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Popular Stories Of Surya Sun God In Hinduism

Surya, the Sun God, is a prominent deity in Hinduism, revered for his immense power, warmth, and life-giving energy. Several popular stories and legends revolve around Surya in Hindu scriptures:

Surya's Birth: Surya is believed to be born to Kashyapa, a sage, and Aditi, the mother of the gods. According to the Vishnu Purana, Surya emerged from Aditi's womb in his full glory, with radiant light filling the universe. He is often depicted riding a chariot drawn by seven horses, representing the seven colors of the rainbow or the seven days of the week.

Surya's Marriage: Surya is also known for his marriage to Sanjna (or Saranyu), who found his radiance unbearable and created her shadow, Chhaya, to take her place. Sanjna transformed herself into a mare to escape Surya's brilliance. Later, feeling guilty, she returned in her original form. They had children together, including Vaivasvata Manu and twins Yami and Yama.

Surya and Hanuman: One famous story involves Surya and Hanuman, the devoted monkey god. As a child, Hanuman mistook the sun for a ripe fruit and attempted to swallow it. Surya, impressed by Hanuman's bravery and strength, blessed him with the power of immortality and immense knowledge.

Surya and Kunti: In the epic Mahabharata, Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, was granted a boon by sage Durvasa, which allowed her to invoke any deity and bear a child. Curious, she called upon Surya and bore Karna, who grew up to become a great warrior.

Surya and Yama : There's a story about Surya's progeny, where he fathered Yama, the god of death, with his wife Saranyu. However, due to Surya's intense radiance, Saranyu was unable to bear his brightness and created a shadow-like form, Chhaya, to take her place. 

Surya's Temples and Worship: Throughout India, there are temples dedicated to Surya, with the most famous being the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha. Chhath Puja, a significant festival in Bihar and parts of North India, is dedicated to Surya, where devotees offer prayers to the Sun God for well-being, prosperity, and longevity.

Surya and His Chariot: The chariot of Surya is said to be drawn by seven horses, each representing a different color. These horses symbolize the seven colors of the rainbow. The chariot is believed to be driven by Aruna, the personification of the reddish glow of the rising sun.

Surya and Savitri: In some traditions, Surya is identified with Savitar, the presiding deity of the sun. Savitri is often depicted as a benevolent force, promoting life and well-being. The Gayatri Mantra, dedicated to Savitar, is one of the most revered hymns in Hinduism.

Surya, who is also known as Savitar, is celebrated as a benefactor of humans and a slayer of demons. The gods and demons once clashed after Brahma apportioned all sacrificial offerings to the god and left nothing for the demons. The demons were displeased and a war ensued. The gods found themselves losing to the demons, who forced the gods to give up their place in heaven and their offerings. Aditi was greatly distressed to see the demons tormenting her sons, so she prayed to Surya for help. Surya then was born as her son and defeated the demons and established righteousness.

Yet another story states that a group of terrorizing rakshasas called Mahadhas, who had the collective intelligence of a piece of furniture, went on a mission to the sky to attack Surya and devour him, but they became incinerated and died as they approached him.

Sugriva Son Of Surya: Sugriva, the Monkey King in the Ramayana, is said to be the offspring of Surya and Aruni, the female manifestation of Surya's charioteer, Aruna. The narrative unfolds with the tale of Shilavati, a devoted wife who gained extraordinary power through her rigorous penance. During a night when she was fulfilling the desires of her leprous husband, Shilavati carried him on her back to a courtesan. Along their journey, a sage encountered them and, appalled by the man's lust, cursed him to perish before sunrise.

In response, Shilavati wielded her mystical abilities to cast a counter spell, preventing the sun from rising the following day. Witnessing the absence of the sun on the horizon at the expected time, Aruna, the charioteer, took advantage of his free time to witness the celestial dance at Indra's court. Assuming the guise of the enchanting woman Aruni, he attended the court and captivated Indra's attention. This fascination blossomed into attraction, giving rise to the birth of the Monkey King Vali.

As Aruna delayed his return for the morning ride, Surya sought an explanation. Upon hearing the story, Surya became intrigued and desired to see this captivating woman. Aruna transformed back into Aruni, this time captivating the sun god, and their union resulted in the birth of Sugriva.

Surya And His Sons Ashwins and Shani – Every marriage has its ups and downs and marriage of Surya to Sanjna was no different. Over time, Sanjna found herself unable to bear the radiance of her husband, Surya. Instead of breaking his heart, she chose to leave, appointing her handmaiden, Chhaya (meaning shade), as her doppelganger. Sanjna sought solace in a forest, adopting the guise of a mare and dedicating herself to spiritual pursuits.

Chhaya flawlessly mimicked Sanjna, and Surya remained oblivious to the substitution, unknowingly fathering Shani Bhagavan with Chhaya. As a mother and stepmother, Chhaya played her roles admirably for years. However, an outburst led her to curse her stepchild Yama, revealing the deception. The curse took effect immediately and aroused the suspicion of Surya. A long-standing feature of curses in Hinduism is that a real mother’s curse does not have any impact on her own child. Soon Surya realized that his wife had forsaken him long before, leaving another woman in her place.

Using his powers, Surya discovered Sanjna meditating in the form of a mare in the forest. Transforming into a stallion, he approached her, and their union resulted in the birth of the twin physicians of gods, the Ashwins. After some time, the couple reverted to their true forms and decided to return home. Sanjna imposed a condition that Surya must diminish his brilliance by one-eighth.

To fulfill this condition, Vishwakarma, Sanjana's father, placed Surya on a lathe and shaved brightness from every part of his body except his feet. The fragments were then used by Vishwakarma to forge the Sudarshana Chakra (Vishnu's discus), the trident of Shiva, the lance of Kartikeya, and the weapons of Kubera.

These tales depict Surya's significance as a celestial deity embodying light, energy, and life, and his stories continue to be cherished in Hindu religion.