Lord Surya Dev – the Almighty Sun God
Lord Surya is also called in Sanskrit as Ravi Vivasana, Bhanu or Aditya. He is the Navagraha’s chief according to Hindu astrology. Often, he is seen driving a chariot that is pulled by seven horses, probably representing the rainbow’s seven colours or the body’s seven chakras and his Aruna being his charioteer. Also, he is Sunday’s presiding deity. The Saura sect considers him to be the Supreme Deity while Smartas are known to worship him as primary God form. His abode is the Surya Loka.
Understanding the role of Lord surya in Hindu religion and relations-
Prabha, Ragyi and Saranyu or Sarayu are the three wives of Surya. Saranyu had five children- Vaivasvata Manu, the twins Yami and Yama and twins called Ashvins. Chhaaya, whom Sarayu created superficially from her shadow to act wife of Surya in her absence as she was unable to bear the Surya’s intense radiance, also bore four children of whom two were sons and two were daughters – Manu and Shani (sons) and Tapti and Vishti (daughters). Surya also had two more sons with Ragyi giving birth to Revanta and Prabha giving birth to Prabhata. He is also Karna, the tragic hero’s father, as depicted in Mahabharata, the popular Indian epic.
His sons Yama and Shani are considered to be responsible towards judging human life. Results of human deeds are provided by Shani with appropriate rewards and punishments while results of the person’s deeds after death are granted by Yama. Bhagwan Surya does have numerous followers and is worshiped by millions.
Lord Surya has been described to be King Sugriva’s father in the Ramayana, the monkey king who played an important role in helping Rama to defeat Ravana, the demon kind. According to the Hindu Vedas, Surya has been referred to frequently as ‘eye of Agni, Varuna and Mitra’. Also, he is regarded as Virat Purusha’s eye.
Surya in Vedic astrology
Surya, according to Vedic astrology, has been regarded to be a mild malefic due to his dry, hot nature. He is known to represent willpower, soul, the eyes, fame, courage, general vitality, kingship, courage, highly placed persons, father, friendly and benevolence. Bhagwan Surya also has been depicted to be the Lord of three lunar mansions or nakshatras, namely, Uttara Ashadha, Uttara Phalguni and Krittika. The following associations are with Surya, red or copper colours, metals being brass or gold and gemstone with ruby. Wheat is a food grain that is associated with him.
In Buddhist scriptures
Surya has been regarded to be among the 12 Devas; the guardian deities found around or in Buddhist shrines. He is known as ‘Nit-ten’ in Japan. Surya is regarded to be a female deity, which contrasts male Lunar God, according to Buddhist cosmological system on Mount Meru.
Popular Sun temples
Temples dedicated to Lord Surya can be found all over India. The Sun Temple located in Konark in Orissa, India is regarded to be a World Heritage site and the most popular of all Sun Temples. Apart from this, the other two Sun Temples found in Orissa are Biranchinarayan Temple in Palia, Bhadrak and Biranchi Narayan Temple in Buguda, Ganjam District.
There are also Sun Temples to be witnessed in Modhera, Gujarat; Kanakaditya Temple, Kasheli, Maharashtra; Arasavalli, Andhra Pradesh and others.