Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies


Indra and Women

Renate Söhnen

Since Indra is, above all, the god of victory in battle for his believers in the Rgveda, it might not be expected that he would have relevance for women, since they do not take part in war. Moreover, the hymns of the Rgveda are composed by men; thus we can scarcely expect to learn what role Indra may have played in the religious belief of women, whether they addressed prayers to him at all, and if so, prayers of what content. We have, however (beside the hymn 8.91, ascribed to Apālā), some allusions in isolated verses of the RV (e.g. 10.85.25 and 45; 4.19.7), which may help us to identify certain ideas involved; these ideas I shall then trace also in other texts, particularly in the Pāli Jātaka stories.