Everyone expected Venus’ refined, sophisticated, sociable pundit, whose turn came next, to respond to the slurs made against his chosen planet. He did so, in a Venusian manner: easy-going, accommodating, and friendly Venusians love harmony, so this authority made his elegant ripostes gently, not aggressively.
“Jupiter is a potent planet,” he began, “of this there is no doubt; but Venus has a talent that not even Jupiter possesses: he can raise the dead, with the help of the Sanjivini Vidya. This is why Venus is the mightiest of all the planets. He is the guru of the asuras, who serve him night and day because he uses the Sanjivini Vidya to resuscitate those of them who fall in their battles with the gods. Venus’s capabilities are simply indescribable in full. He is acclaimed in all the three worlds because his power is astounding and his heroism unparalleled. Obeisance to Venus causes all obstacles, all worries, and all diseases that surround a person to flee far away, for Venus pulverizes negative karmas.
He is immensely astute, and, a true Brahmana, he is an expert in every form of learning. All who worship him achieve their most cherished desires, and those who observe his night-vow for one year become happy and vigorous, obtain children and good fortune, lose all obstacles, and go to Venus’s realm after death. “The fortunate, charming Venus has a medium-sized well-nourished body, long hands, prominent shoulders, a broad chest, and dark, short, curly hair. Overflowing with virility, he is intelligent, handsome, and sensuous. His constitution is Kapha-Vata, and his color resembles that of snow, or the white jasmine flower, or the fragrant white oleander, or the lotus stem. Fond of juicy things, of music, and of femininity, his metal is silver and diamond his gem. Even though Lord Venus himself has but one eye, he is the significator of eyes in a horoscope, and a Venus who is prominent in a birth chart gives beautiful eyes.
“Lord of semen and ova, of the southeast, of Friday, and of Libra and Taurus, Venus is known by such names as Ushanas, the Brilliant, the Poet, the White, the Pure, He Who Has Reached the Far Shore of the Vedas and Vedangas, Possessor of Great Intelligence, the Knower of Politics, and the Asura-Guru. Venus is the son of the Rishi Bhrigu by his wife Puloma. Bhrigu Rishi was, like Angiras Rishi, born directly from Brahma’s semen, which means that Venus and Jupiter, those two implacable adversaries, are first cousins.
“Once Bhrigu was performing intense penance on the Mandara mountain, and Venus, who was then a boy, used to tend to his father’s needs. It so happened that one day, when Bhrigu was absorbed in a deep meditative trance and the lonely Venus was appreciating the beauty of the sky above him, the exceptionally beautiful Apsaras Vishvachi swam into his ken. Seeing her so filled the boy’s heart with delight that he sat stock still, absorbed in her bewitching charm, and all his thoughts became centered on her. In order to distract his attention from her, his mind followed Indra to Indra’s world, where he was received with honor, but as he was . sightseeing in heaven he unexpectedly came across the apsaras whose beauty had drawn his mind there in the first place.
“They fell in love at first sight of each other, and to fulfill his desire Venus created a hut from thick foliage in a small corner of heaven, which he then enveloped in darkness. That couple thereupon indulged in lovemaking in their bower for eight cycles of the Four Ages. Then, when Venus’s good karmas had finally been used up, he fell from heaven down to the Moon, whence his soul reached the earth through rain that fell on a rice-paddy. Entering the semen of a Brahmana who ate that rice, and then entering the womb of that Brahmana’s wife via his semen, Venus was reborn in that Brahmana family.
“He then led an austere life on Mount Mem for as long as the life of the Progenitor of that epoch, until his path again crossed that of Vishvachi, who had been cursed to live there as a female deer. He fell in love with the deer and mated with her; the result was a human child, who distracted his mind from his meditation. The Brahmana who had been Venus died of snake bite not long after, and then, reborn as prince of Madra, ruled that country for many years. Afterwards he took many other births, including one as a bamboo forest and another as a python, until at last he was born as the son of a Seer living on the banks of the river Ganga.
“His original body, meanwhile, had long ago dropped to the earth after extended exposure to wind, rain and sun, but the power of Bhrigu’s penance prevented it from decaying or being eaten. After one thousand divine years, Bhrigu opened his eyes to find not his living son but a famished, worn-out body lying nearby. Small birds nested in the wrinkles of the skin, and frogs had taken refuge in the hollow of the stomach. In his fury over his son’s premature death, he was about to curse Yama, the god of death, when Yama appeared before him and said, ‘Please do not waste your accumulated spiritual power by cursing me. All created beings are my food; I have already devoured innumerable universes. Besides, your son fell into this state because of his own actions,’ which he then recounted to the distraught father. Yama ending by saying, ‘He is now performing penance on the banks of the river Ganga; open your inner eye and see for yourself!’
“Yama then revived the body of Venus, who rose up and did obeisance to his father. Bhrigu thereupon taught the boy his past lives.and showed him the road to spiritual success. Venus set out on this road to gain the favor of Lord Shiva, but even after worshipping Him for five thousand years he had achieved no result. He then determined to live solely on smoke for one thousand years more, until Shiva appeared to him. Lord Shiva did finally appear and blessed Venus that he would eventually become His son.
“Shiva also taught Venus the Sanjivini Vidya, which is otherwise known only to Shiva, His wife Parvati, and Their two sons Ganesha and Skanda. In addition, Shiva named Venus the best of the planets and told him that his rise in the sky would inaugurate the performance of all auspicious rituals. It is for this reason that marriages are performed only when Venus is rising in the sky. Venus himself has enjoyed several wives and has been blessed with daughters and sons.
“Venus became Lord Shiva’s son in this way: Parvati once playfully covered Shiva’s eyes, which plunged the universe into immediate darkness. Hurriedly freeing those eyes, Parvati returned light to the cosmos and saw before her a young boy. When She asked Her husband whence the child had come, He replied laughingly, ‘You created him by creating darkness, 0 Goddess. He is your son. Let us call him Andhaka (‘Darkness’).’ Because Parvati refused to accept the child, Lord Shiva presented Andhaka to the asura Hiranyaksha as an adopted son, and the boy rapidly grew into a stalwart demon who harried the gods mercilessly. When, during a war with the devas, the army of this Andhaka was annihilated by the overwhelming power of the celestial army, he fled from the field of battle and took refuge with his preceptor, Venus, who reassured him and revived the asura hosts.
“Angered at this tactic, Lord Shiva captured Venus and swallowed him, and while he was thus trapped inside Lord Shiva, the fortunes of war turned decidedly against the asuras. Venus wandered about in Lord Shiva’s body for one hundred celestial years. Inside Shiva’s belly he saw all the various universes, all the devas and the asuras, and even the war. Eventually, finding no other way to exit, he emerged through Shiva’s penis and then paid obeisance without delay to that great god. Very impressed by this feat, Shiva named him Shukra (which can mean white,’ ‘the planet Venus,’ and ‘semen’) and acknowledged him as His son, thus fulfilling His promise. It is to this Venus, the son of Shiva, the planet who possesses the Sanjivini Vidya, that I bow.”