Shukra

Summary

Shukra (Sanskrit: शुक्र, IAST: Śukra) is a Sanskrit word that means "clear" or "bright". It also has other meanings, such as the name of an ancient lineage of sages who counselled Asuras in Vedic history.[3] In medieval mythology and Hindu astrology, the term refers to the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas.[4]

Shukra
Member of Navagraha
Shukra
A sculpture of Shukra, from the British Museum
Devanagariशुक्र
AffiliationAsuras, Daityas, Deva, Graha
AbodePatala Loka
PlanetVenus
MantraOm Sri Shukra devaaaye namah. ॐ श्रीशुक्रदेवाय नमः।
DayFriday
ColorWhite
NumberSix (6)
MountWhite Horse
Personal information
Parents
ConsortJayanti, Urjjasvati and Sataparva[2]
ChildrenDevayani, Arā, Shanda, Tvasthadhar and Marka[1]

HinduismEdit

In Hinduism, Shukra is one of the sons of Bhrigu, of the third Manu, one of the saptarishis. He was the guru of Daityas and Asuras, and is also referred to as Shukracharya or Asuracharya in various Hindu texts. In another account found in the Mahabharata, Shukra divided himself into two, one half becoming the fount of knowledge for the devas (gods) and the other half being the knowledge source of the asuras (demons).[4] Shukra, in the Puranas, is blessed by Shiva with Sanjeevini Vidhya after worshipping and impressing Shiva with his devotion. Sanjeevini Vidhya is the knowledge that raises the dead back to life, which he used from time to time to restore life to the asuras. Later, this knowledge was sought by the devatas and was ultimately gained by them.[4]

Shukra's mother was Kavyamata, whilst Shukra's wives were the goddesses Urjasvati, Jayanti, and Sataparva. Sometimes, Urjjasvati and Jayanti are considered to be one goddess.[5] With her, Shukra produced many children including, Queen Devayani.[6] Sataparva was childless.

In the Mahabharata, Shukracharya is mentioned as one of the mentors of Bhishma, having taught him political science in his youth.[7]

AstrologyEdit

In classical Vedic astrology or Jyotisha, Shukra is considered to be among the Navagrahas (Nine planets) that influence the pattern of life on earth. Shukra represents women, beauty, wealth, luxury, and sex. According to superstition, a powerfully placed Shukra, aspected by benefic planets such as Jupiter, and in favourable signs and houses in the birth chart, ensures material well-being. Its beej mantra is "Om Draam Dreem Draum Sah Shukraya Namaha". It is associated with Friday, and the gem diamond. The classical shastras ordain that the best method to attain the blessings of Shukra is to respect the women in one’s life.

It is also popularly propitiated through Devi Aradhana or worshipping the goddess Lakshmi.

PlanetEdit

Shukra as a planet appears in various Hindu astronomical texts in Sanskrit, such as the 5th century Aryabhatiya by Aryabhatta, the 6th century Romaka by Latadeva and Panca Siddhantika by Varahamihira, the 7th century Khandakhadyaka by Brahmagupta and the 8th century Sisyadhivrddida by Lalla.[8][9] These texts present Shukra as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[8] Other texts such as Surya Siddhanta dated to have been complete sometime between the 5th century and 10th century present their chapters on various planets with deity mythologies.[8]

The manuscripts of these texts exist in slightly different versions, present Shukra's motion in the skies, but vary in their data, suggesting that the text were open and revised over their lives.[10][11][12]

The 1st millennium CE Hindu scholars had estimated the time it took for sidereal revolutions of each planet including Shukra, from their astronomical studies, with slightly different results:[13]

 
Shukra as the benefic planet Venus
Sanskrit texts: How many days for Shukra (Venus) to complete its orbit?
Source Estimated time per sidereal revolution[13]
Surya Siddhanta 224 days, 16 hours, 45 minutes, 56.2 seconds
Siddhanta Shiromani 224 days, 16 hours, 45 minutes, 1.9 seconds
Ptolemy 224 days, 16 hours, 51 minutes, 56.8 seconds
20th century calculations 224 days, 16 hours, 49 minutes, 8.0 seconds

Calendar and zodiacEdit

The weekday Shukravara in Hindu calendar, or Friday, has roots in Shukra (Venus). Shukravara is found in most Indian languages, and Shukra Graha is driven by the planet Venus in Hindu astrology. The word "Friday" in the Greco-Roman and other Indo-European calendars is also based on the planet Venus.

Shukra is a part of the Navagraha in Hindu zodiac system. The Navagraha developed from early works of astrology over time. Deifying planetary bodies and their astrological significance occurred as early as the Vedic period and was recorded in the Vedas. The classical planets, including Venus, were referenced in the Atharvaveda around 1000 BCE. The planet Venus was deified and referred to as Shukra in various Puranas.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Shukra, Śukrā, Śukra: 39 definitions". 24 June 2012.
  2. ^ Puranic Encyclopedia: a comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature, Vettam Mani, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1975, p. 760.
  3. ^ Charles Russell Coulter; Patricia Turner (2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-135-96390-3.
  4. ^ a b c Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. pp. 387–388. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  5. ^ Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra (31 January 1996). The Purana Index. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. ISBN 978-81-208-1273-4.
  6. ^ Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra (31 January 1996). The Purana Index. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. ISBN 978-81-208-1273-4.
  7. ^ Subramaniam, Kamala (2007). "Adi Parva". The Mahabharata. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan India. ISBN 978-81-7276-405-0.
  8. ^ a b c Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. vii–xi. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  9. ^ Bina Chatterjee (1970). The Khandakhadyaka (an astronomical treatise) of Brahmagupta: with the commentary of Bhattotpala (in Sanskrit). Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 72–74, 40, 69. OCLC 463213346.
  10. ^ Lionel D. Barnett (1994). Antiquities of India: An Account of the History and Culture of Ancient Hindustan. Asian Educational Services. pp. 190–192. ISBN 978-81-206-0530-5.
  11. ^ Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. ix–xi, xxix. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  12. ^ J Fleet (1911). "Arbhatiya". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society: 794–799.
  13. ^ a b Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.

Further readingEdit

  • Pingree, David (1973). "The Mesopotamian Origin of Early Indian Mathematical Astronomy". Journal for the History of Astronomy. SAGE. 4 (1): 1–12. Bibcode:1973JHA.....4....1P. doi:10.1177/002182867300400102. S2CID 125228353.
  • Pingree, David (1981). Jyotihśāstra : Astral and Mathematical Literature. Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 978-3447021654.
  • Yukio Ohashi (1999). Johannes Andersen (ed.). Highlights of Astronomy, Volume 11B. Springer Science. ISBN 978-0-7923-5556-4.