Surya (सूर्य) is a Sanskrit (संस्कृत) word that means the Sun.
Synonyms of Surya (सूर्य) in Ancient Indian Literature include: Āditya (आदित्य), Arka (वापस), Bhānu (भानु), Savitru (सवितृ), Pushana (पूषन्), Ravi (रावी), Mārtanda (मार्तंड), Mitra (भागीदारों) and Vivasvāna (व्यर्थजीना).
Surya (सूर्य) also connotes the Solar Deity in Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म), particularly in the Saura (सौरा) Tradition found in states such as Rajasthan (राजस्थान), Gujarat (गुजरातराज्यं), Madhya Pradesh (मध्य प्रदेश), Bihar (बिहार), Maharashtra (महाराष्ट्र), Uttar Pradesh (उत्तर प्रदेश), Jharkhand (झारखंड) and Odisha (ओड़िशा).
- Saura (सौरा) is a Religion and denomination of Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म), originating as a Vedic (वैदिक) Tradition.
Followers of Saura (सौरा) worship Surya (सूर्य) as the Saguna Brahman (सगुण ब्रह्मन्).
The worship of Surya (सूर्य) has been mentioned in the Ramayana (रामायणम्) and the Mahabharata (महाभारतम्).
At present the Sauras (सौरा) are a very small movement, much smaller than other larger denominations such as Vaishnavism (वैष्णववाद) or Shaivism (शैव संप्रदाय).
There was a rapid decline of the Sauras (सौरा) in the 12th and 13th century CE, due to the Muslim conquests.
- The historical Vedic (वैदिक) Tradition or Religion (also known as वेदवाद, Vedism or Ancient हिंदू धर्म, Hinduism) refers to the religious ideas and practices among most Indo-Aryan-speaking peoples of Ancient India after about 1500 BCE.
These ideas and practices are found in the Vedic (वैदिक) texts (वेद, Vedas / "knowledge") and they were one of the major influences that shaped contemporary Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म).
- Saguna Brahman (सगुण ब्रह्मन्,"The Absolute with qualities") came from the Sanskrit (संस्कृत) word "saguṇa" (सगुण) "with qualities, gunas" and "Brahman" (ब्रह्मन्) "the Absolute", close to the concept of immanence, the manifested divine presence.
- The Ramayana (रामायणम्, Rāmāyaṇam) and the Mahabharata (महाभारतम्, Mahābhārata) are the two major Sanskrit (संस्कृत) epics of Ancient India (originated: 8th and 9th Centuries BCE / dated: early Gupta period, c. 4th century CE).
- Vaishnavism (वैष्णववाद) is one of the major Hindu denominations.
It is also called Vishnuism (विष्णुवाद), its followers are called Vaishnavas (वैष्णव) or Vaishnavites (वैष्णवाइट्स), and it considers Vishnu (विष्णु / one of the Principal Deities of हिंदू धर्म, Hinduism) as the Supreme Lord.
- Shaivism (शैव संप्रदाय) is one of the major traditions within Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म) that reveres Shiva (शिव or महादेवा, Mahadeva / "the auspicious One" or "the great God" / one of the Principal Deities of हिंदू धर्म, Hinduism) as the Supreme Being.
Surya (सूर्य) is one of the five Deities considered as
equivalent aspects and means to realizing Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) in the Smarta Tradition (स्मार्त).
- In Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म), Brahman (ब्रह्मन् or ब्रह्म, Bráhmā) connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the Universe.
- Smarta Tradition (स्मार्त) is a movement in Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म) that developed during its classical period around the beginning of the Common Era (CE).
It reflects a Hindu synthesis of four philosophical strands: Mimamsa (मीमांसा), Advaita (अद्वैत वेदान्त), Yoga (योग), and Theism (धर्मवाद).
The Smarta Tradition (स्मार्त) rejects theistic sectarianism, and it is notable for the domestic worship of five shrines with five Deities, all treated as equal - Vishnu (विष्णु), Shiva (शिव), Brahma (ब्रह्म), Ganesha (गणेशजी) and Devi (देवी or शक्ति, Shakti).
In Medieval Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म), Surya (सूर्य) is also an epithet for the major Hindu Gods: Shiva (शिव), Brahma (ब्रह्म) and Vishnu (विष्णु).
In some Ancient texts and arts, Surya (सूर्य) is presented with Indra (इंद्र), Ganesha (गणेशजी) or others.
Surya (सूर्य) as a Deity is also found in the arts and literature of Buddhism (बौद्ध धर्म) and Jainism (जैन धर्म).
Surya's (सूर्य) iconography is often depicted riding a chariot harnessed by horses, often seven in number which represent the seven colours of visible light, and seven days in a week.
- Indra (इन्द्र) is a Vedic (वैदिक) Deity in Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म), a Guardian Deity in Buddhism (बौद्ध धर्म), and the King of the Highest Heaven called Saudharmakalpa (सौधरमकलप) in Jainism (जैन धर्म).
- Ganesha (गणेश / गणपति, Ganapati / विनायका, Vinayaka / or by numerous other names) is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon.
Ganesha's (गणेश) elephant head makes him easy to identify.
- Jainism (जैन धर्म, Jain Dharma) is an Ancient Indian Religion.
Followers of Jainism (जैन धर्म) are called Jains (जैन), a word derived from the Sanskrit (संस्कृत) word "jina" (जिना / "victor") and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths by destroying the Karma (कर्म) through an ethical and spiritual life.
- Karma (कर्म) means action, work or deed; originating from India.
It also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).
Good intent and good deeds contribute to good Karma (कर्म) and happier Rebirths (पुनर्जन्म / Punarjanma), while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad Karma (कर्म) and bad Rebirths (पुनर्जन्म / Punarjanma).
The philosophy of Karma (कर्म) is closely associated with the idea of Rebirth (पुनर्जन्म / Punarjanma) in many schools of Indian religions, particularly Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म), Buddhism (बौद्ध धर्म), Jainism (जैन धर्म) and Sikhism (सिख धर्म), as well as Taoism (道教).
In these schools, Karma (कर्म) in the present affects one's future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives - one's Saṃsāra (संसार).
Surya (सूर्य) is one of the nine heavenly Navagrahas (नवग्रह) in
the zodiac system of Hindu Astrology (हिंदू ज्योतिष).
- Jyotisha or Jyotishya (ज्योतिष, ज्योतिश्या / "light, heavenly body") is the traditional Hindu system of Astrology, also known as Hindu Astrology (हिंदू ज्योतिष) or Vedic Astrology (वैदिक ज्योतिष).
- Navagrahas (नवग्रह) means "Nine Celestial Bodies" in Sanskrit (संस्कृत) and are Nine Astronomical Bodies or Nine Realms or Nine Planets in Hindu and Vedic Astrology (ज्योतिष, Jyotiṣa or Jyotisha / ज्योतिश्या, Jyotishya) as well as Mythical Deities of Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म).
Major festivals and
pilgrimages in reverence of Surya (सूर्य) include Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Ratha Sapthami, Chath Puja and Kumbh
- Makara Sankranti (मकर संक्रांति) or Maghi (मगही) is a festival day in the Hindu Calendar, dedicated to the deity Surya (सूर्य).
It is observed each year in January.
It marks the first day of the Sun's transit into the Makara (मकर / Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the Winter Solstice and the start of longer days.
- Thai Pongal is a harvest festival dedicated to the Sun God (सूर्य, Surya).
It is a four-day festival which according to the Tamil Calendar is usually celebrated from January 14 to January 17.
- Ratha Saptami or Rathasapthami (रथसप्तमी) or Magha Saptami (माघ सप्तमी) is a Hindu festival that falls on the seventh day (सप्तमी, Saptami) in the bright half (शुक्ल पक्ष, Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu month Maagha (माघ/ it corresponds with January / February in the Gregorian Calendar).
It is symbolically represented in the form of the Sun God (सूर्य, Surya) turning his Ratha (रथ / Chariot) drawn by seven horses (representing seven colours) towards the Northern Hemisphere, in a north-easterly direction.
It also marks the birth of Surya (सूर्य) and hence celebrated as Surya Jayanti (सूर्य जयंती / the सूर्य, Surya's Birthday).
Ratha Saptami (रथसप्तमी) is symbolic of the change of season to Spring and the start of the harvesting season.
For most Indian farmers, it is an auspicious beginning of the New Year.
- The Chath Puja (छठ पूजा) is dedicated to the Sun (सूर्य, Surya) and his wife Usha (उषस् / the वैदिक, Vedic Goddess of Dawn in हिंदू धर्म, Hinduism) in order to thank them for bestowing the bounties of life on Earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.
- Kumbh Mela or Kumbha Mela (कुंभ मेला) is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river.
The oldest surviving
Vedic (वैदिक) Hymns, such as the Hymn 1.115 of the Rigveda (ऋग्वेद), mention Surya (सूर्य) with particular reverence for the "Rising
Sun" and its symbolism as dispeller of darkness, one who empowers knowledge,
the good and all life.
However, the usage is context specific.
In some Hymns, the word "Surya" (सूर्य) simply means Sun as an inanimate object, a stone or a gem in the sky (ऋग्वेद, Rigvedic Hymns 5.47, 6.51 and 7.63); while in others it refers to a personified Deity.
- The Rigveda (ऋग्वेद) is an Ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit Hymns (वैदिक संस्कृत भजन) along with associated commentaries on liturgy, ritual and mystical exegesis.
It is one of the four sacred canonical texts (श्रुति, Śruti) of Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म) known as the Vedas (वेद).
The Vedas (वेद) assert Sun (सूर्य, Surya) to be the Creator of
the Material Universe (प्रकृति, Prakriti / "nature").
