Sungod Sûrya
This chapter informs us of the movements of the sun. The sun is not stationary; it is also moving like the other planets. The sun's movements determine the duration of night and day. When the sun travels north of the equator, it moves slowly during the day and very quickly at night, thus increasing the duration of the daytime and decreasing the duration of night. Similarly, when the sun travels south of the equator, the exact opposite is true -- the duration of the day decreases, and the duration of night increases. When the sun enters Karkata-rasi (Cancer) and then travels to Simha-rasi (Leo) and so on through Dhanuh-rasi (Sagittarius), its course is called Daksinayana, the southern way, and when the sun enters Makara-rasi (Capricorn) and thereafter travels through Kumbharasi (Aquarius) and so on through Mithuna-rasi (Gemini), its course is called Uttarayana, the northern way. When the sun is in Mesa-rasi (Aries) and Tula-rasi (Libra), the duration of day and night are equal.

On Manasottara Mountain are the abodes of four demigods. East of Sumeru Mountain is Devadhani, where King Indra lives, and south of Sumeru is Samyamani, the abode of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death. Similarly, west of Sumeru is Nimlocani, the abode of Varuna, the demigod who controls the water, and north of Sumeru is Vibhavari, where the demigod of the moon lives. Sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight occur in all these places because of the movements of the sun. Diametrically opposite the place where the sunrise takes places and the sun is seen by human eyes, the sun will be setting and passing away from human vision. Similarly, the people residing diametrically opposite the point where it is midday will be experiencing midnight. The sun rises and sets with all the other planets, headed by the moon and other luminaries.

The entire kala-cakra, or wheel of time, is established on the wheel of the sun-god's chariot. This wheel is known as Samvatsara. The seven horses pulling the chariot of the sun are known as Gayatri, Brhati, Usnik, Jagati, Tristup, Anustup and Pankti. They are harnessed by a demigod known as Arunadeva to a yoke 900,000 yojanas wide. Thus the chariot carries Adityadeva, the sun-god. Always staying in front of the sun-god and offering their prayers are sixty thousand sages known as Valikhilyas. There are fourteen Gandharvas, Apsaras and other demigods, who are divided into seven parties and who perform ritualistic activities every month to worship the Supersoul through the sun-god according to different names. Thus the sun-god travels through the universe for a distance of 95,100,000 yojanas (760,800,000 miles) at a speed of 16,004 miles at every moment.

By the influence of its radiation, the sun heats the universe and maintains its proper order. It also gives light to help all living entities see. While passing toward the north, toward the south or through the equator, in accordance with the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is said to move slowly, swiftly or moderately. According to its movements in rising above, going beneath or passing through the equator-and correspondingly coming in touch with various signs of the zodiac, headed by Makara [Capricorn]-days and nights are short, long or equal to one another.

When the sun passes through Meña [Aries] and Tula [Libra], the durations of day and night are equal. When it passes through the five signs headed by Våñabha [Taurus], the duration of the days increases [until Cancer], and then it gradually decreases by half an hour each month, until day and night again become equal [in Libra].

Srimad-Bhagavatam Introduction to Canto 5, Chapter 21-22
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Reality of the Sungod Sûrya

The sun-god, who controls the affairs of the entire universe, especially in regard to heat, light, seasonal changes and so on, is considered an expansion of Narayana. He represents the three Vedas -- Rg, Yajur and Sama -- and therefore he is known as Trayimaya, the form of Lord Narayana.

Sometimes the sun-god is also called Surya-Narayana. The sun-god has expanded himself in twelve divisions, and thus he controls the six seasonal changes and causes winter, summer, rain and so on. Yogis and karmis following the varnasrama institution, who practice hatha or astanga-yoga or who perform agnihotra sacrifices, worship Surya Narayana for their own benefit. The demigod Surya is
always in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana.

Residing in outer space, which is in the middle of the universe, between Bhuloka and Bhuvarloka, the sun rotates through the time circle of the zodiac, represented by twelve rasis, or signs, and assumes different names according to the sign he is in. For the moon, every month is divided into two fortnights. Similarly, according to solar calculations, a month is equal to the time the sun spends in one constellation; two months constitute one season, and there are twelve months in a year. The entire area of the sky is divided into two halves, each representing an ayana, the course traversed by the sun within a period of six months. The sun travels sometimes slowly, sometimes swiftly and sometimes at a moderate speed. In this way it travels within the three worlds, consisting of the heavenly planets, the earthly planets and outer space. These orbits are referred to by great learned scholars by the names Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idavatsara, Anuvatsara and Vatsara.
Surya The Sun-god

FROM THE RIG VEDA: "The unageing wheel rolls out on its rim; the ten yoked horses draw it up the outstretched path. All the words are kept in motion on the eye of the sun, that moves on though shrouded in dark space." "You cross heaven and the vast realm of space, O sun, measuring days by nights, looking upon the generations. Seven bay mares carry you in the chariot, O sun god with hair of flame, gazing from afar." --The Rig Veda: An Anthology, trans. Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (New York: Penguin Books, 1981), pp. 77, 190.

"The sun-god, who is Narayana, or Visnu, the soul of all the worlds, is situated in outer space between the upper and lower portions of the universe. Passing through twelve months on the wheel of time, the sun comes in touch with twelve different signs of the zodiac and assumes twelve different names according to those signs. The aggregate of those twelve months is called a samvatsara, or an entire year. According to lunar calculations, two fortnights -- one of the waxing moon and the other of the waning -- form one month. That same period is one day and night for the planet Pitrloka. According to stellar calculations, a month equals two and one quarter constellations. When the sun travels for two months, a season passes, and therefore the seasonal changes are considered parts of the body of the year." (SB 5.22.5)

Surya The Sun-god The Sun and the Planets
Surya The Sun-god-The Sun and the Planets
The movement of the sun is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita. The sun orbits around Mount Sumeru, for six months on the northern side and for six months on the southern. This adds up to the duration of a day and night of the demigods in the upper planetary systems. SB 5.20.31

The sun is situated [vertically] in the middle of the universe, in the area between Bhurloka and Bhuvarloka, which is called antariksha, outer space. The distance between the sun and the circumference of the universe is twenty-five koti yojanas [two billion miles].

O King, the sun-god and the sun planet divide all the directions of the universe. It is only because of the presence of the sun that we can understand what the sky, the higher planets, this world and the lower planets are. It is also only because of the sun that we can understand which places are for material enjoyment, which are for liberation, which are hellish and subterranean.

All living entities, including demigods, human beings, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, creepers and trees, depend upon the heat and light given by the sun-god from the sun planet. Furthermore, it is because of the sun's presence that all living entities can see, and therefore he is called drig-isvara, the Personality of Godhead presiding over sight.


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