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 mythology. In medieval mythology and Hindu astrology, the term refers to the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas.
God of the Planet Venus and Guru of the Asuras
Shukra as the deity of Venus graha
|Affiliation||Ancient: Guru of Asuras, Daityas, Graha|
|Mantra||himakunda mrinalabham daityanam paramam gurum sarva shastra pravaktaram bharghavam tam pranamamyaham|
In Hindu mythology, Shukra is the name of a son of Bhrigu, of the third Manu, one of the saptarishis. He was the guru of Daityas / Asuras, and is also referred to as Shukracharya or Asuracharya in various Hindu texts. He named the Velleeswarar Temple, Mangadu after the blessings of the Trimurti, to mark the end of a long period of blindness. In another account found in the Mahabharata, Shukra divided himself into two, one half becoming the knowledge source for the Devas (gods) and the other half being the knowledge source of the Asuras (demons). Shukra, in the Purans, is blessed by Shiva with Sanjeevni Vidhya after worshipping and impressing Shiva with his Bhakti towards Shiva. Sanjeevni Vidhya is the knowledge that raises the dead back to life which he used time to time and brought back his disciples Asuras back to life. Later, this knowledge was sought by the Devatas and was ultimately gained by them.
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. These texts present Shukra as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion. 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.
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.
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:
|Source||Estimated time per sidereal revolution|
|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 role and importance of the Navagraha developed over time with various influences. The earliest work of astrology recorded in India is the Vedanga Jyotisha which began to be compiled in the 14th century BCE. It was possibly based on works from the Indus Valley Civilization as well as various foreign influences. Babylonian astrology which was the first astrology and calendar to develop, and was adopted by multiple civilizations including India.
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.
The Navagraha was furthered by additional contributions from Western Asia, including Zoroastrian and Hellenistic influences. The Yavanajataka, or 'Science of the Yavanas', was written by the Indo-Greek named "Yavanesvara" ("Lord of the Greeks") under the rule of the Western Kshatrapa king Rudrakarman I. The Yavanajataka written in 120 CE is often attributed to standardizing Indian astrology. The Navagraha would further develop and culminate in the Shaka era with the Saka, or Scythian, people. Additionally the contributions by the Saka people would be the basis of the Indian national calendar, which is also called the Saka calendar. Due to various influences, Shukra as a deity developed distinctly compared to the other Indo-European planetary bodies of Venus. In the Navagraha Shukra is a male deity revered as the guru of the demonic Asuras, and a planet with hellish conditions.
- Charles Russell Coulter; Patricia Turner (2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-135-96390-3.
- Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. pp. 387–388. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
- Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 72.
- Subramaniam, Kamala (2007). "Adi Parva". The Mahabharata. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan India. ISBN 81-7276-405-7.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- J Fleet (1911). Arbhatiya. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society. pp. 794–799.
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shukra.|
- Pingree, David (1973). "The Mesopotamian Origin of Early Indian Mathematical Astronomy". Journal for the History of Astronomy. SAGE. 4 (1). doi:10.1177/002182867300400102.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)