Brihaspati was praised in Rig Veda as follows:

गणानां तवा गणपतिं हवामहे कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम |

जयेष्ठराजं बरह्मणां बरह्मणस पत आ नः षर्ण्वन्नूतिभिः सीद सादनम || Rig Veda 2.23.1

WE call thee, Lord and Leader of the heavenly hosts, the wise among the wise, the famousest of all, The King supreme of prayers, O Brahmaṇaspati: hear us with help; sit down in place of sacrifice.

Sri Krishna says that he was Ushanas among seers in B.G.

वृष्णीनां वासुदेवोऽस्मि पाण्डवानां धनंजयः।

मुनीनामप्यहं व्यासः कवीनामुशना कविः।।10.37।।

Of the Vrsnis (the members of the Vrsni clan), I am the son of Vasudeva; of the sons of Pandu, Dhananjaya (Arjuna) [I am]; of the sages too, I am Vyasa; of the seers, the seer Usanas.

However, it was also mentioned in Rig Veda that Usana fashioned the thunderbolt for Indra for slaying Vritra

Mount Indra, lover of the men thou guardest, the well-yoked horses of the wind, best bearers. The bolt which Kavya Usana erst gave thee, strong, gladdening, Vrtra-slaying, hath he fashioned.

Rig Veda 1.121.12

He who filled full his belly with the Soma's juice, Maghavan, was delighted with the meath's sweet draught, When Usana, that he might slay the monstrous beast, gave him the mighty weapon with a thousand points.

Rig Veda 5.34.2

So Usana was mentioned in Rig Veda and Bhagavad Gita. And, both Brihaspati in Rig Veda and Usana in Bhagavad Gita were praised as Seer among the seers.(कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम, कवीनामुशना कविः).

My question is - can we infer from the above that Brihaspati and Usana are one and the same person?

  • 1
    @SwiftPushkar: I could infer from my comparative study that Kavya Usana was the greatest among the seers of Rig Veda. However, we know little about that great personality. That is why I am curious. Jul 21, 2019 at 6:22
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    Usana refers to Shukracharya see this answer
    – Pandya
    Jul 25, 2019 at 6:29
  • @Pandya: Please check my comment below the above answer :-). I did not accept that answer. Jul 25, 2019 at 7:35
  • @srimannarayanakv the issue is you hv already decided answer...so untul and unless it tells ur version that Usanas is Brahaspati, it won't be satisfying to u...but when BG commentaries says that in Bg it's Sukra..and even the reason is described why Usanas is known as Sukra in Mahabharata and BG is part of Mahabharata...so Usanas of BG/MBH is Sukra...so this Q is invalid...u can remove and ask if Usanas of Rigveda and BG same...but when it's identified in BG that it's Sukra then how it can be Brahaspati???
    – YDS
    Jul 27, 2019 at 1:42
  • @YDS: Sorry. You have mistaken. I have not concluded so far. I have doubt because because in Rig Veda 1.121.12, already mentioned in my question, it was mentioned that Kavya Usana fashioned the thunderbolt for Indra for slaying Vritra. I never heard Sukracharya giving thunderbolt to Indra. Did you? Jul 27, 2019 at 1:45

2 Answers 2


Ushanas is the name of a Vedic rishi with the patronymic Kavya (descendant of Kavi) as mentioned in Atharva veda ,who was later in puranas is been identified as Ushanas Shukra.

  1. Ye, Mitra, Varuna, who help Trisoka, Medhātithi, and Usanā son of Kavi.

In vedas sage Brihaspati is often referred variously as Vakpati i.e. (lord of speech) and is called as the Brahman. And also at some places as Purohita of gods in Shatapatha Brahmana. Sage Brihaspati is son of Angiras son of Brahmadeva.

  1. And on the following day, he goes to the house of the Purohita (the king's court chaplain), and prepares a pap for Bṛhaspati; for Bṛhaspati is the Purohita of the gods.

In Rig Veda Brihaspati is also a deity of wisdom and is who that kills the asuras.

Now your question is whether both of these are same or not and you are quoting Seer among the seers.(कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम &, कवीनामुशना कविः )

First of let us understand that here the word Kavi is used in two different contexts and is having totally different meaning. Krishna in BG is refering the rishi Kavya Usanas whereas in RigVeda the word Kavi is used to denote highest seer or sage (kavi) which is addressed to Brahmanaspati and is in the context of wisdom or Vidya (knowledge) . So there no direct relation between Brihaspati and Usana.

Now even the later scriptures like Mahabharata and puranas is conforming the above ,so let's see some of them.

In Mahabharata Section CCXLIX we find that both Usanas and Brihaspat are different personalities as it is mentioning that daityas learned the mantra vidya told by Usanas and Brihaspati both .

Meanwhile the fierce Daityas and the Danavas who had been defeated of old by the celestials and had been dwelling in the nether regions having ascertained Duryodhana's purpose and knowing that if the king died their party would be weakened, commenced a sacrifice with fire for summoning Duryodhana to their presence. And mantra knowing persons then commenced with the help of formulae declared by Brihaspati and Usanas, those rites that are indicated in the Atharva Veda and the Upanishads and which are capable of being achieved by mantras and prayers.

Also in Mahabharata Shukracharya is called as usanas who is the the son of Kavi as widely known from other scriptures as well.

But Devayani, with eyes red with anger, would not desist. Speaking not a word to the king, with eyes bathed in tears, she soon reached the side of her father Usanas, the son of Kavi.

So Rishi usanas is called as Kavya Usanas as his fathers name is prefixed before him and that indicate his father and this word kavya is not interpreted as poet as such.

In Padma Purana vol. 4 -Chapter 3 -Various Mountains and regions of the world - Verses - 31b-41a The Kavi Usanas is identified with Shukra and is said to be honored by demons on mount Meru.

On the summit of that mountain only Usanas or Kavi (i.e sukra ) is honoured by the demons

But interestingly there is some connection between shukracharya and Brihaspati because of that it appears that both are the same but in fact not. Let us see.

As mentioned in Matsya Purana-Chapter 47-Verses 182-184. - Brihaspati took guise of Sukra and lead the asuras in war.

Once Shukracharya for benefit of his wife jayanti and to please her had engaged with her for ten years. i.e. was sporting with her. At that time asuras were without guru or a wise leader. Knowing this Brihaspati , from the inspiration of Indra took guise of Sukracharya. I.e. he he took the form of Sukracharya.

बृहस्पतिस्तु संरुद्धं काव्यं ज्ञात्वावरेणतु।
तुष्ट्यर्थं दशवर्षाणि जयन्त्या हितकाम्यया।। 47.182 ।।
बुद्‌ध्वातदन्तरंसोऽपि दैत्यानामिन्द्रनोदितः।
काव्यस्यरूपमास्थाय असुरान्‌समुपाह्वयत्।। 47.183 ।।
ततस्तानागतान् द्रृष्ट्वा बृहस्पतिरुवाचह।
स्वागतं मम याज्यानां प्राप्तोऽहंवो हितायच।। 47.184।।

When Brihaspati came to know that Shukracharya , for the benefit of Jayanti and to please her , had been bound on a bondage for ten years in order to please her , then taking it as the biggest shortcoming of the daityas ,at the inspiration of Indra , he took to the form of Sukracharya and summoned the asuras. On the arrival of the daityas , Brhaspati (in the form of sukra) spoke to them " O my clients , you are welcome. I have returned from the tapovana for the sake of your benefit.

So in conclusion both of these figures Kavya Usanas and Brihaspati are different. In Rig Veda Sage Brihaspati is called as " Kavim Kavinaam " as Bṛhaspati was a deep thinker and one who had firm convictions in many matters. He was a man of vast knowledge. Every move of the devas against asuras had its origin in the mind of Bṛhaspati. There is no philosophy which does not contain the exhortations made by Bhaspati at various times to the devas (gods) or kings or hermits. And is referring to sage Bṛhaspati . Krishna On the other hand in BG is referring to Kavya Usanas "कवीनामुशना कविः - Kavina Usana Kavihi" I.e.Usana the son of Kavi.I.e. kavya Usanas. So even though both the quotes are saying the similar thing i.e. Seer among seers , but they are not referring to same persons.

  • your answer is not satisfying me because in Rig Veda 1.121.12, already mentioned in my question, it was mentioned that Kavya Usana fashioned the thunderbolt for Indra for slaying Vritra. Even if I accept the meaning of Kaavya as the descendant of Kavi, then what about giving thunderbolt for Indra? Sukracharya was not described as giving thunderbolt to Indra, any where!!! @SwiftPushkar Jul 26, 2019 at 14:39

Mahabharat describes the detailed reason regarding why Usnas is known as Sukra. And BG is part of Mahabharata so the reason is valid there too. Also, many commentators identified Usnas as Sukra in BG itself which is described in this answer.

So, Usnas (Sukra) mentioned in BG and Brahaspati is not same person.

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