[Advaita-l] Sun Worship

D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ dvnsarma at gmail.com
Wed Mar 9 09:40:44 CST 2011

In Mulasthana (Multan now in Pakistan) it seems that there used to be a
Sun temple.


On Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM, Satish Arigela <satisharigela at yahoo.com>wrote:

> This is copy paste of an article by someone I know closely.
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> In bR^ihatsamhita 60.19 varAhamihira states that sUrya should be worshipped
> by
> installing idols of his and they should be worshipped by specialized
> priests
> called magAchAryas. This is corroborated by the bhavishya purANa chapter
> 139
> that narrates the following tale (a critical reconstruction of it):
> kR^ishNa, the hero of the yadus married jAMbavati, the daughter of the
> bear-king
> jAmbavAn. Their son was the valiant sAmba. He went to the banks of the
> river
> chandrabhAga and constructed temple in the honor of sUrya. No local
> brAhmaNa
> knew of the mysteries of his worship and hence could not take up priesthood
> at
> the temple. So sAMba sought help of gauramukha, the adviser of the yadu
> chief,
> ugrasena. gauramukha asked him to go to shakadvipa and obtain a special
> class of
> priests called magAchAryas to worship sUrya. saMba said:" pray, tell me Oh
> brAhmaNa what are the antecedents of these worshippers of the sun.
> gauramukha
> narrated: "The first of the brahmins amidst the shakhas was called sujihva.
> He
> founded a gotra termed the mihira gotra. He had a daughter of the name
> nikShubhA. sUrya was enamoured by her and impregnated her. Thus she gave
> birth
> to jarashabda who was the founding father of all the magachAryas. They are
> distinguished by the sacred girdle called the avyanga that they wear around
> their waist". saMba there upon called on kR^ishNa to send him garuDa and
> flying
> on his back he landed in shaka dvIpa. He collected the magAchAryas, brought
> them
> back to bhArata and installed them as priests of his sUrya temple.
> The Idol of sUrya should be constructed thusly: He should have a human form
> with
> a solar corona placed behind him. He should be on a chariot with the horses
> standing for the seven solar rays. He should hold a discus and trident in
> two
> arms, and lotuses in the other two. His feet should be covered by boots
> upto the
> knees. His waist should bear the avyanga.
> This temple on the chandrabhaga was situated in what is now the terrorist
> state
> of Pakistan and was demolished by Awrangzeb (may piss be upon him) in the
> 1600s.
> Earlier it was descrated by Mohd. bin Qasim and the al-Qaramitah. The
> descriptions of the original idol mention that it had knee-height boots
> made
> from Spanish leather and two rubies for the eyes.
> There is considerable epigraphic evidence for the prevalance of the saura
> sect
> in India and definitely the cult was very popular at the time shankara
> bhagavatpAda formalized the six sects of sectarian Hinduism [shaiva,
> shakta,
> vaiShNava, gANapatya, kaumAra, saura] in the 700s of CE. The earliest
> pieces of
> evidence clearly support the Iranian connection. The coins of the kushaNas
> have
> an image of sUrya with the inscription miiro. The GovindpUr inscription
> from the
> 1130s speaks of the magas as being brought to the land by sAmba and 6 great
> poets who were magAcharyas are mentioned. Mihira Kula, the Hephalite Hun
> ruler
> sponsored the construction of another sUrya temple in Gwalior. This
> suggests
> that the Iranian influences on the saura sect were continous and over a
> long
> period of time. In Rajasthan and Northern Gujarat there were a number of
> sUrya
> temples including the well known one at moDherA. These contain idols of
> suryA
> with the boots up to the knees clearly implying the Iranian connection.
> Most of
> these temples were destroyed in the fine vandalistic traditions of the
> zealots
> of Allah. Priests with the sirname maga are seen around the sun-temple in
> Osian
> in Rajasthan suggesting that it was probably a famous center of the saura-s
> of
> Iranian origin. So it is clear that original home of the magas was indeed
> in the
> west and following the devastations of the al-Qaramitah and the Ghaznavids
> their
> remnants fled to the east and are now found there. Today the remnants of
> the
> magachAryas are the shakadvipI brAhmaNas who are still present in Uttar
> Pradesh.
> While they are not accorded the same status as the Arya brAhmaNas, they
> still
> observe basic brahminical rites, such upanayanaM and shaucha rules.
> Analysis of the names of the queens of the Karkota dynasty of Kashmir shows
> that
> there were Iranians amidst them. They seem to have reinforced the saura
> cult in
> kAshmIr as evidenced by the mArtANDa temple in kashmir and a kashmirian
> idol of
> lalitAditya’s time with the classic Iranian dress.
> However, it should be noted that the Sun cult also existed in Southern
> India. In
> Thanjavur there is the Suryanar temple with absolutely no Iranian influence
> in
> the iconography. This suggests that while the saura-mata itself spread
> widely
> across India, the maga priests and their distinctive iconography did not
> physically move into the more interior regions. I have heard that the sUrya
> temple in a hill temple complex built in Pune by the Peshwas was also
> consecrated by maga priests as late as 1750AD however, it is
> iconographically
> intermediate between the northern and southern forms. Finally, the sauras
> also
> tried to provide a "vedic tinge" for the sect via the composition of the
> sUryopaniShat and the appropriation of the savitA gAyatrI.
> The visible imprints of the saura mata that persist today are: 1) The
> highly
> popular Aditya hR^idayaM, which is attributed to agastya and has been
> inserted
> into the yuddha kANDa of the rAmAyaNa. This hymn appears to be an early
> composition of the saura school. 2) The second well-known saura
> contribution is
> the sUrya namaskAra vidhi which is a yogic/tantric practice prescribe by
> saura
> tantras.
> -----------------------------------------------
> We had earlier compiled incomplete accounts of both the saura mata and its
> offshoots like the worship of revanta. We initially wanted to work on the
> final
> part of the incomplete revanta essay dealing with the specific point of the
> evolution of shAstA from revanta and the relationship between their tantric
> prayogas. Then we realized we never put together the additional material
> from
> the various purANas on the core saura mata that we originally intended.
> Since a
> few interlocutors had brought up saura issues and the original essay was
> too old
> we decided to put this part separately. This as such is common knowledge
> amongst
> Hindus educated in purANa-s.
> Why did sAMba build sUrya temples?
> This tale is a bit scandalous and often kept away from narratives (As a
> child I
> recall elders scrupulously avoiding this). As per the varAha purANa (VhP
> 117 )
> and bhaviShya purANa (bhvP 1.129) sAmba was said to be a paragon of good
> looks
> and attracted women. nArada, arrived at devakI-putra’s abode and mentioned
> that
> some of his many wives were flirting with his son sAMba. After an enquiry
> kR^iShNa laid a spell on sAMba that he get a dreadful skin disease as a
> result
> of which the women would lose interest in him. sAmba invoked sUrya, who
> cured
> him of the disease, and told him that he would find an idol of sUrya for
> his
> worship. sAMba found this idol that was apparently crafted by vishvakarman
> from
> the kalpataru while he was having a bath in chandrabhAga. sAMba installed
> it in
> the forest of mitra at mUlasthAna. These purANas also mention two other
> places
> where sAMba installed saura temples. One of these is said to be kAlapriya
> on the
> south bank of the yamuna and the other is said to be sutira or muNDIra. The
> location of sutira as per tradition is in the eastern coast and is the same
> as
> the site where now the koNArka temple stands (in utkala). The site of
> muNDIra is
> generally believed to be the great Modhera temple in lATa-pradesha. Both
> muNDIra
> and mUlasthAna were ravaged by the Mohammedan vandals on multiple
> occassions,
> but the former survives to date. There is a stand-alone purANa by the name
> sAMba
> purANa that exists in manuscript and corroborates the tales given the
> mahApurANas.
> ________________________________
> From: Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>
> To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Sent: Tue, March 8, 2011 4:21:49 PM
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Sun Worship
> Namaste Sri Sriram
> Arogyam Bhaskaradicchet.
> Some Westerners opinion is Sun Worship in India is from a foreign
> source. But this cannot be correct. Because we have Aruna Prashna and
> Surya Mantras in Vedas itself. Kindly explain your view.
> Regards
> -Venkatesh
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