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Aruna – Story of Aruna the Sun’s Charioteer and the Red Sky of Dawn

In Hindu Tradition, Aruna is the charioteer of Surya (the Sun God) and he is also the red sky of dawn or during sunrise. The story of his divine birth is mentioned in the Astika Parva of Mahabharata. Aruna was the son of Sage Kashyapa and Vinita (some scholars refer her as Vinata.) Aruna was born with half-body because of his mother’s impatience.

Sage Kashyapa had two wives – Kadru and Vinata. Once Sage Kashyapa asked his wife to ask a boon each. Kadru asked for one thousand Nagas or serpents as her sons. Vinata wished for two sons who were greater in strength than the thousand sons of Kadru.

Sage Kashyapa gave them the boons and asked to nurture the embryos with care.

In due course of time, Kadru gave birth to one thousand eggs and Vinata gave birth to two eggs. The eggs were carefully placed in a steaming vessel. After several years, thousand sons emerged from Kadru’s eggs.

But nothing emerged from the two eggs of Vinata. As days passed Vinata grew impatient and she was also jealous of the sons of Kadru.

Finally, she broke open one of the eggs and saw her son with only upper part formed. His lower part was unformed. This was Aruna.

An angry Aruna cursed his mother that as out of impatience and jealousy she did not allow his body to be fully grown – for this she will be enslaved by the women with whom she was competing. She will be saved from slavery by her other son provided she has the patience to wait for his natural birth.

After this Aruna rose to the sky and now appears every morning as the red sky – thus he is also known as the king of dawn. He also became the charioteer of Surya.

The other egg was born at the right time and this was Garuda.