By Swami Harshananda
Vṛtrāsura, as per Ṛgveda
The story of Vṛtra or Vṛtrāsura is as old as the Ṛgveda. There, Vṛtra is pictured as the demon of drought preventing rain-bearing clouds from giving rain. Indra ‘kills’ him with his vajra or vajrāyudha and releases the water.
Vṛtrāsura, as per Purāṇas
In the purāṇas, he is described as the son of Tvaṣtṛ, created out of sacrificial fire, to destroy Indra who had earlier killed Viśvarupa, the first son of Tvaṣṭṛ. A mistake in the chanting of the Vedic mantra during the pouring of oblations resulted in Vṛtrāsura becoming vulnerable to Indra’s weapon. Though Vṛtrāsura conquered Indra first, he was later killed by the Indra. Vṛtrāsura was a king named Citraketu in his previous birth. He was a great devotee of Viṣṇu.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore