Surya The Sun God

Surya (the Sun god) is one of the most important deities of the Vedas. He usually has a lotus in each hand and is usually shown in a chariot drawn across the heavens by seven horses or one horse with seven heads. He is also shown with four hands, three carrying a wheel, a conch-shell and a lotus and the fourth in a protective mode. 1-us charioteer is Aruna, the god of dawn, who carries a whip in his hand.

Being the source of light and warmth, he has the ability to control the seasons and the power to grant or withhold the ripening of the crops. As the economy was agricultural based, Surya is placed amongst the highest of the gods, specially for the agricultural communities.

Also known as Savita, Surya was very popular in the early times, but later on lost some of his importance to Vishnu. Even then he is the god to whom the famous Gayatri Mantra (prayer) is chanted everyday when he rises. Everyday in the morning one can see hundreds of devotees chanting the mantras and offering water to the Sun god. Small images and visual representations of the Sun god can be seen in the temples of other gods, but he rarely has a full-fledged temple to himself. One of the exceptions is the famous sun temple at Konarak in Orissa.

No comments: