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Miscellanea > Gayatri in Ved  
Gayatri in Ved
By  Sushma Gupta

Everybody knows that Gayatri Mantrais a Vaidik Mantra and comes from Ved. There it is found in 3 out of 4 Ved, 4 times, although in different versions --

Rig Ved - 3-62-10 - Begins with "Tat Savitur Varenyam..."
Yajur Ved - 22-9 - Begins with "Aum Bhoor Bhuvah Swaha..."
Yajur Ved - 36-3 - Begins with "Bhoor Bhuvah Swaha..."
Saam Ved - 13-1462 Begins with "Tat Savitur Varenyam..."

Basically it is the prayer of Soorya. Soorya (Sun) is adored in the Ved as Savitr, Pooshan, Bhag, Vivaswat, Mitra, Aaryaman and Vishnu. These deities, Amsa, Daksh, Maartand are the Aaditya. Savitr is "the stimulator of everything" (sarvasya prasavitaa--Niruktam, 10.31). Vivaswat was the first sacrificer in Avesta, Vivanhant was the first mortal who prepared Hom (Vaidik Som). The Braahman and Puraan enumerate twelve Aaditya: Dhaatra, Mitra, Aaryaman, Rudra, Varun, Soorya, Bhag, Vivaswaan, Pooshan, Savitaa, Twashtaa and Vishnu. Soorya is described as the soul of movable and immovable things (soorya aatmaa jagasatasthooshasca: RV. 1-115-1).

Rig Ved describes Soorya as: "divya suparn garutmaan (beautiful-winged celestial bird Garutmaan) (RV.7-77-3), as a white brilliant steed brought by Ushaa. These descriptions result in the concept of Garud as the mount of Vishnu. Soorya is also endowed with a chariot drawn by horses: moving on a car drawn by one, by several or by seven fleet and ruddy horses. (RV. 1-115-3&4; 7-60-3; 7-63-2)

Soorya, in Hindu mythology and religion, represents the Sun itself and the Sun god. Although in the Vaidik period several other deities also possessed solar characteristics, but then most of these were merged into a single god in later Hinduism. Soorya once ranked together with Vishnu, Shiv, Shakti, and Ganesh, and many temples dedicated to him are found throughout India. In modern Hinduism he is worshiped as the supreme Deity by only a small following, the Saur sect, although he is invoked by all orthodox Hindoo daily in the morning by offering water and reciting the Gayatri Mantra which is addressed to the Sun.

Soorya is the mythological father of many notable sons, including 
(1) Three Manu (progenitor of the human race) - Shraaddhdev Manu or Vaivaswat Manu, Raivat Manu, and Saavarni Manu,
(2) Yam (Lord of Death),
(3) Shani Dev (the most dangerous planet),
(4) the Ashwinee Kumaar (twin physicians to the gods),
(5) Karn (Kuntee's son and a great warrior of the Mahaabhaarat), and
(6) Sugreev (king of monkeys in Raamaayan times).

He has Yamunaa, Taaptee, Bhadraa, Kaalindee etc rivers as his daughters.

The Puraan record that the weapons of the gods were forged from pieces trimmed from Soorya, whose full emanation was too bright for his wife Sangyaa to bear. His power was conceived of as dispelling darkness, curing disease, and heating and illuminating the world. His wife Ushaa--in some accounts she is his mother or mistress--is the personification of dawn. Sculptures of Soorya often show him in "northern" or Scythian dress--close-fitting coat and high boots--suggesting an influence from Eeraanian Sun cults. He is commonly represented in a chariot drawn by seven horses, or by a single horse with seven heads, holding full-blown lotuses, his head surrounded by a nimbus or by rays.

This is to be noted that Soorya is the only god visible to human beings.


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This site is created and maintained by   Sushma Gupta
Created on Oct 14, 2000 and Updated on Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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