We know Brihaspati is the guru of Devas and Shukra of the Asuras. Both of them are sons of Brahma's Manas Putras so would have had equal chance to lead either of the clans so how did they end up on the opposite spectrums?

The Yog Vasishtha gives an interesting account of Shukracharya's struggles before becoming the guru of the Asuras and I am sharing it in short:

Shukra, the son of sage Bhrigu, had performed tapas but falls in love with a fairy nymph. He pursues her to Indra’s heaven and ends up getting lost in repeated incarnations until he does such severe tapas by the Ganges River that his body perishes. Bhrigu uses his yogi powers to look for his missing son, finds the dead body, and complains to Yama, the god of death. Yama explains the nature of reality to sage Bhrigu, then awakens Shukra who restores his original body and becomes the guru of the demons. (IV.5.7-IV.16)

Is there any other story in scriptures that tells us how Shukra attained the position of the guru of Asuras?

3 Answers 3


Yudhishthira asked the same question to Bhishma as why he was always in favor of the asuras and doing things disagreeable to the dieties.

"Yudhishthira said, 'This curiosity, O sire, is always dwelling in my mind. O grandsire of the Kurus, I desire to hear everything about it from thee. Why was the celestial Rishi, the high-souled Usanas, called also Kavi engaged in doing what was agreeable to the Asuras and disagreeable to the deities? Why was he engaged in diminishing the energy of the deities? Why were the Danavas always engaged in hostilities with the foremost of the deities? Possessed of the splendour of an immortal, for what reason did Usanas obtain the name of Sukra? How also did he acquire such superior excellence? Tell me all about these things. Though possessed of great energy, why does he not succeed in travelling to the centre of the firmament? I desire, O grandsire, to learn everything about all these matters.

Bhishma then told the story about Shukracharya.

"Bhishma said, 'Listen, O king, with attention to all this as it occurred actually. O sinless one, I shall narrate these matters to thee as I have heard and understood them. Of firm vows and honoured by all, Usanas, that descendant of Bhrigu's race, became engaged in doing what was disagreeable to the deities for an adequate cause. 2 The royal Kuvera, the chief of the Yakshas and the Rakshasas, is the lord of the treasury of Indra, that master of the universe. 3 The great ascetic Usanas, crowned with Yoga-success, entered the person of Kuvera, and depriving the lord of treasures of his liberty by means of Yoga, robbed him of all his wealth. 4 Seeing his wealth taken away from him, the lord of treasures became highly displeased. Filled with anxiety, and his wrath also being excited, he went to that foremost of gods, viz., Mahadeva. Kuvera, represented the matter unto Siva of immeasurable energy, that first of gods, fierce and amiable, and possessed of various forms. And he said, 'Usanas, having spiritualised himself by Yoga entered my form and depriving myself of liberty, has taken away all my wealth.

Having by Yoga entered my body he has again left it.' Hearing these words, Maheswara of supreme Yoga-powers became filled with rage. His eyes, O king, became blood-red, and taking up his lance he waited (ready to strike down Usanas). Indeed, having taken up that foremost of weapons, the great god began to say, 'Where is he? Where is he?' Meanwhile, Usanas, having ascertained the purpose of Mahadeva (through Yoga-power) from a distance, waited in silence. Indeed, having ascertained the fact of the wrath of the high-souled Maheswara of superior Yoga-power, the puissant Usanas began to reflect as to whether he should go to Maheswara or fly away or remain where he was. Thinking, with the aid of his severe penances, of the high-souled Mahadeva, Usanas of soul crowned with Yoga-success, placed himself on the point of Mahadeva's lance. The bow-armed Rudra, understanding that Usanas, whose penances had become successful and who had converted himself into the form of pure Knowledge, was staying at the point of his lance (and finding that he was unable to hurl the lance at one who was upon it), bent that weapon with hand. When the fierce-armed and puissant Mahadeva of immeasurable energy had thus bent his lance (into the form of a bow), that weapon came to be called from that time by the name of Pinaka. 1 The lord of Uma, beholding Bhargava thus brought upon the palm of his hand, opened his mouth. The chief of the gods then threw Bhargava into his mouth and swallowed him at once. The puissant and high-souled Usanas of Bhrigu's race, entering the stomach of Maheswara, began to wander there.'

