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Not to be confused with Shukr.
God of planet Venus and teacher of demons
Devanagari शुक्र
Affiliation Ancient: Guru of Asuras, Daityas;
Medieval: planet Venus, Graha
Abode Patala (swargaloka)
Mantra Om Shukraya Namah
Consort Urjaswathi
Mount Crocodile / chariot pulled
by seven dark horses

Shukra (Sanskrit: शुक्र, IAST: Śukra) is a Sanskrit word that means "lucid, clear, bright". It also has other meanings, such as the name of an ancient sage who counseled Asuras in Vedic mythology.[1] In medieval mythology and Hindu astrology, the term refers to the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas.[2]

In one mythology, Shukra is the name of a son of Vasishtha, of the third Manu, one of the saptarshi. He was the guru of Daityas / Asuras, and is also referred to as Shukracharya or Asuracharya in various Hindu texts.[3] In another mythology, 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).[2] Shukra in the Puranic mythology is famed as one with the knowledge that raises the dead back to life, something that helps the violent evil return back to life even after the gods and the forces of good destroy them; this knowledge is sought by the gods and is ultimately gained by them.[2]

In the Mahabharata, Shukracharya is mentioned as one of the mentors of Bhishma, having taught him political science in his youth.[4]

The weekday Shukravara in Hindu calendar, or Friday, has roots in Shukra (Venus). ShukraVar is found in most Indian languages, and Shukara 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 planet Venus. The zodiac and naming system of Hindu astrology likely developed in the centuries after the arrival of Greek astrology with Alexander the Great,[5][6][7] their zodiac signs being nearly identical.[8] Technical horoscopes and astrology ideas in India came from Greece, states Nicholas Campion, and developed in the early centuries of the 1st millennium CE. In Buddhist and Hindu astrology, Shukra (Venus) is a part of the medieval astrological explanations offered for various ailments.[9]

In his iconography, he is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. he is described variously as mounted on a camel, horse or crocodile. he holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charles Russell Coulter; Patricia Turner (2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-135-96390-3. 
  2. ^ a b c Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. pp. 387–388. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6. 
  3. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 72. 
  4. ^ Subramaniam, Kamala (2007). "Adi Parva". The Mahabharata. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan India. ISBN 81-7276-405-7. 
  5. ^ Yukio Ohashi 1999, pp. 719–721.
  6. ^ Pingree 1973, pp. 2–3.
  7. ^ Nicholas Campion (2012). Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions. New York University Press. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-8147-0842-2. 
  8. ^ James Lochtefeld (2002), "Jyotisha" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 326–327
  9. ^ Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz (2000). Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, Or, Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lāma Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering. Oxford University Press. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-19-513314-1. 
  10. ^ Mythology of the Hindus By Charles Coleman p.134