Vedic influence on the Sun-worship in the Puranas

by Goswami Mitali | 2018 | 68,171 words

This page relates ‘Sacrifices Related to the Sun-god Dealt with in the Puranas’ 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 “Rituals Related to the Sun-Worship in the Puranas”.

Part 2 - The Sacrifices Related to the Sun-god Dealt with in the Purāṇas

The Purāṇic texts do not have thoroughly dealt with the rites and customs of any Vedic sacrifices. But they refer to the performance of the sacrifices following the Vedic order. The sacrifices devoted to the Sun-worship, mentioned here and there in the Purāṇas, are briefly noted here—

The Purāṇas contain the references of the performance of the Agnihotra.[1] The householders are directed to perform it.[2] In Agnihotra, in the morning period, the oblation of milk is given in honour to the Sun, and, after that to Prajāpati. Again, in the evening, Agni and Prajāpati are worshipped. The Āśvalāyanagṛhyasūtra contains the reference of worshipping the Sun in the morning sacrifice.[3] The performer of Agnihotra, consuming purified eatables, only once in a day performs homa.[4]

The Agnihotra is personified as one of the sons of deity Savitṛ by his wife in the Bhāgavatapurāṇa:

pṛśnistu patnī savituḥ sāvitrīṃ vyāhṛtiṃ trayīm/
paśuṃ somaṃ cāturmāsyaṃ mahāmakhān//[5]

Sāvitrī, Vyāhṛti, Trayī, Agnihotra, Paśu, Soma, etc., are mentioned in the relevant context as the offspring of Savitā and Pṛśni.

The Mitravaruṇayoriṣṭi was performed in the Purāṇic period, in worship of the two Vedic solar deities, Mitra and Varuṇa.[6] With a view to achieving progeny, the worshipper worships Mitra and Varuṇa, the two forms of the Sun-god, offering a sacrifice.[7]

With a view to achieving son, Manu performed the Mitrāvaruṇa sacrifice:

iṣṭiśca mitrāvaruṇayormmanu putrakāmaścakāra/[8]

But due to the occurrences of some irregularities in the performance, a daughter Ilā was born, as a result of the sacrifice.

Footnotes and references:


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 5.7.5; Matsyapurāṇa, 25.34;107.16


cf., vaitānikena vidhinā agnihotrādinā yajed// Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 7.14.16


cf., …“sūryāya svāhā” iti prātastūṣṇīṃ dvitīye ubhayatra/ Aś.GS., 1.9.8


cf., hutvāgniṃ vidhivatsamyakpavitrīkṛtabhojanā/ agnihotrakrameṇaiva sā suṣvāpa mahāvratā// Matsyapurāṇa, 50.18


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 6.18.1


Vāyupurāṇa, 85.6,7


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 9.1.13

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