Vishvakarma
Architect of the devas[1]
Vishvakarman, the architect of the universe.jpg
Depiction of Vishvakarma
AffiliationDeva
AbodeSvarga
MantraOm Vishwakarmane Namah
WeaponScale, Kamandalu, book, hammer and chisel
Mount
Personal information
ConsortGhritachi or Gayatri or three wives — Rati, Prapti and Nandi.
ChildrenSanjna, Vishvarupa, Barhismati, Chitrangada, Nala

Vishvakarma or Vishvakarman (Sanskrit: विश्वकर्मा, romanizedViśvakarmā, lit.'all maker') is a craftsman deity and the divine architect of the devas in contemporary Hinduism. In the early texts, the craftsman deity was known as Tvastar and the word "Vishvakarma" was originally used as an epithet for any powerful deity. However, in many later traditions, Vishvakarma became the name of the craftsman god.[2]

Vishvakarma crafted all of the chariots of the devas and weapons including the Vajra of the god Indra.[3] Vishvakarma was related to the sun god Surya through his daughter Samjna. According to the legend, when Samjna left her house due to Surya's energy, Vishvakarma reduced the energy and created various other weapons using it. Vishvakarma also built various cities like Lanka, Dvaraka, and Indraprastha.[2] According to the epic Ramayana, the vanara (forest-man or monkey) Nala was the son of Vishvakarma, created to aid the avatar Rama.

Literature and legends

Vedas

See also: Tvastar

The term Visvakarman was originally used as an epithet for any supreme god[4] and as an attribute of Indra and the Sun. The name Visvakarman occurs five times in the tenth book of the Rigveda. The two hymns of the Rigveda identify Visvakarman as all-seeing, and having eyes, faces, arms and feet on every side and also has wings. Brahma, the god of creation, who is four-faced and four-armed resembles him in these aspects. He is represented as being the source of all prosperity, swift in his thoughts and titled a seer, priest, and lord of speech.[5]

Cambodian idol of Vishvakarma
Cambodian idol of Vishvakarma

According to some parts of the Rigveda, Vishvakarma was the personification of ultimate reality, the abstract creative power inherent in deities, living and non-living being in this universe.[6] He is considered to be the fifth monotheistic God concept: He is both The Architect and The Divine Engineer of The Universe from before the advent of time.[7]

The later parts of the Rigveda reveals efforts to find a satisfactory answer to the mysteries regarding the origin of the universe, the creation hymns present in these parts of the Rigveda mention individual creator gods as opposed to the collection of gods and their chiefs (Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc.) creating the world.[8]

In the historical Vedic religion, the role of Vishvakarma as the builder of gods is attributed to Tvastar.[9] Vedic Vishvakarman is identified with Prajapati rather than Tvaṣṭṛ.[10][11] In later mythology, Vishvakarman is sometimes identified with Tvaṣṭṛ and is a craftsman deity.[12]

Iconography

Two different depictions of Vishvakarma

Vishvakarma's iconography varies drastically from one region to another, though all picture him with creation tools. In the most popular depiction, he is depicted as an aged and wise man, with four arms. He has white beard and is accompanied by his vahana, hamsa (goose or swan), which scholars believe that these suggest his association with the creator god Brahma. Usually, he is seated on a throne and his sons standing near him. This form of Vishvakarma is mainly found in the Western and North Western parts of India.[13]

Contradictory to the above account, the idols of Vishvakarma in the eastern parts of India depict him as a young muscular man. He has black moustache and is not accompanied by his sons. An elephant is his vahana, suggesting his association with Indra or Brihaspati.[13]

Family

Parentage of Vishvakarma differs in many other texts. In the Nirukta and Brahmanas he is stated to be the son of Bhuvana. In the Mahabharata and Harivansha, he is the son of Vasu Prabhāsa and Yoga-siddhā. In the Puranas, he is the son of Vāstu or sometimes, Brahma. Vishvakarma is the father of three daughters named Barhishmati, Samjna and Chitrangada, as well as five sons.[14] In Vamana Purana, Vishvakarma is presented as the husband of the celestial nymph Ghritachi.[10] When identified with Tvastar, Vishvakarma is also described to be the father of a son named Vishvarupa.[15]

Vishvakarma Puja

Vishvakarma Temple in Jinja, Uganda
Vishvakarma Temple in Jinja, Uganda
Vishvakarma Temple at Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Vishvakarma Temple at Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Vishvakarma Temple, Lohgarh, Zirakpur (Near Chandigarh)
Vishvakarma Temple, Lohgarh, Zirakpur (Near Chandigarh)

Among those who celebrate Vishwakarma's birthday, it is celebrated on two days under different names:

See also

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ "Vishvakarma, Viśhwakarmā, Viśhwakarma, Vishwakarman, Viśhwakarman, Vishwa-karman: 26 definitions". 19 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b Coulter, Charles Russell; Turner, Patricia (4 July 2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-96397-2.
  3. ^ Coomaraswamy (1979), p. 79.
  4. ^ "Vishvakarman | Hindu mythology". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  5. ^ Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1898). Vedic Mythology. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 41. ISBN 978-8-12081-113-3.
  6. ^ "Vishvakarman – Oxford Reference". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Sprochi, Amanda K. (2011). Melton, J. Gordon (ed.). Religious Celebrations: L-Z. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 908. ISBN 978-1-59884-205-0.
  8. ^ Dhavamony, Mariasusai (1982). Classical Hinduism. Gregorian Biblical BookShop. p. 48. ISBN 978-8-87652-482-0.
  9. ^ Coulter, Charles Russell; Turner, Patricia (4 July 2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. ISBN 9781135963972.
  10. ^ a b Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford University Press. p. 994.
  11. ^ Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1897). Vedic Mythology. Oxford University Press. p. 118.
  12. ^ Monier-Williams (1899) p. 994.
  13. ^ a b Jacobsen, Knut A.; Myrvold, Kristina (15 January 2019). Religion and Technology in India: Spaces, Practices and Authorities. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-20477-4.
  14. ^ The Sacred Scriptures of India. Anmol Publications. 2009. ISBN 978-81-261-3630-8.
  15. ^ Debroy, Bibek; Debroy, Dipavali (2002). The Holy Puranas. B.R. Publishing Corporation. ISBN 978-81-7646-299-0.
  16. ^ "Vishwakarma Puja in Hindu Calendar".
  17. ^ Achary, Subramanian Matathinkal (1995).

Further reading