For the Students of Hindu Vedic Astrology by Dr. A. Shanker

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Planets, Signs and Houses: Vedic Astrology Myths and Facts, Chapter I, Part - 8


Dr. Shanker Adawal

Origin of the Sun

Hindu literature describes the solar mysteries in three ways. It gives mythological allegories about the origin of the Sun; it describes the lineage of the planet.

There are one hundred and eight names given to the Sun. Some are superficial in meaning while others are very abstruse. Each name indicates a significant feature of the planet. A common feature of them is the association of the Sun with a ray of light. But light itself refers to the essential nature, the essence or soul of all that exists. In the absence of light, there is death. When the radiance of the Sun, its life giving energy is withdrawn, there is the dissolution of the universe.

One of his most interesting and mysterious names is Martanda or son of the dead egg. In some myths we are told the genesis of this name. The Puranas tell us that Aditi, the mother of the gods, bore eight Adityas, but she retained only seven and discarded the eighth believing it to be dead.

As our Sun was born of this supposedly lifeless egg, he is called Martanda. The rest of the Adityas became his attendant deities.

Aditi, the mother of the gods, who bore the various Adityas, is a word which essentially means “the beginning and the end.” As time arose through placing limitations on timelessness without any beginning or end, it is the offspring of eternal. The Secret Doctrine teaches that there is “the universal perpetual motion which never ceases, never slackens nor increases its speed not even during the interludes between the pralayas, or “nights of Brahma” but goes on like a mill set in motion, whether it has anything to grind or not.” This is the eternal and uncreated Deity. Aditi corresponds to the timeless Deity whose nature and characteristics are beyond description. But from this transcendant state of perpetual motion cosmic evolution begins. The inability of the first seven sons of Aditi to create the world shows that they represent these higher forces which held back from the process of material creation.

The eighth effort from which the Sun was born appeared at first as “a dead egg.” The word Mrityu or death refers to Yama, the god of death, Vishnu who preserves the universe, Maya which is creative illusion as well as ignorance, and to Kamadeva, the god of love. These references point to the mystic nature of the cosmic womb. Seen from the standpoint of the eternal and uncreated deity, Aditi, this manifestation with its expression of life’s movement could not be considered to be dead. Since the wheel of creation can rotate only when both life nad death equally participate in the process, the Univeersal Mother Aditi approached Martanda, the Sun, to undertake the function of cosmic ideation and in deference to the will of his mother he created day and night as symbols of life and death. It is believed that on dissolution, when the role of the visible Sun is over, all the immortal suns will once again shine in their radiance.

The Sun as the creator of life and death is necessarily the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. That the Sun came out of the egg also shows that it contains within itself all the potentials of growth and development. The world that we perceive around us is merely an externalization of the Sun’s inner powers.

The geometrical symbol of the Sun as the circle with a central point shows this idea of externalization with the central point swelling and expanding outward as the periphery of the circle. The central point gradually expands in the evolutionary process until the limit imposed by the circumference is reached which becomes the death of the evolving spirit. In this sense the central point represents origin and birth and the circumference is the end or death.


Shanker Adawal

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