Shukra

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Shukra
Venus
Shukra
Shukra as the deity of Venus graha
Affiliation Ancient: Guru of Asuras, Daityas;[1]
Medieval: planet Venus, Graha

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]

Ideology[edit]

In one ideology, Shukra is the name of a son of Bhrigu, 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 ideology, 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 ideology 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]

Planet[edit]

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.[5][6] These texts present Shukra as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[5] 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.[5]

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.[7][8][9]

The 1st millennium CE Hindu scholars had estimated the time it took for sideral revolutions of each planet including Shukra, from their astronomical studies, with slightly different results:[10]

Sanskrit texts: How many days for Shukra (Venus) to complete its orbit?
Source Estimated time per sidereal revolution[10]
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 zodiac[edit]

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,[11][12][13] their zodiac signs being nearly identical.[14]

In Buddhist and Hindu astrology, Shukra (Venus) is a part of the medieval astrological explanations offered for various ailments.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Yukio Ohashi 1999, pp. 719–721.
  12. ^ Pingree 1973, pp. 2–3.
  13. ^ Nicholas Campion (2012). Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions. New York University Press. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-8147-0842-2. 
  14. ^ James Lochtefeld (2002), "Jyotisha" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 326–327
  15. ^ 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. 

Further reading[edit]