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Surya Upanishad

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Surya Upanishad

Surya
Sun God depicted riding his chariot
Devanagari सूर्य
IAST Sūrya
Meaning of name The Sun God, the Supreme Lighy
Type of Upanishad Samanya
Associated Veda Atharvaveda

Surya Upanishad Sanskrit: सूर्य उपनिषत् or Suryopanishad Sanskrit: सुर्योपनिषत् is one of 108 Upanishadic Hindu scriptures, written in Sanskrit language. It is among the 31 Upanishads associated with the Atharvaveda.[1] It is one of the 25 Samanya Upanishads.[2] In this Upanishad, Atharvangiras, a combination name of the two sages Atharvan and Angiras, said to be the original propounders of the Vedas, particularly Atharvaveda (which is roughly dated to the late 2nd millennium BC), extoll the virtues of Surya, the Sun God.[3] The Upanishad states that Surya's rays are where sages, saints and gods are resident, and hence offering prayers to Surya is essential to achieve everything in life. It is also stated that according to Vedas while propitiating ritual functions seeking good results the person should face the east.[4] According to this Upanishad, Surya is the creator, protector, and destroyer who is responsible for the presence of Agni (fire), Vayu (air), Jal (water), Prithvi (earth) and sky in their respective domains.[5]

Contents

The Surya Upanishad begins with an invocation to the gods in general, and then the specific deities are named: Indra, Surya, Garuda and Brihaspati. The prayers seek blessings of eyes and ears to pray and offer obeisance; to give the reciter a life span that the divine being ordains; bestow goodness; and usher peace in the world.[6]

The sages Atharvangiras explain that Surya, the Sun God is known by various names like Savitar (Vedic Solar deity), Aditya, Mitra, and Soma. The "seer" or the prophet is identified with Brahma, the metre Gayatri (Vedic meter), "Hamsas so'ham" (breath inhalation and exhalation from the right and left nostrils respectively), "hrillekha or hrim" (Hrim is called the Hrillekha which is a hymn to Surya), and the akash (sky) where Surya is permanently resident. Recitation of these mantras enunciated by Atharvangiras to Surya will result in attainment of the "four human goals", the four Puruṣārthas) in life namely, Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kāma (pleasure, psychological values) and Mokṣa (liberation, spiritual values).[6]

The Upanishad states that Surya is Aditya who creates [6]

Surya, as a Brahmin, has knowledge of Narayana, ordains the Kalachakra (the time cycle), has four arms, is seated on two lotus flowers, and rides the Ratha (seven horses drawn chariot), which is set in a red lotus flower. Yajna (ritual offerings), Parjanya (creation of cloud and rain), food (nutrition for the body) and spirit (one’s consciousness) are his creations. Surya represents Brahman, Rudra, Vishnu, Rigveda and so forth, and also all the metre in Sanskrit Vedas. Surya is not only the creator but also the destroyer of all living beings and he is the divine Savitr who resides in our eyes and provides inspiration. He is all pervading.[6]

The ashtakshara (eight syllables) mantra worship of Surya is explained in this Upanishad as composed of: Brahman represented by the single letter Om; the Ghrini formed of two letters; Surya made up of two letters; and Aditya comprising three letters. Reciting this mantra every day, facing the sun, washes away all types of misdeeds, bestows good health, wealth and happiness. Offering prayers to Surya during noon washes away "five great sins". Prayer at sunrise will usher luck and all round prosperity.[6]

References

  1. ^ Prasoon 2008, p. 82-83.
  2. ^ Tinoco, Carlos Alberto. Upanishads. IBRASA. p. 87.  
  3. ^ Bhagirathananda 2014, p. 372.
  4. ^ Bhalla 2006, p. 63, 197.
  5. ^ Gajendragadkar 1959, pp. 36–37.
  6. ^ a b c d e Warrier, Dr. A. G. Krishna. "Surya Upanishad". Vedanta Spiritual Society. 

Bibliography

  • Bhagirathananda (6 May 2014). My Yajna: Recollections, Notes and Essays. Quills Ink Publishing.  
  • Bhalla, Prem P. (2006). Hindu Rites, Rituals, Customs and Traditions. Pustak Mahal.  
  • Gajendragadkar, K. V. (1959). Neo-upanishadic Philosophy. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 
  • Prasoon, Prof.S.K. (1 January 2008). Indian Scriptures. Pustak Mahal.  
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