|SURYA - THE
India during Vedic age and even afterwards SURYA has
played a very significant role in Hindu mythology and
amongst Hindu gods.
SURYA is one of the three chief gods
of the Vedas. As one of the spheres, the physical
sun is the celestial form of fire, Agni, and source of all
life. SURYA is at the center of the spheres. Above it are
the esoteric spheres of the Supreme Ruler and below it are
the manifest spheres of the moon and the earth.
The other name of SURYA is SAVITRI, which means
brilliance. In the later ages, like other many Vedic gods,
this god became more or less a mythical figure superseded
by Vishnu, who came to be regarded by Hindus as the
supreme manifestation of the self-Existent the Supreme
God. Still the most celebrated mantra
(hymn), known as GAYATRI Mantra, is the incantation
addressed to SURYA. Also many of the forms of
meditation, prayers and rituals used in the daily
ceremonies of Hindu Brahmins are addressed to this god.
Daily in the morning one can see hundreds of Hindus
offering water to the rising sun, accompanied with
incantations. Women can be seen frequently taking a pledge
that in case SURYA bestows them with a son, they would be
regularly performing ceremony to worship this god.
A legend states that about three hundred years ago a
learned Hindu, who was suffering from leprosy, prayed to
SURYA for cure. He was inspired to write eight verses in
Sanskrit, known as SURYASHTAK, to please the god, and by
the time he had finished the last verse he was restored to
health. Worship of the god SURYA is performed standing in
the sun with clasped hands and closed eyes. The origin of
this method of obtaining relief from sickness is ascribed
to SHAMBU, the son of Krishna, who was directed in a dream
to repeat twice a day the twenty-one names of SURYA
standing in this manner.
SURYA has two wives, SANJANA and CHHAYA. The first
one is the daughter of VISHWAKARMA. After her marriage she
found that she could not bear the power of this god's
rays. She, therefore, made an image of her own, imparted
life to it and left it with SURYA. Later on she was turned
into a mare and was adopted by SURYA again.
The abode of this god is called as
SURYALOKA. A powerful race of Hindu kings has
always taken pride in calling itself as the direct
descendant of Surya. In this dynasty of SURYAVANSHIS (the
descendants of SURYA) the first King had been IKSHWAKOO
while god RAMA was the sixty-sixth king in this lineage.
Even till medieval ages and thereafter so many RAJPUT
kings connected their family with Surya.
Surya has several sons. The
lawgiver, MANU, the lord of
death, YAMA and the river
YAMUNA were born of
SANJANA. According to
Mahabharata, the great warrior KARNAwas
this god's illegitimate son by KUNTI, the mother of
PANDAVAS. Surya is also the father of the monkey chief,
SUGRIVA, who was the ally of