Surya, aka: Sūrya, Sūryā; 19 Definition(s)


Surya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Sūrya (सूर्य) is the Sanskrit name for a deity to be worshipped during raṅgapūjā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.1-8. Accordingly, the master of the dramatic art who has been initiated for the purpose shall consecrate the playhouse after he has made obeisance (eg., to Sūrya).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

One of the Nava-graha (Hands that indicate the Nine Planets).—Sūrya: Solapadma and Kapittha hands held on the shoulders.

(Source): The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
context information

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Āyurveda (science of life)

Sūryā (सूर्या) is another name for Indravāruṇī, which is a Sanskrit word referring to the Citrullus colocynthis (wild gourd), from the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family. It is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. The synonym was identified in the Rājanighaṇṭu (verses 3.69-71), which is a 13th-century medicinal thesaurus.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
Āyurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

Jyotiṣa (astronomy and astrology)

Sūrya (सूर्य) refers to the sun, which is also known as ravi, bhānu or āditya, amonst others. The corresponding day of the week is sunday (bhānuvāra). The term is used throughout Jyotiṣa literature.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jyotiṣa
Jyotiṣa book cover
context information

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or ‘astrology’. It is one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.


1a) Sūrya (सूर्य).—Is Mārtāṇḍa as he occupies the inanimate globe; is Hiraṇyagarbha being born of the Golden Egg. By his course are divided all the worlds: the Lord of all, animate and inanimate: His movement among the rāśīs in the sky. Traversing the signs of Meṣa and Tulā (the Goat and Balance) he makes days and nights of equal length: traversing the five signs commencing with Vṛṣabha (Bull) he makes days longer and nights shorter in a month by 24 minutes: traversing the five signs commencing with Vṛścika, he reverses the process. Rides in a chariot of one wheel with Aruṇa as charioteer. Sixtythousand Vālakhilyas go in front of him singing the Vedas: is also served by other sages, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nāgas, Yakṣas, Yātudhānas, and Gods;1 the sun moves with Meru and Dhruva on his right and marches towards the signs of the Zodiac. The twelve signs are the twelve months of a year. If he traverses one-sixth of the orbit, it is Ṛtu, and if he completes one-half of his heavenly path it is ayana. Sometimes the velocity is slow, sometimes rapid and moderate: the name of the year differs accordingly.2 also known as Divaspati and Divākara; 100 thousand yojanas from the earth, and the same distance from moon;3 does not shine in Ilāvṛtam;4 protects the earth and hence Ravi;5 cosmology of; sunrise at Samyamana, midday at Amarāvatī; evening for Vibhā and midnight for Sukhā. His rays enter fire during nights and come back during mornings; hence waters are warm during nights and cool during days; in a muhūrta Sūrya spreads over a lakh and 81,000 yojanas;6 chariot of one wheel with vedic metres as horses; colour of the sun in six seasons different; parent of the worlds, all birth and devastation due to him.7 Twelve-fold ātma; instructed Yājñavalkya in the form of a horse the yajus;8 father of the Yuvati class of Apsaras; a friend of king Satrājit.9 Relative size of sun, moon, etc.; relative splendours, motions and qualities; different classes of rays named;10 survives antara pralaya; came after Brahmā in the order of creation;11 Śrāddha deva;12 Sunday sacred to:13 fight with Kālanemi.14

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 43-6; 21 (whole).
  • 2) Ib. 22. 1-7.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 2. 20, 29.
  • 4) Ib. II. 17. 10.
  • 5) Ib. II. 20. 58; Ch. 21.
  • 6) Ib. II. Ch. 22-3; Matsya-purāṇa Ch. 128.
  • 7) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. Ch. 24.
  • 8) Ib. II. 35. 23-5.
  • 9) Ib. III. 7. 21, 215; 71. 21, 29.
  • 10) Matsya-purāṇa Ch. 128. 13-74.
  • 11) Ib. 2. 12 and 31.
  • 12) Ib. 13. 1.
  • 13) Ib. 70. 33.
  • 14) Ib. 150. 151-179; 268. 11.

1b) A son of Kaśyapa and Aditi; wives Samjñā and Chāyā; father of Manu, Śrāddhadeva and Yama and Yami; see Vivasvan.1 Presented Pṛthu with arrows from h{??} rays; worship of: in Plakṣadvīpa,2 begot a son on Pṛthā, still a maiden;3 presented his friend Satrājita with Syamantaka (s.v.);4 propitiated by Yājñavalkya, imparted to him vājasamyaṣṭa yajus in the form of a horse.5 Pointed out with Soma, Rāhu in deva's disguise. Hence Rāhu chases him in parvas. Fought with Bāṇa in Devāsura war;6 Baḍavā was another wife, and Tapati daughter;7 is Vibhāvasu ten Kalas of;8 gives life to Agni.9 (Āditya): came to Kārtavīrya Arjuna in Brahman's disguise and asked for a gift of all sthāvara for his food and offered in turn bows ever effulgent to help in burning down all sthāvaras;10 māhātmya of, in the Bhaviṣya;11 the day sacred to the sun is the one when Hastam and Saptami fall on the same day;12 is Rāhu's abode;13 knows what Śiva did to Pūṣa and Bhaga;14 through Sarasvatī, got his two sons (not named);15 worship of, by Brahmans.16

