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Vedic and Puranic features of Sun God: A Comparative Study
[Vedic Mythological Innovations during Puranic Phase]
Shashi Tiwari Former Professor of Sanskrit, University of Delhi & General Secretary, WAVES India, New Delhi
Long tradition of Hinduism has produced many scared works. The most ancient and authoritative are the revealed literature, the Vedas ‘Sruti’. There are the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanisads. In addition to this, Hinduism has a vast corpus of auxiliary scriptures including the two great epic, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These epics have had a profound influence on all aspects of Hindu life and culture in India for thousands of years. Then there are eighteen Puranas, rich in myth and symbol of which the best known is the Srimad-Bhagavata Purana but traditionally epic and Puranas are considered as the extension of Vedic texts in their contents and style. In the literary history of India generally phase of epics and Puranas is mentioned after the description of the Vedic literature. The Puranas are those writings which immediately follow the completion of the epic. The meaning of ‘Purana’ suggests it as ‘ancient lore’ and thus older than the epic, belonging to the late Vedic Period. That is why our traditions often group them together for reference and evidence – Itihasa Puranabhyam vedam samupabrnhiyeta. These works contain no real history, yet they reflect history and culture very plainly. They epitomize religious practices, beliefs, and myths, and represent the advent of various religious cults along with the varied description of social and political changes of that time. The Puranas were destined to become the important force in the development of Hindu religion; therefore, their influence can be examined on the different aspects of Indian thought. The modern Hindu sects are to some extent the direct expansion of Puranic doctrine, because their major principles are of respectable antiquity. Perhaps the most striking distinction between Vedic and Puranic is the emphasis laid in the former upon Right (Rtam); in the latter upon idols. Since this aspect is primarily related with the Indian mythology, the distinction between the two can be seen in the features of gods mentioned in both the literatures. Here, a comparative study is done based on the various aspects of Sun-god in reference to the Vedic and Puranic works to find out the original nature of the deity, and its development in the ancient religious life. 1. Sun God in Vedic Texts 1

There has been no time when the importance of the sun has not been realized. Sun is the creator of day and night, the source of light and heat on earth, and producer of all food and vegetation. Due to respect and gratitude of human beings towards Him sun-worship prevailed in almost every ancient culture - Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, Iranian, Mexican and Indian. The evidence of worship of sun is also found in the Indus Valley civilization in form of symbols and designs marked on the seals and potteries. Among them, the symbol of Svastika and wheel are prominent since they represent the movement of sun and eternity in Indian tradition (Pandey 1971: 4-5). During the early Vedic period, especially in the Rgveda Samhita, the sun and its various forms are invoked and worshiped under various names such as Surya, Savitr, Pusan, Bhaga, Mitra, Varuna, Visnu, Aryaman, Vivasvat, Amsa, and Aditya .These names are basically the epithets which denote his functions, attributes and qualities. In the Rgveda, we recognize five solar deities because they are invoked in the hymns or verses; definitely the number is extended afterwards in Post-Rgvedic texts. Surya is most prominent among the solar deities of the Rgveda. Surya Deva represents the visible luminous orb and is directly connected with light, heat and movement. He is described as a horse, and a bird in the Rgvedic mantras. Savitr is second solar god who denotes abstract qualities of Sun such as stimulating, and inspiring. Savitr is chiefly regarded as stimulator who drives man to action. Although Surya is differentiated explicitly with Savitr, yet many of the hymns make no distinction between them. The third solar deity is Visnu who largely represents movement, wide-stepping and motion of Sun. The fourth solar god, Pusan is recognized as nourishing power of Sun who bestows prosperity. The fifth solar deity in the Rgveda is Mitra who has been invoked mostly with Varuna and is animator of men, giver of happiness and supporter of gods. Bhaga and other few names of Sun, mentioned in the Rgveda and in other Vedic Samhitas, are in the same way epithets of Sun-god describing His actions and characteristics, but are not always very clear to which aspect of sun, they signify. The Rgveda talks about seven Adityas (RV 10.72.9) and adds Martanda as the eighth Aditya (RV10.72.8). The Satapatha Brahmana ( months. give account of twelve Adityas on the basis of twelve

The existence of Surya in the form of many divinities of solar family in the Vedic texts proves Him a great god having various facades. Nirukta describes sun as the greatest and most powerful god of heaven or Div. Surya and Savitr maintained their solar nature in the Brahmana and Sutra texts and both are generally invoked in the rituals and sacrifices to grant blessings to the performers. In the Isopanisad, Sun is regarded as the symbol of Brahman. 2

The Vedic conception of Surya Deva with several dimensions has influenced the culture, mythology, ritual, and philosophy of Post-Vedic times immensely. 2. Sun-god and Sun-worship in Puranic texts We find a number of deities of Vedic Samhitas referred to in the prominent Puranas. Position of these deities is not always found the same during the Vedic, Epic and Puranic stages. A deeper study establishes that features and characteristics of these deities are changing a lot from Vedic age up to the Puranic age. In Puranic period of Indian mythology, status of some Vedic deities enhanced; as they grew up to be more powerful; for instance Rudra became Siva. Position of some Vedic deities decreased, or they became unimportant as Indra. Likewise nature of some deities changed a lot within ancient religion; as Visnu, a solar deity of Rgveda, became an important god in Puranic phase. Indisputably, there is one great god ‘Surya’ of the Vedic lore who remained on the key position constantly from the Vedas up to the Puranas. However, His features are altered, developed, and glorified to a great extent by the authors of Puranas due to their broad approach towards the symbolism of Vedic concepts. Unique style and main subject matter of Puranas are other reasons for the modification of original views. Puranic literature is very wide in contents. They were written between second-third century AD to thirteen-fourteen century AD according to the most of the scholars. Some Puranas are of early times such as Visnu, Vayu, Brahmanda, and Markandeya, while some as Bhavisya, Skanda, Samba etc. are of later period. As a result, impact of Vedic culture with its modification would not be seen identical in the developing religious traditions of the Puranas. There were five major cults prominent in the age of Puranas for the worship of Visnu, Siva, Sakti, Surya, and Ganesa. Some independent Puranas were written on these deities which confirms the formation of certain cults in Puranic phase. In the early Puranas, we can see the Vedic and Srota traditions of sun-worship with slight changes. Here Surya god represents the physical form of Sun. Importance of sun amongst other planets; his chariot, movement, and relation with seasons and time are described in the Visnu Purana. Through the story of Rajyavardhana, physical form of sun is evidently elaborated in the Markandeya Purana. Assimilation of twelve Adityas with twelve months is a thought of Vedic origin which is depicted in these Puranas. The methods of Sunworship mentioned in Smrtis such as, enchanting (japa), offering water (arghya), and evening prayer (Sandhyopasana) are found in the early Puranas. Besides, Vrata, Tirtha and Bhakti (devotion) to Sun-god are rarely mentioned here, in comparison to later Puranas. 3

The Samba, Bhavisya, Varaha, Skanda, etc. are later Puranas based mainly on the worship of Sun-god and thus related to Sun-cult to some extent. In short, they all describe supremacy of Surya, climax of His bhakti and complexity of His worship. For such a devotee, Surya is Brahman alone. Prayers ( stotras) of Surya are found mostly in all the Puranas along with the details of celebrations (vrata), pious places (tirtha), temples (mandira), idols(pratima), devotees (bhakta), and worshippers (upasaka). Samba

