While I have written a lot about Shani Rahu and Ketu, people have often asked me which planet I think is the most underrated, and my answer as invariably been Shukra. People are often shocked to hear this, and many say in confused tone “But Shukra is a very soft planet”. I smile and often ask “Shukra is the best friend of Shani and the preceptor of Rahu, how soft do you think he can be?”
Western astrology has done great disservice to Shukra, portraying the planet as “Venus – The Goddess of Love” who rules beauty, love, sex, art and all good things in life. While there is some truth to this approach, it is terribly incomplete. This shows only one side of this super-complicated planet which has multiple personalities.
As per Indian astrology, this “love and beauty” is just a small part of Venus, in its entirety, Shukra has a deeper, darker, smarter side, he is “Rakshas Guru Shukracharya”, the brilliant, shrewd, and scheming preceptor of Rakshasas or demons.
I must add that the Asuras/Rakshasas or “demon” in Hindu mythology are not necessarily “evil demons of hell” as in the case of Abrahamic religions. They have their own positives and have given some great souls like Prahalad and Bali, so, by no means should Shukra be imagined an “ally of Satan” or demons from hell in the Biblical sense. In fact if you would know his story, he comes across as the champion of the underdogs.
SHUKRA: THE CHAMPION OF UNDERDOGS
I firmly believe that in order to understand astrology, one must read mythology. Shukra has the most complicated and colourful mythology associated with it, than any other planet.
As per Hindu mythology, Devas (demi-gods) and Rakshasa (demons) are in perpetual conflict. Devas are softer, kinder, and smarter beings, while Rakshasas are the “tough guys” who are powerful and hardworking, but can be cruel and brutish, and often lack intelligence.
Vishnu, the God responsible for well-being of alls creatures, often made sure that the Rakshasas were continuously subdued by the Devas. The Rakshasas were invariably denied their rightful victories due to stratagems of Vishnu. Thus the Rakshasas were perpetual underdogs in the clash. The Rakshasas struggled without any guidance or hope, until one of their girls decided to do something about it.
Poluma, a lady of the Rakshasa clan, was married to celestial Rishi Bhrigu, and was distressed by seeing her people being subdued by the Devas again and again. She pined to give birth to a boy who would guide her people to victory in the ever raging conflict. She did have four sons but they were more “Sattvic” like their father. They simply lacked the inclination and instinct required for the herculean task.
What Poluma wanted, was a son with razor sharp intellect and “Rajasic” qualities who would not only enjoy getting into power struggles but would be smart enough to outwit the devas. Her husband finally gave in to her requests and she was blessed with a dynamic and brilliant son named Usana.
Upon completion of his education, Usana was appointed the preceptor or Guru of the Rakshasas by their king Vrishparva. While the Deva King Indra appointed Brahispati (Jupiter) as preceptor of Devas, thus the great rivalry of the two geniuses started. The rivalry runs deep and it still continues. I have seen Shukra give mixed results mostly in cases of Jupiter ruled ascendants, Sagittarius and Pisces, similarly Jupiter can be complicated to children of Shukra, Libra and Taurus ascendants, however, Jupiter doesn’t hit that hard.
I must add that on most occasions, Jupiter was outsmarted by Shukra. Shukra led the underdog Rakshasas to victory again and again, despite the odds being against them. On most occasions, Vishnu Himself had to get involved in order to undo the damage done by Shukra.
SMARTEST OF ALL PLANETS: In my view, Shukra is the SMARTEST PLANET. Yes I just said that.
Mercury is usually “book smart”, someone who knows the concepts, is good at communication and calculation, but can be clueless when it comes to things like romance, art, love and diplomacy.
Another brilliant planet Jupiter, is intelligent, philosophical and spiritual but “impractical”. Jupiter can be too blunt, straightforward, self-sacrificing and biggest problem is that he swings from one extreme to the other and often realizes that he has crossed boundaries when he is out by a couple of miles.
Shukra is a master of both the spiritual and the mundane. He has a fine balance of both (remember, Libra, the sign of balance is ruled by Shukra). Shukra is a master of arts, philosophy, alchemy, psychology, intelligence, and most of all, diplomacy. While most politicians have a strong Rahu, most diplomats have a strong Shukra.
“Charm offensive” is often the weapon of choice for Shukra people. They are mostly good looking, diplomatic and charming. Remember one of the definitions of charm is the ability to “insult without offending”. Their sharp mind is smartly hidden behind the soft Shukra veil and people don’t mind being manipulated by them, in fact, they often volunteer for that. Only Shukra can tell the other person to go to hell in a way that he looks forward to the trip.
