January 15, 2019

The Cult of Sūrya

The cult of Sūrya was widespread across Northern India at an ancient time. The deity was known by various names like Aditya, Arka, Bhānu, Savitru, Pushana, Ravi, Mārtanda, Mitra and Vivasvāna. Right from the hymns in the Rig Veda Sūrya was regarded with great reverence as dispeller of darkness and a symbol great spiritual power and advancement. During the Kushana era the worship of Surya reached a zenith competing with the worship of other major gods like Vishnu and Shiva. In some later day depictions from undivided Bengal under Pala kings there are sculptures of a three-headed, ten-armed Surya-Shiva holding in nilotpala, damaru, Shakti and other usual Saiva iconographic motifs. The figure…
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