Vishwakarma Jayanti is a day of celebration for Vishwakarma, a Hindu god, the divine architect. He is considered as swayambhu and creator of the world. This writeup is dedicated to reference of Bhagvaan VIshwakarma in Vedas and Purana. It was originally posted on Hinduism StackExchange by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal.
VISHWAKARMA IN VEDAS:
Vedas use Vishwakarman most often as an adjective not the name of a person; it is an epithet for the Supreme God since He is the one who creates everything. This is evident from Rig Veda Book 10, Verse 81 which describes Vishwakarman similar to the way the Cosmic Purush is described:
- HE who sate down as Hotar-priest, the Ṛṣi, our Father, offering up all things existing,— He, seeking through his wish a great possession, came among men on earth as archetypal.
- What was the place whereon he took his station? What was it that supported him? How was it? Whence Visvakarman, seeing all, producing the earth, with mighty power disclosed the heavens.
- He who hath eyes on all sides round about him, a mouth on all sides, arms and feet on all sides, He, the Sole God, producing earth and heaven, weldeth them, with his arms as wings, together.
- What was the tree, what wood in sooth produced it, from which they fashioned out the earth and heaven? Ye thoughtful men inquire within your spirit whereon he stood when he established all things.
- Nine highest, lowest, sacrificial natures, and these thy mid-most here, O Visvakarman, Teach thou thy friends at sacrifice, O Blessed, and come thyself, exalted, to our worship.
- Bring thou thyself, exalted with oblation, O Visvakarman, Earth and Heaven to worship. Let other men around us live in folly here let us have a rich and liberal patron.
- Let us invoke to-day, to aid our labour, the Lord of Speech, the thought-swift Visvakarman. May he hear kindly all our invocations who gives all bliss for aid, whose works are righteous.
The Next Verse RV.10.82 also strengthens the same belief:
- THE Father of the eye, the Wise in spirit, created both these worlds submerged in fatness. Then when the eastern ends were firmly fastened, the heavens and the earth were far extended.
- Mighty in mind and power is Visvakarman, Maker, Disposer, and most lofty Presence. Their offerings joy in rich juice where they value One, only One, beyond the Seven Ṛṣis.
- Father who made us, he who, as Disposer, knoweth all races and all things existing, Even he alone, the Deities’ narne-giver,him other beings seek for information.
- To him in sacrifice they offered treasures,—Ṛṣis of old, in numerous troops, as singers, Who, in the distant, near, and lower region, made ready all these things that have existence.
- That which is earlier than this earth and heaven, before the Asuras and Gods had being,— What was the germ primeval which the waters received where all the Gods were seen together?
- The waters, they received that germ primeval wherein the Gods were gathered all together. It rested set upon the Unborn’s navel, that One wherein abide all things existing.
- Ye will not find him who produced these creatures: another thing hath risen up among you. Enwrapt in misty cloud, with lips that stammer, hymn-chanters wander and are discontented.
The sixth verse of the above hymn clearly mentions the navel of the unborn Lord who lies in water again hinting that the verse is actually meant for Lord Narayan who creates the world in the form of Brahma.
VISHWAKARMA IN PURANAS:
The Vedic Vishwakarman therefore refers to God as the Creator while Puranic Vishwakarma is the artisan of the gods. Chapter 25 of Book 1 of Vishnu Purana calls him the son of the Vasu Prabhas and Yogasiddha, the sister of Devguru Brihaspati:
The sister of Váchaspati, lovely and virtuous, Yogasiddhá, who pervades the whole world without being devoted to it, was the wife of Prabhása, the eighth of the Vasus, and bore to him the patriarch Viswakarmá, the author of a thousand arts, the mechanist of the gods, the fabricator of all ornaments, the chief of artists, the constructor of the self-moving chariots of the deities, and by whose skill men obtain subsistence. Ajaikapád, Ahirvradhna, and the wise Rudra Twasht́ri, were born; and the self-born son of Twashtri was also the celebrated Viśwarúpa.
The Shiva Puran section 1.2.14 mentions the following:
Once, Brahmaji went to ‘Kshirsagar’ (the abode of Vishnu) accompanied by the deities and asked lord Vishnu how a man could be liberated from his sorrows. Lord Vishnu told them that this objective could be met by worshipping Shiva-Linga. All the deities, then prayed to lord Shiva, who after becoming pleased instructed ‘Vishwakarma’ to construct a Shivalinga for them. Vishwakarma then made a Shivalinga for Kuber, a Shivalinga of yellow diamond for Dharmaraj, a Shivalinga of dark coloured diamond for Varun, a Shivalinga of Indraned diamond for Vishnu and a goldden Shivalinga for Brahmaji. Similarly Vishwadeva was given a Shivalinga made up of silver, the Ashwini Kumars were given Shivalinga made up of bronze, Laxmi was given a Shivalinga made up of Crystal (Sphatik), Sun-god was given a Shivalinga made of copper and the moon was given a Shivalinga made of pearl.
