Brihaspati (Lord of Prayer) is the divine priest in the VEDAS who sanctifies human rites. Later he became priest of the gods, while Shukracharya became priest for the ASURAS. He is also known as Brahmanaspati, to whom several individual hymns are addressed in the RIG VEDA.
   In some myths Brihaspati is a RISHI, the son of the Rishi ANGIRAS. His wife is carried off by the Moon (SOMA), but is restored to him after a war. She later bore a son, Budha (Mercury), who was claimed by both her husband and the Moon. Still later Brihaspati became identified with the planet Jupiter, which is considered to be auspicious. Iconographically, Brihaspati holds a sacrificial pitcher and a rosary whose beads are from the rudraksha plant.
   Further reading: Saraswati Bali, Brhaspati in the Vedas and the Puranas (Delhi: Nag, 1978); Ralph T. Griffith, trans., Hinduism: The Rig Veda (New York: Book-of-the-Month Club, 1992).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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