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Once upon a time, mighty Indra, lord of the heavens, king of the dawn, paused by the shores of the sea of milk and listened to the song it sang. "Just for a moment", he thought to himself. "That can't do any harm." But before he knew it, the song drew him headlong into the sea and he vanished, to be reborn in the world as a mortal. The startled gods waited for a while for him to return, but weeks passed and then months. Finally, after a hurried conference, they decided to begin searching for him.

They searched for many months. Agni visited the fires burning fiercely in the temples and hearths of the world, and glared into the faces of the great sages as they conducted their sacrifices.

But Indra was not there.

Vayu roamed with his winds in the desolate reaches of the high mountains and the barren plains, howled past the ascetics standing in solitary meditation.

But Indra was not there.

Dharma entered the great courts where the wise and learned dispensed justice, examining each judge closely.

But Indra was not there.

Aryaman stood with the warriors and kings in their great halls and on the battlefields, staring intently at the faces of the great and the brave. And Indra was not there either.

The desperate gods met again. "We will find him eventually", they said encouragingly with sinking hearts. "It's only a matter of time"

Pashuman stirred a little uneasily. "Actually, I believe I might have... ah... found him" he said reluctantly.

The other gods whirled towards him. "Found him? Wherewhenhowwhowhydidntyoutellusandwhereishewhereishe..."

"Ummm... he's in my domain.... actually, you'd better see for yourselves" he finished and led them down to the earth. To the forests. To a little thicket. He was playing with his family. His great tusks gleamed as he playfully butted and rolled around with his brood of fine young piglets.

Mighty Indra, lord of the thunder, king of the lightning, had been born as a wild boar.

The gods paused in embarrassment before the thicket where Indra now lived. They shuffled uncertainly and nudged each other for a while, before one of them cleared his throat and spoke: "Indra, come back with us to the blissful realm. Return with us, and sit once more on your throne."

The boar snorted. "Indra?" he said. "Who is Indra? I am Great Tusker, the pig." And with that, he returned to the little puddle of mud in which he was rolling daintily.

The gods were taken aback, but they pressed on. "You are no pig. You are mighty Indra, lord of heaven. It is not fitting that you live here. Come back with us to the bliss of heaven."

Indra grunted in a show of supreme boarish scorn. "Look, fools. I am a pig, not a god. Now behold my wife. Have you seen a sow as beautiful in the flower of her piggish youth? Look at my family. What delights could heaven offer that compares with these, even if I were Indra?" And he gazed lovingly at the firm flanks and lissome udder of his sow.

In confusion, the gods withdrew and began to discuss how to deal with this issue. "It is his feelings of... err... tenderness for that sow - his wife, I mean - that bind him to his existence as a pig", one of them said. "All we need to do is kill her, and he'll snap out of it." So they gleefully rushed into the thicket and killed the sow.

But mighty Indra, supreme over all, did not awaken. He screamed in rage, and gouged huge pieces of earth out of the ground with his tusks. He butted trees and tore up saplings in his anger and even charged at the gods. But he remained a pig.

In confusion and not inconsiderable haste, the gods withdrew to a safe distance. "It is his ties to the piglets that bind him to his existence", one of them said. "If we kill them too, he will surely awaken." They returned happily to the thicket where one of them drew Indra out, while the others slew the piglets.

But mighty Indra, destroyer of worlds, only rolled on the ground wailing in sorrow. And remained a pig.

In despair, the gods returned to heaven and they sought out Vishnu. "Shriman", they said, "we did all we could with the pig, but we have failed. Restore Indra to us."

With a sigh, Vishnu took his discus and roamed through the world, looking for Indra. The pig saw a warrior coming with a huge discus. "Help", he cried. "The pork butcher." He fled through the forest, with Vishnu in hot pursuit. Finally, when he was too tired to run anymore, Vishnu caught him and gently cut his throat and the ties that tied the thread that was Indra to the cloth of the world.

And what mighty Indra’s thoughts were that day, when he finally awoke the stories do not say. But since then, he has been much warier, and has a particular aversion to pigs.

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