Sampradaya of Surya Deva
The Saur Sampradaya, is dedicated to Lord Surya. It is more or less extinct. It is a different matter that we see people across India offering water to the Sun God, either during the morning, noon, or evening time. Surya Deva’s invocation with the Mantra is the effulgent Savitr Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Surya. The Sampradaya that recognizes Lord Savitr as the Supreme Personality, has turned non-existent in modern times.
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.
What are the 12 names of Lord Aditya
According to the Surya Purana, (which consists of numerous unheard stories of the Sun God), Lord Surya took 12 different forms and appeared in the womb of Aditi Devi. Hence one of the names of the Personality of Sun God is Aditya, the son of Aditi.
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),
(12) Urukram (उरुक्रम)
How was Lord Surya born to Devi Aditi?
In the anticipation of begetting children, Prajapati Kashyapa’s wife, Devi Aditi, generously donated. She prepared special food to offer the Devatas. After accepting the delicacies, the Devatas asked her to consume the leftovers after which she was blessed with 4 children.
Next time, Aditi prepared some delicacies for herself first and then prepared some more for the Devatas. Due to this approach, Aditi birthed 4 sons formed from an underdeveloped fetus. These sons were known as Martand.
The third time, having taken up the wish to conceive once again, Aditi made articles for herself. As a result, she delivered Vivasvan and three other noble sons. Aditi handed over 7 of her sons, namely Aryama, Poosha, Bhag, Tvashta, Dhata, Vidhata and Varun, to the Devatas. However, 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.
At the beginning of Creation, Lord Brahma carried out severe penances. As a result a spark of brightness emerged. This brightness is linked to be the light-form of the sound called Pranav or “OM”. Since this brightness was the first (Aadi आदि ), to appear it came to be known as Aditya or the primal being. That was the appearance of the Personality of Sun.
Story of Surya Deva’s Appearance
It is an 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. Lord Brahma feared that creation would set of fire due to the scorching heat of Lord Surya. Thus, He started praising the Personality, Surya with the choicest hymns. Pleased by the prayers, Surya Deva subsided His heat.
Aditi desired to have valorous children who could defeat the Asuras. With the intention of protecting her children, the Devatas, she prayed to the Personality of Sun. Lord Surya blessed her that He shall be born as her son. Her prayer came to fruition when Lord Surya appeared as Sodhumn (सोधुम्न). Sodhumn is a part incarnation of Lord Surya.
Those were the days when Aditi performed severe austerities like Chandrayana Vrata. In this fast (चन्द्रायण व्रत), the person limits his/her intake of food according to the phases of the moon. It is considered to be one of the toughest fast to observe. Sage Kashyapa, her husband warned her from performing these austerities as they would affect the development of the unborn child. But she revolted and said: “Nothing can destroy my womb. In fact, the son emerging from this womb shall destroy 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).
Read about the Family tree of Sage Kashyapa, Diti and Aditi Devi here!
Family of Lord Surya
Sangya Devi Story
Vishwakarma, the divine architect, wedded his daughter Sangya (संज्ञा) to Surya Deva. She bore a son who was named 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 cursed:“You close your eyes when I come near you. So, you shall deliver a son who shall be the king of the dark worlds.” Hearing these sharp words from her lord’s mouth, Sangya opened her eyes. She became fearful. However, she was unable to tolerate the brilliance of the Sun God. Her eyes started rolling. This response further fueled Lord Surya’s anger. He added: “Just as your unsteady eyes, you shall be a mother to a river-daughter who shall be ever unsteady.“
Following the curse, Sangya became the mother of two more children, son-Yama and daughter-Yamuna.
Chhaya curses Yama
Sangya Devi became frightened of her husband’s wrath. Thus, she created another self from her own shadow. Her shadow-creation was called Chaya. Sangya instructed her shadow-self to look after her husband. Additionally, she asked Chaya to keep her disappearance a secret and not to reveal the truth to Surya. Thus, having taken a promise from her, Sangya proceeded 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. Although Chaya was another form of Sangya, she did not extend her love towards Yama, Vaivasvat and Yamuna. Enraged by her bad behavior, Yama raised his leg to kick Chaya. But, somehow he arrested his anger. On the contrary, Chaya boiled with anger and issued a curse: “Since you raised your leg to kick me, your mother, you shall lose your legs.”
Immediately, Yama reported this incident to his father, Surya Deva. Vaivasvat Manu clubbed with his brother and said “I too feel that this lady is not our mother. She treats the three of us very badly”. After having heard the trail of events narrated by His sons Surya Deva said “But, your mother’s curse shall also not go in vain. Yama, your leg shall fall on earth and from that very day worms shall be born on Earth.”
Surya approaches Chhaya to know the Truth
Surya Deva then confronted Chaya and asked: “Who are you?” Chaya tried to shy away from the question. But then He threatened to curse her. Fearing the curse, Chaya blurted out about her reality and revealed the whereabouts of Sangya. Vishwakarma was worried about Sangya’s welfare. Because she had spent too many years at her father’s house, without showing any urgency to return to her husband’s place.
Sangya then left her paternal house and appeared on earth. She assumed the form of a female horse and performed penance. She desired to seek a boon wherein she could be blessed with the close company of her husband. Meanwhile. Surya Deva reached Vishwakarma’s place and wanted to meet His wife. He could not find her there. On meditating, he understood the position of Sangya.
Surya Deva seeks help from Vishwakarma
He was eager to fulfil the deep-rooted desire of His wife. So, Surya Deva requested Vishwakarma to tone down his brilliance so that he could reunite with Sangya. He realized that His heat was excess and Sangya could thus not bear it.
Now the question was where could the extra heat of Lord Surya be dispelled? Vishwakarma tried to discharge the extra heat into a place on earth called Shakdweep (शाकद्वीप). But then the whole of Earth began to crumble. Vishwakarma changed his plan. With that excellent brilliance of Surya Deva, 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.
Thanks for reading!