आदित्यः सविता सूर्यः खगः पूषा गभस्तिमान्।
सुवर्णसदृशो भानुहिरण्यरेतो दिवाकरः॥ १०

ādityaḥ savitā sūryaḥ khagaḥ pūṣā gabhastimān |
suvarṇasadṛśo bhānuhiraṇyareto divākaraḥ || (10)

हरिदश्वः सहस्रार्चिः सप्तसप्तिर्मरीचिमान्।
तिमिरोन्मथनः शम्भुस्त्वष्टा मार्ताण्ड अंशुमान्॥ ११

haridaśvaḥ sahasrārciḥ saptasaptirmarīcimān |
timironmathanaḥ śambhustvaṣṭā mārtāṇḍa aṁśumān || (11)

हिरण्यगर्भः शिशिरस्तपनो भास्करो रविः।
अग्निगर्भोऽदितेः पुत्रः शङ्खः शिशिरनाशनः ॥ १२

hiraṇyagarbhaḥ śiśirastapano bhāskaro raviḥ |
agnigarbho'diteḥ putraḥ śaṅkhaḥ śiśiranāśanaḥ || (12)


10) ādityaḥ - son of Aditi (Rig Veda X.88.11 says सूर्यमादितेयम् sūryamāditeyam); savitā sūryaḥ - savitṛ means sun and sūrya also means the sun; Vedas are also identified with sūrya; sometimes personified as the divine influence and vivifying power of the sun, while Sūrya is the more concrete conception (further discussed in the summary section); khagaḥ - seat of the sun; pūṣā - a Vedic deity, originally connected with the sun; gabhastimān – garland comprising rays of the sun; suvarṇasadṛśaḥ - appearing like gold; bhānuḥ - splendorous luster; hiraṇyaretaḥ - having the shining seed (shining like gold); divākaraḥ - the maker of the day (due to light);

11) haridaśvaḥ - green colored horses (hari refers to different colours such as red, yellow and green); ssahasrārciḥ - thousands of rays; sapta saptiḥ - seven horses; marīcimān – radiant because of the rays; timironmathanaḥ - dispelling darkness; śambhu – causing happiness; tvaṣṭā – creator of beings and the one who builds higher cosmic planes (a Vedic deity); mārtāṇḍa – the sun (literally it means ‘apparently sprung from a lifeless egg'); aṁśumān – the halo of the sun.

12) hiraṇyagarbhaḥ - the golden egg, splendiferous as the sun (also mean the first of creation); śiśira - cool, chilly, cold; tapana – warming, burning; bhāskara - making light; raviḥ - the sun god (sometimes interpreted as the Creator); agnigarbha – pregnant with fire or Agni (subtly conveys that fire originated from the sun); aditi putraḥ - son of Aditi; śaṅkhaḥ - śaṅkha refers to conch; but contextually refers to fear due to spiritual ignorance; śiśira nāśanaḥ - destruction through mythical weapon (may be referring to the dawn of spiritual knowledge).

Summary of verses 10, 11 and 12:

After having established the supremacy of the sun and having compared him to the miniscule Prakāśa aspect of Brahman, Agastya now proceeds to discuss the idiosyncratic resplendence of the sun.

Verse 10 says that sun god is the son of Aditi, a Vedic goddess. Who is this Aditi? Yajur Veda (I.5.3.1) says, “O Aditi, you pervade the entire earth, supreme in heave and vast in the mid world. O Goddess Aditi, I place in your lap Agni, the giver of food.” Again in I.5.11.17 says, “May Aditi protect us, may Aditi give us peace and bliss. Let Aditi guard us from sin.” Seed for Vedānta was sown in Yajur Veda (I.7.7.4) like this. “By impelling the plentitude of the mother Mahī (Goddess of vastness; sometimes referred to as Mother Earth), I proclaim the birth of word, Aditi by name, who has entered and pervaded this entire world (three worlds mentioned in Gāyatri mantra – three vyāhṛti-s).” Thus the verse 10 does not simply refer Aditi as a mother, but implies the source of the entire creation. Who else can be source of creation other than Brahman? Therefore, it clearly proves that sun does not merely represent the source of light for the worlds, but also represents a miniscule portion of Brahman’s Self-effulgent Light. Since sun is visible to our biological eyes and sun physically exhibits all the aspects of invisible and eternal Brahman, worshiping sun is considered as supreme. It amounts to ‘worshiping’ Brahman.

