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Love’s Story in Puranas

By: Borzou Ghaderi

Purana: puranas are folk encyclopedias, which include myths, stories and battle stories, that keep vedas’ wisdom in a mythological, and symbolic language. Literally purana means old and ancient and this ancient story is about the beginning, even beginning of Gods and Kings, beginning of Universe or beginning of love and hate. Also, in shastras it is told that purana reveals beginning of every story (Pura api navam puranam).

Origin of these tales and stories goes to era before vedas[1] or early vedas, when storytellers (Sutas) passed down the stories by word of mouth. It seems at the beginning these texts were ….. . But Gradually brahman families became specialist in chanting these texts. Today we don’t know the volume of original puranas and that how much has been saved. It seems these texts where used out of orthodox brahmin fields.

Gradually brahmin noble families became expert in some puranas. We don’t know how many puranas we had and how many we saved. Vyasa, who collected Vedas, collected Purāna J Samhita[2] and gave it to his disciple, Romaharshana. Romaharshana divided text to different parts and gave each part to one of his disciples, Kashyapa, Sāvarni and Shāmsapāyana. Today we have 18 main puranas[3] and 18 secondary puranas and there are tales which is common between monks and spiritual tradition which seem to be ancient and valuable. It is valuable if we try to collect these tales among different traditions. Fortunately, Indian government and UNESCO published series of ancient tales in 100 volumes in Motilal Banarsidass company.

I will tell you 2 tales from purana literature which can help us to understand love’s secret. As both tale are related to Venus, which is symbol of love, I will introduce importance of Venus at first.


Venus is symbol of love, art and fortune. It is called Shukra in Sanskrit literature which means shining and stands for attractiveness. During my research I have found 2 impactful tales about Venus among Indian old tales which I think can clarify deep and sophisticated experience called love. We know that some people never experience love and loving but the way love penetrates somebody’s heart is a mystery which less discussed.

We have heard a lot about love and its ultimate situation but less about why and how it manifests! Sofis believe love is an elixir which can transcend mankind to ultimate state of being but how rays of love raise in heart requires comprehensive study. The tales which I am going to tell will help you to understand root and meaning of love.

First Tale

This tale happened in Brigo lineage. Based on myths Brigo people lived in southern part of India, near ocean. Symbolically, south means a region which is dedicated to ordinary mundane life and helps to materialize emotional facts. Rishi Poushan, sun of Brigo, decides to perform severe austerities to receive blessing from Shiva so for 5000 years meditates and worships Shiva in front of a Shiva Lingam[4].

Rishi Poushan intensified his practices every 1000 years. But after 5000 years there were no blessing. He had two choices: accept failure and stop practices or continue his attempts to finally receive Shiva’s blessings. He decides to continue as long as he is alive. After 1000 years Shiva manifested from Shiva Lingam. She was like sun with infinite rays of light and admired his patience, effort and concentration.

Shiva told Poushan: “I will give you any blessing you want, just name it”. He replied: “I want nothing other than you. I want to accompany you”. Shiva accepted his request and initiated him. she told him: “I will make you prosperous that no happy event take place without your presence[5]. I will not allow any auspicious travel without you[6]. Nanda days (1st, 6th and 11th days of lunar month) will be auspicious only when you are shining on the sky[7].

Also, Shiva accepted Poushan as her child due to intensity of practices and austerities of Poushan. Shiva made him eternal as Venus on the sky. Shiva told him: “as long as you are on the sky no one will notice any other star, except sun. I will give a knowledge which no one else knows and you will be superior to other gods and demons”. This knowledge is called Mritiya Sanjivini in Vedas.

Amrit means eternal and mritiya means temporary, something which is subject to death. Jivini derives from Jiva which means life and sama means to unit. So Mritiya Sanjivini means giving life to a dead body. Shiva gave the power to him and made him able to give life to dead bodies.

This Purana ends here. Shiva as symbol of existence and consciousness gave a great blessing to Poushan, in fact Venus. This tale shows how Poushan raised to be Venus. 

Decrypt the tale

Based on vedic mythology Indrani is deity of Venus. Indra was not as powerful as Shiva, Vishnu and Brahman and mostly symbolizes seeker part of human psyche which can make mistakes. Reason why in late vedas Indra is a drunk and bothered deity which projects collective consciousness in Kali era. Indra lost his credit due to this situation. But deity of Venus is Indrani, spouse of Indra. On the other hand, Venus is symbol of fortune and joy. So, we have search Brigo tradition for roots of this fortune and joy because brigo people lived in south and seek god’s will in mundane life.

Poushan practiced for 5000 years. 5 is symbol of love, creativity, reproduction and children in Vedic numerology. But why 5 symbolizes these concepts?

We have to notice ancient cosmology and other sciences in order to have better perception of ancient tales. Whole universe is made of 5 fundamental elements: earth, water, fire, wind and ether. First millennium of Poushan’s practice was related to earth[8]. Second milleniun was related to water, third to fire, fourth to wind and fifth one to ether. So, 5 symbols of love and beauty create first definition of beauty, balance between fundamental elements.

We feel hungry many times a day so we experience fire energy. We experience sleep every day so we experience earth energy every day. So, all the elements manifest every day in our mind, feelings and thoughts. We may experience wind energy very day when your mind distracts during reading a book but we don’t fall in love every day. Love is not result of excitation of an energy. Every element dominates us for few hours a day but earth dominates more than other elements so our world is called world of earth. Water, fire, wind and ether are most dominant elements after earth. Poushan couldn’t find love in earth or ether but after purification of all elements when he was in silence and ether dominated him, Shiva manifested from Shiva Lingam.

Based on ancient Indian philosophy earth symbolizes security and dependency to fundamentals of life like family. Water symbolizes fortune and happiness and dependency to joy of life. Fire symbolizes thinking, mentality and power of transmutation. In fact, thinking is a kind of transmutation to a new idea. So, depending on thinking and mentality is related to fire element. Wind symbolizes movement and ability to move among life’s facilities is a kind of dependency of “I” on wind element. Every human being depends on many subjects but lover focuses dependency on one subject. The man who felt secure in family after becoming a lover can fight with family because of love. The man who seek fortune after becoming a lover is ready to leave everything for love.  There is no place for reasoning and logic in the world of love. Existence, in macrocosms or microcosmos, is result of interaction between elements. These elements create dependency on worldly subjects, joy, thinking, movement and time. How the one who depends on money and logic can reach freedom and fluidity of a lover who is ready to leave everything for love. Without leaving there will be no love in the heart. Love always comes with fair dealing and forgiving and Sufis respect it because true lover completely neglects himself, prefers beloved to himself and sacrifice everything for beloved. Sufis through austerity and worshiping try to sacrifice themselves but this will take many years whereas true lover burns in fire of love all of a sudden. Now we can categorize ego based on different aspects of 5 elements. The man who has a pure heart and none of elements affected his heart has potential for love. In fact, balance between elements enables the man to experience love.

Venus is equal to 6 in vedic numerology. If 5 shows purification why it is not venus’s number? Number 5 shows balance between elements which results in beauty and potential for love. Also, number 5 is called lover but being true lover is not enough for love. Love is a dual phenomenon. Beside prakriti we need shiva to manifest. So, after 5000 years of purification shiva didn’t manifest and Poushan spent 1000 years more to receive shiva’s attention. Prakriti purified and then shiva manifested. All elements are in balance so shiva can manifest completely.

Venus decides a movement or journey is auspicious or inauspicious. Shiva symbolizes inertia. Energy sways and consciousness is aware of it outside or is quiet inside. So, we have 2 aspects, Purusha and Prakriti or Shiva and Shakti. If the motion results in happiness it is directed by shukra and if results in misery is not directed by shukra. Based on vedic philosophy we are in motion all the time. We are in motion among family, job, thoughts and so on. It is not important how many talents we have, important note is that some of them blessed us and some not. Based on vedic mythology if we receive any blessing it is from shukra and if we don’t, it is shukra who didn’t bless us. Our life is affected by shukra, happy or unhappy. Happiness and misery both are under control of shukra.

Shive gave Mritiya Sanjivini to venus. When you lose your wishes and dreams you will go inward but finally you will come out to the society and this cycle goes on. This is the meaning of Mritiya Sanjivini. The life is meaningless Without venus and when venus rises again life will flow in our being. In other words, power of Mritiya Sanjivini shows kind of passion in life which encourages our movement in life.

