Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 2:10 AM
God Surya is the source of life, light and all energy in the cosmos; who is also known as Surya Narayana. God Surya is considered as the only visible form of God that can be seen every day. He is regarded as an aspect of Shiva and Vishnu by Shaivites and Vaishnavas respectively. There is no alternate to the life-giving rays of the Surya Dev. He is the most powerful and majestic visible god. Sun God is believed to be the King of all the planets and is responsible for controlling all their movements; he is the lord of excellence and wisdom.
According to the Brahma Purana, everything is born of god Surya and he is the cause of origin and destruction of the universe. The Sun god is the dispeller of darkness. He is the deity of great brilliance and is considered the Supreme Soul. Lord Surya is also the cause who brings about the change of seasons in the universe and it is also the sun-god which acts as the pivot of the entire universe. Surya retains many of the characteristics of his Vedic forerunners, though he is no longer pictured as a handsome golden youth but rather as a dark red man, with three eyes and four arms. Like the Vedic Surya, he rides in a golden chariot drawn by seven horses, each one represent one day of the week; but he no longer he directs the chariot himself, for he has acquired a legless charioteer called Arun, a brother of Garuda who symbolizes the dawn. At other times again his charioteer is said to be Vivasvat and the god himself is pictured as copper-colored, dwarfish and with red eyes. God Surya is considered to be a benefactor of man. His symbol, the swastika, is a sign of munificence. He is celebrated as a killer of demons; on one occasion terrifying demons tried to devour him, but he destroyed them with his light.
God Surya’s illegitimate children were many and included Karna, son of Kunti in the Mahabharata and Sugriva, the monkey king who became the helper of Rama in the Ramayana. One of his sons became the ancestor of the solar race. His most famous progeny were the children of his wife Sanjna. The story of Sanjna and Surya repeats with variations the myth of Vivasvat and Saranyu. Sanjna was the daughter of Visvakarma. In early years of their marriage she bore Surya three children. These were the Manu Vaivaswata and the twin Yama and Yami, who became the first man and woman and, later, deities Yama, king of the dead and Yami, identified with Yamuna, goddess of the River Jumna.
But as time passed, Sanjna found the brilliance her husband's presence insupportable and she fled, leaving her handmaiden Chhaya (Shade) in her place. In her retirement Sanjna lived in the forest disguised as a mare and devoted herself to religious exercises. After some time Surya spied her out as she was grazing in a field; he took the form a horse and approached her. From this union were born the twin horsemen, the Aswins, and another, less important son called Revanta. The character of the Aswins differs little from the Vedic conception, though perhaps their role as luminary deities is stressed less than that as physicians of the gods. For some time Surya and Sanjna lived together as horses, but they finally tired of life as animals and changed back into human form. Surya now brought his wife home with him and agreed in order to prevent recurrence of her flight, that his father-in-law Vishvakarma should place him on his lathe and shave away an eighth of his brightness, from every part of his body except his feet. Thereafter the couple lived happily together.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.