The Srimad-Bhagavatam explains that Vritrasura was a king named Chitraketu in his previous life.
After his infant son died, King Chitraketu, in extreme despair, was enlightened with spiritual knowledge by the two sages Narada and Angira.
Chitraketu then took to the process of bhakti yoga. Shortly afterwards, he became overwhelmed with spiritual ecstasy and saw God face to face.
Awarded the power to travel throughout the universe, he once spoke about Lord Shiva in a way that Parvati, Shiva’s wife, considered offensive.
She cursed Chitraketu to become a demon in his next life. But even though born a demon, he did not lose any of his spiritual knowledge or progress.
Despite playing the role of a demon, Vritrasura was actually a very elevated bhakti yogi.
He was created in a sacrificial fire to fight Indra, the king of heaven. Vritrasura was so powerful that he struck fear everywhere and was able to fight an army of demigods by himself.
What makes Vritrasura so glorious, however, is not his immense strength as a fighter, but rather his level of spiritual elevation.
During their battle, Vritrasura strikes Indra with an iron mace and disarms him, and Indra loses the courage to fight.
Vritrasura then begins a philosophical discourse with Indra and encourages him to keep fighting.
During their discussion, Vritrasura reveals his status as an advanced bhakti-yogi.
Vritrasura has deep insight for a demon. Despite fighting for his life, he speaks on various principles of bhakti-yoga.
The first is to recognize the fleeting nature of all opulence, fame, relative longevity, and everything else in this world.
Understanding the transient nature of such things serves as an impetus for one to search for higher meaning and eternal life.
The soul is eternal, and thus it needs greater fulfilment than basic bodily pleasures.
Vritrasura also recognizes that everything depends on the will of God. Acknowledging one’s dependence on God is a crucial element of bhakti-yoga.
For some, the idea of being dependent on God is frightening. After all, being dependent on others means you are at their mercy and they are free to do whatever they want with you.
God, however, is very kind and merciful to us, and He will ensure that those who surrender to Him face no difficulties. Krishna, or God, says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.22),