Section 1.2.22 mentions his construction of the city of Kuber:
“During the Padma kalpa, Sage Vishrawa was born to sage Pulastya- the manasputra of lord Brahma. Vishrawa’s son – Vishrawan ruled over Alkapuri for a long time. This city was constructed by the deity Vishwakarma. Vishrawan was a great devotee of Lord Shiva.”
The next section also mentions that impressed with Kuber’s devotion, Lord Shiva himself decided to stay at Kailash which was near Kuber’s city Alkapuri.
Rudra was so pleased with Kubera that he decided to stay near him. He called Vishwakarma and ordered him to conduct his abode at Kailash mountain, so that he could live in could live in the vicinity of his great devotee-Kubera. Kubera constructed a beautiful city as per his instruction. An auspicious moment was chosen and Shiva went to live at Kailash mountain. He was coronated by the deities.”
This is corroborated in the section 1.17.4 of the Vaman Puran:
After reaching Mandaar Mountain, Lord Shiva instructed Vishwakarma to construct a home. Vishwakarma constructed a spacious home for Shiva, which was spread in the area of 64 Yojans. The home was decorated with Swastika symbols and its walls were made of gold.
In the Skanda Purana Section 1.1.8, he is mentioned to have constructed the canopy under which Shiva & Parvati got married:
Later on Lord Shiva sent the Saptarishis with the proposal of marriage to Himalaya. Himalaya received his distinguished guests with respect and enquired about the purpose of their visit. The Saptarishis replied–‘We have come to request you to give your daughter’s hand in marriage to Shiva.’After consulting his wife, Mena and other mountains, Himalaya agreed to accept Shiva as his son-in-law. The Saptarishis then returned and conveyed the good news to Shiva.The preparation for marriage ceremony started being made. Finally the marriage procession proceeded towards the bride’s home. The marriage procession consisted of all the deities, apsaras, gandharvas even spirits and ghosts. Sage Garg Supervised the rituals of marriage ceremony. Vishwakarma constructed the canopy, where marriage ceremony was supposed to take place .After the marriage was over, Himalaya performed the ritual of Kanyadan and this way Shiva returned with his consort.
According to section 1.7.6, he also constructed the temple at Somnath along with the city around it on instruction from Chandra, the moon-god:
Chandra Deva got a divine Shiva linga installed by Brahma and worshipped it for thousand of years. Lord Shiva appeared once again and expressed his willingness to fulfill any wish Chandra Deva expressed. Chandra Deva requested Lord Shiva to dwell in the very Shiva Linga he had been worshipping till then. Lord Shiva revealed to him that there was no question of dwelling in the Shiva Linga as he had never abandoned it in the first place. Chandra Deva had regained his luster on account of his arduous penance. Lord Shiva blessed him and said- ‘ Since you have regained your luster (Prabha) by dint of your austere penance, this holy place will become famous as ‘Prabhas Kshetra’. This Linga would be named upon you and become famous as Somnath Linga.’ Having blessed Chandra Deva thus, Lord Shiva disappeared. Later on Chandra Deva instructed Vishwakarma to build a magnificent temple at the sight. He also built a city nearby so that all the priests who were supposed to supervise the rituals of worship could live there.
In the Shiva Puran another mention is made of his having constructed the chariot that Shiva used to destroy Tripura the three citadels of Tarakasur’s sons:
When Shiva agreed to kill the demon – brothers Tripurasur the deities became extremely joyous. They gave their respective weapons to Shiva, so that he did not have any difficulty in killing the demons. Vishwakarma gave his beautiful chariot to him.
In Section 1.3.23 he is mentioned to have fashioned the Vajra for Indra to kill the demon Vritrasur:
Dadhichi Gave up his life by his yogic power. Indra then instructed Kamdhenu to extract the bones from the dead body of Dadhichi. The bones were on given to ‘Twashta’ to construct the weapon-Vajra. Twashta took the weapons to Vishwakarma who at last constructed the Vajra.
This is corroborated in the Bhagvat Puran Section 1.6.6:
Thus, all the gods, headed by Indra, reached the hermitage of sage Dadhichi. There they very humbly and respectfully begged for his bones. For the benefit of the world, sage Dadhichi gladly accepted to donate his bones. With those bones, Vishvakarma built a massive Vajra which had thousand edges. Thus by the power of the Lord and aquiring a divine Vajra, Indra felt extremely strong. He at once launched an attack on the demon’s armies and drove them away from the battlefield.
Not just the Vajra, he also ends up creating Lord Shiva’s trident, Lord Vishnu’s Chakra and Kartikeya’s spear as mentioned in Vishnu Puran Book 3, Chapter 2:
PARÁŚARA.–Sanjná, the daughter of Viśwakarman, was the wife of the sun, and bore him three children, the Manu (Vaivaswata), Yama, and the goddess Yamí (or the Yamuná river). Unable to endure the fervours of her lord, Sanjná gave him Chháyá as his handmaid, and repaired to the forests to practise devout exercises…….To diminish his (Surya’s) intensity, Viśwakarman placed the luminary on his lathe, to grind off some of his effulgence; and in this manner reduced it an eighth, for more than that was inseparable. The parts of the divine Vaishńava splendour, residing in the sun, that were filed off by Viśwakarman, fell blazing down upon the earth, and the artist constructed of them the discus of Vishńu, the trident of Śiva, the weapon of the god of wealth, the lance of Kártikeya, and the weapons of the other gods: all these Viśwakarman fabricated from the superfluous rays of the sun.
He is also mentioned as having constructed an altar for Maharaj Bali the Asur king in Patal Loka as per Vaman Puran Section 1.23.5:
Pulastya says- After reaching the nether world, Bali got constructed a beautiful city made of diamonds and other precious stones. Vishwakarma had constructed an enormous sized altar in the central part of the city. The windows of Bali’s palace were well decorated with pearls. Bali lived there in luxury and by enjoying all the pleasures of life.
In the next section it is mentioned that:
After Prahlad’s departure, Bali followed his instructions faithfully and engaged himself in the worship of Lord Vishnu. He instructed Vishwakarma to construct a magnificent temple of Lord Vishnu and started worshipping Lord Vishnu accompanied by his wife. He used to clean the temple premises and offer the articles which were dear to Lord Vishnu. This way, Bali and his wife Vindhyavali engaged themselves in the worship of Lord Vishnu with complete devotion.
All these are his older achievements in the previous Manvantars but in Vaman Puran Section 1.19.3 – Search for Chitrangada and Vedavati a story is narrated of how he is once cursed to become a monkey and sires the Vanar architect Nala who helped Lord Rama build the bridge on the ocean:
In course of time, Ghritaachi became aware of the monkey’s real identity and developed physical intimacy with it. At first, both of them stayed at Kolaahal Mountain but later on, they shifted to Vindhya Mountain…….After ten months, Ghritaachi gave birth to a son who later on became famous as Nala. Vishwakarma became liberated from the curse and regained his human body.
The above incident happened in the Tretayug of the 24th Dwapar. In Satyuga of the present Mahayuga, he constructed the shrine, two Narasimha idols and the chariots at Jagannath Puri. The Purushottam Mahatmaya part of Skanda Puran mentions the following:
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda – Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 16): King Indradyumna building a shrine and sage Narada installing Nrisimha at the place of the horse sacrifice: Then sage Narada invoked the celestial architect Vishwakarma, and instructed the king to build a shrine for Nrisimha at the place of horse sacrifice with the help of Vishwakarma (this was completed in four days). Narada himself got a second idol of Nrisimha built by Vishwakarma and meditating for five days infused this idol with the prana of the original Nrisimha idol. Then he installed this idol of Nrisimha on Jyestha Shukla Paksha Dwadashi in conjunction with the Swati Nakshatra. King Indradyumna eulogized Nrisimha with various hymns.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda – Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 24 – 26): When Indradyumna reached the earth he saw the Lord and the shrine still intact due to the grace of Purushottama. With the help of sage Narada and Padmanidhi he started making all the arrangements for the installation of the Lord. Sage Narada told him to build three chariots for Krishna (Jagannatha), Balarama and Subhadra. The chariots were built by Vishwakarma on a single day and were installed by sage Narada.
Perhaps his most recent achievement is the one mentioned in Bhagvat Puran Section 1.10.46 that was completed towards the end of the 28th Dwapar:
At last, instead of attacking Mathura himself, Jarasandh sent Kalyavan to defeat Shri Krishna. Kalyavan launched an attack on Mathura with one crore strong Malechchh army. This time Lord Krishna decided to vacate Mathura instead of countering the attack.He got Dwarikapuri constructed by Vishvakarma and settled all the people of Mathura there.
Hope all these help you understand the origins, history and the achievements of Lord Vishwakarma better.