Vishvamitra (in centre) with Rama and Lakshamana, as Rama redeems Ahalya.
|Meaning||Friend of the universe|
|Variant(s)||Koushik, Kaushika, Koushika, Kausikasa, Kousikasa|
Kaushik/Koushikasa/Kausikasa/Kousikasa/Kaushika/Koushika/Kausika is a surname found in Brahmins. Kaushik are regarded as one of the highest class of Brahmin. Kaushik are Upadhyaya/ Bias Brahmin. Origin of Kaushika can be referenced to an ancient Hindu text. There was a Rishi (saint) by the name of "Vishvamitra" literally meaning 'friend of the universe','vishwa' as in universe and mitra as in 'friend', he was also called as Rishi 'Kaushika'. Vishvamitra is famous in many legendary stories and in different works of Hindu mythology.
There are two gotras, or lineages, bearing the name of Visvamitra.
Kousikasa Gotra: People belonging to Kaushika (Kaushikasa/Kaushikasa/Ghrit) Gotra take Rajarshi Kaushika as their progenitor. Kaushika was son of Vishvamitra. 11 out of 96 royal clans of Marathas belong to Kaushika gotra including the illustrious house of Shivaji and Rashtrakutas. 2 more clans belong to the Vishvamitra gotra. Kaushika gotra also belongs to Baish clan of Rajputs which includes in the Suryavanshi Rajput, one of the oldest and biggest Kshatriya/Chattari clan of Vedic India. Heena Kaushika is one of the most notable descendents of the Kaushika's empire.
Kousikh/Kaushikasa is a gotra of Brahmins of Rajasthan and Haryana. Brahmins consider themselves the descendants of the seven main sages, Angiras, Bhrugu, Vishvamitra, Kashyap, Vasishtha, Atri and Agasti.
Its origin lies in the Rig-Veda; ancient Sanskrit language. Kaushik was the son of Kushika an Indian legend.
Visvamitra Gotra: People belonging to the Visvamitra Gotra consider Brahmarishi Visvamitra as their ancestor. There is an off-shoot of "Vishvamitra Gotra" called "Chakita Vishvamitra Gotra". Two explanations have been suggested for this off-shoot. The group is supposed to have sprung from a "surprised" reaction of Vishvamitra. The other, more likely, explanation, is that a group of descendants decided to split from the main group and started their own branch of this line. A significant number of Bias Brahmins have Kaushik gotra.
Vishvamitra descendants still use Kaushik as their first or last name. This is how majority of the Hindu names were followed. This system of following Rishis' name as the last name was the foundation of "Gautra" in Hindu philosophy. Gautra is used to trace back ancestry especially at the time of marriages till today. Kaushik as the last name is mostly seen in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana (Northern India). for e.g. Tarun Kaushik. Kaushik is also commonly used as a first name (mostly used by people in West Bengal,Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka in India and Bangladesh). for e.g.Koushik Ghosh, Kaushik Das.
Brahmarshi Vishvamitra (Sanskrit विश्वामित्र viśvā-mitra "all-friend") is one of the most venerated rishi's or sages of ancient times in India. He is also credited as the author of most of Mandala 3 of the Rigveda, including the revered great Gayatri Mantra. It is a mantra cum prayer and is found in all the three Vedas; Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda. Veda's clearly state that anyone can chant this Mantra, and gain its benefits.
The Puranas mention that only 24 Rishis since antiquity have understood the whole meaning of, and thus wielded the whole power of, the Gayatri Mantra. Sage Vishvamitra is supposed to be the first, and Sage Yajnavalkya the last.
In the Ramayana
In the Indian epic Ramayana, Vishvamitra is the preceptor of Rama, prince of Ayodhya and the seventh Avatar of Vishnu, and his brother Lakshman. Shri Ram, he who is protected by Hanuman a son of God of air(vaayou).
Vishwamitra gives them the knowledge of the Devastras or celestial weaponry [ bala and adi bala ], trains them in advanced religion and guides them to kill powerful demons like Tataka, Maricha and Subahu. He also leads them to the svayamvara ceremony for princess Sita, who becomes the wife of lord Rama.
