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1. Introduction

Surya (Sun God) is the chief solar deity in Hinduism. In Hindu religious literature, Surya is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see every day.

Furthermore, Shaivites and Vaishnavas often regard Surya as an aspect of Shiva and Vishnu, respectively. For example, the sun is called Surya Narayana by Vaishnavas. In Shaivite theology. Surya is said to be one of eight forms of Shiva, named the Ashtamurti.

2. Appearance

Surya has hair and arms of gold. His chariot is pulled by seven horses (their names are Gayathri, Bruhathi, Ushnik, Jagathy, Thrishtup, Anushtup and Pamkthi) which represent the seven Chandhass. Aditya, Divakara, Bhaskara, Bhanu, Arkka, Mihira, Prabhakara and Mithra are the other names of Surya.

3. Parents and progency

Surya is the son of SAGE KASHYAPA AND ADITI. He has two wives Samnja and Chaya. Surya is the father of the twins Yama Deva (the Lord of Death) & Yamuna (The river), Shani Deva (the planet Saturn) ,the Monkey King Sugriva, who helped Rama & Laxman defeat Ravana,. Manu and Tapathi. The twin Ashwins, the divine horsemen and physicians to the Gods, who also happen to father Nakula and Sahadeva off Madri in the Mahabharat, are also his progeny. Surya is the Guru of Lord Hanuman.

4 Kunti and Karna

In the Mahabharata, princess Kunti receives instruction for a mantra from sage Durvasa reciting which she is able to summon any god and bear a child with him. Unable to believe the power of this mantra, she tries to summon Surya. When Surya appears, she is overawed and requests him to go back, but Surya is compelled to fulfil the mantra before returning. Surya magically causes Kunti to bear a child immediately so that she, an unmarried princess, would not be subject to questions from the king or his court. Kunti discards this child, Karna, who grows up to become one of the central characters in the great battle of Kurukshetra.

5.Gayatri Mantra

The Gayatri Mantra is associated with Surya. Another HYMN ASSOCIATED WITH SURYA IS THE ADITYA Hridayam, recited by the great sage Agastya to Rama on the battlefield before fighting with Ravana. Aditya Hridayam praises the Lord Surya like this:-

"He(Surya) is, the ruler of the worlds, who is crowned with rays, who appears at the horizon, who is greeted by gods and demons, and brings light. He constitutes created beings, He is the life-breath, the source of the seasons, the store-house of light, an offspring of Aditi, the progenitor, the Sun-God, the courser in the heavens, the nourisher, the possessor of rays, the golden, the brilliant, the One whose energy constitutes the seed of the universe and the maker of day.adityaHe has seven green horses, is myriad-rayed, full of rays, the destroyer of darkness, the source of happiness, the mitigator of suffering of His devotees, the infuser of life in the lifeless cosmic egg, all-pervading and the cause of the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. He is blissful by nature, the ruler of all, the bringer of day and the Teacher. A son of Aditi, He bears the fire of dissolution in His womb, is bliss personified and all-enveloping, the destroyer of cold, the lord of the heavens, the disperser of darkness, a master of the three Vedas, the sender of thick showers and the friend of water. He courses swiftly along His own orbit, carries in Him the resolve to evolve the universe and is adorned with a circle of rays. He is death, tawny and the destroyer of all. He is omniscient, all-formed, endowed with extraordinary brilliance, coppery, the source of all evolutes, the controller of lunar mansions, planets and stars, the creator of all, the resplendent among the splendid.

O God, appearing in twelve forms, hail to You! Hail to the dispeller of darkness, the destroyer of cold, the exterminator of foes, the One whose extent is immeasurable, the destroyer of the ungrateful, the God who is the ruler of lights! Hail to You, possessing the luster of refined gold, the dispeller of ignorance, the architect of the universe, the uprooter of darkness, splendor incarnate, the onlooker of the world! The aforesaid Lord alone actually destroys, brings into existence and sustains all that has come into being. He radiates heat by His rays and sends showers.Planted in created beings, he remains awake when they have fallen asleep. He Himself is the act of pouring oblations into the sacred fire as well as the fruit attained by those who pour such oblations.He comprises the gods as well as the sacrifices as also the fruit of sacrifices. Again, He is the Supreme Controller of activities which are found in all living beings."

