Sanskrit pronunciation: [ʋaːju]) is a primary
Hindu deity, the lord of the winds, the father of
Bhima and the
spiritual father of Hanuman. He is also known as Anil ("Air, Wind"),
Vyān (Air), Vāta ("Airy Element"), Tanun (The Wind), Pavan ("The
Purifier"), and sometimes Prāṇa ("The Breath").
Hindu texts and philosophy
4 In popular culture
5 See also
The word for air (vāyu) or wind (pavana) is one of the classical
elements in Hinduism. The
Sanskrit word 'Vāta' literally means
"blown", 'Vāyu' "blower", and Prāna "breathing" (viz. the breath of
life, cf. the *an- in 'animate'). Hence, the primary referent of the
word is the "deity of Life", who is sometimes for clarity referred to
as "Mukhya-Vāyu" (the chief Vāyu) or "Mukhya Prāna" (the chief of
Sometimes the word "vāyu," which is more generally used in the sense
of the physical air or wind, is used as a synonym for "prāna".
Vāta, an additional name for Vāyu, is the root of the
Hindi term for "atmosphere", vātāvaran.
Pavan is also a fairly common
Hindu name. Pavana played an important
role in Anjana's begetting
Hanuman as her child so
Hanuman is also
called Pavanaputra "son of Pavana" and Vāyuputra.
In the Mahabharata,
Bhima was the son and an incarnation of Vāyu and
played a major role in the Kurukshetra War. He utilised his huge power
and skill with the mace for supporting Dharma.
Hindu texts and philosophy
Tattva – Mahābhūta, Panchikarana
Hinduism/Jainism – Buddhism
Wŭ Xíng (五行)
In the hymns,
Vayu is "described as having 'exceptional beauty' and
moving noisily in his shining coach, driven by two or forty-nine or
one-thousand white and purple horses. A white banner is his main
attribute." Like the other atmospheric deities, he is a "fighter
and destroyer", "powerful and heroic."
In the Upanishads, there are numerous statements and illustrations of
the greatness of Vāyu. The
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states that the
gods who control bodily functions once engaged in a contest to
determine who among them is the greatest. When a deity such as that of
vision would leave a man's body, that man would continue to live,
albeit as a blind man and having regained the lost faculty once the
errant deity returned to his post. One by one the deities all took
their turns leaving the body, but the man continued to live on, though
successively impaired in various ways. Finally, when Mukhya Prāna
started to leave the body, all the other deities started to be
inexorably pulled off their posts by force, "just as a powerful horse
yanks off pegs in the ground to which he is bound." This caused the
other deities to realize that they can function only when empowered by
Vayu, and can be overpowered by him easily. In another episode, Vāyu
is said to be the only deity not afflicted by demons of sin who were
on the attack. The
Chandogya Upanishad states that one cannot know
Brahman except by knowing Vāyu as the udgitha (the mantric syllable
Mukhya-Vāyu also incarnated as
Madhvacharya to teach worthy souls to
worship the Supreme God Vishnu.
The first Avatar of
Vayu is considered to be Hanuman. His exploits are
elucidated in Ramayana.
The second Avatar of
Vayu is Bhima, one of the
Pandavas appearing in
the epic, Mahabharata.
The Third Avatar is traditionally ascribed to Madhvacharya, a 13th
Century Indian philosopher.
In the Buddhism of the Far East,
Vayu is one of the twelve Devas, as
guardian deities, who are found in or around Buddhist shrines
(Jūni-ten, 十二天). In Japan, he has been called "Fu-ten".
He joins these other eleven Devas of Buddhism, found in Japan and
other parts of southeast Asia:
Yama (Emma-ten), Nirrti (Rasetsu-ten),
Vayu (Fu-ten), Ishana
(Ishana-ten), Kubera (Tamon-ten),
Surya (Nit-ten), Chandra (Gat-ten).
In popular culture
Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman
Sony Entertainment Television
List of wind deities
Vayu-Vata - in his Zoroastrian context
Maruts, attendants of Indra.
Rudras, followers of Rudra-Shiva.
Rudra, the Vedic wind or storm God.
^ a b Eva Rudy Jansen; Tony Langham (1993), The book of
The Gods and their Symbols, Binkey Kok Publications,
ISBN 90-74597-07-6, God of the wind ... also known as Vata or
Pavan ... exceptional beauty ... moves on noisily in his shining coach
... white banner ...
^ Raju, P.T. (1954), "The concept of the spiritual in Indian thought",
Philosophy East and West, 4 (3): 195–213, doi:10.2307/1397554,
^ Vijaya Ghose; Jaya Ramanathan; Renuka N. Khandekar (1992), Tirtha,
the treasury of Indian expressions, CMC Limited,
ISBN 978-81-900267-0-3, ... God of the winds ... Another name for
Vayu is Vata (hence the present Hindi term for 'atmosphere,
'vatavaran). Also known as Pavana (the purifier),
Vayu is lauded in
both the ...
^ Sukumari Bhattacharji (1984), Literature in the Vedic age, K.P.
Bagchi, ... The other atmospheric gods are his associates: Vayu-Vatah,
Rudras and the Maruts. All of them are fighters and
destroyers, they are powerful and heroic ...
^ Chandogya Upanishad, Adhyaya XVIII, Verse 4;
^ "Balittha Suktha -Text From Rig Veda". raghavendramutt.org. Archived
from the original on 24 September 2016.
^ History of the
Dvaita School And it's literature, pg 173
^ Twelve Heavenly Deities (Devas) Nara National Museum, Japan
^ a b S Biswas (2000), Art of Japan, Northern,
ISBN 978-8172112691, page 184
^ Willem Frederik Stutterheim et al (1995), Rāma-legends and
Rāma-reliefs in Indonesia, ISBN 978-8170172512, pages xiv-xvi
Adrian Snodgrass (2007), The Symbolism of the Stupa, Motilal
Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807815, pages 120-124, 298-300
Hindu deities and texts
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Acintya bheda abheda
Buddhist philosophy and Early Buddhist schools
All 108 texts
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali