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For other uses, see Vayu (disambiguation).
God of Wind
Vayu Deva.jpg
Vayu, on his mount, the gazelle symbolizing swiftness
Devanagari वायु
Sanskrit transliteration Vāyu
Affiliation Deva
Guardians of the directions
Abode Gandhavati
Mantra Om Vayuve namaha
Weapon Flag
Consort Swasti, Bharati
Children Hanuman
Mount Gazelle

Vāyu (Sanskrit, Sanskrit pronunciation: [ʋaːju]) is a primary Hindu deity, the lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Hanuman. He is also known as Vāta, Pavana ("the Purifier"),[1] and sometimes Prāṇa ("the breath").


The word for air (vāyu) or wind (pavana) is one of the classical elements in Hinduism. The Sanskrit word 'Vāta' literally means "blown", 'Vāyu' "blower", and Prāna "breathing" (viz. the breath of life, cf. the *an- in 'animate'). Hence, the primary referent of the word is the "deity of Life", who is sometimes for clarity referred to as "Mukhya-Vāyu" (the chief Vāyu) or "Mukhya Prāna" (the chief of Life).[citation needed]

Sometimes the word "vāyu," which is more generally used in the sense of the physical air or wind, is used as a synonym for "prāna".[2] Vāta, an additional name for Vāyu, is the root of the Sanskrit and Hindi term for "atmosphere", vātāvaran.[3]

Pavan is also a fairly common Hindu name. Pavana played an important role in Anjana's begetting Hanuman as her child so Hanuman is also called Pavanaputra "son of Pavana" and Vāyuputra.

In the Mahabharata, Bhima was the son and an incarnation of Vāyu and played a major role in the Kurukshetra War. He utilised his huge power and skill with the mace for supporting Dharma.

Hindu texts and philosophy[edit]

In the hymns, Vayu is "described as having 'exceptional beauty' and moving noisily in his shining coach, driven by two or forty-nine or one-thousand white and purple horses. A white banner is his main attribute."[1] Like the other atmospheric deities, he is a "fighter and destroyer", "powerful and heroic."[4]

In the Upanishads, there are numerous statements and illustrations of the greatness of Vāyu. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states that the gods who control bodily functions once engaged in a contest to determine who among them is the greatest. When a deity such as that of vision would leave a man's body, that man would continue to live, albeit as a blind man and having regained the lost faculty once the errant deity returned to his post. One by one the deities all took their turns leaving the body, but the man continued to live on, though successively impaired in various ways. Finally, when Mukhya Prāna started to leave the body, all the other deities started to be inexorably pulled off their posts by force, "just as a powerful horse yanks off pegs in the ground to which he is bound." This caused the other deities to realize that they can function only when empowered by Vayu, and can be overpowered by him easily. In another episode, Vāyu is said to be the only deity not afflicted by demons of sin who were on the attack. The Chandogya Upanishad states that one cannot know Brahman except by knowing Vāyu as the udgitha (the mantric syllable om).[citation needed]

Mukhya-Vāyu also incarnated as Madhvacharya to teach worthy souls to worship the Supreme God Vishnu.[5]

  • The first Avatar of Sri Vayu is Hanuman son of Anjana Devi in Tretayuga. His wonderful feats and service to Rama Devaru are described in RAMAYANA.
  • The second Avatar is Bheema, in Dwapara Yuga, Sri Vayu Deva appeared as Bhimasena and played the most important part in the destruction of the enemies of God. In the whole of Mahabharata, Bhimasena is the most important person who never slipped from the path of righteousness and served Sri Krishna.
  • The Third Avatar is Sri Madhwacharya in kaliyuga. He was born near Udipi on Vijayadasamiday in the year 1238 A.D. He took to Sanyasa in his 16 th year and became known as ‘Ananda Teertha’. Sri Acharya disappeared, while teaching Aitereya Upanishad Bashya to his disciples, in Ananteswara Temple at Udipi in the year 1317 A.D., He is still alive in the Badrikashram on the Himalayas with his Guru Sri Vedavyasa Devaru. The full Biographical details of Sri Madhvacharya are told in “Sri Madhva Vijaya”. he chose to serve the Lord and Propounded a Philosophy known as Dwaita Vedanta.[6]

