The Saura Sampradaya has become extinct in India. It is a different thing to offer water to the sun in the evening time. That sun god and the Paramatma sun god are both different. That Bhur Bhuva Svaha, which is praised in the Gayatri mantra, is that supreme divinity. He is that all effulgent- Paramatma. The Sampradaya which worshipped the sun god as Paramatma is extinct now. The central hub of the Saura sampradaya existed in Konarka in Odissa but now that spot lies dilapidated and the idol is also found missing. However you might find some remote sun god worshippers in the sun god temple in Arasavilli, located a few miles away from the Shikakulam road station on the Hawda Balteyar Line. The entire history line of Surya deva has been well elaborated in the Surya Puran. Besides, even the Vedas glorify the sun god. For instance-
‘सहस्त्ररश्मिः शतधावर्तमानः प्राणः प्रजानामुदयत्येष सूर्यः’
12 forms of Surya deva
The sun god assumed 12 forms and was born as the son of Aditi. Hence the sun god is also known as Aditya. The 12 Adityas are- 1) Vivasvan 2) Aryama 3) Pusha 4) Tvashta 5) Savita 6) Bhaga 8) Dhata 9) Vidhata 10) Varuna 11) Mitra 12) Shaka 13) Urukruma
How was Surya deva born?
Aditi, the wife of Kashyapa organized a holy ritual for the Devatas to beget children. Pleased by her worship, the devatas gave her their remnants. By consuming the food, she begot 4 sons. The second time she again prepared some food, and this time, she first kept some food for herself and then she offered the food to the Devatas. So, she developed an unripe egg. With this dead egg, she bore 4 sons. These 4 sons are known as Martanda. The third time Aditi prepared a meal only for herself. By partaking the meal, she begot Vivasvan and three more sons. Aditi offered her 7 sons to the Devatas. These include 1) Aryama 2) Poosha 3) Bhaga 4) Tvashta 5) Dhata 6) Vidhata and 7) Varuna who are devatas themselves. Her sons, Shakra and Arukrama (Vamana) too left for Devalok. Finally Aditi was only left with Vivasvan, Savita and Mitra (Martanda).
According to Astrology, Sun god is the lord of the Leo sign and the eastern direction, he holds a reddish-swarthy hue and is ancient. He likes spicy food, is quadrangular and a warrior. He is strongest in mid-afternoon.
Birth Story of the Sun God (Paramatma)
There is another birth story of the sun god (worshipped as Paramatma). At the creation of the universe, pleased by Brahma’s rigorous penance, a divine effulgence appeared before him. That brilliance is Paramatma personified. Since he is the beginning of all that exists, he is known as Aditya. That very Paramatama is Surya. He is the source of the Vedas.
Due to the brilliance of that divinity, all higher and lower abodes began to tremble with its harsh radiations. Lord Brahma was concerned about his creation. So he approached Surya deva and began to glorify him. Pleased by Brahma’s hymns, Surya deva reduced his heat.
To avenge the defeat of her sons at the hands of the Asuras, Aditi Devi venerated the sun god to appear as her son. Surya deva fulfilled her desire. As a result a parcel of Surya deva known as Sudhumna appeared in the womb of Aditi. Those days, Aditi was observing strenuous fasts of Chandrayana and many other rituals. Her Husband Kashyapa stopped her and said- “You shall kill your egg by fasting like this.”
Aditi said- “I won’t kill it. My egg will kill the enemies.” Saying this, Aditi instantly dropped her egg. From that effulgent egg appeared the red-complexioned Sun God. Maharshi Kashyap had warned Aditi devi and had said- “You will kill your egg”. Due to this, the sun god born out of that egg came to be known as Martanda.
Story of Sanjana and Surya Deva
Vishwakarma approached the Sun god and gave his daughter Sangya in marriage to him. The first son born to Sangya was Vaivasvat Manu. But Sangya was unable to bear the intense heat of the sun. As soon as she came near her lord, she would close her eyes. Surya deva got very angry and said- “You look at me and close your eyes, go your son shall be the ruler of the dark worlds.” Out of fear, Sangya opened her eyes. But due to the intense heat, her eyes grew restless. So Surya deva again cursed her-“Your eyes are getting restless, so you will have a river as your daughter who shall be extremely fickle.” Hence, Yama dev was born as her second son, while the Yamuna River was born as her daughter. As Sangya was fearful of her husband’s wrath, she ordered her Chaya (shadow) to take her place. She said- “You serve my husband and let me departure be a secret.” Chaya promised her and said- “Yes, I shall keep the matter confidential, but can’t say if I fear somebody’s curse and reveal the truth.” Sangya than left for her father’s place. Through Chaya, Surya Bhagavan had three children. 1) Svarni Manu 2) Shanaishvar 3) A daughter named Tapti. However Chaya was not affectionate with Sangya’s children. Upset at the reproachable behavior of his so-called mother, Yamadeva rose to kick her with his feet. But the stopped himself. Chaya then cursed him- “You stand to kick your mother. Let your feet fall away.” Yama reported the entire matter to Surya. Even Vaivasvat added- “She doesn’t seem to be our mother. She treats us three children very badly.” Then Surya deva told Yama- “With the flesh of your legs, worms shall brood on the earth. A mother’s curse shall never go in vain.” Surya then interrogated Chaya- “Who are you?” At first she refused to disclose her identity but when Surya deva rose to curse her, she puked out the truth and told him about Sangya’s visit to her father. Sangya had gone to her father’s house. But her father had made his stance clear- “A daughter should not stay for long in her father’s house.” So, Sangya descended on earth and assumed the form of a she-house. She performed severe penance to be able to tolerate the heat of the sun. When Surya deva went to Vishwakarma, Sangya was not to be found. Hence through his meditative powers Surya regained full knowledge of her present state. Touched by her efforts, Surya deva requested Vishwakarma- “You please reduce my heat” On Surya deva’s order, Vishwakarma mounted him on a wheel on the ground in Shakadvipa and started chiseling him. Through this enormous radiation was produced and the entire cosmic balance got disturbed. With the heat extracted from the sun god, Vishwakarma designed Vishnu deva’s Sudarshana chakra, the Trishula of Lord Shiva, the Yama Danda, the Shakti of Kartikeya, and other extraordinary ammunitions for the devatas. Hence through the Chiseling process, Surydeva purged off his intense heat.
