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God of the wind [1]
Affiliation:Deva,Guardians of the directions
Classical Elements
v  d  e



Water Aether Fire



Water Space Fire


Hinduism (Tattva) and
Buddhism (Mahābhūta)

Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth
Ap / JalaWater
Vayu / PavanAir / Wind
Agni / TejasFire
AkashaAether .

Japanese (Godai)
Earth (地)
Water (水)
Air / Wind (風)
Fire (火)
Void / Sky / Heaven (空) .

Life Force / Electricity

Chinese (Wu Xing)

  Water (水)  
Metal (金) Earth (土) Wood (木)
  Fire (火)  

In Hinduism, Vayu (Sanskrit वायु (properly transliterated as Vāyu), also known as Vāta वात, Pavana पवन (meaning the Purifier)[2] , or Prāna, is a primary deity, who is the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman. As the words for air (Vāyu) or wind (Pavana) it is one of the Panchamahābhuta the "five great 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 Life). There is a set of five deities, each called Prāna (life), with Mukhya-Prāna being chief among them. (This is the reason that, for example, in Hindi and other Indian languages, someone's death is stated using the plural as "his lives departed" (uske prān nikal gaye) rather than "his life departed.") The five Vāyu deities are known in the classical literature as Prāna, Apāna, Vyāna, Udāna, and Samāna, and control life (and the vital breath), the wind, touch/sensation, digestion, and excretion.

In the hymns, he is described as having "exceptional beauty" and moving noisily in his shining coach, driven by two or forty-nine or thousand white and purple horses. A white Banner is his main attribute. [3]

In the Upanishads there are numerous statements and illustrations of the greatness of Vāyu. The Brhadaranyaka 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 would regain 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 states that one cannot know Brahman except by knowing Vāyu as the udgitha (the mantric syllable "om").

Followers of Dvaita philosophy hold that Mukhya-Vāyu incarnated as Madhvacharya to teach worthy souls to worship the Supreme God Vishnu and to correct the errors of the Advaita philosophy. Madhvacharya himself makes this claim, citing the Rig Veda as his evidence.

Pavan is also a fairly common Hindu name. Pavan had played an important role in Anjana's begetting Hanuman as her child. Hence Hanuman is also called Pavan-Putra (son of Pavana) and Vāyu-Putra.

The three incarnation of Vayu deva are as follows

Treta yuge - Hanumantha
Dwaparyuga - Bhimasena
Kaliyuga - Acharya Madhwa

See also

  • Hindu deities
  • Deities of the sky
  • Prana Vayu ((types of prana in Raja Yoga anthropology) [1]


  1. ^ The Book of Hindu Imagery: Gods, Manifestations and Their Meaning By Eva Rudy Jansen p. 68
  2. ^ The Book of Hindu Imagery: Gods, Manifestations and Their Meaning By Eva Rudy Jansen p. 68
  3. ^ The Book of Hindu Imagery: Gods, Manifestations and Their Meaning By Eva Rudy Jansen p. 68
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vayu". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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