SURYA – The Sun
The Sun in Vedic astrology is called RAVI, or SURYA. He is considered to be mild malefic, in consideration of the hot, dry in nature. As in western tropical astrology, the Sun rules the Sign of Leo.
He is exalted in the sign of Aries, and he is in his fall in the sign of Libra. The Sun is known as the ATMAKARAKA. This comes from the Sanskrit ATMA meaning soul, and KARAKA meaning indicator. As “indicator of the soul” the Sun is the giver of life.
The Sun is the indicator of the father, our ego, honors, status, fame, the heart, the eyes, general vitality, respect and power. The Sun is in his strongest placement directly overhead in the 10th House. He is also strong in the other Kendra’s, or Angles. These are the Houses 1, 4, and 7. The Sun also does well in what are called the upachaya, or growing Houses. These are the Houses 3, 6, and 11. He is particularly beneficial for the fire sign Ascendants of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. His nature, or temperament is PITTA, or fiery, and the gemstone associated with the Sun is the red ruby. The Sun’s metal is Gold and his direction is east. His day is Sunday, and he comes into full maturity and brilliance at age 22.
He is the God – a living God – whom everyone can see, perceive and pray. Though he is visible, he also has been presented in a variety of forms. He is the life-giver and time-giver. The Vedas adore him as a witness (Sakshi) of all actions. He is the lord of Leo in the Zodiac. He stays one month in each Rasi and takes 365 days or 12 months to complete a round of 12 Rasis. Worship of this Devata (GOD) on Sunday is supposed to bring in manifold benefits to the worshippers.
In the six sects established by Adi Sankara, Souram is one devoted to Sun God. Even in other religions, Sun worship has place. In the Zodiac, Sun occupies a prominent place – the Center.This graha is the source of life and he is therefore described as the life-giver – PRANADHATA. He helps one gain his eyesight and SURYANAMASKAR (worship by prostration) will strengthen one’s bones, cure illness, however severe it may be, cleanses the devotee from his sins and bestows on him progeny, wealth, good-health and long life. He is the cause for rainfall benefiting the world.
The legend that depict the influence of the worship of SURYA goes as follows, and is narrated whenever a worship or offering is made to the deity.
There was a wife and her mother-in-law. The husband of the daughter-in-law was an incarnation of Sun god, for a while he came home and then disappeared. Whenever he came home he used to give a diamond to his wife and mother. One day the mother told the son that the wealth given by him was not enough to meet their expenses. The son in anguish said, “Except for eating and wearing garment, you do nothing else. You do not care for your duties and that is the reason for your discontentment.” Then both the mother and daughter-in-law started going for a ritual bath in the month of Kartik (October-November) regularly. After twelve years, the mother prayed to Surya (Sun god). The result was plenty of food and other requirements. The daughter-in-law also worshipped Surya, who on appearance asked her to demand a boon. She said, “My husband remains away from me. I request him to be near me”
At night the husband said to his mother that he would sleep at home. The wife was happy and on a decorated bed, the husband lay. The whole world plunged into darkness. All gods came and requested the mother to awaken her son. On the appearance of the son, he asked gods that as long as his wife and mother take bath in Kartik regularly, till then the mother Ganges should flow by the side of their house and that Riddhi and Siddhi (consorts of Ganesha denoting wealth and prosperity) should reside in this house. Since then Kartik bath has gained importance, by which sins are excused and in the end, the devotee goes to heaven. The Sun (Surya) worship exerts favorable influence on the devotees.