We all are well aware of the fact that Lord Indra is known to be the Lord with thousand eyes or the thousand-eyed god but not many of us know the story behind the same. The story of Lord Indra, Sage Gautama, and his wife Ahalya.
Story behind Lord Indra developing a thousand eyes on his body
King of Gods, Indra is well-known to be one who always went too far in his pursuits that landed him in trouble often. One such story is his obsession with Ahalya, wife of Sage Gautam. Ahalya was a gorgeous woman such that Brahma created her as a true personification of beauty. Indra never stopped stalking her and his obsession for her saw no end, even after she was married to Sage Gautam.
He often used to come near Gautam’s ashram cashing on every chance of gazing at Ahalya’s beauty. He also observed Sage Gautam and became aware of his daily routine. Sage Gautam used to leave his ashram at the dawn and meditate at the Riverside for a couple of hours.
One day Indra crossed all his boundaries and went too far in his pursuits. He assumed the voice of a rooster, and with its voice sage woke up thinking that the morning had come and so he started for the river.
The moment Gautam left, Indra assumed his form, entered the hut, and made love to Ahalya. She surrendered herself to her apparent husband, but during the course realized that the man enjoying her was not Sage Gautam but an imposter. Unfortunately, she could not do anything about it.
Having subconsciously feeling that something is wrong, Gautama returned home. The moment Ahalya saw Gautam, she stood aside still filled with shame and remorse. Infuriated sage cursed Indra for his obsession with the female.
Gautam gave Indra a curse for his body be covered with a thousand female marks so that the world is aware of Indra’s indecent thoughts. And at that very moment, Lord Indra’s body was covered with thousand female organs.
This led Indra to lead a secluded life as he was ashamed of himself. Seeing his deplorable condition, the Gods went to Lord Brahma seeking his help. Brahma appealed to Gautam and in response, the sage uttered, “May a thousand additions to Indra’s features become eyes.”
So, Indra came to be known as the “God with a thousand eyes”
Sage also cursed his wife Ahalya to remain invisible until she meets Lord Vishnu’s avatar, Shri Rama.
(Based on The Bala Kanda of the Ramayana)