Who is Surya, The Hindu God?

Who is Surya, The Hindu God?
Posted on 21-06-2023

Who is Surya, The Hindu God?

In Hinduism, a vast and diverse religion with numerous deities, Surya, the Sun God, occupies a prominent and revered position. As the life-giving force and the source of light and warmth, Surya is worshipped as a powerful and benevolent deity who sustains all life on Earth. In this comprehensive description, we will explore the multifaceted nature of Surya, his origin, symbolism, myths, and the significance of his worship in Hindu culture. Join me on this enlightening journey into the realm of Surya, the Hindu God of the Sun.

  1. Origins and Genealogy: Surya finds his roots in the Vedic scriptures, the oldest religious texts of Hinduism. In the Rigveda, one of the four Vedas, he is mentioned as a deity of great significance. Surya is often referred to as the son of Aditi, the mother of the gods, and Kashyapa, a revered sage. He is also associated with the Adityas, a group of solar deities who are considered his manifestations or associates. As one of the Adityas, Surya holds a position of eminence among the gods.

  2. Iconography and Symbolism: Depictions of Surya vary across different regions and periods, but certain elements remain consistent. He is commonly portrayed as a radiant figure with golden or reddish-brown complexion, riding a chariot drawn by seven horses, representing the days of the week. Surya is often depicted with two or four hands, holding various objects such as a lotus, a conch shell, a chakra (discus), and a mace. The lotus symbolizes purity, the conch shell represents the primal sound of creation, the chakra signifies the cosmic cycle, and the mace signifies power and authority.

  3. Mythological Narratives: Surya is the central figure in several captivating myths and narratives that elucidate his significance and influence. One such popular narrative involves his marriage to Samjna, the daughter of Vishwakarma, the divine architect. Samjna, unable to bear the intensity of Surya's radiance, creates a shadowy replica named Chhaya. However, Surya becomes suspicious and discovers the truth. Eventually, Samjna transforms into a mare to escape her husband's brilliance, and Surya pursues her, assuming the form of a horse. Their union gives birth to the divine twins, the Ashvins.

  4. Cosmic Role and Symbolism: Surya's cosmic role extends beyond being a physical entity in the sky. He is considered the soul of the universe, the illuminator of all worlds, and the provider of energy and life force. Surya's chariot ride across the heavens represents the journey of the sun through the celestial realms and his constant vigilance in maintaining the order of the universe. The Sun God's rising and setting symbolize creation and destruction, while his position at the center of the solar system embodies the central position of light and knowledge in Hindu philosophy.

  5. Spiritual Significance: The worship of Surya holds immense spiritual significance in Hindu culture. As the dispeller of darkness, Surya is revered as the remover of ignorance and the bestower of wisdom. Devotees offer prayers and perform rituals to Surya to seek his blessings for vitality, good health, clarity of thought, and spiritual awakening. The Gayatri Mantra, a sacred hymn dedicated to Surya, is chanted by millions of Hindus as a means to invoke divine illumination and inner transformation.

  6. Festivals and Observances: Several festivals and observances celebrate the glory of Surya in different parts of India. Makar Sankranti, also known as Pongal or Uttarayan, marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn and is celebrated with great fervor. Chhath Puja, primarily observed in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh, is dedicated to Surya and his consort Usha. Devotees offer prayers, perform rituals, and observe fasting during this four-day festival to express their gratitude and seek blessings from the Sun God.

  7. Temples and Pilgrimage Sites: Temples dedicated to Surya can be found across India, each with its unique architectural style and historical significance. The most renowned of these is the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in the 13th century, the temple is a remarkable testament to the architectural brilliance and devotion of ancient craftsmen. Other prominent temples dedicated to Surya include the Arasavalli Sun Temple in Andhra Pradesh, the Martand Sun Temple in Jammu and Kashmir, and the Suryanarayana Temple in Karnataka.

  8. Surya in Other Traditions: Surya's worship transcends the boundaries of Hinduism and has influenced other religions and cultures as well. In ancient Egypt, the Sun God Ra shares some similarities with Surya, emphasizing the universal recognition of the sun's significance in human civilization. Similarly, in ancient Greek mythology, the Sun God Helios bears resemblance to Surya, illustrating the universality of solar deities across cultures.

  9. Surya in Contemporary Context: In contemporary Hinduism, Surya continues to hold a vital place. His depiction and symbolism are often invoked in various art forms, including painting, sculpture, and dance. The Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), a sequence of yoga postures, is a physical expression of reverence to the Sun God and a popular practice among yoga enthusiasts worldwide. Surya's influence is also observed in astrology, where the Sun is considered a potent celestial body influencing human lives.


Surya, the Hindu God of the Sun, embodies the immense power and radiance of the sun. As a deity worshipped since ancient times, Surya holds a significant place in Hindu mythology, spiritual practices, and cultural traditions. From his divine lineage and captivating myths to his cosmic symbolism and spiritual significance, Surya encapsulates the profound reverence and adoration that Hindus have for the life-giving and illuminating force of the sun. Exploring the multifaceted nature of Surya invites us to contemplate the interplay of light and darkness, knowledge and ignorance, and the eternal quest for enlightenment that lies at the core of human existence.