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Freeindia > Biographies > Sages, Rushis And Saints > Visvakarma

Vishvakarma, the foremost expert in the science of architecture and art of craftsmanship of the Universe, is credited with the construction of numerous grand cities in the world of gods ( Devaloka ) and that of human beings. He is said to be the maker of the Sudarsana Cakra of Vishnu, Trisula ( trident ) of Shiva, Vajra of Indra and also that of the chariot ( Ratha ) of Rudra for the burning ( destruction ) of the Tripura. Rishi Kashyapa himself consecrated him through sprinkling holy water on him and by applying tilaka ( auspicious mark ) on his forehead. An authority of all arts, Vishvakarma's mother was Mahasati Yogasiddha, the daughter of a Vasu named Prabhasa. Vishvakarma had two sons named Visvarupa and Vrja. Hindu craftsmen, in order to make progress in their art, celebrate Visvakarma Jayanti ( birth anniversary day ) when Sun moves into the Kanya Rasi ( Virgo ) from the Simha Rasi ( Leo ) every year and worship the implements of their work and do not make their use that day.

Legends claim that it was Vishwakarma, also know as Devashilpi, who crafted the entire universe and that is why he is regarded as the supreme worker, the very essence of excellence and quality in raftsmanship. He revealed the sciences of industry to man and is the patron deity of all those who are engaged in productive enterprises.

Vishwakarma’s mother was Brihaspati’s sister, Yogasiddha, and his father was Prabhas, the eighth hermit of the legendary Astam Basu. The Rig Veda describes Vishwakarma as the god with multi-dimensional vision and supreme strength. He is able to predict well in advance in which direction his creation will move. He can look into the future and steel himself against disaster that may come his way.

The universe that Vishwakarma created was a spectacular sight. The sky was flushed to a deep crimson by the goddess of dawn, Usha. A thousand lotuses bloomed at once and a thousand suns burst into glory. There was great beauty everywhere.

With diligent care, Vishwakarma floated a million planets and gave each of them a specific time span to reach their destination. Only one little star stood apart and watched the others drift away to their appointed places. This star was so insignificant that even Vishwakarma had forgotten to set him on his path. Feeling neglected and lonely, the tiny star began to shed tears and a single tear drop, with the lustre of a pearl, fell into Vishwakarma’s palm.

"Who weeps thus?" asked the master architect in concern as the could not see anybody.

"It is I, my Lord," answered the star. "I am the smallest and the most insignificent star that you have created and I have nowhere to go!"

Vishwakarma was overcome by great compassion. He lifted the tiny star gently and placed him in the northern sky. "You may be the smallest star that I have created but your importance will never diminish," Vishwakarma told him. "On cold winter nights you will guide travellers to their destination because you will remain fixed in your place when the rest of the cosmos dances.

They will be quick to recognise you as their guide and your name shall be Dhruvatara."

On chilly winter nights you can still spot the Dhruvatara in the northern sky, tiny but with a steadfast twinkle. Travellers recognise him as the lodestar who guides them to their destination.

Hymns in the Rig Veda describe how Vishwakarma offered the entire universe he had so painstakingly created as his supreme sacrifice and when this did not appease the Creator, in pursuit of excellence to the very end, he finally sacrificed himself and thus became immortal.

When Vishwakarma died, his anvil became inconsolable and all the gods came to lend him their sympathy. "Your master was an excellent craftsman," they told him by turns but the anvil remained inconsolable.

"Was my master really a great craftsman?" he asked repeatedly and the gods were very surprised and answered, "But who should know better then you? Did your master not build our fabulous palaces? Did he not craft our excellent weapons?"

And the anvil heaved a deep sigh and quietly replied, "Yes, that is true, but when he used to beat his hammer on my breast tirelessly to create your palaces and weapons, I only saw my own tenacity tested day and night!"

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Published on: 2003-01-31 (4864 reads)

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