The story below which Shalya narrates to console Yudhisthira is borrowed from vachana bharata:
'Once त्व्ष्ट्र, Brahma, the heavenly builder, the creator of all living beings plotting against Indra acquires a son named Trishirasa. The son seeking to usurp the position of Indra performs a penance. As Indra's apsaras are unable to break the penance and stop him, Indra kills him! Then the creator gets another stronger son Vritra. Indra is unable to tackle him and runs away from heaven. Later the gods manage a truce between the two. Indra promises not to kill Vritra with the use of weapons. But Indra waiting for the right opportunity manages to kill Vritra with the foam created by the waves at the seafront. As he has killed two sons of Brahma, the stigma of Brahmahatya is visibly attached to Indra. Indra ashamed of this stigma, goes into hiding!'
'After some deliberations Devatas and Deva Rishis invite Nahusha to become the protector of gods and offer him the position of Indra. Nahusha soon gets used to the privileges Indra enjoyed. In time, Aprsaras are not enough and he desires Sachidevi, the wife of Indra! Sachidevi meets Nahusha and seeks time. In the meantime gods locate Indra who has gone into hiding, and get him to perform Ashwameda yaga. With this he is relieved of the stigma attached to him.
Meantime Sachidevi meets Nahusha and tells him that she would be his, only if the saptha rishis carry him to her palace! Nahusha believes, his mind clouded by his passion, that it is part of the ritual and agrees. He, as the god of kings, makes the saptha rishis carry him. Accidently his leg touches the muni Agastya and the rishi is very upset. He curses Nahusha and he looses all his acquired merits. Immediately Nahusha falls down and turns into a serpent. The gods then locate Indra and reinstall him back to his position. Thus he and his consort Sachidevi get back to being together and Indra begins to rule devaloka as before.'
Shalya concludes the story and reassures Yudhisthira that his enemies would be destroyed soon and even he, the same way as Indra and Sachidevi, who underwent hardships and Indra had to hide himself from his enemies, would be happy again.
Wonder why sage Vyaasa or the later pundits added this story. Anyway it illustrates the fact that 'The gods have the same problems as us or gods are no better than us or humans and gods were not very different!'
As I read about Indra , I see that Indra is known in many other countries and in an other religion. Indra was very visible in Thailand. We see in Wat Arun a beautiful sculpture of Indra riding on Airavata (Eravan). His story is fascinating, especially his drop in importance over a period of time. He was very important during the vedic times. It may be as we progressed and moved from agriculture, we needed better icons!
The story of Nahusha is confusing. I wonder if it is meant to tell us that a human could aspire to be a deva and also as a warning. He could become a naga ( A serpent) if he loses his head!
But then I read an autobiography of Sri M, ( I have also heard him speak!) 'Apprentice to a Himalayan Master. A yogi's autobiography.' As an apprenctice he and his guru had the experience of the visitation a naga from a nagalokha, but their visitor came from another planet and not from पाताल, lower regions of the world. According to Sri M's guru, these nagas are more evolved than humans.
'In the milky way there exists a stellar system with seven planets and eighteen moons. One of these planets is called Sarpa Lokha, and is entirely inhabited by highly evolved, hooded snakes. The serpents are called naga devatas. The person you saw is the deputy chief of this realm and he is called Nagaraja. the supreme head of the nagas is the five-hooded golden serpent, known in ancient Indian texts, as Anantha.'