Second Tale

In this tale Adhak, god of demons which possibly is same as zahhak in avesta, starts a great war with gods. The war extends to 3 territories[9]: mundane world, dreams and emotions world and unconscious world. Adhak extends his war to all 3 territories. Miseries not only happen in outer world but also our dreams may be not good ones. Even logical ideas may become ridicules and approve other improper ideas. The tale happens in a time which can be similar to our era! The war between gods and demons extends to all 3 worlds. Adhak was successful and destroyed many gods till he faced with Shiva. Mankind insists on evil doing and don’t tolerate any disagreement. But finally, the only thing exists is personal consciousness. Shiva is symbol of pure consciousness. Adhak goes on till this moment but when faces with shiva, Mritiya Sanjivini, everything becomes upside down. It seems mankind is ashamed and regretful in front of his conscience. Now shiva starts to kill demons. When the number of demons reduced adhak went to his master shukracharya. Adhak told him: “I want you to give life to demons again otherwise I will lose control over my territories”. Shukra asked shiva to let him give life to demons. Shiva gave him permission; demons became alive again and war continued. This cycle happens again and again till finally shiva swallowed shukra because he was in front of shiva in battlefield and every time asked her permission to give life to dead demons. So, shukra placed in shiva’s stomach.

Shukra was happy because of new seat and started to worship shiva and told her that wishes to do this for 100 years in her stomach. Shiva allows him to do so. After 100 years told her that wishes to do this all over her body. Shiva allows him to do so. After some time told her that wishes to leave her body. With this request shiva released him in the form of semen and that is why semen called shukra in Sanskrit literature.


War between adhak and gods is war always happens inside our being. When not only we are not balanced with our environment but also our dreams and art become absurd, when even in our deep mind we lose mental delicacy means adhak is ruling us and when we find ourselves again shiva dominates. In this case we will be purified gradually.

If we are doing things that reduce our delicacy, we are in a vicious cycle and after a while we don’t feel good. Shukra comes again and give life to some dead subjects. Shukra creates another cycle with other wishes. Wishes which belong to outside world so they are mortal and won’t give us anything.

Shiva swallows shukra. Shiva is symbol of consciousness, swallowing shukra by shiva means to observe life consciously. In the mythology of planets 2 planets entitled as Acharya, Jupiter is called Gurucharya and Venus is called shukracharya. Acharya means the one who percepts. Jupiter is the planet of law and ethics and Venus is the planet of joy and fortune. Jupiter observes inside and nature’s laws but venus observes outside and nature’s blessings. This is why conjunction of these planets is a great time for wedding, which means connection between earth and heaven or the life which has blessings of mundane world and eternal world. When shiva swallows shukra again we see symbol of this conjunction. Observing and becoming aware of mundane life can cause balance in life or recreation of mundane life based on fundamental laws of nature and this is the beginning of creation or shows conditions which lead to having an spiritual child[10].

Note that peak of passion and sensuality in our sexual instinct releases shukra from shiva as highest limit of purity and this is ultimate awareness in mundane life.

[1] Atharva Veda (11/7/24)

[2] Vishnu Purana 3/6

[3] Maha purana

[4] Lingam is the most important symbol of shiva which nowadays we know it is male sex organ but in fact, it means power of fertility.

[5] According to astrological rules any auspicious event like wedding or ceremonies shall be held when Venus has auspicious position on the sky.

[6] There are many astrological rules which signify a peaceful travel and all of them depend on Venus. For instance, if Venus rises before sun in the chart then travelling to the east will be inauspicious. If Venus rises after sun then travelling to the west will be inauspicious. This rule is called samuka shukra in muhurta science.

[7] Based on myths these days assigned to Venus. If Venus is in good position in the sky then these days will be auspicious and will have blessings for us.

[8] Number 1000 has a history in Hindu culture. In tantra tradition lotus at the top of head, which is symbol of man’s perfection has 1000 petals.

[9][9] Rig Veda 51/5-6, also Mandukya Upanishad

[10] To understand importance of birth of a spiritual child you can refer to: The Secret of the Golden Flower; A Chinese book of life, by Jung, Carl Gustav