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Surya, Hindu Sun God - Windows to the Universe
Surya Temple at Ranakpur, India.
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Image courtesy of Corel Corporation

Surya

Hinduism is the oldest Indian religion. Hinduism is based on some antique sacred writings and the assimilation of many different cultures and religious beliefs from other peoples. The oldest Hindu writing is the Rig Veda which is a collection of songs and hymns composed over 3,000 years ago. Many are the gods and goddesses described in the sacred Hindu writings.

In Hindu mythology, Surya represents the Sun god. Surya is depicted as a red man with three eyes and four arms, riding in a chariot drawn by seven mares. Surya holds water lilies with two of his hands. With his third hand he encourages his worshipers whom he blesses with his fourth hand. In India, Surya is believed to be a benevolent deity capable of healing sick people. Even today, people place the symbol of the Sun over shops because they think it would bring good fortune.

When Surya married Sanjna, his wife could not bear the intense light and heat. Therefore, she fled into a forest where she transformed herself into a mare to prevent Surya from recognizing her. But Surya soon discovered Sanjna's refuge. He went to the same forest disguised as a horse. Sanjna gave birth to several children, and eventually reunited with her husband.

However, the heat and the light of Surya were so intolerable that Sanjna was always exhausted doing her domestic duties. Finally, Sanjna's father decided to help her and trimmed Surya's body reducing his brightness by an eighth. Thus, Sanjna could more easily live close to her husband.

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