Dear All,

Greetings. It is just one week from the end of Dakshinayana and start of Uttarayana and Maha Sankranti. May I wish all a Happy Maha Sankranti/Happy Pongal.

As Maha Sankranti marks the movement of Sun to Makara from Dhanus marking the start of Uttarayana, it is invariably associated with Lord Surya. In this connection, I am happy to attach three very rare Stutis on Lord Surya.

1. Surya Shata Nama Stotram - Dharma Puranam - this a rare 100 names of Lord Surya from Brihad Dharma Puranam

2. Surya Hrudayam - Kurma Puranam - everyone knows about Aditya Hrudayam (given to Lord Rama by Sage Agastya during his war with Ravana) but this is another Hrudayam on Lord Surya from Kurma Puranam. This appears as part of description of duties for Grahasthas and this is prescribed for chanting daily during Sandhyopasana at the time of Surya Upasthana.

A unique thing about this Hrudayam is that it is a prayer on Lord Surya who is praised as if he is Lord Shiva but appears in a Puranam (Kurma) characterized as Vaishnavite!

3. Surya Mantra/Kavacham/Stotrarajam - Brahma Vaivarta Puranam - this consists of 3 parts viz. Surya Mantra, Surya Kavacham and Surya Stotra Rajam within the same chapter in Brahma Vaivarta Puranam which describes Surya Puja Vidhi and worship of Surya in Pushkar Kshetra. All these are said to be the most potent remedies for all kinds of diseases.

As usual a few snippets on the subject on hand:

1. There are several ashtottarams (at least 3-5), several Sahasranamas (I know at least 3) and many Kavachas and stotras on Lord Surya. There is also a very rare bAlArka Ashtottaram (roughly translated, Sun during Brahma Muhurta time) in Skanda Purana (I have forgotten to mark this page on the book but will share this in due course after locating it).

2. Though Surya worship is prescribed and included in almost all puranas, Shamba Purana is exclusively devoted to Surya worship. Brahma Purana also contains several chapters on Surya worship.

3. There are several important Surya Kshetras - Konark, Pushkar, Arasavilli in Andhra, Suryanar Koil in Tamil Nadu, and many many more.

4. In addition to Surya worship, Satyanarayana Puja during Makara Shankranti is very auspicious.

5. Lord Surya is considered GYAna kAraka (from the astrological perspective, he is considered Atma kAraka). He is closely associated with Shukla Yajur Veda of Sage Yajnavalkya, who fell out with his uncle Sage VaishampAyana and therefore gave back the Yajur Veda he learnt under him in the form of fire (one can understand his powers that he gave form to knowledge!). He later prayed Goddess Saraswati who in turn instructs him to learn Vedas from Lord Surya. Shukla Yajur Veda was thus born.

6 Though Surya is not considered among trinity, he is indeed the trinity and the Parabrahman, as per the Puranic texts. This we confirm every day during our Sandhyopasana (asAvAdityo brahma) and Aditya Hrudayam also reiterates the same.

Going back to Surya Hrudayam and its uniqueness - we all know Lord Surya is often treated as Lord Surya Narayana but this prayer mentions him as an embodiment of Lord Rudra. From the astrological point of view, Lord Rudra is the Atidaivata of Sun. This again underlines the fact that Sanatana Dharma corroborates that the Parabrahman is just but one and it bears several names (ekaM sat | viprA baudhA vadanti||).

I have never come across (so far) any justification or prescription of current day bickerings that happen among various panths within Hinduism - especially the Vaishavite/Shaivite rivalry (which fortunately is confined to the greater Tamil Nadu of the medieval times, I am told) which must be the result of later day political struggles and one-upmanship and nothing to do with religiosity and spirituality since Hinduism never advocates any form of fanaticism as itself openly advocates worship of Parabrahman in pluralistic forms.

To be precise, people are only severely warned of any attempt to create differences among the various forms of Parabrahman - this message is not confined to any one particular purana or text. This message keeps repeating in every purana - be it Vaishnavite or Shaivite. Further, the message gets repeated umpteen number of times within the same purana. A couple of samples (countless are such examples):

Lord Krishna declares that He does not live in Goloka or Vaikuntha - he lives in the Hrudaya of Lord Shankara and there is no Bhakta beyond Lord Shankara (Brahma Vaivarta Puranam, Krishna Janma Khanda, Chapter 36):

श्रीकृष्ण उवाच -
शंकरः परमात्मा मे प्राणेभ्योऽपि परः शिवः
त्र्यम्बके मन्मनः शश्वन् न प्रिया मे भवात् परः॥
न संवसामि गोलोकं वैकुण्ठे तव वक्षसि।
सदा शिवस्य हृदये निबद्धः प्रेम पाशतः॥
पञ्च वक्त्रेण मन् नाम यो हि गायत्यहर्निशम्।
मद् रूपं ध्यायते शश्वन् न भक्तः शंकरात् परः॥

Lord Kurma (Vishnu) in Kurma Purana (Chapter 9) declares that Lord Shiva indeed is the Pradhana Purusheshvara and admonishes Lord Brahma of ignoramuse:

श्रीकूर्म उवाच -
किं न पश्यसि योगेशं ब्रह्माधिपतिं अव्ययम्।
प्रधान पुरुषेशानं वेदाहं परमेश्वरम्॥ ९ - ४२॥
यं न पश्यन्ति योगीन्द्राः सांख्या अपि महेश्वरम्।
अनादि निधनं ब्रह्म तमेव शरणम् व्रज॥ ९ - ४३॥

In Linga Purana, Lord Vishnu declares that Himself and Lord Brahma are fulfilling the AGYA of Lord Shiva (Linga Puranam, Uttara Bhaga, Chapter 6, Verses 85-89). The same message comes in Kalki Purana as well (as he takes permission of Lord Bilvodakeshvar to take Kalki Avatar).

On the other hand, Lord Shiva declares himself as the first and foremost Vaishnavite (Brahma Vaivarta Puranam and several others). He severely admonishes and Nandi and Shiva Ganas who cast aspersions on Lord Narayana saying that they are doing this because of ignorance and ego (Vamana Purana, Chapter 67) and that he himself is Lord Jagannatha. Those who do this are essentially inviting themselves for a sojourn in gory hells.

May We Seek The Shelter Under the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient Parabrahman! Happy Pongal once again.

With best regards,
K. Muralidharan














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