Upapurana is a famous text of Sun-cult, in which Samba, son of Sri Krsna prayed to Surya as Supreme Brahman for the cure of his skin disease. Bhavisyottara Purana talks about the Saura vrata of Martandeya Purana, but that Purana is not available today(Bha-visyottara Pu. 121.1-2). Aditaya Purana is another famous Upapurana referred in the list of Puranas by Allbaruni. The names of other lost solar Puranas seem to be Suryapurana and Sauryapurana( Hazra 1963: 491). Today available Suyrapurana is basically meant to establish the greatness of Siva ( Suryapurana, Sanskiti Samstan , Barelliy,1972). The Surya-Stotras of Puranas are very popular being the basis of Surya- prayers (stotras) of classical Sanskrit literature. Most of the Puranic Stotras are on the basis of Suryamantras of Vedic Samhitas. Some important Pauranic Stotras are: -Stavaraja of Brahmapurana -Astottarasatanamastotra of Brahmapurana -Suryamahamantra of Padmapurana -Cintamadistotra of Padmapurana -Suryanamastotra of Bhavisyapurana -Suryakavaca of Brahmavaivartapurana -Jayadityastaka of Skandapurana -Suryastottarasatanamastotra of Brhaddharmapurana -Adityahrdayastotra of Bhavisyottarapurana -Suryadvadasanamastota of Bhavisyottarapurana Besides stotras, there are number of legends also about family, light, chariot, movement, and places of Surya Deva in the Puranas. Comparative study makes clear the nature of growth and enlargement of Vedic Sun-god into Puranic Sun-god particularly in reference to His family, form, associates, belongings, characteristics, activities and qualities with certain modifications and expansions due to changing cultural attitude of Indian intellect.


3. Family and Associates of Sun-god The imaginations of Rgvedic seers about the family of Sun-god are, indeed, not many; but they developed gradually, and Puranas give details of His family in large. The Rgveda mentions Dyaus as father of Surya, and Aditi as His mother. (RV1.50.13; 8.101.11; 10.37.1; 10.88.11)A mantra refers Vayu and Agni as His brothers and perhaps seven colours of rays as seven sons (RV 1.164.1). Usa is sometimes projected as His wife or female consort (RV 7.75.1). In a verse of Vivasvan, the sun, Saranyu is said to be His wife (RV10.17.1; Nirukta 12.9-10). Solar deity Pusan is married to Surya, the sun-maiden according to a Rgvedic verse (RV 6.58.4). Niruka mentions Surya as wife of Surya - Surya Suryasya patni ( Nirukta 12.7.2). Probably as the husband of Surya, Pusan is connected with the marriage ceremonial in the wedding hymn (RV10.85). These Rgvedic references are developed in the Puranas under a natural process. With mother Aditi here Kasyapa is mentioned as father, as sun is called Kasyapeya, Kasyapanandavardhana, Kasyapatmaja etc. On the basis of Rgvedic reference, Brahmanda Purana projects Sun as the son of Aditi. Once He is shown conferring on Aditi the boon that he would take birth as her son ( Brahmanda Pu., Reva Khanda 14. 25-26). Aditi praises Sun to be her son for the protection of her other sons ‘devas’ according to the story of Markandeya and Brahma Puranas. Aditya name is usually given to Sun being the son of Aditi, but initially this name for Sun is used in the Rgveda without assigning any verse to Aditya god. The Puranas give some legends connected with the family of Surya. Markandeya (p.460-61) describes his two wives Sanjna and Chaya, and issues namely Nasatya, Dasra, Revanta, Yama, Savarni (Saturn), and Yamuna. The Vamana Purana mentions Tapti as another daughter of Sun-god. This Purana states that Manu, Yama, and Yami took birth from Sanjna; and Sani (Saturn), and Tapati were born from Chaya. Visnu Dharmottara Purana names the sons of Chaya as Savarna and Sanaiscara( Saturn). The names of the children and name of their respective mothers differ in Puranas, but total number of children is mentioned as nine: Manuryamo yami caiva savarnisca sanaiscarah/ Tapati casvimau caiva revantasca ravih sutah// - Bhavisya Purana 1.79.63; Samba Purana 11.51-52


