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Symbolism Of Vayu – Wind God – In Hinduism

Vayu, the wind god in Hinduism, has deep symbolism attached to it. Vayu is invisible and inexpressible, due to his formlessness, can be realized only by his action on other objects. It is also called the heart of the gods. Cosmic air is one, but in the human body it becomes manifold. It has the power to transform the seeds of life. In architectural reliefs, hamsa – the goose or swan – is depicted as a symbol of the wind.

In Upanishads, Vayu is both individuality ‘vyasti’ and totality ‘samasti,’ concrete and universal. When a person dies, the vital breath prana goes back to vayu. As an elemental nature, vayu originates from space and possesses two properties or qualities – sound and touch. In the epics and Puranas, vayu is treated as the mover of all scents and also the king of the gandharvas.

According to Tantric literature, vayu is constantly active principle and is associated with rajas quality manifesting as force, movement or activity, but it arises from tamas (‘the quality of inertia) due to its association with the subtle element of touch ‘sparsha’. Vayu Purana records the seven forms of vayu located in different parts of the universe.

Vayu acts as the producer of the sound. In the production of voice, the controlled use of vital breath is most essential. The wind instruments of music are closely related with vayu. In the practice of Yoga, controlling of vayu is essential. Vayu is also treated as dikpala (guardian of quarter) in Hinduism and guards the northwest direction of the temple.

The palace of Vayu is known as Gandhavati. Among her two prominent children are Bhimasena and Hanuman. A group of celestial maids owe their birth to Vayu.

So, both from the cosmic and mythological point of view, the term ‘vayu’ denotes cosmic air and the god of wind, and it penetrates mysteriously all dimensions of existence. As a god, he bestows longer life to his worshippers and grants them immortality.