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Surya Satakam – Devotional Hymn To Sun God In Hindu Religion

Surya Satakam, or Surya Sataka, is a devotional lyric in Sanskrit, in praise of Sun God or Surya in Hindu religion. It was written by Mayura, or Mayura Bhatta, who flourished in the court of King Harsha of Kannauj in the first half of the 7th century CE. The story goes that Mayura was gifted with a mansion at Ujjain by the king. The mansion was located just adjacent to the house of Mayura’s son-in-law, Bana, the most celebrated prose writer in Sanskrit. Finding the charming maiden in the next compound, Mayura composed eight verses, known as Mayura Satakam, describing the physical charm of the girl. Subsequently traces of leprosy appeared in his body. When he came to know that it was Bana, his son-in-law, who was residing next door, Mayura realized the folly and gross impropriety of describing his own daughter. He was convinced that the sudden appearance of leprosy on him was a sequel to his grave mistake. To atone for the sin and to get rid of the disease, he instructed his disciple to tie a long rope to the branch of a tree, with a hundred swings one beneath the other. Fire was lit on the ground and Mayura faced eastward and composed the verses in praise of the Sun God in the sragdhara meter (21 syllables in a quarter). Every verse brought him down to the next swing beneath. When the hundredth was being composed by him, a miracle happened. Mayura did not fall into the fire and got totally cured of the disease. At this time, Surya also appeared and blessed Mayura.

Surya Sataka consisting of one hundred verses, is a popular devotional lyric. Its popularity can be adjudged by the fact that there are about 24 commentaries on it by different authors and also that there are as many as 150 manuscripts of his work in different manuscript libraries in India and Nepal.

Out of the hundred verses, the first 43 verses describe of the brilliance of the Sun. Verses 44-49 describe the horse of his chariot, while 50-61 deal with Aruna, the charioteer. Verses 62-72 describe his chariot, while 63-80 deal with orb. The verses 81-100 describe the Sun as a whole. The last verse enlists the merits that a reader will accrue by reciting this lyric.