Philosophy of Madhvacharya[edit]

The following are some of the main tenets of the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya:[7]

  • There is only one God for the entire universe
  • He is the supreme power above everyone.
  • He can be rightly known only through the Vedas and ancillary scriptures called the sadAagamAs
  • In the utmost sense all names point to Him. Brahman, Vishnu, Narayana etc are some of his important names.
  • Knowing God and attaining his grace is the primary goal of mankind.
  • God’s grace can be achieved through Knowledge, Bhakti and Vairagya.
  • God removes the bondage (ignorance) and grants liberation to eligible souls.
  • The world, which is created by God, is real; The world consists of basically three types of entities - Isa - God, Jiva-Souls and Jada-Matter.
  • The Souls are the servants of the God and remain so even after attaining liberation.
  • There exists pancha bheda (five fold difference) between Isa, jIva and jaDa.
  • There is a gradual gradation among different souls called Taratamya.
  • Liberation is the state of experiencing eternal bliss according to one’s own nature after the material bondage is removed.


In the Buddhism of the Far East, Vayu is one of the twelve Devas, as guardian deities, who are found in or around Buddhist shrines (Jūni-ten, 十二天).[8] In Japan, he has been called "Fu-ten".[9] He joins these other eleven Devas of Buddhism, found in Japan and other parts of southeast Asia: Indra (Taishaku-ten), Agni (Ka-ten), Yama (Emma-ten), Nirrti (Rasetsu-ten), Vayu (Fu-ten), Ishana (Ishana-ten), Kubera (Tamon-ten), Varuna (Sui-ten) Brahma (Bon-ten), Prithvi (Chi-ten), Surya (Nit-ten), Chandra (Gat-ten).[9][10][11]


Year Name Channel Country Played by
2015 Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman Sony Entertainment Television India Manish Bishla

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eva Rudy Jansen; Tony Langham (1993), The book of Hindu imagery: The Gods and their Symbols, Binkey Kok Publications, ISBN 90-74597-07-6, God of the wind ... also known as Vata or Pavan ... exceptional beauty ... moves on noisily in his shining coach ... white banner ... 
  2. ^ Raju, P.T. (1954), "The concept of the spiritual in Indian thought", Philosophy East and West, 4 (3): 195–213, doi:10.2307/1397554, JSTOR 1397554. 
  3. ^ Vijaya Ghose; Jaya Ramanathan; Renuka N. Khandekar (1992), Tirtha, the treasury of Indian expressions, CMC Limited, ISBN 978-81-900267-0-3, ... God of the winds ... Another name for Vayu is Vata (hence the present Hindi term for 'atmosphere, 'vatavaran). Also known as Pavana (the purifier), Vayu is lauded in both the ... 
  4. ^ Sukumari Bhattacharji (1984), Literature in the Vedic age, K.P. Bagchi, ... The other atmospheric gods are his associates: Vayu-Vatah, Parjanya, the Rudras and the Maruts. All of them are fighters and destroyers, they are powerful and heroic ... 
  5. ^ "Balittha Suktha -Text From Rig Veda". 
  6. ^ "Balittha Suktha -Text From Rig Veda". 
  7. ^ "Main Tenets -Philosophy of Madhva". 
  8. ^ Twelve Heavenly Deities (Devas) Nara National Museum, Japan
  9. ^ a b S Biswas (2000), Art of Japan, Northern, ISBN 978-8172112691, page 184
  10. ^ Willem Frederik Stutterheim et al (1995), Rāma-legends and Rāma-reliefs in Indonesia, ISBN 978-8170172512, pages xiv-xvi
  11. ^ Adrian Snodgrass (2007), The Symbolism of the Stupa, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807815, pages 120-124, 298-300