Guru of the Asuras
|Member of Navagraha|
|Affiliation||Ancient: Guru of Asuras, Daityas, Deva, Graha|
|Mantra||Om Sri Shukra devaaaye namah. ? ? ?|
|Consort||Urjjasvati (Jayanti) and Sataparva|
|Children||Devayani, Ar?, Shanda, Tvasthadhar and Marka|
Shukra (Sanskrit?, IAST: ?ukra) 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. In medieval mythology and Hindu astrology, the term refers to the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas.
In Hindu religion, 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, Mylapore 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's mother was Kavyamata, whilst Shukra's wives were the goddesses Urjasvati, Jayanti and Sataparva. Sometimes, Urjjasvati and Jayanti merged into one goddess. With her, Shukra produced many children including Queen Devayani. Sataparva was childless.
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|
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.