Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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BRIHASPATI. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] In the Rigveda the names Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati alternate, and are equivalent to each other. They are names "of a deity in whom the action of the worshipper upon the gods is personified. He is the suppliant, the sacrificer, the priest, who intercedes with gods on behalf of men and protects mankind against the wicked. Hence he appears as the prototype of the priests and priestly order; and is also designated as the Purohita (family priest) of the divine community. He is called in one place `the father of the gods,' and a widely extended creative power is ascribed to him. He is also designated as `the shining' and `the gold-coloured,' and as `having the thunder for his voice."

In later times he is a Rishi. He is also regent of the planet Jupiter, and the name is commonly used for the planet itself. In this character his car is called Nitighosha and is drawn by the patronymic Angirasa. As preceptor of the gods he is called Animishacharya, Chakshas, Ijya, and Indrejya. His wife, Tara, was carried off by Soma, the moon, and this gave rise to a war called the Tarakamaya. Soma was aided by Usanas, Rudra, and all the Daityas and Danavas, while Indra and the gods took the part of Brihaspati. "Earth, shaken to her centre," appealed to Brahma, who interposed and restored Tara to her husband. She was delivered of a son which Brihaspati and Soma both claimed, but Tara, at the command of Brahma to tell the truth, declared Soma to be the father, and the child was named Buddha. There is an extraordinary story in the Matsya and Bhagavata Purana of the Rishis having milked the earth through Brihaspati. (See Vishnu Purana, i. pp. 188, 190.) Brihaspati was father of Bharadwaja by Mamata, wife of Utathya. (See Bharadwaja). An ancient code of law bears the name of Brihaspati, and he is also represented as being the Vyasa of the "fourth, Dwapara age." There was a Rishi of the name in the second Manwantara, and one who was founder of an heretical sect. Other epithets of Brihaspati are Jiva, `the living,' Didivis, `the bright,' Dhishana, `the intelligent,' and, for his eloquence, Gishpati, `lord of speech,'. 

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM