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The Scriptural Aspect of Sun Worship and Chhath

” अद्यादेवा उदिता सूर्यस्य निरहंस “( ऋग्वेद)

By Prof. Vivekanand Tiwari

Upon observing the ancient practices of worship, it becomes evident that the recognition of the divine manifested in the form of the sun is paramount. Sun worship holds prevalence globally and is considered both fundamental and predominant.

The Rigveda, the oldest scripture, contains eight hymns solely dedicated to the prayer and contemplation of the sun. It also correlates the worship of deities with the idea that through their worship and prayer, one can assimilate divine qualities and receive blessings.

The sun is considered conscious, named ‘Savita.’ Its chariot is the radiant orb that remains dynamic like other planets, shining brilliantly, rising as Agnipind, or the fiery globe. This orb is also known as Aruna, rising with golden hues during the dawn.

“Adyādevā uditā sūryasya nirahaṁs” (Rigveda) translates to “O rising Sun, deliver us from sinful deeds.”

In the Mahabharata, it is stated, “Sūryodaya yaḥ sumagahitaḥ bhāskaraḥ dhṛti prajñāṁ ca meghāṁś ca savindayate samahita,” meaning “One who worships Bhaskara (the Sun) during sunrise attains steadfastness, intelligence, and control over clouds.”

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna declares, “Aadityānām aham vishnur jyotishām ravir aṁśumān, marīcir marutām asmi nakshatrānām aham śashī” (10.21), establishing his identity as the radiant sun among Adityas, the light among luminaries, and the moon among stars.

“Udyantam asta yantam āditya bhābhidyāyan kurvan sakalaṁ bhadrayaśnute” (Taittiriya Upanishad) advises meditation on the sun during sunrise for universal well-being.

The Bhagavata Purana states, “Smratām sandhyayonṛṇaṁ harantaṁ ho dine dine,” emphasizing that contemplating the sun during both sunrise and sunset purifies one daily.

“Sāndhyayo arcayet sūryam” (Surya Purana) recommends worshiping the sun during both dawn and dusk.

“Prātarbhajāmi savitā ramananta śaktiṁ pāpaiśca śatru bhaya roga haram param ca” expresses the significance of remembering Savita during dawn for dispelling sins, fears, and diseases (Bhagavata Purana).

The Vedic scriptures consider the sun as the vast source of energy. In Rigveda (1.112.1), Yajurveda (7.42), and Atharvaveda (13.2.35), a verse asserts, “Sūrya ātmā jagatastasthuṣaśca,” confirming the sun as the source of energy.

The Atharvaveda (3.7) describes the sun as a destroyer of pollutants and diseases. The mantra, “Ut purastāt sūrya eta, duṣṭān ca dhnān adṛṣṭān ca, sarvān ca pramṛṇan kṛmīn,” emphasizes the sun’s ability to eliminate all types of polluted microorganisms and pathogens.

The sun illuminates the moon with its rays, as mentioned in Yajurveda (18.40), “Suṣumṇaḥ sūrya raśmiḥ caṁdramā garandharva, asyaiko raśmiḥ caṁdramasaṁ prati dīptayate,” and Nirukta (2.6), “Ādityato’sya dīptirbhavati.”

According to the Samaveda (18.45), “Dhartā divo bhuvanasya viśpatiḥ,” the sun sustains and nurtures the world.

It is noteworthy that Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana by worshiping Surya. Sage Agastya revealed the significance of reciting the Aditya Hridaya Stotra to Lord Rama during the battle. This hymn is found in the Ramayana’s Yuddhakanda (107th Sarga).

Sun worship is not only an ancient practice but also holds cultural and spiritual significance. The ritual of Chhath, observed as a thanksgiving to rivers and the sun, exemplifies the deep-rooted connection between humanity and nature in the Indian culture. This festival showcases our gratitude towards the rivers and ponds, and the radiant sun, which have always nourished and sustained us.

In essence, the scriptures emphasize the reverence and adoration of the sun, recognizing it as a symbol of energy, vitality, and purity. Sun worship, as depicted in various forms, remains an integral part of the rich tapestry of Indian spirituality and cultural heritage.

(Writer is Head Ambedkar Pith in HPU Shimla) 

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