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 39-41; IX. 1. 10-11.
  • 2) Ib. V. 15. 18; 20. 4-5.
  • 3) Ib. IX. 24. 32. 5.
  • 4) Ib. X. 56. 3.
  • 5) Ib. XII. 6. 66-74.
  • 6) Ib. VIII. 9; 24-6; 10 30.
  • 7) Ib. VIII. 13. 8-10; IX. 22. 4.
  • 8) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 21. 83.
  • 9) Ib. IV. 35. 81-3.
  • 10) Matsya-purāṇa 2. 31; 44. 3-11.
  • 11) Ib. 53. 31.
  • 12) Ib. 5. 4.
  • 13) Ib. 127. 10.
  • 14) Ib. 155. 7.
  • 15) Ib. 171. 57-8.
  • 16) Ib. 184. 31.

1c) A son of Bali; a Dānava.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 6. 11; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 6. 8.

1d) See Ādityas.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 1. 58.

2) Sūryā (सूर्या).—A daughter of Kālindī.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 58. 20.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Sūrya (सूर्य, “sun”).—The story of Sūrya, the sun god, is as follows. Twelve sons were born to sage Kaśyapa and his wife Aditi. Each one has a different name and his own family. Each son presides over one month in a year. Saṃjñā, Chāyā, Ikṣubhā and Rājñī are the names of Sūrya's queens. The first two are more known in the south.

Seven chandas or meters came to serve him as horses. They are namely

  1. Gāyatrī,
  2. Ūṣṇik (Uṣṇih),
  3. Anuṣṭubh,
  4. Bṛhatī,
  5. Paṅkti,
  6. Triṣṭubh
  7. and Jagatī.

They also represent the seven days. The chariot must have only one wheel with either twelve or six spokes. In case the spokes are six, they represent the six seasons like Vasanta, Grīṣma etc. and if they are twelve, they are the months.

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (purāṇa)
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Sūrya (सूर्य, “sunday”) corresponds with the sun and refers to the first of seven vāra (days), according to the Mānasāra. It is also known by the name Bhānu. Vāra is the fourth of the āyādiṣaḍvarga, or “six principles” that constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular day, or vāra (eg., sūrya) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). Among these vāras, Guru (Thursday), Śukra (Friday), Budha (Wednesday) and Śaśi or Candra (Monday), are considered auspicious and therefore, to be preferred. The text states, however, that the inauspiciousness of the other three days are nullified if there occurs a śubhayoga, “auspicious conjunction (of planets)” on those days.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Sūrya (सूर्य).—Sūrya, as is known, is a member of Śiva-pañcāyatana group of sculptures. Therefore, all the Śiva temples of the region invariably possess a sculpture of Sūrya. Earliest depiction of Sūrya is noticed in the Śeṣaśāyi cave at Namakkal. It is not an independent sculpture but relief of Sūrya. Sūrya is shown as standing as an attendant deity for Śeṣaśāyiviṣṇu. The reliefs of Sūrya and Candra carved in this cave are quite big and impressive in their form.

Sculptures depict Sūrya as standing in samabhaṅga. He is always two handed and holds in each of his hands a lotus. He is often attended on by his two associates Uṣā and Pratyuṣā, depicted through the figures of ladies standing by his side. Most of these sculptures are simple in their execution and their forms are also quite elegant.

(Source): Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 AD
Vāstuśāstra book cover
context information

Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

1) Sūrya (सूर्य) or “sun god” is found as a sculpture at the temple of Lokeśvara, eastern porch ceiling.—The lion share of the central portion of the ceiling is reserved for this scene. The first and foremost reason is that an image of the Sun god always occupies an important place in the Pāśupata Śaiva temples. By and large, an image of Sūrya or a dwarf pillar representing the Sun god is seen in the temple premises of Lakulīśa-Pāśupata temples. 

The Sun god, Sūrya, is in the centre of the scene. The god with one lotus in each hand is standing on his chariot, drawn by seven horses and Aruṇa is his charioteer. The seven horses are shown, three on each side and one in the centre. Aruṇa holds all the reins of the horses. The harnessing of horses is very beautiful, very close to the modern ones. Above Aruṇa, on either side of Sūrya are standing Uṣā and Pratyuṣā, busy chasing away the darkness. The one who is to the left of Sūrya has shot two arrows. One arrow is piercing the stomach of a demon that is seen at the left hand to corner. Below him are two more demons. One of them is fighting with a sword and a shield. An arrow of Sūrya’s attendant is piercing the shield.

Sūrya is bedecked with various ornaments like necklaces, vaijayantihāra and tiara. At the level of his shoulders are seen two lotuses, one on each side. A halo shines around his head. On the whole, all the characters in the whole tableau have been carved very slender and elegant. It is a very pleasant scene to look at.

2) Another sculpture of Sūrya is found on the fourth pillar of the southern half of the maṇḍapa.—In the medallion, Sūrya (sun god) is in his chariot drawn by seven horses with Aruṇa his charioteer. The Sun is represented standing with his attendants Uṣā and Pratyuṣā. They are with their bows and arrows in their hands, busy chasing the night and its devils. The most noteworthy point in this image is the image of a sage, with folded hands, running after the chariot. He is Yājñavalkya and the sun God is disclosing the secrets of Yajurveda to him.

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)
Śilpaśāstra book cover
context information

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Sūrya (सूर्य, “the sun”):—One of the five natural forms of Agni (Vedic god of Divine illumination). This form, known as Sūrya, represents the fire of the heavenly sphere which illumines the world, is known as the celestial-fire (divya-agni).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Surya is the sun. (He is also referred to as Vivasvant) and Martanda. Like Chandra he is both a Deva and a Navagraha. According to the PurushaSuktam[R.V.10.90], he was formed from the eyes of Purusha, the primeaval man, who was sacrificed as an offering to himself. He has two wives Sangya (who is the daughter of Vishwakarma) and Chaaya Devi. He has many children, the most famous of whom is Shani (saturn), who is also one of the Navagrahas. Some sources also say that Yama is a son of Surya.

Among the planets, his enemies are Rahu and Ketu, whose became his enemies in the incident of the churning of the ocean of milk.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Sūrya (सूर्य): A solar deity who is one of the three main Vedic Gods.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Sūrya Nārāyaṇa is the personification of the Sun which is daily worshipped by all Hindus. The Sun is the direct manifestation of the Absolute or Brahman. The physical Sun shares some characteristics posited of Brahman (the Absolute Reality). For example: We speak of the Sun rising, setting being hidden by the clouds etc. In fact he neither raises not sets nor is covered by anything. All of these perceptions of the Sun are conditioned by our time and space bound existence upon earth.

The Sun rides a chariot drawn by 7 horses which are the 7 colours of the spectrum.

Sūrya has four wives:—

  1. Suvarcala —the Resplendent, illumination or knowledge
  2. Chāyā — Shade
  3. Jyoti — Light
  4. Aiśvarya — Sovereignty
(Source): Red Zambala: The Navagrahas — Planetary Deities

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Sūrya (सूर्य) refers to the twelfth of the “fourteen world protectors” (caturdaśalokapāla) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 10). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., caturdaśalokapāla and Sūrya). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Sūrya (सूर्य) is the shorter name of Sūryadvīpa, one of the continents (dvīpa) of the middle-world (madhyaloka) which is encircled by the ocean named Sūryasamudra (or simply Sūrya), according to Jain cosmology. The middle-world contains innumerable concentric dvīpas and, as opposed to the upper-world (adhaloka) and the lower-world (ūrdhvaloka), is the only world where humans can be born.

Sūrya is recorded in ancient Jaina canonical texts dealing with cosmology and geography of the universe. Examples of such texts are the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition or the Tiloyapannatti and the Trilokasāra in the Digambara tradition.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Sūrya (सूर्य, “sun”).—The seventh of “fourteen dreams” of Triśalā.—Subsequently Triśalā saw the dazzlingly red Sun, red like kesuda and parrot beak, resembling a lamp in the sphere, the chief of planets, one whom we can only see at the time of its rising and setting, rotating around Meru mountain.

(Source): Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts

Sūrya (सूर्य, “suns”) refers to a class of “stellar celestial beings” (jyotiṣī), itself a category of devas (celestial beings), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.10. Where does the sun revolve? The sun revolves ten yojana above the lowest stars. What is the duration of existence of sun? It is one pit-measured-period (palya) plus one hundred thousand years.

Stellar celestial beings (eg., Sūrya) are named after their vehicle which is endowed with shining light. These are called by the significant general name luminaries or stellar.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

1) Sūrya (सूर्य).—m (S) The sun. 2 The sun personified as a god. Pr. sūryāpuḍhēṃ kāḍavāta; sūryāpuḍhēṃ kājavā. sūryācē āḍa In the sunshine. sūryācē ghōḍē or sūryācīṃ hariṇēṃ or pilēṃ dākhaviṇēṃ To lift up (a child) by his ears; or to raise him by pressing the sides of the head, rubbing the thumb forcibly along his crown; to show London. Also samudra dākhaviṇēṃ, kāśīcī vāṭa dākhaviṇēṃ, bōrīsa bōrēṃ āṇaṇēṃ, and similar phrases. hā sūrya āṇi hā jayadratha This is the hour, and here's the man! Behold the conjunction of the two particulars required!

2) suṛyā (सुऋया).—m A vessel drilled with holes. Boiled flour is pressed through them into strings or rolls like kuraḍaī (pl kuraḍyā) or vermicelli.

3) suṛyā (सुऱ्या).—a (sūra) That sings second with. See sūrakarī.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

sūrya (सूर्य).—m The sun. hā sūrya āṇi hā jayadratha This is the hour and this is the man! Be- hold the conjunction of the two particulars required.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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