With his calm appearance, Surya deva assumed the form of a He-horse and in the north-eastern direction, approached Sangya who was meditating in the guise of a she-horse. Through their union were born the celestial physicians Ashwini Kumaras who are twins, and the Revatanas who bore a dagger, armor, arrows, and quiver. Bhagavan Surya then revealed his true form to Sangya. Sangya was extremely pleased to behold him in his original form. The Ashwini Kumaras became the celestial physicians. While the Revatnas became the leaders of the Kinnaras.
Worship of Sun God in different months
For Worship purpose, according to different months, the different names of Surya deva along with his many formations have been described-
1)During Chaitra- Surya- Dhata Stota (धाता स्तोता), Rishi- Pulastya (पुलस्त्य), Gandharva- Tumbaroo (तुम्बरू) Apsara- Krutasthali (कृतस्थली), The Asura who pushes the chariot from behind- Heti (हेति), The snake who ties the chariot- Vasuki (वासुकी), Sarathi- Rathakrut (रथकृत्)
2)During Baisakha- Surya-Aryama (अर्यमा), name of Rishi- Pulaha (पुलह)- Gandharva- Narad (नारद), Apsara- PunjikSthali (पुंजिक स्थली) Asura- Praheti (प्रहेती), Naga- Kachhaneer (कच्छनीर), Sarathi- Athauja (अथौजा).
3)During Jyeshta- Surya- Mitra (मित्र), Rishi- Atri (अत्रि), Gandharva- Haha (हहा), Apasara- Menaka (मेनका), Asura- Paurusheya (पौरुषेय), Naga- Takshak (तक्षक), Sarathi- Rathasvan (रथस्वन)
4)During Ashadha- Surya- Varuna (वरुण), Rishi- Vashishta (वशिष्ठ), Gandharva- Huhu (हुहू), Apsara- Rambha (रम्भा), Asura- Shuka (शुक), Naga- Sahajanya (सहजन्य), Sarathi- Chitrasvana (चित्रस्वन).
5)During Shravan- Surya- Indra (इंद्र), Rishi- Angira (अंगिरा), Gandharva- Vishvavasu (विश्वावसु), Apsara- Pramlocha (प्रम्लोचा), Asura- Varya (वर्य), Naga- Elapatra (एलापत्र), Sarathi- Shrota (श्रोता)
6) During Bhadrapad- Surya- Vivasvan (विवस्वान), Rishi- Bhrugu (भृगु), Gandharva- Ugrasena (उग्रसेन), Apsara – Anumlocha (अनुम्लोचा), Asura- Vyagra (व्याग्र), Naga- Shadkhapal (शड़्खपाल), Sarathi- Aasaran (आसारण)
7)During Ashwini- Surya- Poosha (पूषा), Rishi- Gautam (गौतम), Gandharva- Sushena (सुषेण), Asura- Baat (बात), Apsara- Dhrutaachi (धृताची), Naga- Dhananjaya (धनञ्जय), Sarathi- Suruchi (सुरुचि).
8)During Kartika- Surya- Ritu ((ऋतु), Rishi- Bharadvaj (भरद्वाज,) Gandharva- Parjanya (पर्जन्य), Apsara- Varcha (वर्चा), Asura- Senajit (सेनजित), Naga- Airavat (ऐरावत), Sarathi- Vishwa (विश्व).
9)During Margasheesh- Surya- Anshu (अंशु), Rishi- Kashyapa (कश्यप), Gandharva- Rutasena (ॠतसेन), Apsara- Urvashi (उर्वशी), Naga- Mahashankha (महाशंख), Asura- Vidhuchhatru (विधुच्छत्रु), Sarathi- Taakshyam (ताक्ष्यं).
10) During Pausha- Surya- Bhaga (भग), Rishi- Sphoorja (स्फूर्जा), Gandharva- Arishtanemi (अरिष्टनेमि), Apsara- Poorvachitti (पूर्वचित्ति), Asura- Urna (ऊर्ण), Naga- Kakortaka (कर्कोटक), Sarathi- Ayu (आयु)
11) During Magha- Surya- Tvashta (त्वष्टा), Rishi- Jamadagni (जमदग्नि), Gandharva- Shatajit (शतजित्), Apsara- Tilottama (तिलोत्तमा), Asura- Brahmapeta (ब्रह्मापेत), Naga- Kambal (कम्बल), Sarathi- Dhritarashtra (धृतराष्ट्र)
12) During Phalgun- Surya- Vishnu (विष्णु), Rishi- Vishwamitra (विश्वामित्र), Gandharva- Satyajit (सत्यजित्), Asura- Maravapeta (मरवापेत), Naga- Ashvatara (अश्वतर), Apsara- Rambha (रम्भा), Sarathi- Sooryavarcha (सूर्यवर्चा). This is the glory of Surya deva. By recalling this, one frees oneself of all sins.