HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Vasu"

Word

Vasu

Sanskrit

वसु

IAST

vasu

In General

Vasus are very prominent gods in Vedic literature.

Astavasus are eight Ganadevatas who always supports Indra. There are many stories in Purana regarding Vasus. Bhishma was an incarnation of the Vasu called Apa

Veda

They are the Maruts, the pure god in the midworld - RV (7.39.3); they are bright and cover the whole world. Vasu is used in most of the places as an adjective of Indra; Indra is Vasava. In some instances the word is used as adjective of other gods also.

In BrU, Yajnavalkya answers to the question of Sakalya thus: Vasu means “resident of”. All physical objects including our bodies are made of eight aspects – the effluences of the elements of the earth, water, wind, fire and space. These are held together in a lump so to speak by the three forces exerted by the sun, the moon and the stars. Hence, 8 vasus.

Purana

The Astavasus were born to Dharmadeva of his wife Vasu, a daughter of Daksa. They are : Dhara , Dhruva , Soma , Aha r, Anila , Anala , Pratyusa and Prabhasa (Slokas 17 - 18, Chapter 66, Adi Parva, MB ). There is another version in certain Puranas that the Astavasus are the sons of Kashyapa. Different Puranas spells Astavasus with different names. According to Visnu Purana they are : Apa, Dhruva, Soma, Dharma, Anila, Anala, Pratyusa and Prabhasa. In Bhagavata they are: Drona, Prana, Dhruva, Arka, Agni, Dosa, Vasu and Vibhavasu. In Harivarhsa they are : Akha, Dhara, Dhruva, Soma, Anila, Anala, Pratyusa and Prabhasa. This only indicates that some of these have two or more names for them

Once, while the Astavasus were enjoying a picnic with their wives they happened to visit the asrama of Vasistha. One of the wives got attracted to Nandini, Vasistha's beautiful cow and wanted it. To please his wife the husband Vasu took the cow by force and left the place. When the sage found his cow missing, he cursed the Astavasus saying that all of them would be born on earth as men. The Astavasus were greatly worried and approached the sage craving for pardon. The sage relaxed the curse and declared that their life on earth would be only for a very short duration, but Apa (also called Dyau) who committed the theft would have to live for a long time as a man. It was this Vasu, Apa (also called Dyau) who was born as Bhisma

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