They are- Manu, Yama, Yami, Savarni, Sanaiscara, Tapati, Asvinau( two Asvin-s), and Revanta. Among them Yama and Asvinau are referred to as sons of Surya in the Rgveda, and rest are later addition in Puranas. The mention of eighteen associates (Anucara) is in Samba (16.19-22), Garuda (39.2), and Bhavisya(1.143.39-41) Puranas. Visvakarma as father- in- law is mentioned in Bhavisya Purana ( 1.121.4). We may assume that depiction of attendants is based on pure Puranic imagination. The other names of Sanjna are given in the Puranas as Saranyu, Suranu, and Usa which indicate Vedic origin of the concept. Day and night or light and shadow are his two wives and various natural energies are distinguished as his sons and daughters. Thus we see that members of solar family are highly structured in the Puranas on the basis of Sun’s multiple forms and powers seen in the universe, but keeping intact the original views of Vedas. 4. Physical Form of Sun-god In the Rgveda Surya and other solar deities are connected with the natural phenomenon, orb, powers and functioning of Sun; since, the association with the luminary is never being lost sight of Vedic seers. He is described as full of light and heat, brilliant, lustrous, shinning, far-seeing, cleanser of darkness, eye of Mitra and Varuna, and face of Agni in the Rgveda. Solar deity Visnu represents solar movement, and Vivasvan the rising Sun. Aditya and Rohita gods mentioned in the Atharvaveda clearly represent natural solar forms. In the Puranas, Surya is described as the eye of universe or the lord of all eyes, and he is referred to by the names ‘Sahsara-Netra’ and ‘Trinetra’ for being ‘all-seeing’. Savitr of the Rgveda is called ‘Hiranmaya’ because of his golden colour, but later Puranas developed the idea of the colour of Sun-god. Brahma ( 31.12-13), Samba ( 8.12-13) and Skanda ( Puranas illustrate six colours of Surya – brown (kapila) in spring, golden( kancana) in summer, white(sweta) in rainy season, yellow(pandu) in

autumn, copper(tamra) in Hemanta and red (lohita) in winter. Details of movement and planet-form in relation to solar gods are not described evidently in the Vedas, but we find few references in this aspect in the Puranic literature due to development of astronomy and astrology as scriptures in the Post-Vedic period. Similarly relation of Surya with certain flowers such as padma and kumuda is also indicated here due to the impact of classical Sanskrit poetry on some Puranas. 5. Rays, Light and Heat of Sun-god


According to the Rgveda, Surya shines for all world (RV 7.63.1), for men and gods (RV 1.50.5). He dispels darkness with his light (RV 10.37.4). His rays throw off the darkness as a skin into the waters (RV 4.13.4). Mention of seven horses of Surya in the Rgveda may be explained as a mention of his seven rays or seven colours of his rays: Saptacakram sapta vahantyasvah / RV 1.164.2, 3; AV 20.47.20 Taittiriyaranyaka lists seven Suryas (Tai.A.1.7). Indication of His countless rays and different lights can be drawn from a Rgvedic reference- Anyena jyotisa yasi ( RV 10.37.3), but in the Puranas we find vivid description of rays, light and heat of the sun. On the basis of his thousand rays many epithets such as, Sahasrakiranadyuti, Sahasransu, Sahasrarasmi, Sahasrabhanu etc. are used profusely. Several times these thousand rays are divided, and seven rays with Susumna are declared the best. Bright form of Surya Deva is usually praised in the Rgveda, and there are only two or three allusions to the sun’s burning heat (RV 7.34.19, 9.107.20), for in the Rgveda the sun is not a maleficent power. Generally He is regarded as a beneficent power (Keith & Macdonell 1982: II, 465). However Puranas give vivid description and legends of his unbearable light and heat, and paring of some of His parts on the request of gods for the welfare of mankind. The paring of the luster or body of Surya was done by Visvakarma. Even then, He remains most dazzling in the whole universe and supreme among all planets and stars. 6. Chariot, Horses and Charioteer of Sun-god The description of chariot (Ratha) as conveyance (vahana) of Surya Deva is found in the Vedas as well as in the Puranas. Rgveda mentions Surya’s chariot having single wheel and Savitr’s chariot of golden colour. Following the Vedic tradition, Puranic sun-worshippers have given more emphasis on the wheel of the sun. They depict the whole year (samvatsara) as wheel of the chariot of the sun. Some Vedic commentators also explain chakra in similar way. Puranas extend the idea of Ratha and combine it with the concept of twelve groups of Devata, Muni, Gandharva, Apsara, Gramani, Sarpa and Raksasa for twelve months. Seven members of these seven groups sit on the ratha in every month, one by one, with one Aditya (from the group of twelve Aditya) who is assigned for that month. These associates make the sun more powerful and radiant. According to Rgveda, He has a car which is drawn by one steed called etasa (RV 7.63.2), or by an indefinite number of steeds (RV 1.115.3, 10.37.3) or mares (RV5.29.5), or

by seven horses (RV 5.45.9) or mares called haritah ( 1.50.8,7.60.3), or by seven swift mares 7

( RV 4.13.3). Solar deity Pusan’s car is drawn by goats (ajasva) instead of horses (RV 1.38.4, 6.55.3). The seven horses can be explained scientifically as the seven colours of sun-rays. They will be recognized as one when united. So the divergent narration of horses can be justified through symbolism. Puranic Sun-god also has a chariot with seven horses. Some of His famous names found in the Puranic stotras are Saptasva, Saptasapti, and Saptasvahana. Sometimes these horses are taken in the sense of seven Vedic chandas, and seldom they are named as – Jaya, Vijaya, Jitaprana, Jitasrama, Manojava and Jitakrodha. There is no clear declaration of any charioteer in reference to Surya in the Vedas. In a Rgvedic verse, the solar god Pusan, the knower of paths, is said as best of charioteers to have driven downwards the golden wheel of the sun (RV 6.56.3), but according to Macdonell the connection is obscure ( Macdonell, 1981:35). Definitely the concept of charioteer is developed in the Puranas where twelve Gramini are anticipated as drivers for twelve months, and Aruna is called as a charioteer (sarathi) of Surya: Arunah sarathiryasya rathavahah / Samba Pu. 53.3 7. Food, Armament and Seat of Sun-god The imagination or association of certain belongings is very natural in the personification of any deity. As characterization of Surya is in its beginning state in the Rgveda, His properties are then less talked about. Savitr god is described loving his food of purodasa and Pusan likes his distinctive food of karambha. God Savitr wears golden shield or armature (kavaca) in the Rgveda and golden armament (abhri) in the Yajurveda, while Pusan uses arrow (ankusa), wheel (chakra) and sharp weapon (kosa) for protection. In order of later development, the Puranas illustrate weapons and ornaments of Surya exhaustively. Generally He is depicted carrying sankha, cakra, padma and sakti in His four hands. Some times sakti is replaced with arrow (sranga) (Suryagita 6.31, Markandeya Purana 75.4) Flower of lotus (kamala) is imagined as seat of Sun-god in the Puranas, but this notion is totally missing during Vedic period. 8. Sun-god as Destroyer of Diseases In the Puranas we find Sun-god most admired for long life and good health. There are many prayers (stotra) for Surya specially done for the cure of various diseases of skin and eye. Fear, sleeplessness, death, sorrow, distress etc. are other reasons for the worship of Sun. Samba, the son of Krsna, worshipped Surya on the guidance of Narada Muni for leprosy and was cured by His grace according to Samba Purana. He built a Sun-temple at 8

Mulasthana on the bank of river Candrabhaga, and brought Maga Brahmanas from Sakadvipa to act as priests of the temple. These legends get repeated through with some variation, many times even in one and the same Purana. A story of the Skanda Purana informs about the treatment of leprosy of King Nanda by the grace of Surya Deva. The Bhavisya Purana depicts how the wings of Garuda were reborn by the worship and mercy of Surya Deva. Later in classical Sanskrit Literature we find that Sanskrit Poet Mayura has written Suryasataka in praise of Sun-god with the intention to get cured from his leprosy trouble. The characteristic of Sun-god as a ‘destroyer of diseases’ is not unknown to Vedic seers. A Rgvedic verse praises Him for the treatment of sickness of heart (Hridrogam) and the yellowness ‘Jaundice’ of body (Harimanam): Hridrogam mama surya harimanam ca nasaya /( RV 1.50.11) In the next mantra devotee requests to transfer the yellowness on the body of the parrots, to the starlings or to the Haridrava: Sukesu me harimanam ropanakasu dadhmasi /(RV 1.50.12 ) According to Wilson, English commentator of Rgveda, Haridrava is a yellow vegetable powder (Wilson 1997: I, 127). In the Atharvaveda (6.1-3, 3.20.7) Surya is prayed for the cure of many diseases such as Gandamala, Ramayani, and Asutika. Two Upanisads of late period named Aksyupanisad and Caksusopanisad describe abilities of Sun-god for handling the diseases of eyes. Obviously significance of solar light for the cure, and prevention from certain diseases is recognized by the Vedic Sun-worshippers. This aspect of the deity is fully developed on medical and scientific background during the Puranic phase of sun-worship. 9. Divine Form of Sun-god There are number of attributes assigned to Surya in Rgveda as He is the most visible, brilliant, beholder of good, and helpful to all creatures. He is called cause of rain on the earth. He keeps his devotee constantly happy in mind, sound of sight and blesses with prosperity; and grants him wealth and progeny (Pandey 1972: 11). These aspects of His character are further enhanced and projected differently in Puranic prayers. His Godly form with beautiful face and body, well decorated with ornaments and earrings of crocodile shape, having illustrious crown on head, and seating on the lotus seat, is elaborated in the Puranas only. In the Gupta period and afterwards, when Sun-worship flourished and Sungod was considered as the cause of the existence of world, many Sun-temples were erected, and Sun-images were carved with depiction of His horses, associates, attendants, and belongings. In the ideal image, carved in the 6th century A.D., He is shown beautifully wearing all ornaments and attended by all the members of His retinue, Danda, Pingala, two 9

queens, and Aruna with seven horses (Bannerjea: 436). The Matsya Purana gives a vivid description of iconographical features of the Sun-god. Sun worship in ancient India has retained its existence most of the time. Usually such additions in the personification keep the cult alive. Sankara’a reputed disciple Ananda Giri has witnessed six formal divisions of Sun- worshippers during his time (Hopkins 1970: 445- 46). Surya’s physical form was prominent in Vedic prayers but His divine and spectacular form has overpowered the minds of devotees in the Puranic period due to impact of solar legends and sun-cult. 10. Sun-god as Dvadasatma and Sarvatma In the Surya stotras of the Puranas, Surya is extensively described as having twelve forms (Dvadasatma ), and the Supreme Being (Sarvatma). His twelve Aditya-names are not always the same in these Puranas. The twelve names of Adityas given in Brahma ( 31.17-18) and Bhavisya (1.78.53-54) Puranas are - Indra, Visnu, Dhata, Bhaga, Parjanya, Pusan, Mitra, Varuna, Tvasta, Aryaman, Vivasvan, and Amsumana ; they are spoken as twelve forms of Sungod responsible for the twelve months one at a time. Then there are other names of Sun-god as Bhaskara, Martanda, Ravi, Bhanu, Mihira, Savita, Aditya, Divakara etc., Also a long list of His names are occasionally found in Puranas based on his various attributes and activities. A look at these names would show that by that time, He had become identified with Brahma, Visnu, and Siva. Rgveda acclaims the Sun as Atman of all moveable and immovable world ‘ Surya atma jagatastasthusasca’(RV 1.115.1). The spiritual aspect of Surya is somehow hidden in the early Vedic Texts, but it is indicated in some of the Upanisads. The Isonanisad states that the entrance of Brahman, the Truth, is hidden by the golden orb of sun: Hiranmayena patrena satyasyapihitam mukham. ( Isa Up. 15) Puranas spread out this idea and call Him vedamaya, devamaya, yajnamaya, sarvamaya, and Visvatma meaning that He is the form of all Vedas, Devas, Yajnas and beings, and is all-pervading. Surya’s epithet Vedamaya indicates the absolute acceptability of sruti to Puranas in reference to various concepts of Sun-god. The Samba Purana identifies the Sun with Siva and states that there is no difference between these two gods. Surya alone is Brahma, Visnu and Mahesa according to this Purana ( Samba Pu.1.17).


