Jupiter’s pundit was a big, benign, jovial man whose wisdom was as recondite as his good judgement. While the recent Jupiter- directed contumely may have stung him, he seemed unruffled as he began to speak: “One fundamental reason that Jupiter’s greatness is more astonishing than that of Mercury is that Mercury is two-faced. A true politician, Mercury becomes auspicious when he conjoins with auspicious planets, and when he joins with malefic planets he himself becomes malefic.
Jupiter is far superior, for he is the greatest benefic among the Nine Planets, and only under unusual circumstances does he temporarily display malefic traits. Indra and all the other celestials are obedient to his command, respect him as their preceptor and mentor, and follow his counsel. Those who worship Jupiter regularly and sincerely lose their worldly miseries and achieve all their cherished desires. Jupiter is truly worthy of worship, for he is particularly merciful, and his wisdom is extraordinarily profound.
“Jupiter has a big-bellied body with a broad, prominent chest and a voice like a lion’s. His body, hair and eyes are of a tawny hue that shines like pure gold. Predominantly Kapha in constitution and fond of sweets, he wears yellow clothes and yellow flowers. The Brahmana Jupiter knows the Vedas and is expert in all forms of knowledge. He possesses all virtues and is modest, forgiving, and happy. His mind and senses are disciplined and his intellect subtle. Attached to ritual, he follows the path of righteousness. His metal is gold and his gem topaz.
“Lord of the body’s fat, of the northeast, of Thursday, and of the constellations Sagittarius and Pisces, Jupiter is known as Lord of Worship and the Guru. He is called Teacher of the Immortals, the Soul, the Advisor, the Lord of Speech, the Golden, the Creator, the Irresistible, He Who Wears Yellow, the Young, Worthy of Worship Throughout the World, the Compassionate, Creator of Polity, Remover of Oppression, and the Peaceable.
“Jupiter’s father was Angiras, the son of Brahma. Brahma once grew passionate at the sight of some apsaras and lost his seed. He put that semen into fire, and from that fire Marichi, Bhrigu, Angiras and other Rishis were born. Angiras was so called because he was born out of live coals (angara). It was the curse of this Angiras that caused the birth of the mighty Hanuman. Eight sons including Jupiter were born to Angiras by his wife, Shraddha. Some call Jupiter the son of the Fire God, in the sense that Angiras is an incarnation of Fire.
“Jupiter’s difficult penances earned him his place as guru to the gods, and from this position he focused all his energies on advancing the cause of the celestials by thwarting the designs of the asuras. Once Venus, the guru of the asuras, went to the Himalaya to ritually worship Lord Shiva for one thousand years that he might obtain a method by which to destroy the devas. While Venus was busy with his penance, Indra sent his daughter Jayanti to obtain this method by deceit. She stayed for many years with Venus as his disciple and servant until he obtained the spell. Then, when he was about to return to the asuras, Jayanti accepted him as her husband. Because of his long-standing ‘familiarity’ with her, he could not refuse “her request. He therefore agreed to be her husband for ten years, during which period both of them would be invisible to the world.
“Jupiter decided to make best use of this opportunity. Disguising himself as Venus he went to the asuras, who gave him a loving, sincere welcome after his supposed long penance. Jupiter settled in there, and during the ten years that he taught the asuras, he succeeded in removing hatred and factionalism from them.
“At the end of these ten years, Venus sent Jayanti away and returned home. When the asuras saw two Venuses, they were stupefied, and in their confusion they declared that the real Venus was the one who had been teaching them for the past years. The real Venus, dismayed at their ingratitude, left indignant, cursing them that they would soon be destroyed. Shortly thereafter Jupiter resumed his real form and returned to heaven. The asuras, now like sheep without a shepherd, approached Venus again and begged his pardon. Eventually he relented and again became their guru, but his curse had its effect, and for many an age the asuras were too weak to threaten the gods.
“On another occasion the tables were turned, and it was Indra who failed to give the proper respect to Jupiter. Insulted, Jupiter stalked out of Indra’s court and couldn’t be traced. When he came to know of this debacle, Venus quickly incited the asuras to attack, and the gods, severely wounded all over their bodies, humbly took shelter at the Creator’s feet. Brahma told them, The asuras were weak when they rejected their guru Venus. Now that they have propitiated him they are again powerful and wealthy. You dare not try to confront them without a guru. You must get Vishvarupa to do your work.’
“Vishvarupa was the son of the celestial architect Tvashtri and his wife Rachana, who was an asura. Vishvarupa had three heads— one each for Soma, liquor, and food. Because his mother was an asura he secretly made offerings for the prosperity of the asuras, using the head which drank liquor. When Indra discovered this, he impulsively cut off all three heads, which became birds.
“Because Vishvarupa had been his guru, Indra was guilty of the terrible sin of guru-murder. One of the effects of this evil karma was to incite Tvashtri, Vishvarupa’s grief-stricken father, to create the gargantuan demon Vritra. Tvashtri ordered Vritra to revenge Vishvarupa’s death, and only with the greatest difficulty did Indra succeed at killing Vritra. Since Vritra was the son of a Seer, his death was yet another evil karma, which required Indra to perform yet further penances while spending one thousand years caged within the fiber inside a lotus stalk blooming in a remote pond. When after all these misadventures Indra finally succeeded in placating Jupiter, and welcomed him back to his place as the gods’ guru, Indras star again rose, and he gained ascendancy over his enemies.
“Why dilate any further on the subject? No other planet can compare to Jupiter. I make my obeisance,” the pundit concluded, “to that Jupiter, who when properly propitiated destroys all your enemies, but who if disdained destroys all your prosperity,”