Venus in the sky

Published: Jun 16, 2019, 05:11 IST | Devdutt Pattanaik |

In Hindu mythology, for example, the star of Venus is associated with Shukra-acharya, the guru of the asuras. It is also associated with Bhrigu, to whose clan Shukra belongs

Illustration/Devdutt Pattanaik
Illustration/Devdutt Pattanaik

Devdutt PattanaikIf we trace the movement of Venus, in the celestial sphere, we realise that it travels to five points in the horizon on its journey. This journey creates the shape of a pentagram, or a five-pointed star, which makes the five-pointed star the symbol of Venus. Therefore, the mythology of Venus is closely linked to the mythology of the Pentagram.

In Hindu mythology, for example, the star of Venus is associated with Shukra-acharya, the guru of the asuras. It is also associated with Bhrigu, to whose clan Shukra belongs.

Shukra is the one-eyed sage, who helps the asuras with his knowledge of Sanjivani Vidya, or the art of regeneration. He competes with Brihaspati or Jupiter, who is the guru of the celestial devas.

While Brihaspati is associated with rational thought, Shukracharya is associated with intuitive thought and both are required for the growth of Laxmi. This is the reason why both Brihaspati and Shukra are called the fathers of Laxmi. Hence, the sacred dates associated with Laxmi, in different communities, across India, are either Thursday (linked to Jupiter), or Friday (linked to Venus).

In Christian mythology, the Pentagram is linked, at one level, to Jesus Christ, in which the five points represent his head, his arms, and legs, outstretched, as he rises from his crypt on the day of his resurrection. When this star is turned upside down, with its spire pointing downwards, it looks like a goat's head with two horns, two ears and its snout; this is associated with the Devil. So, the Pentagram is both the symbol of Jesus Christ and God and his opposite, the Devil, depending on how it is oriented.

Islam is also closely associated with Venus, although extremist Muslims will deny this. For most people, the symbol of Islam is the crescent moon and the five-pointed star, which is said to be Venus. That there are five pillars of Islam and one prays five times a day and that the Sabat (resting day) of the Muslims is Friday all point to the importance of Venus in Islamic mythology, which has its origin in pre-Islamic Middle-Eastern mythology. We do know that in ancient Mesopotamia, Venus was associated with the goddess, Ishtar. Venus is often called the Morning and Evening Star, the unblinking planet, which is seen around sunrise and sunset. The sight of the morning star in Mecca, every morning, is the call to the first prayer of the day.

The Morning and Evening Star, in Vedic mythology, is associated with the Ashwini Kumars, or the Ashwini twins. It is also associated, at one level, with Jesus Christ, who is reborn, every day, and, at night, with Lucifer, the Lord of Light, who is associated with the Devil. Everyone looks at the sky, but different faiths see different things and give different meanings.

The author writes and lectures on the relevance of mythology in modern times. Reach him at devdutt@devdutt.com

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