The Importance of Sun God:
The sun god, called Surya Bhagavan, has great significance in Hindu tradition.
The Vedas refer to the sun as the source and sustenance of all life. They also say the rays of the sun have healing benefits.
Gayatri Mantra is a prayer to honor Surya deva.
Om bhur bhuvah svah
tat savitdr voirenyam
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yó nah pracodayat
Swami Vivekananda translates the Gayatri Mantra as: “We meditate on the glory of that Supreme Power who has produced this universe. May He enlighten our minds.”
Aditya Hridayam is a hymn in glorification of the Sun or Surya and was recited by the great sage Agastya to Bhagavan Rama on the battlefield before fighting with Ravana.
Surya Bhagavan Festivals:
Ratha Saptami or Magha Saptami is a Hindu festival that falls on the seventh day (Saptami) in the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu month Magha.
The sun god, Surya Bhagavan, turns his Ratha (chariot) drawn by seven horses towards the northern hemisphere, in a north-east direction on this day.
It also marks the birth of Surya and is celebrated as Surya Jayanti, the Sun god’s birthday.
Konark Sun Temple:
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Konark Sun temple is dedicated to the sun god, Surya Bhagavan.
There are 24 intricately designed wheels, 12 feet in diameter which are seen drawn by horses. These seven horses represent the week, the wheels stand for the 12 months, and the day-cycle is symbolized by the eight spokes in the wheels.
One way to honor the sun is through the practice of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations.
om MITRAYA namah
om RAVAYE namah
om SURYAYA namah
om BHANAVE namah
om KHAGAYA namah
om PUSHNE namah
om HIRANYAGARBHAYA namah
om MARICHAYE namah
om SAVITRE namah
om ARKAYA namah
om ADITYAYA namah
om BHASKARAYA namah
Surya Namaskar is a sequence of dynamic yoga poses, asanas, along with 12 different mantras, which praise and honor the sun.