Other names: Brihaspaati, Guru, Jupiter
Guru of the devtas, Brihaspati is the son of Maharshi Angira. His mother’s name is Surupa. The name of Brihaspati’s beloved sister is Yogsiddha. In the Puranas, Brihaspati is said to be the guru (teacher) of the Devi and the devtas and has been praised for his knowledge and wisdom. Brihaspati is the symbol of truth and a master of vocabulary. It is said that he was blessed and specially esteemed by Saraswati, the Devi of knowledge.
In his form as Brahmanaspati he helped create the universe with his chanting. He has seven mouths, seven rays emanate from him, and he rides on a chariot drawn by eight horses. He seems to be connected in some way to the sacrificial fire of the south which is lit for the honored ancestors, and because of this is sometimes confused with Agni, who also seems to be a sort of priest of the gods. He is also closely linked with Brahma, as both are regarded as the creators of the universe. He is considered to be the planet Jupiter. His consort is Tara.
He is described as being of a yellow or golden color, and holding the following divine attributes in his hands: a stick, a lotus and a string of beads. He presides over ‘Guru-war’ or Thursday. In astronomy he is the ruling Power of Jupiter, and is often identified with that planet.
Brihaspati is the protector of good actions and a well wisher of the Devtas. For the removal of the hazards of the devtas, Brihaspati used to carry out “Sarvato Bhadra” yagya from time to time. Devraj Indra and other Devtas used to feel blessed after getting the Prasad (food offered to the Lord in a pooja) of this yagya. This Prasad was the symbol of protection and amnesty to the devtas. Brihaspati was such a benign and virtuous scholar and philosophic that he never used to hold grudges against his opposition. The demon guru Shukracharya was jealous of, and angry with, Brihaspati, but Brihaspati always praised Shukracharya’s knowledge and wisdom. He used to tell Shukracharya many times not to support demonic activities but egoistic Shukracharya never listened to his advice.
Shukracharya had the knowledge of the “Sanjeevani Vidya”, with the help of which, he brought back to life many demons who had died in the battle between the Devtas and Demons.
Finally the devtas decided they too wanted to acquire the knowledge of “Sanjeevani Vidya” for the security of the devtas. On the insistence of the devtas, Brihaspati sent his son Kach to Shukracharya to acquire that knowledge of Sanjeevani Vidya. To this end, Kach served Shukracharya for many years. Shukracharya’s daughter Devyani fell in love with Kach. When the demons came to know that Kach was sent by the devtas, they killed him. On Devyani’s request, Shukracharya brought him back to life again and again and eventually Kach was able to learn the Sanjeevani Vidya. After learning it, he prepared to leave for devlok.
Devyani begged him to marry her but Kach refused, saying she was the daughter of his guru. Devyani was very angry and cursed Kach that he would not be able to use his knowledge in an emergency and when he needed it the most. Kach cursed her in return that she would not have a Brahmin as her husband.
Brihaspati’s personality, overflowing with scholarship was so vast and respected, that scholars and teachers are often honored by calling them “Brihaspati” which means lord of prayer and devotion in Sanskrit. In Jyotish (Hindu astrology), Brihaspati is the name for the planet Jupiter, one of the Navgrah (cosmic influencers) or planets, also known as Guru or Devaguru. Brihaspati is considered to be the greatest benefic of any of the planets. Guru rules over the signs Dhanu (Sagittarius) and Meen (Pisces); he is exalted in Karka (Cancer), and in his fall in Makara (Capricorn).
The Sun, Moon, and Mars are considered friendly to Brihaspati; Mercury is hostile, and Saturn is neutral. Venus and Rahu are inimical. Guru in Vedic astrology is considered to be of the element ether (space) or Akash Tatva (i.e. Akash = Space/Sky/ether; Tatva = Essence/Category/Truth). This indicates vastness, growth and expansion in a person’s horoscope and life.
Brihaspati also represents the balance of past karma, religion, philosophy, knowledge and issues relating to offspring. He is concerned with education, teaching and the dispensation of knowledge. Humans with Jupiter dominating in their horoscope could grow fat as life progresses and their empire and prosperity increases; and diabetes is an ailment directly related to Jupiter. According to traditional Hindu astrology, worship or propitiation of Brihaspati or Guru (Jupiter) results in cures from ailments affecting the stomach, and helps ward off sins. Brihaspati is the lord of three Nakshatras or lunar mansions: Punarvasu, Vishakha and Purva Bhadrapada.
The following items are associated with Brihaspati: his color is yellow, his metal is gold, and his gemstone is yellow topaz/sapphire. The season associated with him is winter (snow), his direction is north-east, and his element is ether or space.