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Surya the Sun God Hindu Mythology

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

The Mantra of Surya

ॐ भूर् भुवः स्वः तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं

भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥

oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat saviturvareṇyaṃ

bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt..

The Indian Sun god Surya is a highly revered god since he is the source of all life. Life on earth is a result of his graciousness. The sun god Surya has twelve aspects, one for each month of the year. Each aspect  rules the solar mansion for a month. This accounts for the difference in the intensity of the Sun and its behaviour over the year. Vivasvan, the leading aspect of the sun god Surya is shown riding his seven horses.

The number is symbolic of the seven meters of Vedic literature. This is very significant as the Sun is responsible for the cycles of time. The movement of the earth around the sun creates night and day. The resulting seasons indicate the passage of time. This is also remarkable because Surya will now illuminate these aspects of existence that the Moon had been vague about. Once the soul has encountered its essence in the raw state, it comes to the new dawn with renewed vigour to begin life anew.

Vivasvan was the son of Aditi and the wife of the ascetic Rishi or sage Kashyapa. The Sage in turn was the descendant of the creator god Brahma. Vivasvan married Samjna, who was the daughter of Tvashtrior Vishvakarman the divine architect.

Samjna and Vivasvan together bore three children, namely Vaivasvata, Yama and Yamini. Samjna loved her children and husband dearly. However, she was unable to constantly bear the heat and brilliance of her husband. Therefore, she created an exact likeness of herself using her shadow, whom she named Chaya which means “shadow”. Then, desperately, she went to her father to seek his help, so that he could find a solution. Vishwakarma denied his daughter any help. Rather, he insisted that she should return to her husband. Consequently, she decided to transform herself into a mare and perform penance. Following that, she hoped she may be granted the boon of withstanding his brilliance.

Meantime Chaya became a mother to Samjna’s children. In addition, she also assumed the role of Vivasvan’s wife and bore him three children. Her progeny in time became powerful figures in their own right. Samjna’s children were named Savarni, Tapati and Shanni or Saturn. It  was Chaya’s love for her children and her partiality towards them that proved to be her undoing.

Chaya would ill-treat the children of her maker Samjna. One day in a fit of anger she cursed Yama, willing him to have his leg separated from his body. In fear he approached his father, seeking his protection. Vivasvan modified the curse. Words carry power. Thus, what Chaya said was to unfold. So Surya enabled his wife’s words to be truthful. He decreed that some worms would eat a little of Yama’s leg and drop to the ground. After ensuring that his tearful son had calmed down, Surya confronted Chaya and learnt about Samjna’s deception. In a fit of rage, he divorced her on the spot. Still furious he set off for Vishwakarma’s home and demanded to know about Samjna’s whereabouts. 

Vishwakarma’s sympathies lay with his daughter’s situation. He explained her misery at not being able to live with her husband or her children.  As his temper subsided, Vivasvan or Surya felt sorry for the plight of his wife. Surya had Vishwakarma strap him to the milling wheel so that he could shed some of his brilliance. With the radiance that was removed a few of the gods' defining amulets and weapons were formed. These were the discus of Vishnu the preserver god, the trident of Shiva the destroyer god, the Chariot of Kuber the god of wealth, and the spear of Karttikeya  the general of the gods.

Then Vivasvan or the Sun god Surya set off to search for Samjna. Since she was in the form of a mare, he assumed the shape of a stallion. Then he approached her with amorous intent. She tried to get away. However, Surya caught up with her and managed to discharge his semen into her mouth which she spat immediately. From the semen arose the Ashwini twins, who always speak the truth!! Then he assumed his own form, and Samjna followed him. The lovers were reunited and returned to their glorious mansion in the sky.   

Surya as Key 19

Dignified: The Sun heralds the conscious and a deeper understanding of one’s self and desires. The Sun also shows light on a period when the querent will shine like the sun. This is a time when the querent will be recognized for his talents. Confidence is at an all-time high.

The sun is the giver of   all life and strongly aspected this card heralds a time when you will be in the limelight. People will flock to revel in your warmth. The children of Vivasvan are the ones instrumental in filling his life with joy. Likewise, the card of the sun also heralds childlike energies. It points to the joy brought about by the presence of children.    Vivasvan had found a solution to Samjna’s troubles.   Similarly, if there is a period of difficulty that the querent is currently undergoing the card points to its end.  

Reversed or weakly Aspected: The confidence expressed when the card is upright has become arrogance. The brilliance of the Sun is no longer soothing or calming. It threatens to destroy that in its path by burning things up. Just as Chaya was able to live with Surya for long enough to have three children, there may not be extreme clarity that the sun represents upright. It may point to unhappiness or a failure to reach potential if a child is being referred to.   

Work Cited:

Picture-Ravi Varma Press, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mythology & Tarot Through Myth


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