God of planet Venus and teacher of demons
|Affiliation||Ancient: Guru of Asuras, Daityas;
Medieval: planet Venus, Graha
|Mantra||Om Shukraya Namah|
|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. In medieval mythology and Hindu astrology, the term refers to the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas.
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. 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). 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.
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, their zodiac signs being nearly identical. 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.
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.
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