Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

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Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:07 am

Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?I heard it was because they drank some kind of drink that he forbade but that didn't make much sense.
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"
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Re: Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

Postby Namgyal » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:11 am

The Asuras were doubtless disobedient and unruly, they lived on prime real estate, in warfare they were generally weaker than the gods, and their womenfolk were very attractive, and eminently suitable for kidnapping. It is the same conflict that occurs in Western mythology between the Olympians and the Titans and between the Aesir and the Vanir. A war between cousins.
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Re: Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

Postby Queequeg » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:54 pm

IIRC, the drink is amrita, and was made at the creation of the world by the gods and asuras churning the sea of milk, making the world and this drink. The asuras were later thrown out of heaven because they were lazy - maybe consuming more than their share of amrita? - more to the story than that but that is the sum I recall. They are angry because of being thrown out of heaven and forever making war on the gods. In the wheel of life, there is a tree that grows up out of the asura world into heaven - it was explained to me that the asuras want the fruit of the tree without putting in the work to get the fruit, and that is why they are angry.
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Re: Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:31 pm

Well incredibly I jusr came across that story here as Buddhist stories from the Dhammapada commentary:

page 10:
Now at that time there were asuras dwelling in the world of the Thirty-three, and when
they learnt that new gods had been reborn there, they prepared celestial drink for them.
But Sakka gave orders to his retinue that no one should drink it. The asuras, however, drank freely and became intoxicated. Thereupon Sakka thought to himself. “Why should I share my kingdom with these deities?” Then, giving a sign to his retinue, he caused them to pick up the asuras by the heels and fling them into the great ocean. So the asuras fell headlong into the ocean. By the power of their merit there sprang up at the foot of Mount Sineru the palace of the asuras and the tree that is called pied trumpet-flower.


So Sakka and the new gods were young men in a previous life who performed merit. The footnote says that asuras and gods were perennial enemies but doesn't say if this situation was already established before this round of gods was born or not. Perhaps they were just karmically inclined to be hostile to one another.

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Re: Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

Postby Rakshasa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:02 pm

The Asuras/Ahuras were the gods of the Irano-Aryans and demons for Indo-Aryans where as Devas/Daevas were the demons for the Irano-Arans and gods for Indo-Aryans. The Buddhists just borrowed the terminology of the Indo-Aryans who migrated to India, such that "Deva" became the reference to any godly being that is virtuous and Asura became the reference to any godly being that was "evil". The parsis who follow Zoroastrianism in India still worship Ahura Mazda. In the Iranian language "s" is always replaced by "h" so that "Asuras" of Indo-Aryans was spelled as "Ahuras".

The fact that it is the Indo-Aryans who ended up being banished outside the original Aryan homeland says a lot about their gods. Even the Brahmanic Puranas always depicts the Asuras as initial winners of every battle between Devas and Asuras - but in Indo-Aryan sources the Devas turn out to be the winners in the end.

Asuras were more virtuous compared to the Devas even according to Brahmanic scriptures (such as Mahabharata). Unlike the Devas who delighted in taking intoxicants and in sensual pleasures, the Asuras were bound by vows against consuming intoxicants.
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Re: Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:24 pm

Raksha wrote:the Aesir and the Vanir
I'll always like that god war the most. Because it ended in a truce where the two groups married each other and that brought lasting peace.
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Re: Why did Sakra throw the asuras out of heaven?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:07 am

For a good outline of Indo-Iranian religions see the following at Iranica Online:

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/i ... n-religion
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