God alone knows when this particular story took place. As you know, the gods and asuras always fight. They fight over Heaven, since they both want to possess it. Sometimes the asuras possess Heaven, and sometimes the gods do.
Why does it happen so? The gods lose Heaven when they misuse their freedom and enter into the enjoyment-life. At that time they are driven out by the asuras, or undivine forces. Then, when the asuras misuse their capacities and become extremely wicked, they are driven out by the cosmic gods. While we can expect this kind of undivine behaviour from the asuras, it is really painful when the cosmic gods also enter into the life of undivine enjoyment and are compelled to lose Heaven.
Now, each time the gods are driven from Heaven, they pray like anything in order to win back Heaven. They pray and pray and meditate and meditate, and gradually they regain their power. Then they drive out the asuras, who have been losing their capacities because of the undivine life they have been leading in Heaven. Then everything is reversed. The asuras pray and meditate and become stronger, while the gods become weaker because they have entered into the enjoyment life. Then finally the asuras drive out the cosmic gods. It has been going on like this from time immemorial.
Thousands of years ago there was a most powerful asura named Britrasur, who was the King of the asuras. Britrasur was able to drive the gods out of Heaven, and then he ruled Heaven mercilessly. Gradually, his subjects became very undivine and cruel, and they lived a very undivine life.
It happened that the King’s wife developed a strong desire. She wanted to bring Indra’s wife, Sachi, to her palace and make Sachi her maid. Indra was the King of the cosmic gods, but he had been driven away by Britrasur along with the other gods.
Britrasur said to his wife, “It is an excellent idea, my dear. I am sending my soldiers to arrest Sachi, and she will definitely become your maid. Your happiness is my happiness.”
When news of this reached Indra, he became furious. He said, “What an insult! My wife, my Queen to become the maid of Britrasur’s wife! True, I have been driven away by him. True, he is stronger than I am right now; he is stronger than any of the cosmic gods. But how does he dare to even think of taking my wife away from me? Such an insult I will not brook!”
So saying, Indra went to Brahma, the Creator. “O Brahma,” he pleaded, “save me, save me. Look at the audacity of Britrasur! He wants to take my wife away from me and make her his own wife’s slave.”
Brahma replied, “Indra, when you suffer from a disease, you need medicine to cure yourself. You have all enjoyed life in a way that was beyond all proportion. Now you have to pay the penalty.”
“That is true,” Indra admitted. “But Lord Brahma, how long can they torture us? And this kind of audacity — to take my wife, of all people! How can I tolerate it?”
Brahma said, “When you suffer, you come to realise others’ suffering. I am not saying that your wife should be taken away by Britrasur; far from it. But I am telling you, you must not enter and remain in the world of restless, base enjoyment. I tell you, Indra, you can get back Heaven only if a great sage offers you his boon.”
“Who will do this kind of thing?” Indra asked. “Is there anyone who can offer me such a boon?”
“Yes, yes, there is such a person,” said Brahma. “Dadichi, the son of Chyaban, can and will do it. This great son of Chyaban will offer you his boon. Your wife and your friends should go and take shelter at Dadichi’s and Chyaban’s house.”
So Indra immediately went with his wife and army to their house and related all that had passed to Dadichi. Dadichi assured him, “Do not worry, I shall do the needful.”
Upon hearing that Indra and his wife had taken shelter at Dadichi’s house, Britrasur sent his soldiers there to arrest Indra’s wife. If necessity demanded, they would arrest Indra too. But it was not so easy to arrest Indra’s wife. Since the task was proving so difficult, Britrasur himself, the leader and King of the asuras, decided to personally come to seize her. Dadichi was waiting for Britrasur when he came and said to him, “Let us see whether you can take Indra’s wife away from here. Let us see whether you can contend with my occult and spiritual power. Let us see who can destroy whom. I warn you, Britrasur, if you don’t give up this foul and base desire of yours, I shall destroy you and all your friends and soldiers with my third eye — completely and utterly.”
Britrasur remained silent but his wife said, “Oh no, I have come to take Sachi. She will massage my feet; she will become my slave, my perfect slave. What a perfect slave she will make!”
Calmly and quietly and with a broad smile, the sage Dadichi said to them, “All right, I am going to bathe in the lake and then I will return. But I tell you, before I come back if you take away Indra’s wife, then I shall destroy you all immediately. Yonder is the lake in which I shall bathe. When I return, I shall do the needful.”
So Dadichi went to the lake. An hour, two hours, a day, two days went by, and still Dadichi did not return from the lake. The days ran into weeks, with still no sign of him. Finally, Indra and his army went to the lake to see what was going on. When he did not find Dadichi, he jumped into the lake to see whether Dadichi had given up his life and was at the bottom. It was true. Dadichi had taken away his life-breath while in trance. Indra found the body of Dadichi and brought it to the surface. But although it was dead, it was full of power; it emanated power. On seeing the dead body, Britrasur took fright and ran away. Indra at first chased him. But then Brahma himself intervened and asked Indra to take a particular bone from Dadichi’s body and make a special mace, which was then known as Vajra. After the mace was completed, it flew up high into the air and from there it descended upon Britrasur’s head, destroying him at the spot where he was standing.
This is how the cosmic gods regained Heaven and were spared the loss of Indra’s wife, Sachi Devi. Indra and his soldiers and Sachi Devi all bowed down to Brahma, the Creator, with gratitude-hearts everlasting.
GIM 89. 23 January 1979↩