Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Significance of Sun Worship

Rinku Sharma

Hinduism holds the Sun in high regard because of its healing qualities and capacity to sustain life on Earth. The Hindus believe that the Sun is the creator of the cosmos and the source of all life. India has been a sun-worshipping nation since the dawn of time. In Hinduism, the Sun God, also known as Surya Devta, is highly venerated. Arghya is an ancient Hindu practice of offering water to the Sun God, or Surya. The Sun God is revered for its power to drive away darkness and bring brightness into people’s lives.

Mention of the Sun God in ancient Indian texts

The Rig Veda and Upanishads both make reference to the Sun God. Sun worship was also mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Draupadi carried out Chhath ceremonies in the Mahabharata, which involve worshipping the Sun God. Karna was also claimed to be the offspring of the Sun God and Kunti. According to the Ramayana, after spending 14 years in exile, Ram and Sita observed a fast and worshipped the Sun.

Most depictions of the Sun depict him riding a chariot drawn by seven horses. These seven horses metaphorically represent the human body’s seven chakras. The Sun God is frequently seen holding Sankha (conch), Chakara (disc), and Gada (mace) in addition to a lotus, which represents life. In other illustrations, the deities Usha and Pratyusha are shown standing by his sides and launching arrows to chase away the darkness.

Significance of Sun Worship

The Sun God is one of the most powerful deities in Hinduism. In Hindu culture, he has been adored since the beginning of time.  The Sun God is believed to emit a divine aura and is the highest source of light. He is considered to be a representation of wisdom, strength, and clarity. He is also said to dispel the shadows and bring light into one’s life. Offering arghya, or water, to the Sun is an ancient ritual in Hindu culture. This highly auspicious ritual is thought to bring blessings, prosperity, and good health.

Sun worship in other civilizations

Sun worship features prominently in every civilization’s mythology and folklore. All ancient civilizations, from Babylon to India, China, Africa, Greece, Egypt, and Europe, adopted Sun worship as their primary religion. Here are some instances: Ra is the Sun God in Egypt. Amun, the creator God of the ancient Egyptians, is thought to live inside the Sun. The ancient Greeks also revered Helios, who shared many traits with Ra.

Sun Worship in India

Sun worship has been practised since the dawn of time. The Rigveda has many descriptions of Sun worship contained in it. The ancient Indians began to worship the sun, as they relied heavily on agriculture and the Sun for life and nourishment. An ancient Hindu festival called Chhath honours the Sun God and is observed in Bihar, Jharkhand, Northeastern India, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. Samba Dashami is another occasion to honour the sun and is a festival that takes place in Odisha. During the harvest festival, South Indians can also be seen offering prayers to the Sun God. The Tamil month of Thai is when the people of Tamil Nadu worship the Sun God.

Temples of the Sun in India

The Sun God is known by various names in India. Some of them include Ravi, Aditya, Bhaskara, Bhanu, Divakara, and Prabhakara. India also has numerous temples devoted to the Sun God. The Sun God is the central deity of the 13th-century Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, which has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Another well-known Sun Temple can be found in ruins at Martand in Kashmir. Aurangabad has temples dedicated to the Sun as well. Additional Surya temples can be found in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh. Even Assam has a temple dedicated to the nava grahas, where puja is performed in an effort to counteract any unfavourable effects these grahas may have.

Bottom line

The Sun is regarded as the creator of the universe, without whom there would have been no possibility of life on Earth. In India, the Sun is honoured in all major religions and cultures. Every Indian culture places a high value on worshipping the Sun, primarily because of the Sun’s ability to banish darkness and bring light into one’s life.

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