Vedic influence on the Sun-worship in the Puranas

by Goswami Mitali | 2018 | 68,171 words

This page relates ‘Surya (the Healer)’ of the study on the Vedic influence of Sun-worship in the Puranas, conducted by Goswami Mitali in 2018. The tradition of observing Agnihotra sacrifice and the Sandhya, etc., is frequently observed among the Hindus. Another important innovation of the Sun-worship in the Puranas is the installation of the images of the Sun in the temples.—This section belongs to the series “Salient Traits of the Solar Divinities in the Veda”.

In the Ṛgvedasaṃhitā, Sūrya is worshipped to remove sickness, diseases, etc., of the body with his rays.[1]

The life-yielding aspects of the sunrays are mentioned in the interpretation of Sāyaṇācārya thus:

kīdṛśo raśmiḥ/ gabhīravepāḥ gambhīrakampanaḥ/ raśme prakampanaṃ calanaṃ kenāpi draṣṭumaśakyamityarthaḥ/ asuraḥ sarveṣāṃ prāṇadaḥ/[2]

In the Taittirīyāraṇyaka also, the life-giving power of the sunrays is fully observed,[3] and the deity is worshipped. Sūrya is entreated to cure the heart diseases and jaundice.[4] The yellowness of eyes, skin, teeth and nail, which are the symptoms of jaundice are taken away to the parrots and other yellow-coloured birds, or trees as soon as the Sun rises.[5]

The rays of the Sun contain the power to fight with the worms, for which, in the Atharvaveda, he is worshipped to smite the worms.[6] Again, Sūrya is prayed for curing the sting or Yakṣman along with the headache, head ailment, earache, anaemia, limbsplitting, etc.,[7] cough,[8] skin-diseases, etc.[9] Sūrya is also worshipped to take away the venomous affect of the body caused by the snakebite.[10]

He is mentioned as the destroyer of poison too:

sūrye viṣamā sajāmi dṛti surāvato gṛhe/ so cinnu no marāti no vayaṃ marāmāre asya yojanaṃ hariṣṭhā madhu tvā madhulā cakāra//[11]

Sūrya is worshipped to convert viṣa, treated as the viṣavidyā, the science of poison, to antidotes with the help of sun-rays, which as a result becomes madhulā, i.e., madhuvidyā, accomplished by the science of ambrosia.[12] In the Atharvaveda, Sūrya is invoked for longevity along with many other gods.[13]

Sūrya is also worshipped for removing the evil dreams,[14] and evil-spirits.[15] Thus, he is depicted as the healer of mental diseases, who bestows peace and prosperity.[16]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

cf., tenāsmadviśvāmanirāmanāhutimapāmīvāmapa duṣvapnyaṃ suva/ Ṛgvedasaṃhitā, 10.37.4 apāmīvā bādhate veti sūryam/ Ibid., 1.35.9;īvāṃ rogādibādhām apa bādhate samyak nirākaroti/ Sāyaṇācārya, Ibid.

[2]:

Sāyaṇācārya on Ṛgvedasaṃhitā, 1.35.7

[3]:

cf., sarveṣāṃ bhūtānāṃ prāṇānādāyodeti/ TA., 1.14.1

[4]:

cf., udyannadya mitramaha ārohannuttarāṃ divam/ hṛdrogaṃ mama sūrya harimāṇaṃ ca nāśaya//

[5]:

cf., śukeṣu me harimāṇaṃ ropanākāsu dadhmasi/ atho hāridraveṣu me harimāṇaṃ ni dadhmasi// Ṛgvedasaṃhitā, 1.50.12; Atharvavedasaṃhitā, 1.22.4

[6]:

cf., udayannādityaḥ krimin hantu nimrocan hantu raśmibhiḥ/ Atharvavedasaṃhitā, 2.32.1

[7]:

cf., tāsu tvāntarjarasyā dadhāmi pra yakṣma etu nirṛtiḥ parācaiḥ/ evāhaṃ tvāṃ kṣetriyānnirṛtyā jāmiśaṃsād druho muñcāmi varuṇasya pāśāt/anāgasaṃ brahmaṇā tvā kṛṇomi śive te dyāvāpṛthivī ubhe stām// Ibid., 2.10.5

[8]:

cf., muñca śīrṣaktyā uta kāsa enaṃ paruṣparurāviveśā yo asya/ yo abhṛjā vātajā yaśca śuṣmo vanaspatīntsacatāṃ parvatāṅśca// Ibid., 1.12.3

[9]:

cf.,apacitaḥ pra patata suparṇo vasateriva/ sūryaḥ kṛṇotu bheṣajaṃ candramā voʹpocchatu//Ibid., 6.83.1

[10]:

cf., devā aduḥ sūryo adād dyauradāt pṛthivyadāt/ tisraḥ sarasvatīraduḥ sacittā viṣadūṣaṇam// Ibid., 6.100.1

[11]:

cf., sūrye viṣamā sajāmi dṛtiṃ surāvato gṛhe/so cinnu na marāti no vayaṃ marāmāre/asya yojanaṃ hariṣṭhā madhu tvā madhulā cakāra// Ṛgvedasaṃhitā, 1.191.10

[12]:

cf., he viṣa tvāṃ madhu amṛtaṃ cakāra/ viṣasya viṣabhāvaṃ dūreʹpanodya amṛtīcakāreti/ eṣaiva madhudātrī nirviṣīkartrī madhuvidyā/ yadetadādityasya viṣayojanaṃ tena ca amṛtīkaraṇaṃ yadasti eṣā madhuvidyā/ Sāyaṇācārya, Ibid.

[13]:

cf., pārthivasya rathe devā bhagasya tanvo bale/ āyuṣyamasmā agni, sūryo varca ā dhād bṛhaspati// Atharvavedasaṃhitā, 2.29.1

[14]:

cf. … tenāsmadviśvāmanirāmanāhutimapāmīvāmapa duṣṣvapnyaṃ suva// Ṛgvedasaṃhitā, 10.37.4

[15]:

cf., …adṛṣṭāntsarvāñjambhayattsarvāśca yātudhānya// Ibid., 1.191.8

[16]:

cf., viśāhā tvā sumanasaḥ sucakṣasaḥ prajāvanto anamīvā anāgasaḥ/udyantaṃ tvā mitramaho divedive jyogjīvāḥ prati paśyema sūrya// Ibid., 10.37.7

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