Yudhishthira then questioned his grandfather how Sukracharya succeeded in wandering Shiva's stomach.

"Yudhishthira said, 'How, O king, could Usanas succeed in wandering within the stomach of that foremost of superior intelligence? What also did that illustrious god do while the Brahmana was within his stomach?'

Bhishma then answered.

"Bhishma said, 'In days of yore (having swallowed up Usanas), Mahadeva of severe vows entered the waters and remained there like an immovable stake of wood, O king, for millions of years (engaged in Yoga-meditation). His Yoga penances of the austerest type having been over, he rose from the mighty lake. Then that primeval god of the gods, viz., the eternal Brahman, approached him, and enquired after the progress of his penances and after his welfare. The deity having the bull for his emblem answered, saying, 'My penances have been well-practised.' Of inconceivable soul, possessed of great intelligence, and ever devoted to the religion of truth, Sankara saw that Usanas within his stomach had become greater in consequence of those penances of his. That foremost of Yogins (viz., Usanas), rich with that wealth of penances and the wealth (he had appropriated from Kuvera), shone brightly in the three worlds, endued with great energy.

After that, Shukracharya gets out.

After this, Mahadeva armed with Pinaka, that soul of Yoga, once more betook himself to Yoga-meditation. Usanas, however, filled with anxiety, began to wander within the stomach of the great god. The great ascetic began to hymn the praises of the god from where he was, desirous of finding an outlet for escape. Rudra, however, having stopped all his outlets, prevented him from coming out. The great ascetic Usanas, however, O chastiser of foes, from within Mahadeva's stomach, repeatedly addressed the god, saying, 'Show me thy kindness!' Unto him Mahadeva said, 'Go out through my urethra.' He had stopped up all other outlets of his body. Confined on every side and unable to find out the outlet indicated, the ascetic began to wander hither and thither, burning all the while with Mahadeva's energy. At last he found the outlet and issued through it. In consequence of this fact he came to be called by the name of Sukra, and it is in consequence of that fact he also became unable to attain (in course of his wandering) the central point of the firmament. Beholding him come out of his stomach and shining brightly with energy, Bhava, filled with anger, stood with lance uplifted in his hand. The goddess Uma then interposed and forbade the angry lord of all creatures, viz., her spouse, to slay the Brahmana. And in consequence of Uma's having thus prevented her lord from accomplishing his purpose the ascetic Usanas (from the day) became the son of the goddess.'

Goddess Parvati prevents Shiva from killing him.

"The goddess said, 'This Brahmana no longer deserves to be slain by thee. He has become my son. O god, one who comes out of thy stomach does not deserve slaughter at thy hands.'

"Bhishma continued, 'Pacified by these words of his spouse, Bhava smiled and said repeatedly these words, O king, 'Let this one go whithersoever he likes.' Bowing unto the boon-giving Mahadeva and to also his spouse the goddess Uma, the great ascetic Usanas, endued with superior intelligence, proceeded to the place he chose.


Here is a link where you can get the story:-


He was one of the sons of sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyati and thus the grandson of Lord Brahma. When they were young, Shukra and Brihaspati studied under the same guru, Sage Angirasa, who also happened to be Brihaspati's father. Shukra was known to be more knowledgeable than Brihaspati. Shukracharya became famous for his ability to resurrect people. He acquired this rare science from Lord Shiva, who was known as Conqueror of Death. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana refers to his mother as Kavyamata. The feminic natured Shukra is a Brahminical planet. He was born on Friday in the year Parthiva on Sraavana Suddha Ashtami when Svati Nakshatra is on the ascent. Hence, Friday is known as Shukravaaram in Indian languages like Sanskrit, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, and Kannada. He went on to study the Vedas under the rishi Angirasa but he was disturbed by Angirasa's favoritism for his son Brihaspati. He then went to study under rishi Gautama. He later performed penance to Lord Shiva and obtained the Sanjivani mantra. He married Priyavrata's daughter Urjjasvati and they had give sons — Chanda, Amarka, Ṣaṇḍa, Tvastr, Dharaatra and a daughter from his marriage to Indra's daughter Jayanti by the name Devayani. Amarka and Ṣaṇḍa were advisors to Hiranyakashipu.

During this period Brihaspati became the Guru of the Devas. Due to the hatred Sukracarya bore towards Vishnu for what he perceived as the murder of his mother as she had given shelter to some asura whom Vishnu was hunting, Shukracharya decided to become the Guru of Asuras. He helped them achieve victory over the Devas and used his knowledge to revive the dead and wounded among them.

  1. Quora answer by Abhimanyu Ray

sukracharya wanted to be the guru of devas, but lord vishnu appointed brihaspathi as guru of devas, and hence he was demoralize and accepted to be the guru of daitya and treated lord vishnu as one of his greatest enemy. so he tried to defeat indralok many times with his cruel but great mind with the boon associated with him the SANJIVANI MANTRA which can give life to dead ones.

  1. Sukracharya - how he became guru of asuras (demons-rakshasas) and how he knew the art and science of Sanjivini?

4.How Shukracharya became the guru of the Asuras

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    Hi Sushant thanks for the answer but I am looking for the scriptures that give the story not other websites. It would be good if you can give the link to the relevant verses from a scripture. Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 12:22


It gives an explanation as to why Shukracharya was guru of Daityas despite being son of Brahma's manasputra Bhrigu and being as wise as Brihaspati. Yudhisthira also asked the same question to the beloved Bhishma Pitamaha as to,

“Why the renowned Shukra hated the Devas and favored the asuras. Who is this great individual and what is his history? Not many of us know about this.”

There were two primary causes of actions and footsteps which the great sage walked on.

Legends state that Lord Indra favored Brihaspati just like how Rishi Angirasa did and even had an alliance with him. Due to the alliance between Indra and Brihaspati, Shukracharya had ego problems with them and later, Brihaspati was even named as chief priest of Devas, which Shukracharya was not happy with. However, the son of Bhrigu was in many respects, a better choice than the son of Angiras for the position of the head priest of the Gods. Due to this Shukracharya started disliking the Devas and favoring the Asuras which was also a way to take the revenge of this partiality.

However, before Shukracharya’s alliance, it is believed that the Asuras used to be easily defeated by the Devas. Many Asuras used to be killed in the battle following the easy victory of the Devtas. Seeing this, Shukracharya decided to approach Lord Shiva for Mitra Sanjivani mantra using which Shiva could bring back the dead. This would mean a big problem for Indra and the Devas. Hence, Asuras fearing the Devas took shelter in his father’s ashram during that time. One such day, Shukracharya was far away from his father’s Ashram, doing tapasya for Shiva.

Finding an opportunity without Shukracharya’s presence, Lord Indra and few devas attacked Shukracharya’s ashram. However, Shukracharya’s mother Kavyamata gives protection to the Asuras with her yogic powers and Lord Indra gets defeated. Hence, Devas requests Lord Vishnu for help and Lord Vishnu comes to his rescue and thereby beheads Kavyamata with his Sudarshan Chakra.

Seeing this, Rishi Bhrigu, the father of Shukracharya and the husband of Kavyamata, curses Vishnu saying,“ Hey Vishnu! By killing a woman, you have breached Dharma and I, hereby, curse you to take seven births as a Human”. (However, later, Rishi Bhrigu breathes life into his wife Kavyamata.)

Due to the hatred, Shukracharya had developed towards Lord Vishnu and also Lord Indra for being one of the reasons for beheading his mother, he decided to become the Guru of Asuras. This a huge loss for the Devas as Shukracharya was highly knowledgeable since which, he defeats Brihaspati many times and revived many Asuras from death time and again with his Mitra- Sanjeevani’s knowledge.

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