Chapter 21: The Reality of the Sun God Sûrya
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    Welcome, Guest · RSS 2019-07-17, 9:54 PM
    Chapter 21: The Reality of the Sun God Sûrya
    (1) S'rî S'uka said: 'This is what I could tell you about the size and characteristics of the general outline of the celestial sphere. (2) The experts in this matter are with this outline of instruction about the division of the sky, which they describe as outer space consisting of two divisions adjoined like the two halves of a grain of wheat. (3) In the middle the most powerful master of all the governing heavenly bodies is situated, the burning sun that with its fire heats the three worlds and lights them with its rays. That sun globe passing through the north, through the south or crossing the equator, is known differently depending its slowness, swiftness or equality of movement. In its rising and setting or staying up in different positions, it is making long, short or equally long days while it as ordained moves through the different signs of the [astrological] zodiac beginning with the sign of Makara [Capricorn]. (4) When the sun enters Mesha and Tulâ [Aries and Libra, or at the equinoxes], the days and nights are of an equal length. When it moves through the five first ones headed by Vrishabha [Taurus] the days [first] increase [for Taurus and Gemini] and then decrease by half an hour every month [depending on the latitude]. (5) When it passes the five months beginning with Vris'cika [Scorpio] the lengthening and shortening of the days and nights works opposite. (6) Until the sun moves towards the south [before the summer solstice] the days grow longer and until it moves towards the north [before the winter solstice] the nights get longer. (7) Thus encircling with an orbit before the Mânasottara mountains [thereabout] of ninety-five million one hundred thousand yojanas long, so the scholars teach us, one on the east of Meru finds Devadhânî, the city of King Indra, south of it the one named Samyamanî of Yamarâja, in the west the one named Nimlocanî of Varuna, and in the north the one of the moon named Vibhâvarî. At all the four sides of Meru [as the energetic pivot] thus creating sunrise, sunset, noontime and midnight, it brings about the particular times of the living beings to be active or to cease their activity [*]. (8-9) Those who live in those places are by the sun in the position of the middle of the day always heated. It moves, turning left around the mountain [Meru], from the point where it rises to the diametrically opposite point where it sets.  When one locally no longer sees the sun in the sky because it has set it causes the people to sleep, while diametrically opposite to that place the people are sure to have seen the sun rising which because of its heat makes them sweat. (10) When the sun in fifteen ghathikâs [six hours] moves from the residence of Indra to that of Yamarâja it covers a distance of 23.775.000 yojanas [a quarter of the circumference]. (11) Next it proceeds to the abode of Varuna, followed by the realm of the moon after which it returns to the place of Indra. Along with it also the other planets and stars headed by the moon are seen rising and setting in the celestial sky. (12) Thus the vehicle of the sun god, which represents the three Vedic principles [of uniting by karma, jñâna and bhakti yoga], moves through the four realms covering 3.400.800 yojanas in a muhûrta [modern science: 39.163 million km/hr].

    (13) This vehicle has only one wheel with twelve spokes [the months], six segments [the seasons] and three pieces to its hub [four month periods], which in its entirety is known as a solar year [a samvatsara]. Its axle is fixed on the top of Meru with Mânasottara at the other end. The wheel of the chariot of the sun being fixed there rotates to the mountain range of Mânasottara like a wheel of an oil press machine. (14) Fixed to the base of that axle there is a second one which, like with the axle of an oil press machine, measures a quarter of its length. Its upper portion is fixed to Dhruvaloka [the center of the stars].

    (15) The inside of the vehicle measures 3.6 million yojanas long and a quarter of that distance wide, it is pulled by seven horses named after the Vedic meters [Gâyatrî, Brihati, Ushnik, Jagatî, Trishthup, Anushthup and Pankti] that, in order to carry the god of the sun, by Arunadeva are harnessed to a yoke as wide as the vehicle [the actual diameter of the sun itself is 1.392 million kilometers]. (16) Even though Aruna, fulfilling his duties as the charioteer, sits in front of the sun god, he looks backward [not to show disrespect]. (17) There, in front of the sun god, the sixty thousand thumb-sized sages named the Vâlikhilyas are engaged in offering their prayers, which they express with eloquence [see also 4.1: 39]. (18) So too fourteen others, viz. the sages, the Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nâgas, Yakshas, Râkshasas and the demigods, worship with a variety of names and different ceremonies, in seven groups of two with for every month different representatives, the Supreme Lord in the form of the sun god Sûrya, he who is the life of the universe and who carries different names [**]. (19) The sun god thus traverses the 95.1 million yojanas of the circumference of the earthly sphere with a speed of two thousand and half a yojana in about a kshana [± 1.6 sec; see also verse 12].'