unite. May your body be covered with 1000 vaginas, Sahastrayoni, so that the world could know what is in your mind.

Maharishi Gautama Cursed the Moon God

Gautama Rishi came to know that the Moon God helped Indra in this sinful act, and he cursed him to carry the dint or spots in his character as a curse for eternity until his world existed.

After cursing them, Sage Gautama abandoned his ashram and went to the Himalayas.

Indra: A God with 1000 Veginas (Sahastrayoni) | The Story of Ahalya

Ahalya, one of the panchkanyas of Vedic literature, turned into a stone and was penanced for about 1000 years, waiting for redemption. However, on the other hand, Indra, King of Heaven, was carrying a thousand vaginas on his entire body, which made him a joke in the world.

At first, everyone felt that what Indra got as a punishment was right, but soon it turned tragic for Indra and the entire world. Indra stayed in darkness due to the shame and sin he committed, causing concern to all the gods as he was responsible for multiple duties assigned by the Trinity and remained suspended.

Indra: Sahastrayoni to the Thousand-Eyed God

Devas started to worry and went to Lord Brahma for help. The creator of the world prescribed severe penance for the King of Heaven. Indra did the penance successfully and received a boon from Shiva. Lord Shiva turned all the 1,000 vaginas, or sahastrayoni, into eyes. Therefore, Indra came to be known as the thousand-eyed god.

Rama Avatar, the 7th Avatar of Lord Vishnu, Liberated Ahalya

Ahalya did her 1000 years of penance and survived only on air. She was waiting for Lord Rama to liberate her. Years later, in Treta Yuga, Rama, Lakshmana, and Vishwamitra came to the ashram of Gautama Rishi and bestowed her with liberation from the curse. Therefore, the end of the story of Ahalya.

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