Indra is a god of the rain. If Indra, as a deity, is cognate to other Indo-European gods, either thunder gods such as Thor, Perun, and Zeus, or gods of intoxicating drinks such as Dionysos, his name has either not been preserved in any other branch, or else it is itself an Indian (or perhaps Indo-Iranian) innovation.
In historical Vedic religion, Indra has prominence as the continuation of chief god of the Indo-European pantheon Dyēus. Dyēus himself appears in the Vedas as Dyaus Pita, a relatively minor deity who, interestingly, is the father of Indra. This may derive from the same longstanding father-usurpation pattern found in Greek mythology, in which even Zeus' offspring by Metis was predicted to overthrow him, had the resulting child (Athena) been male. A similar pattern may come into play regarding the relatively low status of Tyr compared to Odin or Thor in Norse paganism (though Tyr has since been posited as Odin's son, instead of his father). Even in ancient Slavic religion, Perun, the Sky God, is the main deity, while his father Svarog, with his heaven named Svarga (same as Indra's Heaven) was in most areas a less prominent deity.
It was once supposed that Vedic Indra corresponds to Verethragna of the Zoroastrian Avesta. This idea was based primarily on the fact that the noun verethragna- corresponds to Vedic vrtrahan-, which is predominantly an epithet of Indra. The supposition that Indra corresponds to Verethragna is now controversial. While both vritra- and verethra- derive from the same root "to cover", the word verethra- is today understood to mean "obstacle". Thus, verethragna- is now understood to reflect "smiter of resistance".
Vritra does not appear in either the Avesta or in 9th-12th century books of Zoroastrian tradition. Since the name 'Indra' appears in Zoroastrian texts as that of an arch-demon opposing Truth (Vd. 10.9; Dk. 9.3; Gbd. 27.6, 34.27), it may be supposed that Verethragna was a way of reintroducing him in a favourable light.
In the Rig Veda
The Rig-Veda states,
He under whose supreme control are horses, all chariots, the villages, and cattle;
He who gave being to the Sun and Morning, who leads the waters, He, O men, is Indra. (2.12.7, trans. Griffith)
It further states,
“Indra, you lifted up the outcast who was oppressed, you glorified the blind and the lame.” (Rg-Veda 2:13:12)
Indra is, with Varuna and Mitra, one of the Ādityas, the chief personification of God in the Rigveda (besides Agni and the Ashvins). He delights in drinking Soma, and the central Vedic myth is his heroic defeat of Vṛtrá, liberating the rivers, or alternatively, his smashing of the Vala, a stone enclosure where the Panis had imprisoned the cows, and Ushas (dawn). He is the god of war, smashing the stone fortresses of the Dasyu, and invoked by combatants on both sides in the Battle of the Ten Kings.
The Rig-Veda frequently refers to him as Śakra: the mighty-one. In the Vedic period, the number of gods was assumed to be thirty-three and Indra was their lord. (The slightly later Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad enumerates the gods as the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Indra, and Prajapati). As lord of the Vasus, Indra was also referred to as Vāsava.
By the age of the Vedanta, Indra became the prototype for all lords and thus a king could be called Mānavendra (Indra or lord of men) and Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, was referred to as Rāghavendra (Indra of the clan of Raghu). Hence the original Indra was also referred to as Devendra (Indra of the Devas). However, Sakra and Vasava were used exclusively for the original Indra. Though modern texts usually adhere to the name Indra, the traditional Hindu texts (the Vedas, epics and Puranas) use Indra, Sakra and Vasava interchangeably and with the same frequency.
"Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of the demigods I am Indra, the king of heaven; of the senses I am the mind; and in living beings I am the living force [consciousness]." (Bhagavad Gita 10.22) 
Status and function
Indra is an important god in many post-Vedic and Hindu mythological tales. He leads the Devas (the gods who form and maintain Heaven) and the elements, such as Agni (Fire), Varuna (Water) and Surya (Sun), and constantly wages war against the demonic Asuras of the netherworlds, or Patala, who oppose morality and dharma. He thus fights in the timeless battle between good and evil. As the god of war, he is also regarded as one of the Guardians of the directions, representing the east.
