By Swami Harshananda
Significance of Vāyu
Vāyu or air is one of the pañcabhutas or five basic elements of the world. Vāyu is also the presiding deity over it and is said to be dikpālaka ruling in the direction of north-west. Hanumān and Bhīma were born due to his grace. Vāyu as vital air acts inside the body as five major prāṇas and five subsidiary prāṇas.
Iconographic Representation of Vāyu
Iconographical works describe him as white or ash-grey in complexion. He has two hands carrying a bow and an arrow. He rides on a deer. Some works describe him as having four arms holding a banner with two and a water-pot in the third, the last hand showing varadamudrā. Sometimes the four hands are shown as holding:
Vāyu’s palace is called Gandhavatī.
- Dikpālaka means the lord of the quarters.
- Prāṇas means upaprāṇas.
- Banner means dhvaja.
- Varadamudrā means gesture of giving boons.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore