The Five Sons of Visvakarma
BY: SUN STAFF
Vishvakarma and Sons
Feb 01, 2014 CANADA (SUN) Sri Visvakarma is known as the divine architect of the whole universe. He is the personification of the creative power that wields heaven and earth together. The chief architect and builder of Lanka, Dwarka and Yampuri, Visvakarma is usually depicted with four hands, carrying a lota, book, noose and craftsman's tools. All the divine weapons, chariots, etc. possessed by the demigods are his creation. According to the Vedas, Visvakarma's five sons followed in his footsteps. He also has two daughters: Sanjana, who married Lord Surya, and Saranya, who married Vaivasvat Manu.
Visvakarma's five sons are Manu, Maya, Tvasta, Shilpi and Visvajna (Devagya). The sons are understood to be the forbearers of five gotras (clans) of Vedic craftsmen: the blacksmiths, carpenters, bell metalworkers (metal casters), stonemasons and goldsmiths. Today, these five groups are known as the Vishwakarma community, whose members claim to be direct descendants of Visvakarma and sons.
Visvakarma's eldest son was Manu, who married Kanchna, the daughter of sage Angira. The second son was Maya, who married Soumya, the daughter of Parasar rishi. The third son was Tvasta, who married sage Kaushik's daughter, Jayanti. The fourth son, Shilpi, was married Karuna, daughter of Sage Bhrigu. The youngest son, Devagya (Visvajna) married the Sage Gemini's daughter, Chandrika.
Each of the sons followed in the footsteps of their transcendental father, each becoming an illustrious craftsman in his own right. Manu was an ironsmith, Maya a woodcrafter, and Tvasta a metalsmith who worked with brass, copper and alloy. Silpi was a stone carver, and his name is associated with the craftsman's code, Shipla-sastra. Visvajna, the youngest son, became a great jeweler, working with gold and silver.
About the great Vedic crafts, author Jaya Jaitly, writes:
"Just as the natya shastras lay down the religious precepts surrounding dance, the shilpa shastras define both technical and religious guidelines to achieve excellence in craftsmanship. The ritual of starting the process with invocations at an appointed, auspicious hour, following the strict scientific formulations of preparing and mixing ingredients, collectively become a form of worship. The meditative and highly concentrated quality of mind required focusing and linking the creative processes of the mind and hands, achieving the quality of prayer and designating work as worship."
Artist works on clay images for the Vishwakarma Festival in Bhubaneswar
[ Photo: Biswaranjan Rout/AP/Financial Times ]
Members of the Vishwakarma community today worship Visvakarma as their deity and follow five Vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda, and Pranava Veda. Each year around mid-September, the festival of Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated. At this time of year, artisans, craftsmen, engineers and other workers pledge themselves to great quality and productivity in their work. The occasion is marked in factories and workshops wherever the Vishwakarma community is active -- primarily in South India, and less so in most Indian states.
Each one of the five gotras coming down from the five sons of Visvakarma is further divided into 25 sub-groups. The principal gotras are:
Sanaga Gotra - Son of Sage Manu(Shiva) known as the Blacksmiths (Lohar)
Sanatana Gotra - Son of Sage Maya (Vishnu) known as the Carpenters (Badhae)
Abhuvana gotra - Son of Saga Twashtha (Brahma) known as the Bronze smiths (Tamrak)
Pratanan Gotra - Son of Shilpi (Indra) know as the Architects (Murtikar)
Suparna Gotra - Son of Devagya (Surya) know as the Goldsmiths (Sunar)
In ancient times, members of the Visvakarma gotras lived an itinerant lifestyle, traveling from place to place, getting work wherever temples were being constructed. As great dynasties such as the Vijayanagar empire came to power, then waned, the fortunes of the Visvakarma craftsmen also rose and fell. They were primarily dependant on whatever line of rulers offered patronage and religious focus at a given time.
Vishwakarma - the Transcendental Architect
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