In post-Vedic texts, He is however, ascribed with more human characteristics and vices than any other Vedic deity. Perhaps consequently, he also has the most hymns dedicated to him: 250 (Masson-Oursel and Morin, 326).
Modern Hindus, however tend to see Indra as minor deity in comparison to others in the Hindu pantheon, such as Shiva, Vishnu, or Devi. A Puranic story illustrating the subjugation of Indra's pride is illustrated in the story of Govardhan hill where Krishna, Avatar or incarnation of Vishnu carried the hill and protected his devotees when Indra, angered by non-worship of him, launched rains over the village.
One Atharva Vedic verse reads, "In Indra are set fast all forms of golden hue."
Yellow or Brown Body
In the Rig Veda, hymn 65 reads, "SAKRA, who is the purifier (of his worshippers), and well-skilled in horses, who is wonderful and golden-bodied." Rig Veda also reads that Indra "is the dancing god who, clothed in perfumed garments, golden-cheeked rides his golden car." One passage calls him both brown and yellow. "Him with the fleece they purify, brown, golden-hued, beloved of all, Who with exhilarating juice goes forth to all the deities"
Indra is described in the Rig Veda of dying his hair a yellow colour from yellow Soma juice. One part of the Rig Veda says, "At the swift draught the Soma-drinker waxed in might, the Iron One with yellow beard and yellow hair." The Rig Veda/Mandala 10/Hymn 96
"Like violent gusts of wind the draughts that I have drunk have lifted me Have I not drunk of Soma juice?"
"Fair cheeks hath Indra, Maghavan, the Victor, Lord of a great host, Stormer, strong in action. What once thou didst in might when mortals vexed thee, where now, O Bull, are those thy hero exploits?" (RigVeda, Book 3, Hymn XXX: Griffith)
"May the strong Heaven make thee the Strong wax stronger: Strong, for thou art borne by thy two strong Bay Horses. So, fair of cheek, with mighty chariot, mighty, uphold us, strong-willed, thunderarmed, in battle." (RigVeda, Book 5, Hymn XXXVI: Grffith)
Indra's weapon, which he used to kill Vritra, (with the help of other gods), is the thunderbolt (Vajra), though he also uses a bow, a net, and a hook. He rides a large, four-tusked white elephant called Airavata. When portrayed having four arms, he has lances in two of his hands which resemble elephant goads. When he is shown to have two, he holds the Vajra and a bow.
Indra lives in Svarga in the clouds around Mt. Meru. Deceased warriors go to his hall after death, where they live without sadness, pain or fear. They watch the Apsaras and the Gandharvas dance, and play games. The gods of the elements, celestial sages, great kings, and warriors enrich his court.
"Indradhanush", the bow of Indra: Rainbow
In Hindu mythology, the rainbow is called "Indradhanush", meaning the bow (Sanskrit & Hindi: dhanush is bow) of Indra, the God of lightning, thunder and rain. Indra figures as one of the chief deities in the Rigveda, celebrated as the slayer of Vṛtra and central to the Soma sacrifice. He has many epithets, notably vṛṣan the bull, and vṛtrahan, slayer of Vṛtra.
- "Indra and Shiva" by KOENRAAD ELST
- Hymn XXX, P. 407 The Hymns of the Atharvaveda
- P. 113 Rig-Veda-Sanhitá By Horace Hayman Wilson, Edward Byles Cowell, William Frederick Webster
- P. 248 Journal of the American Oriental Society By American Oriental Society
- P. 520 The hymns of the R̥gveda By Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith, Jagdish Lal Shastri
- P. 90 Dialectics of Hindu ritualism, Volume 1 By Bhupendranātha Datta
- Rig Veda:10.119.2
- Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 3: HYMN XXX. Indra
- Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 5: HYMN XXXVI. Indra
- (Masson-Oursel and Morin, 326).
- Masson-Oursel, P.; Morin, Louise (1976). "Indian Mythology." In New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, pp. 325–359. New York: The Hamlyn Publishing Group.