In the layers of Vedic (वैदिक) texts, Surya (सूर्य) is one of the several trinities along with Agni (अग्नि / the Fire God) and either Vayu (वायु) or Indra (इन्द्र), which are presented as an equivalent icon and aspect of the Hindu metaphysical concept called the Brahman (ब्रह्मन्).
- The Vedas (वेद / "Knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originating in Ancient India.
Composed in Vedic Sanskrit (वैदिक संस्कृत), the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit (संस्कृत) Literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म).
Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya (अपौरुषेय), which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless".
- Agni (अग्नि) is a Sanskrit (संस्कृत) word meaning fire, and connotes the Vedic (वैदिक) Fire God of Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म).
He is also the Guardian Deity of the Southeast direction, and is typically found in south-east corners of Hindu temples.
In the Classical Cosmology of the Indian religions, Agni (अग्नि) as fire is one of the five inert impermanent elements (पैन्काभूटा, pañcabhūtá) along with space (ऐकासा, ākāśa), water (एपी, ap), air (वायु, vāyu) and earth (प्राथवी, pṛthvī), the five combining to form the empirically perceived material existence (प्रकृति, Prakriti / "nature").
- Vayu (वायु) is a primary Hindu Deity, the Lord of the Winds, the father of Bhima (भीम) and the spiritual father of Hanuman (हनुमान्).
He is also known as Anil (अनिल / "Air, Wind"), Vyān (व्यान / "Air"), Vāta (वात / "Airy Element"), Tanun (तनून / "The Wind"), Pavan (पवन / "The Purifier") and sometimes, Prāṇa (प्राण / "The Breath").
- In Hindu Mythology, Bhima (भीम) is the second born of the Pandavas (पाण्डव).
The Mahabharata (महाभारतम्, Mahābhārata) relates many events which portray the might of Bhima (भीम).
Bhima (भीम) is responsible for slaying all hundred Kaurava (कौरव) brothers in the Kurukshetra War (कुरुक्षेत्र युद्ध / 5561 - c. 950 BCE).
He was considered to have the physical might of 10,000 elephants.
- Pandava (पाण्डव) were the five acknowledged sons of Pandu (पाण्डु) by his two wives: Kunti (कुन्ती) and Madri (माद्री), who was the princess of Madra (मद्रा).
- Kaurava (कौरव) were the descendants of Kuru (कुरु), a legendary King who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the Mahabharata (महाभारतम्).
The well-known Kauravas (कौरव) are: Duryodhana (दुर्योधन), Dushasana (दुःशासन), Vikarna (विकर्ण), Yuyutsu (युयुत्सु) and Dussala (दुसरा).
- In Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म), Hanuman (हनुमान्) is an ardent devotee of Rama (राम).
- Rama (राम) also known as Ramachandra (रामचंद्र), is a major Deity of Hinduism.
He is the seventh avatar (अवतार / "descent" / the material appearance or incarnation of a Deity on Earth) of the God Vishnu (विष्णु), one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna (कृष्ण) and Gautama Buddha (सिद्धार्थ गौतम).
In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being.
In the Brahmanas (ब्राह्मणम्)
layer of Vedic (वैदिक)
Literature, Surya (सूर्य) appears with Agni (अग्नि) in the same hymns.
Surya (सूर्य) is revered for the day, while Agni (अग्नि) for its role during the night.
- The Brahmanas (ब्राह्मणम्, Brāhmaṇam) are a collection of Ancient Indian texts with commentaries on the hymns of the four Vedas (वेद).
The Mahabharata (महाभारतम्, Mahābhārata) epic opens its chapter on Surya (सूर्य) that reverentially calls him as the "Eye
of the Universe, Soul of all Existence, Origin of all Life, Goal of the Samkhyas (सांख्य) and Yogis (योगियों), and Symbolism for Freedom and Spiritual Emancipation".
- Samkhya or Sankhya (सांख्य) is one of the six āstika (आस्तिक / "one who believes in the existence of a soul separate from the material world, of Brahman, etc.") schools of Hindu philosophy.
It is most related to the Yoga school of Hinduism, and it was influential on other schools of Indian philosophy.
Surya (सूर्य) is celebrated as a Deity in Buddhist artwork,
such as the ancient works attributed to Ashoka (अशोक).
He appears in a relief at the Mahabodhi Temple ("Great Awakening Temple") in Bodhgaya, riding in a chariot pulled by four horses, with Usha (उषस्) and Prattyusha (प्रित्वाश) on his sides.
Such artwork suggests that the Surya (सूर्य) as symbolism for the victory of good over evil is a concept adopted in Buddhism (बौद्ध धर्म) from an earlier Indic Tradition.
- Ashoka (अशोक), sometimes Ashoka the Great, was an Indian Emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE.
or Ravi (रवि) is the
basis of Ravivara (रविंद्र) or Sunday, in the Hindu Calendar.
The word "Sunday" in the Greco-Roman and other Indo-European Calendars is also dedicated to planet Sun.