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Vritra Networks is the name of my future IT Consultancy firm. It doesn’t exist currently but some day it might.

I’ve always felt that coming up with a name that gelled with me was the first step towards setting up my own firm, but for a long time I couldn’t come up with anything. Then one day sometime in April or May 2020 this name popped into my head and luckily the domain names etc. were available so I started using it everywhere.

What about the name?

The name “Vritra Networks” is a twist on the name of the network monitoring company ThousandEyes. Non-Indians may not be aware of it but the name Thousand Eyes is a reference to Indra, the King of Gods. I am not sure if the founders of ThousandEyes had this in mind, but considering they are Indians I’d say it’s a safe bet to think so. It’s a cool name in that it has a mythological reference and also technically relevant in terms of what their product does.

Who is Indra?

Indra is the King of Gods in Hindu mythology.

Legend has it that Indra, a bit of a ladies man as most “King of Gods” tend to be (example: Zeus), took fancy to the beautiful Ahalya who was the wife of Sage Gautam. However, she didn’t give in to his advances, and so as most “King of Gods” are won’t to do (example: Zeus!) he shape-shifted to take the form of Sage Gautam and when the real Sage Gautam was out of the house Indra appeared in his form and made love to Ahalya. During the course of their love-making Ahalya realised something was not right but didn’t do much about it (not sure what she could have done anyways as this was just a hunch).

Meanwhile, the real Sage Gautam returned home unexpectedly to find his wife in bed with an imposter. Indra was caught red-handed, and the angry Sage then cursed Indra to have a 1000 vaginas all over his body as a punishment for his obsession with women. An ashamed Indra then went into hiding and this put matters in heaven into a turmoil as the King was no longer present. All the Gods thus went to Lord Brahma (the creator) and asked him to intervene. Brahma appealed to Sage Gautam, and while the latter could not reverse the curse (it’s an odd thing, a curse once made cannot be reversed only modified) he modified it such that the 1000 vaginas became 1000 eyes (coz they look similar, get it?). This is why Indra is also known as the God with Thousand Eyes.

As an aside, Sage Gautam also cursed his wife Ahalya and turned her into a stone. Her curse was finally lifted by Lord Rama, but that’s another story…

Who is Vritra?

Vritra was Indra’s arch-nemesis.

One of the cool stories about Indra that I read as a kid and stuck with me was the story of how he got his weapon - the mighty “Vajrayudha” (“Vajra” means diamond, “Ayduha” means weapon; so the weapon is supposed to be as indestructable as a diamond).

In Hindu mythology we have the Devas and Asuras. If the Devas can be considered as Gods, the Asuras can be considered as Demons. But Asuras are not Demons in a negative sense. I tend to think of Devas and Asuras as opposites in the sense you might think of Males and Females or Yin and Yang as opposites - one is not any more superior or righteous than the other. Indra was the King of the Devas.

For reasons I don’t remember another Sage created the Asura called Vritra to destroy Indra. He was a serpent born out of a sacrificial fire and had a boon which made him invincible to any known weapon. Indra, the King of Gods, was actually the God of thunder, lightning, rain etc. and so Vritra attacked him by drinking up all the water and swallowing the Gods. (One thing to remember with Hinduism is that there’s a lot of symoblism - thus the fight between Indra and Vritra is really a symobolism for a period of drought). Indra managed to get himself vomitted out and fled to Lord Vishnu asking for help. Lord Vishnu said that only a weapon made out of the bones of Sage Daddichi could destroy Vritra (how cool is that!). So Indra went to Sage Daddichi who readily agreed to sacrifice himself for the good of the world. He went into meditation and released his body, thus enabling Indra to fashion the Vajrayudha out of his bones. Using this he was able to destroy Vritra and release the world from drought.

I find this story fascinating. Even more so I find the Asuras fascinating. All my childhood I was under the impression Asuras were Demons and it was only later when I started reading about mythology and symbolism that I realized this is not the case. In a way Asuras are thus quite misunderstood and this appeals to me. They are not bad, just different; though being different is usually enough to be considered bad. (Interestingly Hindu mythology makes this quite clear. Most Asuras were killed by someone like Lord Vishnu with his discus and that’s actually considered good luck because when you are killed by Lord Vishnu or the like you escape the cycle of rebirth and finally attain heaven; thus while it may appear that Asuras are bad and cause havoc they actually have a good ending).

Vritra Networks

Aand there you have it. ThousandEyes is a reference to Indra, which I inverted to get to Vritra and decided to name my yet to be created company “Vritra Networks”. Some day there’ll be a real company with this name. Meanwhile I hope you enjoyed these stories!

One more thing …

Wait, you may ask. Isn’t the name you have chosen somewhat evil? Vritra is an Asura and Asuras are sort of like Demons, so do you want such evil conotations associated to your company name?

Good question! And that’s actually another association I was aiming for. You see, I have a strong fascination for the BSDs and the logos of the various BSD projects (primarily FreeBSD who still has it) is actually a Demon. They chose this as a play on the word “Daemons” which is what you call long running background services on these OSes. So the name Vritra is also a nod to my love for the BSDs and Unix-y ideas.