6. Soorya Nmaskaram

A well-known Hindu mode of worship of Surya is done at the rising of the Sun, known as Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation). Ten yogic postures are assumed in successive flowing movements to complete one namaskar. Twelve sacred Hindu mantras uttered and for each mantra one complete namaskar is done. Ancient practice is to do 108 namaskaras a day. It is considered most auspicious by Hindus to do this.

7 Surya Temples in Kerala-Adityapuram Surya Deva Temple

Adityapuram Surya Deva Temple is the only Surya Temple in Kottayam District. This is the only Surya temple in Kerala where daily poojas are performed. This ancient Surya temple is located at IRAVIMANGALAM (4Km from Kuruppanthara in Ettumanoor-Vaikom Road) in Kaduthuruthy. This temple is managed by Kapikkadu Marangattu Mana.

Hundreds of years ago a member of Marangattu Kapikkad Mana worshipped the Sun God. Through meditation and 'Tapas' he received the blessing of the God and consecrated the idol of Surya in this temple. The main ritual is Abhishekam (bathing). In the first stage the Abhishekam is performed by oil and Abhishekam by water followed.

It is a surprise that after pouring of water for Abhishekam there will be no trace of oil on the idol. All trace of oil disappears because the idol is made of a particular type of stone that absorbs oil.

The west facing Surya Deva is in meditative form. Durga Devi is the main deity here now because Surya deva got all powers (in the early morning Surya Deva has the powers of all other gods) from Devi through continuously chanting Durga Mantra.

7a. Power of Sun God till sun rise

At the beginning of creation the Sun God alone was visible while the other Gods and Goddesses could not be seen by all. But he had the same powers that the others had. So the Sun God was displeased and He worshipped Devi Mahamaya till she appeared before Him. The Devi Blessed the Sun God and said that 6 hours till sun rise He will have all the powers of the other Gods and Goddesses also.

Durga prathishta (facing east) was done in the same sanctum sanctorum a hundred years ago. The temple was renovated and became famous after the Durga prathishta. Sastha and Yakshi are the upadevas or sub-deities in this temple.

7b Poojas and offerings

Main poojas are Aditya Pooja Udayasthamana pooja and Navagraha Pooja. RAKTHACHANDANAM (red sandalwood) is the main Prasadam. Main offerings or vazhipadu are Ada nivedyam and Raktha chandana samarppanam. These offerings will remove incurable diseases.

On the last Sunday of the month of 'Medam' there is Abhishekam with Raktachandana Kavadi. For curing diseases of the eyes and skin we have to perform Adithya Pooja and keep Rakta Chandana at the Nada. For curing eye disease a mixture of the ghee and black soot of the lamp burning inside the temple is given to devotees. Sundays are considered auspicious here.

Last Sunday of Vrischikam (October/November) and Medam (May/June) (glory of the Sun is at peak during these months) are considered more auspicious and special ceremonies and rituals like Kavadi abhishekam are performed. On that day at least one person from the Marangattu family must take the kavadi for the abhishekam. There will be a huge crowd in the temple on these days. For Karkkidaka Vavu and Pathamudayam also people from far away places visit the temple.

7c Surya Kalady Mana

Suryakalady Mana is located at Nattassery, near Kottayam. This ancient Brahmin Mana is famous for tantric and mantric rituals and is situated on the bank of Meenachil river.

Hundreds of years ago, a member of Kaladi family had got a mantric book from Surya Deva. Thereafter the Kaladi Mana became famous as Surya Kaladi Mana and the male members of this family got the name 'Surya Kaladi Suryan Bhattathiri'. Surya Deva is considered as the Guru of Surya Kaladi Bhattathiries and Maha Ganapathy is their Upasana moorthy or Thevara moorthy. Every sunday there will be a special Surya Pooja.