Vedic influence on the Sun-worship in the Puranas

by Goswami Mitali | 2018 | 68,171 words

This page relates ‘Samskaras, Referred to 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 3 - The Saṃskāras, Referred to in the Purāṇas

The Saṃskāras are the religious purificatory rites and ceremonies; those are associated with the individual, from the moment, when he was conceived in the womb up to the cremation for sanctifying the body, mind and intellect so that he may become a full-fledged member of the community.[1] The Dharmasūtras contain a great deal on the topic. According to Gautama, there are all total forty Saṃskāras.[2]

Among all the Saṃskāras, the following are regarded as very prominent, e.g.

The Niṣkarmaṇa is one of the Saṃskāras, in which the Sun-god is propitiated. According to the Gṛhyasūtras, the procedure of the ritual consisted in taking the child out by the father and making it look at the Sun with the recitation of the particular verse:

sūryamudīkṣayati taccakṣuriti/[3]

Different texts have given different times for the performance of the Niṣkarmaṇa. The Purāṇas contain the reference of the performance of it.[4] According to the Bhaviṣyapurāṇa, the Niṣkarmaṇa should be performed on the twelfth day or on the fourth month after the child-birth.[5] The Gṛhyasūtras mention about the performance of the ritual by the father and the mother, while in the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, reference is found of taking the child out by the solicitous nurse.[6] On the respective day of its performance, a square portion of the courtyard is plastered with cowdung and clay from where the Sun-god could be seen. The sign of the Svastikā is to be made thereon and rice-grains are to be scattered by the mother of the child. After decorating it well, he or she is taken outside the home. The family deity of the house is worshipped with the instrumental music along with the guardians of the eight directions, the Sun, the Moon, Vāsudeva and the sky. The father of the child worships the deities for the protection of the child.[7] After that, the child is taken to the temple and after bowing to the deity and achieving the blessings of the Brāhmaṇas, he or she was taken out of the temple to the lap of the maternal uncle and brought to the home.

Again, the Upanayana is one of the important Saṃskāras, in which, Sāvitrī is worshipped. The Purāṇas contain the references to it.[8] The worship of the Gāyatrī or Sandhyā is indeed, the worship of the Sun. The Bhaviṣyapurāṇa says that at the time of acquiring the yajñopavīta, Gāyatrī becomes the mother of individual, and Ācārya becomes the father.[9]

Footnotes and references:


Vide, Pandey, Raj Bali., Hindu Saṃskāras, p.27


Gautamadharmasūtra, 1.8.14-22


Pāraskaragṛhyasūtra, 1.17.5,6


Bhaviṣyapurāṇa; Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa


Bhaviṣyapurāṇa, 1.3


Vide, Pandey, Raj Bali., Op.cit., p.148, fn.7


Vide, Ibid., p.149, fn.9


Bhaviṣyapurāṇa,1.3; Agnipurāṇa, 215;Padmapurāṇa, 1.16


Bhaviṣyapurāṇa, 1.4

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