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sun, and by the Hindus by their three principal deities, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, personifications of his attributes, creation, preservation, and destruction. But Surya, as the type also of the deity, is likewise that of his attributes. Thus, in the east, morning, he is Brahma, creation; at noon, Vishnu, preservation; in the west, evening, Siva, destruction. We shall, therefore, have little occasion for surprise at the great veneration in which this deity is held by all classes of the Hindus. Sir William Jones, in his beautiful hymn to Surya, terms him “ the lord of the lotus.”
“ Lord of the lotus, father, friend, and king,
Surya, thy power I sing.
Thy substance Indra, with his heav’nly bands,
Nor sings, nor understands,
Not even the Vedas three to man explain
Thy mystic orb triform, though Brahma tuned the strain.”
The mystic orb triform alludes to the omnipotent and incomprehensible power represented by the triple divinity of the Hindus.
The flower of the lotus is said to expand its leaves on the rising of the sun, and to close them when it sets.
The Aswinikumara, the twins of the Hindu zodiac, are called the children of Surya, from Aswini, a form of Parvati in the shape of a mare, into whose nostrils Surya breathed, and thus impregnated her with sun-beams and gave birth to the Aswini.
Surya is, by some writers, called the regent of the south-west. He presides over Adit-war, or Sunday (from Adit, the first, and War, day.)
Surya has various names. In the Gayatri he is called Savitri, as the symbol of the splendour of the supreme ruler, or the creator of the universe. The most important of these names will be noticed in the third part of this work.
Prabha, or brightness, is the consort, or sacti, of Surya. She is also Chaya, or shade, which form she assumed in consequence of not being able to endure the intensity of the splendour of her lord.
The Saurias derive their name from the radiance of their deity, “ soar
bright.” He is, in his mortal form, the progenitor of the two great Kettrie tribes, the Suryabans and Chandrabans, the descendants of which are termed the children of the Sun.
Although extensively worshipped by all the sects of the Hindus, no temples appear to be exclusively dedicated to Surya; but his images are set up in those of the other deities. In the temple of Viweswara, at Benares, dedicated to Mahadeo, is a splendid image of him, a model of which is in the fine museum of the East-India Company. '
In the account of Hanuman is related an impudent attempt of that monkey god to snatch the beams of the rising sun to swallow for his breakfast, which dreadfully frightened Surya. On another occasion, when Lakshman was wounded in the war of Lanka, his friends were directed to pluck four leaves on a distant mountain, at night, to effect a cure. Hanuman undertook the task, and immediately leaped into the air to accomplish his object; but Ravan, having engaged Surya in his interest, caused him to rise at midnight, which so incensed Hanuman that he arrested the chariot of the sun, and having tucked the god under his arm and seized the mountain in his hand, returned to Rama’s camp, where the medicinal herbs were found to have been obtained in good time to effect a cure.
Fig. 1, plate 24, is from a drawing from a compartment in the temple of Rama, at Ramnaghur. The god of day is here seen in his chariot, drawn by his seven-headed courser. His head is encircled by rays of glory; he is two-armed, and holds in his hand the sacred lotus. Before him is his charioteer and harbinger, Arun, the morn.
Fig. 2 is from a fine specimen of ancient Hindu sculpture, rich in floral ornaments, and possessing much grace and expression in the figures. In the centre is Surya standing on a lotus pedestal, and holding in each hand a richly sculptured lotus sceptre. His mughut or cap, ear-rings, dress, and ornaments, are equally rich. Before him stands, also on a pedestal, a handsomely formed female, Prabha or brightness, his consort or sacti. At her feet, and in the front of the pedestal, is the legless Arun, holding “ the heaven-spun reins” in one hand, and a whip in the other, guiding the seven coursers of the sun, which are represented on the socle. On each side of Surya are two attendants, those nearest carrying cbawries, another a sword, and the fourth a cup. At their feet are smaller figures with bows, from which they appear to have just discharged their arrows. In the back ground are the figures, animals, and foliage, usually seen in Hindu sculptures.
CHANDRA, or SOMA,
The moon, is described as a male, and is painted young, beautiful, and of dazzling fairness; two-armed, and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He is usually riding on or in a car drawn by an antelope. (See fig. 1, plate 25.) Being a Kettrie, he is of the warrior caste. It is fortunate to be born under this planet, as the individual will possess many friends, together with the high distinctions and enjoyments of life. Soma presides over Somwar, or Monday.
Although Soma or Chandra is here described as a male, he is occasionally represented as Chandri, a‘ female; in which character being visited by Surya, she produced a numerous family, called Pulinda. In the third volume of the Asiatic Researches, this sexual change is accounted for by Colonel Wilford, who says, “ when the moon is in opposition to the sun, it is the god Chandra, but when in conjunction with it, the goddess Chandri, who is in that state feigned to have produced the Pulindas.”
The moon was also worshipped as male and female, Lunus and Luna, by the Egyptians; the men sacrificing to it as Luna, the women as Lunus; and each sex, on these occasions, assuming the dress of the other.
The Hindus have in their zodiac twenty-seven lunar mansions, called Nakshatra, or daily positions of the moon; and as, to perfect the revolutions, some odd hours are required, they have added another not included in the regular chart. These twenty-eight diurnal mansions from the zodiac having been invented by Daksha, are personified as the daughters of that deity, and are the mythological wives of Chandra. In the chart of the lunar mansions they are curiously represented, as a horse’s head, a yoni, a razor, an arrow, awheel, a bedstead, a house, &c. &c. Some make them the
daughters of Kasyapa, the brother of Daksha. Sir William Jones has thus described them in the following lines, in his Hymn to Surya:
“ Thou, nectar-beaming moon,
Regent of dewy night,
From yon bright roe that in thy bosom sleeps,
Wilt thou desert so soon
Thy night-flowers pale, whom liquid odour steeps,
Burning in the darkest glade?
Will no lov’d name thy gentle mind persuade,
Yet one short hour to shed thy cooling stream ?
Our prayers not Indui' nor Himansu § hears
He fades, he disappears;
E’en Kasyapa’s gay daughters twinkling die,
Till Chatacs twitter from the morning brake,
And sandal-breathing gales on beds of ether wake."
Chandra, besides Indu and Himansu, has many names: Nishaputi, lord of the night; Mrigranku, he who has a deer in his lap; Kshupakara, he who illumines the night, 8cc. &c.
Although Kartikeya is the leader of the celestial armies, Mungula is the Mars of the Hindus. He is one of the planets, and is of the Kettrie caste. He was produced from the sweat of Siva’s brow; and is painted of aired or flame-colour, with four arms, holding in his hands a trident, a club, a lotus, and a spear. (See fig. 2, plate 25.)‘ His vahan is a ram. Those who are born under this planet are subject to losses and misfortunes; but it is considered fortunate (it may be presumed to the assailant) to engage in battle
" Sasin, the roe. 1~ Oshadi, a wife of Chandra.