Though references of Indra occur in Hindu scriptures from Vedic times to the medieval age, there has been a gradual erosion in his importance. The Vedic Indra, wielder of the thunderbolt, was among the most important deities, but by the Puranic period, he became almost a vassal of the Trimurti - Brahma, Vishnu
and Shiva. In the Puranas, the heaven over which Indra ruled, is referred to as Indraloka or Devaloka, inhabited by the Devas, the secondary deities. His city is Amaravati; his elephant the four-tusked Airavata; and his horse, Uchchaishravas. Stories like the ones included in this collection, which depict Indra as benign and noble deity, are rare. Most of the stories in the Puranas depict Indra as a deity jealous of mortals who perform tapas (austerities) or Yajnas ( fire sacrifices). This was because the position of Indra could be attained (according to Puranic lore) by anyone who performed a hundred Ashwamedha yajnas. All the stories in this collection are based on the Mahabharata
. The one relating to Shibi is similar to that narrated in the Mahabharata, about Ushinara,his father.