In the same verse, two other names of sun god savitā and sūryā are used to refer sun god. Savitā is derived from the word savitṛ, a Vedic god. Similarly Sūryā is also a Vedic God. In fact, these two names refer to the same sun. Sun at the time of dawn is known as Savitā and sun after the dawn till it sets is known as Sūryā. This goes to prove that Brahman alone is worshiped in different shapes and forms, which is in total agreement with Advaita Philosophy. There are number of verses about dawn in Rig Veda. Dawn is described as a deity on her chariot, sometimes drawn by cows and other times by horses. There is difference between dawn and sunrise. Dawn is the first light of the day, whereas sunrise is the first appearance of the sun above the horizon. What is the seat of the sun? This can at best be explained as the mountain range and oceans. This explains the rotation of the earth as if sun is moving from East to West. The rays of the sun are described as a garland. The golden hue of the rays of the sun is compared to a gold garland. This description perfectly matches with Chāndogya Upaniṣad. The Upaniṣad makes several references to the sun. In fact the Upaniṣad says that Brahman has golden beard and golden hair; this subtly refers to the sun. It also says that if one realizes the sun, he is deemed to have realized Brahman.

Verse 11 refers to different colored rays of the sun. The verse says that sun’s chariot is drawn by seven horses that are green in color. It is not just the green color. The word ‘haridaśvaḥ’ is so meticulously chosen to subtly convey the seven principle colors VIBGYOR. According to some texts, the seven horses also refer to seven Vedic meters (chandas). VIBGYOR is the foundational color for the existence of the universe. Like prāṇa, these seven colors are present in all the objects in different degrees. In other words, the rays of the sun spread throughout the universe making living possible. When sun is made so indispensible, it obviously refers to Self-effulgent Light of Brahman. Dispelling darkness and causing happiness refers to the stage of Bliss or Ānanda. Unless one experiences the state of Bliss, his spiritual journey will be hampered. When one enters into the state of Bliss, his mind becomes calm and composed, leading to higher cosmic planes. What is meant by higher cosmic planes? It refers the status of the mind. When the mind is agitated and associated with unwanted desires and attachments, the mind is said to be in lowest plane, which is quotidian in nature. When the mind is purified through prāṇāyama and other meditative techniques, the ‘density’ of the mind is diminished so that it can go to higher cosmic planes (due to its lightness). In the highest cosmic plane, the union between individual consciousness and Supreme Consciousness takes place and this is known as Self-realization. The usage of mārtāṇḍa is significant. It talks about the process of creation.

Verse 12 typically is a sum up of the previous two verses. Sun not only produces heat, but also produces chillness in the form of rains. The fire too originates from the sun. It is said in epics that at the time of setting, sun hands over the vital energy to Agni with a request to protect the world till its dawn the next day. Even if the entire universe is annihilated, the sun eternally remains. At the time of annihilation, Brahman alone remains. When it is said that the sun remains even after annihilation, it clearly indicates that we are not discussing about the sun god, but about Brahman. Thus, contemplating on the sun, which is visible to our biological eyes, destroys avidya or spiritual ignorance. In perfect meditative stage, Light of Brahman is visible to us in the form of sun. When this Light appears in our meditation, it signifies that we are evolving spiritually. This also confirms the perfection of practice, known as sādhana.

These are the words of Agastya to Śrī Rāma. As Agastya proceeds to praise the sun, Śrī Rāma could recollect His original nature. Subsequent verses also talk about the grandeur of the sun from different angles, which also goes to prove that the sun is a miniscule Light of Brahman.

More articles:

Aditya Hrudayam - Part 4

Aditya Hrudayam - Part 6