The 12 splendid suns

December 16, 2012 12:22 am | Updated 12:40 am IST

Let’s welcome the crack of the first Margazhi dawn with 12 pieces of trivia on the Sun God.

1. The Sun is known in Hindu mythology by twelve names: Mitra, Ravi, Surya, Bhanu, Kha, Pusha, Hiranyagarbha, Marichin, Aditya, Savitr, Arka and Bhaskara.

2. Suryanamaskar or the sun salutation exercise in Yoga has twelve postures dedicated to each one of these forms.

3. Sauram or worship of the Sun is one of the ‘Shanmathams’ or six schools of Hindu religion.

4. The Sun is the presiding deity among the Navagrahas, the set of nine celestial bodies deified in Indian astrology.

5. The Suryanar temple in Kumbhakonam is dedicated to the Sun God. Muttuswami Dikshitar has composed ‘Suryamurthe’ in Saurashtra ragam on this deity.

6. Several temples in North and East India, such as the ancient temple of Konark in Orissa are dedicated to the ‘Arka’ form of the Sun.

7. Worship of a solar deity was also prevalent in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia.

8. Key festivals in India dedicated to the sun include Makara Sankranti or Pongal, Chhat and Ratha Saptami.

9. Surya is associated with the great Indian epics. Lord Rama is said to have descended from the Suryavansha dynasty, while the Mahabharata warrior Karna was the sun God’s son

10. ‘Aditya’ is the name of the 12th chakra in the sampurna mela raga scheme in Carnatic music.

11. In multiple music compositions, the resplendence of the deity is compared with the brilliance of the sun, through phrases such as ‘bhanu koti’ and ‘dinakara koti’ prakasham.

12. The Aditya Hridayam is a well- known hymn in praise of the Sun, while the Gayatri mantra bears reference to the sun or ‘savitr’.

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