Brhaspati in The Vedas and The Puranas (1978)


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About the Book

The present work is the first ever attempt on a very important Vedic and Pauranic deity i.e. Brhaspati. The Word can be called a fulfilment of a small part of a very vast and expensive work on a thorough study of Vedic mythology. Brhaspati as he is generally believed to be is not merely the preceptor of Gods; instead, he imbibes in himself so many other mythological aspects. This makes his personality comprehensive and the study of such a varied personality is exactly what the present work has undertaken to do. Brhaspati’s various aspects such as the lord of speech, god of rain, god of fire, Sun God, supreme Brahman, Protector of the sacrifice, Brahman Priest, his connection with magical incantations, Brahmanic power, presiding over Tisya constellation Devaguru, his association with other gods, legends and stories and astronomical and astrological concept have all been discussed at length in the present work. The author has reached some very important conclusions after making a thorough analysis and study of various aspects of Brhaspati as depicted in the four Samhitas Brahmana works and eighteen Puranas which no doubt will further the interest of Vedic studies.


About the Author

Dr. (Mrs.) Saraswati Bali (b. 1943—Hyderabad (Sind), B.A. Hons. (Sanskrit) M.A. (Sanskrit), from University of Delhi, throughout first division, Degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Delhi. During the course of her Ph.D. research she was selected by the U.G.C. for the award of Junior fellowship. She hails from and belongs to a family of Sanskritists of reputation, Daughter of a great lover of Sanskrit; Mrs. Bali is the grand-daughter-in-law of Pundit Chandramani Shastri and daughter-in-law of Pundit Chandra Kant Bali, both great scholars in the field of Sanskrit and Indology.



It gives me immense pleasure to introduce this interesting scholarly work “Brhaspati in the Vedas and the Puranas” by Mrs. Saraswati Bali. This work was originally prepared as a doctoral thesis, on the basis of which the University of Delhi awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to Mrs. Bali.

Brhaspati, also a bit less frequently called as Brahmanaspati, is a unique deity of Vedic patheon in the sense that He is purely of Indian origin. His physical characteristics, priestly position, various attributes, inherent nature to protect. His worshippers from all obstacles, impediments, difficulties and calamities and extraordinary power to bestow immense fortune and prosperity on them when pleased and gratified, have already been well studied by scores of eminent European and Indian Vedic scholars during last two centuries. In the beginning of 19th century; Professors Langlosis, Max. Muller, A.A. Macdonell and H.H. Wilson considered Brhaspati as an aspect of Agni, while Kaegi and Oldenberg took him as a priestly abstraction of Indra. Some scholars placed Him as a compromising link between Brahmana and Ksatriya, as He is associated in a number of Rgvedic passages with Indra, the War God. Obviously thus, the study of Brhaspati did not remain completely neglected from the modern Indologists.

What the present study explores is the fuller detail of the gradual development of the concept of Brhaspati through the four Vedas First, and then through the Brahmanas. It has been became clarity pointed out, how the Lord of prayers, by and by became Vacaspati—the lord of eloquence and wisdom and how Brhaspati became associated with speech and intellect in later Vedic period. Mrs. Bali has further studied the concept of Brhaspati in the Puranas, wherein what strikes most in the astronomical and astrological concept of Brhaspati. I however wish that the learned author had explored the Pauranic concept of Brhaspati more elaborately. The account of Brhaspati as given in the present treatise after the Vedas and the puranas is authentic and a welcome one. I should like to congratulate Mrs. Saraswati Bali for this scholarly contribution, which, I hope, will be warmly received and appreciated both by specialists and general readers alike who are interested in Vedic studies.



I was indeed fortunate to learn Sanskrit in my childhood from my respected grand-father, Pandit Lacchiram Saraswat, and my father Shri Bhairavadult Saraswat. I also got the opportunity of learning Sanskrit in my school days. During my undergraduate and post-graduate study at the University of Delhi I studied Sanskrit literature a bit more thoroughly. At this stage I got the opportunity of critically going through a good number of the suktas of the Rgveda Samhita. This study, in student life, created in my mind a new line of thought regarding the concept of the Indian mythology.

It was really an experience to get acquainted with the new concept of gods in the Rgveda which was materially different from the concept which had traditionally been working in my mind, or, for that matter, which traditionally works in the mind of any Indian student. The Rgvedic gods like Visnu, Rudra, Agni, Indra or Brhaspati etc. Did not at all appear to be the same as an Indian student is made to know them through the Pauranic legends and stories and through different religious festivals and ceremonies. On the other hand, they appeared to be quite different. Though containing myself in the limitations of an examine, I tried to study more about the Vedic gods and found that this field requires a thorough and detailed investigation.

This created in my mind a keen desire to study the character of Vedic gods and how their personality has developed through the ages. I, therefore, immediately availed of the first opportunity of studying Vedic mythology, when Dr. R.V. Joshi, Head of the Deptt. Of Sanskrit, University of Delhi, suggested me to work on ‘Brhaspati in the Vedas and the Puranas’ for the degree of Ph.D. The present book is a fulfilment of only a small part of a very expansive work on a thorough study of Vedic mythology which could be undertaken by a team of scholars.

There could be an opinion that the concept of Brhaspati is quite clear and thoroughly elaborated in the Puranas. There is no doubt that some of the features of Brhaspati are now well-known. He is the presiding deity of a planet; his astrological significance is quite clear; he is the preceptor of the heavenly beings; he is the Lord of wisdom and so on and so forth. As a matter of fact, all these epithets and characteristic peculiarities of Brhaspati, which are elaborated in the Puranas in detail, are so popular in the Indian tradition that the very name of Brhaspati immediately presses upon these of his qualities in our mind. The reality, on the other hand, is that Brhaspati did not immediately acquire all such epithets as described above as soon as his idea took birth in the enlightened mind of the Vedic seer. The Puranic peculiarities of Brhaspati silently and vaguely originated in the Rgveda Samhita gradually developed in the Brahmanas and were finally made precise and elaborate by the colourful authors of the vast Puranic literature. It is both interesting and informative, from the Indian mythological point of view, to witness Brhaspati evolving his personality in the ancient religious literature of India.

Before giving, a brief outline of my work, I would like to put forth very briefly the views expressed by some scholars about Brhaspati, Macdonell, Max Muller, Roth, Weber, Hillebradndt etc. Consider severally Brhaspati as an aspect of Agni, a direct impersonation of the power of devotion, a priestly abstraction of Indra, a lord of planets and a personification of moon. According to Ragozin, Brhaspati is called pathikrt, i.e. the path preparer or the bridge-maker.

The views expressed by the above-mentioned scholars, however, appear to be inconclusive and general. At the most, they collectivel cover only a few aspects of Brhaspati. There arises, therefore,

Item Code: NAI261
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 1978
Publisher: Nag Publisher
Language: English
Size: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Pages: 220
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 390 gms