God of Wisdom
This piece particularly took me a long time, because I was experiencing a bad art-block for the past 3 months.
I am still planning on improving certain elements considering I am not 100% satisfied with this yet.
anyways.. here's the description:
Vipratamahkavinam - the greatest sage among sages
Throughout the Vedas, Indra - the lord of gods, is praised as one foremost in wisdom and as the one highest sage.
In Rig Veda Mandala 10 Sukta 112, sloka 9 it says:
नि षु सीद गणपते गणेषु तवामाहुर्विप्रतमंकवीनाम |
न रते तवत करियते किं चनारे महामर्कंमघवञ्चित्रमर्च ||
Lord of the hosts, sit down among us, they call thee the greatest sage among sages; without thee nothing is done in the distance; great, wondrous, Maghavan, is the hymn I sing thee.
(note: he is praised as Ganapathi - lord of hosts. )
He is again praised as the sage among sages in mandala 6, Sukta 32, sloka 3:
स वह्निभिर्र्क्वभिर्गोषु शश्वन मितज्ञुभिः पुरुक्र्त्वा जिगाय |
पुरः पुरोहा सखिभिः सखीयन दर्ळ्हा रुरोज कविभिः कविः सन ||
Achiever of great deeds, with priests who kneel and laud him, he hath conquered in the frays for cattle,
And broken down the forts, the Fort-destroyer, a Friend with friends, a Sage among the sages.
In Mandala 6, Sukta 30, sloka 1, Sage Bharadvaja says:
Indra increased in might in display of valour; He the lord of all, the imperishable, bestows felicity to his worshipers. Indra surpasses both the worlds, a mere portion of him is equal to both heaven and earth.
In Mandala 7, Sukta 20, sloka 6, Sage Vasishta says:
He who devotes himself to the mighty Indra never falls to ruin, nor will he perish!;
The protector of sacred rites, the progeny of sacrifice, bestows prosperity on him who offers to Indra praises and prayers with sacrifice.
In Mandala 8 , Sukta 1, sloka 6, Sage Kanva says:
You are more precious Indra, than my own father, or than my unaffectionate brother; you oh giver of dwellings are equal to my mother, for you both bless me with prosperity.
In Satapatha Brahmana Kanda 6, Adhyaya 1, Brahmana 1 , it is written:
Verily, in the beginning there was here the non-existent . As to this they say, 'What was that non-existent?' The Rishis, assuredly,it is they that were the non-existent . As to this they say, 'Who were those Rishis?' The Rishis, doubtless, were the vital airs: inasmuch as before (the existence of) this universe, they, desiring it, wore themselves out (rish) with toil and austerity, therefore (they are called) Rishis.
This same vital air in the midst doubtless is Indra. He, by his power (indriya), kindled those vital airs from the midst; and inasmuch as he kindled (indh), he is the kindler (indha): the kindler indeed, him they call 'Indra' mystically , for the gods love the mystic. They (the vital airs), being kindled, created seven separate persons (purusha).
In the Tamil text Thirukural by Thirvalluvar, Indra is used as the paradigm for one who has conquered the five senses.
ஐந்தவித்தான் ஆற்றல் அகல்விசும்பு ளார்கோமான்
இந்திரனே சாலுங் கரி
Aindhaviththaan Aatral Akalvisumpu Laarkomaan
Indhirane Saalung Kari
and indirectly praised here:
பொறிவாயில் ஐந்தவித்தான் பொய்தீர் ஒழுக்க
நெறிநின்றார் நீடுவாழ் வார்
Porivaayil Aindhaviththaan Poidheer Ozhukka
Nerinindraar Neetuvaazh Vaar
Those shall long proposer who abide in the faultless way of Him who has destroyed the five desires of the senses
The "Him" here is clearly Indra, taking verse number 25 into consideration.
It is amazing to note that in whole of Thirukural, the only god ever mentioned is Indra.
as for Garuda on Indra's shoulder:
In the Vedas, Garuda is described as Indra's messenger, who brings to him the divine Soma.
Some of you folks might not be aware of the characters in this image, I would suggest that you can start from my earlier artworks where I've shared info on the gods.
but to put it shortly
Indra - the one sitting atop the mountain, is the king of gods, god of wisdom and felicity, god of war etc. basically he's multifaceted and he's akin to Zeus in Greek mythology but a lot nicer. The reason he's golden haired is because he represents the sun as well.
The seven men are the seven sages or the Saptarishis(sapta-seven, rishi-sage), they are godly men of wisdom who are revered even today, and many trace their lineage back to some of these sages. Starting from right the seven sages here are : Gautama, Bharadwaja, Agastya, Vishwamitra, Atri, Vasishta, Jamadagni
Also the asterism "big dipper" is said to represent the seven sages.