The Bhavisya Purana speaks of the Surya as the greatest among the gods ( Bhavisya Pu. Ch. 48, 53, 67, 71, 153). Accordingly He is the creator of the world and its destroyer as well. Everything of the world, movable or immovable, animate or inanimate, has originated from Him. He is the cause of the gods like Rudra, Vasaka, Asvina, Vaya, Anala and Prajapati. He is the maker of the world, mountains and rivers. He is the root of all the worlds. He is the creator of rain which is the cause of the food and vegetation. From Him originates Ksana, Muhurata, day, night fortnight, month, year, season and yugas. He is called Visvarupa because he has many forms. He is Visnu, both Saguna and Nirguna like Agni. He exists in many forms in all beings. He exists in body as air in five forms. He is the final source and final limit of knowledge. He is the object of meditation. He is the source of emancipation or Moksa to the persons seeking it. His forms are the Vedanga, Truth and Asvamedha. Once He is shown as being praised by Brahma, Visnu and Siva. He is Arka because the gods also adore Him. Thus this Purana brings out clearly the concept of the Sun-god as the Supreme deity. It also describes the iconographic description of Sun-god in particular. 11. Conclusion In short, it can be said that ‘Surya’ the great god of Vedic cultural tradition reaches on the highest peak of divinity, and is identified with Supreme Reality due to tremendous faith and deep devotion of Sun-worshipper towards their ista deva during Puranic phase, and also due to the realization of His numerous natural powers. Vedic basis nevertheless remains altogether with His enlarged personification. Hence, various aspects of Sun-god’s personality take classic shape without disturbing the spirit of original concepts. The Devi Bhagavata Purana describing the various sects of Hinduism, states that some persons who know the Vedas worshipped the Sun everyday in the morning, midday and in the evening with various hymns. This shows that among the Sauras was also a section which continued worshipping Him in the old Vedic way ( Pandey 1971: 144). Obviously Puranas know about the earlier form of Sun-worship when symbols of Sun were used, not the images. Surya, pictured as a great power and invoked with a group of solar deities for prosperity, health and happiness in the Vedic hymns, is later realized as a Supreme god who can bring about all wellbeing and can grant absolute immortality to the devotee. Thus gradually there developed the philosophical view that all deities are His manifestation and so His worship can be combined with others. This is probably a natural growth of the deity and His worship in Indian Mythological tract. A comparison of the characteristics of Vedic Sun-god with those of Puranic Sun-god, which is attempted presently, clearly indicate that somehow symbolism in Vedic views has scope of growth, modification and addition and under such definite circumstances divinity of Vedic Surya is glorified in the form of Supremacy of Puranic Surya.


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Wilson H.H., 1997, (Reprint), Rgveda-Samhita, English translation, Delhi, Parimal Publications, vol.I ………………………………………… ByProf. Shashi Tiwari, 54 Sakshara Apartments ,A-3,Paschim Vihar, New Delhi- 110063


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