Shukra's Association with Serpents

Shukra is considered the guru or teacher of the Asuras or demons who together are locked in an eternal battle with the good Devas. In one episodic myth, the Devas are particularly concerned in their battle with the Asuras because Shukra knows the mantra of immortality to raise the dead. This of course gave the Asuras an unfair advantage. So, Brihaspati (Jupiter), who was the guru to the Devas, sends his son Kaca (brightness) to study under Shukra.

Now, Shukra has a beautiful daughter Devayani (way to the gods) and she is quite taken with Kaca. The Asuras know what Kaca is up to so they kill him. Devayani, of course, grieves for him and tells father, so Shukra repeats the mantra and Kaca comes back to life. Then the demons kill Kaca again and once more Devayani complains and Shukra resurrects him. Undeterred, the demons go about killing Kaca and Shukra keeps resurrecting him.

Then, the demons get a particularly demonic idea and this time they kill Kaca and grind him up into a fine powder and put him in Shukra's wine. Shukra drinks the wine. This time, as Devayani begins her grieving and Shukra repeats the mantra, Shukra gets a stomach ache as Kaca speaks from inside him. With this, the demons are happy.

But, they ironically bring about the very thing they were trying to prevent for Shukra now reveals the mantra of immortality to Kaca, so when Kaca tears himself out of Shukra's body he will repeat the mantra and raise Shukra from the dead. In modern day HInduism, this myth is used to explain why all Brahmins committed to spirituality are not allowed to drink wine. It is also why the epithet of Venus is: the one who "produces stomach problems."

A more accurate reading of this story would be the following. Kaca, "kac" meaning "slay," is a vegetation god who dies and is resurrected in the endless cycle of reincarnation. Shukra or Venus is the one who causes Kaca to constantly be reborn. But when Shukra consumes Kaca in wine, an entheogenic additive, the god of Venus divulges the secret of immortality to Kaca (as consciousness) who is thus liberated from the resurrection/reincarnation cycle of Shukra. We know Kaca is an entheogen because such plants are known to cause 'stomach problems' and purging after ingestion.

There are a number of interesting correlations to be found here. On the astronomical side, the planet Jupiter is not as bright in the night sky as Venus, explaining why Jupiter sent his son to learn how to be brighter from Venus. Also, the idea of grinding Kaca up (the plant god) as an ingredient in a communion is very similar to a phrase spoken by the giant in the English story Jack and the Beanstalk:

I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he live, or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."

Jack IS the beanstalk and both represent an entheogenic ingredient that will take you into the clouds. There one will find a hen that lays golden eggs, but that is another story.