Do you practice Surya Namaskar everyday? Choose among the following options.
The Saur Sampradaya, today is more or less extinct. It is a different matter that water is offered to the Sun God, by many people during the morning, noon or evening time. But Surya Deva’s invocation with the Mantra is the effulgent Savitr Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Surya. Now the Sampradaya that recognizes Lord Savitr as the Supreme Personality, pursuing Sadhana in that line is almost non-existent in modern times.
The Konark temple in Orrisa
The main center that promulgated the Saur Sampradaya existed in Orrisa, at the Konark Sun temple. There is no idol in the Sun temple. In that area, there exist a few families who still continue to do Surya Upasana. There are some stories in the Surya Purana. According to the Purana Lord Surya took 12 different forms and appeared as Aditi Devi’s sons. Hence one of the names of the Personality of Sun God is Aditya. The 12 names of Surya Devata are (1) Vivasvan (विवस्वान), (2) Aryama (अर्यमा), (3) Poosha (पूषा), (4) Tvashta (त्वष्टा), (5) Savita (सविता), (6) Bhag (भग), (7) Dhata (धाता), (8) Vidhata (विधाता), (9) Varun (वरुण), (10) Mitr (मित्र), (11)Shakr (शक्र), (12) Urukram (उरुक्रम)
Avatar Story of Lord Surya Deva
In the anticipation of getting children, Prajapati Kashyapa’s wife, Aditi, carried out donations and prepared special food to be fed to the Devatas. The Devatas took the food and then asked Aditi to consume the left-overs. After having consumed the left-overs, Aditi delivered 4 children. Next time, Aditi prepared some delicacies for herself first and then prepared some more for the Devatas. Due to this, Aditi carried an underdeveloped fetus and from that 4 sons emerged. These sons were known as Martand. The third time, having taken up the wish to conceive once again, Aditi made preparations for only herself. She delivered Vivasvan and three other sons. Aditi handed over 7 of her sons to the Devatas. They were Aryama, Poosha, Bhag, Tvashta, Dhata, Vidhata and Varun. Shakr and Urukram (Vamana) also ascended to the heavens. Only Vivasvan, Savita and Martand remained with Aditi. There is another Vedic story about the appearance of Surya Deva as the Supreme Personality.
Second Story of Surya Deva’s appearance
At the beginning of Creation, due to the severe penances carried out by Lord Brahma, A severe aspect of brightness emerged. That brightness was the light-form of the sound also known as Pranav or “OM”. Since this brightness was the first to appear (Aadi आदि One to appear first), that source of brightness came to be known as Aditya or the primal being. That was the appearance of the Personality of Sun. It is accepted fact that Lord Surya is the rudiment of the Vedas. Because of the appearance of this primal brilliance, the worlds started searing with heat. With the fear of the world getting destroyed with heat, Lord Brahma started praising the Personality of Sun with choicest hymns. Pleased by the prayers, Lord Surya reduced His heat. Aditi, with the desire to attain children, in order to defeat the Asuras or Devils, with the intention of well-being and protection of her own children, the Devatas, prayed to the Personality of Sun. Lord Surya blessed her with the promise that He himself shall be born as the son of Aditi. As the fruit of her prayers, Lord Surya appeared as Sodhumn (सोधुम्न), a part incarnation of Surya, from the womb of Aditi. Those were the days when Aditi performed severe austerities such as the Chandrayana Vrata (चन्द्रायण व्रत Eating limited food according to the phases of the moon). Sage Kashyapa stopped her from doing these austerities saying that these austerities may destroy her womb. Aditi replied that nothing can destroy my womb, in fact the son who will emerge from this womb shall destroy his enemies, the Asuras. So saying, Aditi relinquished her womb. From that womb, the dawn colored Surya Deva appeared. Since Sage Kashyapa had warned Aditi about the destruction of the womb, the son was named Martand (मार्तंड one who has emerged from a destroyed fetus). Vishwakarma, the divine architect, went to Surya Deva and got his daughter Sangya (संज्ञा) married off to Surya Deva. The first son of Sangya was Vaivasvat Manu. Yet Sangya was unable to tolerate Surya Deva’s heat. She used to close her eyes whenever Lord Surya went near her. Enraged by her behavior, Surya Deva said “You close your eyes, when I come near you, so, you shall give birth to a son who shall be the king of the dark worlds.” Out of fear, Sangya opened her eyes but unable to tolerate the brilliance of the Sun, her eyes became unsteady. Seeing her eyes, Surya said “Just as your unsteady eyes, you shall also be a mother to a river daughter who shall be ever unsteady.
Sangya-Chaya and the other children
Thus Sangya’s second son was Yama and her daughter was the river Yamuna. Frightened of her husband’s anger, Sangya she created another image of her from her own shadow. She told the new creation of hers to take care of Surya Deva and asked her not to reveal anything about her disappearance. The new creation of Sangya, known as Chaya (छाया) said that she shall serve Sangya’s husband and maintain secrecy till the time that there was no fear of a curse on her. Sangya then leaving Chaya behind, went to her father’s house. Surya had three children from Chaya. They are Savarni (सवर्णि) Manu, Shani Deva (शनि देवा) and a daughter known as Tapti. However Chaya was never loving to Sangya’s children. Enraged by her bad behavior, Yama raised his leg to kick Chaya. But he arrested his anger. Enraged by the behavior of Yama, she cursed him. She said that “Since you raised your leg to kick your mother, you shall lose your legs.” Yama then went to his father and reported the incident to Surya Deva. Even Vaivasvat Manu also joined his brother and said “I also feel that this lady is not our mother. She treats the three of us very badly”. Surya Deva said “Your mother’s curse shall also not go in vain. Your leg shall fall on earth and from that day onwards worms shall be born on the earth.”
Surya approaches Chaya to know the Truth
Surya Deva then confronted Chaya and asked “Who are you?” Chaya tried to shy away from the question but then Surya Deva threatened to curse Chaya. Fearful of the curse, Chaya blurted out about her creation and revealed the fact that Sangya was with her father. Meanwhile Vishwakarma was worried about Sangya’s welfare because she had spent too many years at her father’s house, without showing any urgency to go back to her husband’s place. Sangya then left her father’s house and appeared on earth, taking the form of a female horse. She then performed penance with the intention of being able to be close to her husband, whereby she could tolerate the heat of Surya. Surya Deva then went to Vishwakarma’s place and wanted to know the whereabouts of his wife. He could not find her there, but on meditation, he could understand the position of Sangya. Then Surya Deva requested Vishwakarma to tone down his own brilliance so that he could be more presentable to Sangya. Now the question was where could the extra heat of Lord Surya be dispelled? Vishwakarma tried to dispose the extra heat into a place on earth called Shakdweep (शाकद्वीप). But then the whole earth started to rumble. Then Vishwakarma changed his plan. With that brilliance, he developed the Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu, The Trishul of Lord Shiva, The punishing rod (दंड Danda) of Lord Yama, the Shakti spear (शक्तिवेल Shakti Vel) of Lord Karthikeya and many more weapons of the entire community of the Devatas. Thus the entire brilliance of Surya Deva was suitably toned down.