Many people associate laziness with Shukra, which is partially right, however, remember Shukra believes in “smart work”. Physical exertion is not his domain, he uses his intelligence, intellectual prowess, and charm to ensure others do it for him. Remember he has an army of hard working Rakshasas at his command, however, they are not an easy bunch to deal with.
I hold Shukra in higher esteem than Jupiter because Shukra had to work with Rakshasas who, were mostly dim-witted, quick to anger, and passionate beyond reason. Jupiter would have lost his mind dealing with this bunch. However, Shukra not only managed them wisely but often led these underdogs to victory against the smarter side of devas being guided by the wise Jupiter. As mentioned earlier, Lord Vishnu Himself had to repeatedly get involved in order to protect the devas from stratagems of Shukra.
There are stories after stories of Shukra using his genius to outsmart the devas.
Adventures of a “soft” planet: Here a small list of feats of this “soft” planet, which shows how “hard” he plays:
- Shukra charmed Kubera into giving his entire wealth to the Rakshasas.
- Shukra ensured Rakshasa King Bali got the kingdom of Swarga by routing Indira. (Vishnu in His Vaman avatar got the kingdom back for Devas but not before Shukra put up a stiff resistance and lost one eye in the process).
- Shukra brought Devas and Rakshashas to an all-out war by supporting Chandra, the Moon God against Jupiter. Moon had eloped with Tara, the wife of Jupiter, and as a result was hunted by Indra and the Devas. Shukra, sensing the opportunity, offered his protection to Moon, pitting mighty Rakshasa army against Deva army. Lord Brahama had to intercede in order to avoid this destructive war.
- Shukra managed to learn “Mrit Sanjivani” the art of resurrecting the dead, from Lord Shiva.
- Shukra used this ability to revive the dead (Mrit Sanjivani) to advantage of Rakshasas in a war leading to almost annihilation of the Devas. To counter this, Shiva Himself had to get involved, Shiva had to swallow Shukra in order to keep him out of this war. Shukra managed to come out of Shiva’s body with His semen and was blessed as Shiva’s son and hence got the name “Shukra”.
No other planet has so many interesting stories, showing various shades of grey. So I hope so far, I have made it clear that Shukra is much, much more than what we usually think of him.
The Bad Press And the Evil Twin:
Next to the certified “Bad Boys” Shani, Rahu and Ketu, Shukra is one planet that gets most bad press. While his intellectual and spiritual side is usually underplayed, his sexual and pleasure-loving side are over hyped.
The moment we say “Venus” the image that comes to mind is often of movie stars, scantily clad fashion models, alcohol and drug fuelled parties, and other such debaucheries.
News flash: All this is mostly Rahu and very little Shukra. Film and fashion industries are so full of mediocre minds, selfish interests, politics, and manipulations, that would be apt to put them under the domain of Rahu, with only a dash of Shukra.
Pro Tip: Rahu follows Shukra and wants to get involved in the domains of his guru. Rahu loves to play the “evil twin” to Shukra, and often does it successfully. Shukra does represent luxury, but more of a healthy kind and in optimum quantity. Shukra’s mundane side, once taken beyond a limit, would open the doors for Rahu. A glass of juice can turn into alcohol with little chemical reactions. Physical union between two lovers is Shukra, mindless sexuality and indulgence is Rahu’s domain. Healthy entertainment is Shukra, (e.g. a rare good movie with a sensible message), while Rahu loves to portray sex, violence, and debauchery, which is the mainstay of most movies today. Hope you get the “picture”. I would request the reader to remember to differentiate Rahu influence from Shukra influence. Shukra you should enjoy, Rahu you should stay away from.
The Spiritual Master: Shukra’s spiritual side is usually ignored by most people. However, this is where Shukra opens his real treasures. I have seen this side of Shukra being very prominent especially in the signs of altruistic Aquarius and most of all in the mystical Pisces, where he is exalted. Contrary to popular belief, an exalted Venus is often focused more on the bliss of the spiritual side of life, than mundane joys of the physical world. For most people with an exalted Venus, spirituality is a very important part of life. I have seen an exalted Venus often in the charts of many Sanyasis and Saints, e.g. Rama Krishna Paramhansa.
Thank God – Shukra Hai: In many cultures, the word “Shukra” is associated with thanks. In Hindi, Punjabi the word “Shukra Hai” is used to thank God for good things in life. In Arabic, the word “Shukran” is used for thanking a person. No wonder because Shukra is the planet that rules all good things in life. Shukra is one planet that knows how the enjoy the world, as well as how to get the bliss of spirituality, and in my eyes, that is the peak of wisdom and balance, both things Shukra. Thank God for Shukra.
Hope this article brings better understanding about the overlooked abilities and aspects of the most underrated all planets.
May the Divine Shukra bless us all.
G. Vijay Kumar
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