सर्वदेवात्मको ह्येषः तेजस्वी रश्मिभावनः।
एष देवासुरगणान् लोकान् पाति गभस्तिभिः॥ ७

sarvadevātmako hyeṣaḥ tejasvī raśmibhāvanaḥ |
eṣa devāsuragaṇān lokān pāti gabhastibhiḥ || (7)

एष ब्रह्मा च विष्णुश्च शिवः स्कन्दः प्रजापतिः।
महेन्द्रो धनदः कालो यमः सोमो ह्यपां पतिः॥ ८

eṣa brahmā ca viṣṇuśca śivaḥ skandaḥ prajāpatiḥ |
mahendro dhanadaḥ kālo yamaḥ somo hyapāṁ patiḥ || (8)

पितरो वसवः साध्या ह्यश्विनौ मरुतो मनुः।
वायुवह्निः प्रजाः प्राणः ऋतुकर्तो प्रभाकरः॥ ९

pitaro vasavaḥ sādhyā hyaśvinau maruto manuḥ |
vāyuvahniḥ prajāḥ prāṇaḥ ṛtukarto prabhākaraḥ || (9)


7. sarvadevātmakaḥ - comprising of all gods; hyeṣaḥ - that sun god (on account of this sun god); tejasvi – effulgent; (raśmibhāvanaḥ) -> raśmi – rays of light; bhāvanaḥ - displaying or manifesting; eṣa – the sun god; (devāsuragaṇān) -> deva asura gaṇāḥ - gods, demons and their troops; lokān – the worlds they live; pāti – lord; gabhastibhiḥ - rays of sun god.

8. eṣaḥ - the sun god; brahmā – Brahmā, the god of creation; Viṣṇu - Viṣṇu, the protector; śivaḥ - Śiva, the destroyer; skandaḥ - Kārttikeya (leader of Śiva's troop against the enemies of the gods and also the sun of Śiva; prajāpatiḥ - divinity presiding over procreation, protector of life and is different from Brahmā ; mahendro – Indra, chief of gods; dhanadaḥ - Kubera, god for wealth; kālo (kālaḥ) -> time (kāla has several meaning); yamaḥ (Yama) - god of death; somo (somaḥ) – moon god; apāṁ patiḥ - Varuṇa, god presiding over water.

9. pitaro (pitaraḥ) – forefathers (they represent lineage or kula); vasavaḥ - eight benevolent gods, generally known as aṣṭa vasu-s; sādhya - belonging to the gaṇa-devatā-s (they need to bur propitiated, but occasionally referred in Vedas); aśvinau – aśvin-s (they are two in number); maruto – maruts (they are considered as storm gods and Indra’s companions); manuḥ - Manu, considered as the father of human race; vāyuvahniḥ (vāyu + vahniḥ) – air and fire; prajāḥ prāṇaḥ - procreative prāṇa or the vital force; ṛtukarto – six seasons (each ṛtu consists of two solar months); prabhākaraḥ - this sun god.

Summary of 7, 8 and 9:

These three verses go farther from the previous verse (6). Previous verse said that sun is the lord of three worlds. It was also discussed that sun derives its light from Nirguṇa Brahman or Prakāśa, the ever illuminating Light of Brahman. Omnipresence and omnipotence of Brahman begins from verse 7. These verses say that sun god in an embodiment of all gods. Having given an introduction in verse 7 that sun god represents all gods, verses 8 and 9 describe individual gods. The names of gods clearly indicate that Āditya Hṛdayam is not a hymn to sun god, but a hymn on Brahman, as the verse refers and encompasses all gods, who are described in Vedas.

Verse 8 says that sun god is also Brahmā, the creator (the creative aspect of Brahman), Viṣṇu, the protector of the universe and Śiva, the destroyer of the universe. Śiva referred here is not the Śiva, whose Consort is Lalitāmbikā. Śiva and Viṣṇu have different roles at different points of time. By referring to these three God heads, it is clearly established that what is referred in Āditya Hṛdayam is Brahman. As we know, Saguṇa Brahman has three guṇa-s, sattva, rajas and tamas. Before creation, all these guṇa-s were in equilibrium. When this state of equilibrium was disturbed, creation began to unfold and Brahmā (tamas), Viṣṇu (sattva) and Śiva (rajas) became chiefs of three guṇa-s. From them originated pañcabhūta-s or five principle elements and multitude of gods and goddesses to take care of multiple aspects of creation, sustenance and destruction. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva are together known as Trimūrti. Interestingly as per Sanskrit dictionary, trimūrti also refers to the sun. Apart from Trimūrti, there are other gods and god heads referred in verse 8.

Now the question arises as to the need of mentioning so many gods who function under Trimūrti. Possibly, this could have been necessitated to prove beyond ambiguity that Brahman is referred in Āditya Hṛdayam. That is why, even after having mentioned Trimūrti, these gods and god heads are also referred. Most of these gods are also referred in Vedas. Vedas, though grossly describe various gods, yet they always convey Brahman in a subtle manner. Upaniṣad-s which are considered as the essence of Vedas, describe Brahman as formless, flawless and without attributes. Further, Upaniṣad-s also reveal Brahman in the form of Light, which we have discussed in the previous part.

As Vedas frequently talk about these gods and god heads, let us understand more about them. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Indra, Kubera, Yama, Somaḥ, Varuṇa, Pitaraḥ, Aśvin-s, Marut-s, Manu, Prāṇaḥ, Vāyu, Vahniḥ, Ṛtu and Prabhākaraḥ are some of the gods referred in Vedas.

In the whole of Vedas, Agni (Vahniḥ) is referred more often than any other gods, as Agni is the carrier of oblations to higher realms. Rig Vedas (I.i.5) says, “May Agni, the presenter of oblation, the attainer of knowledge, he who is true, renowned and divine come here with the gods.”

Vāyu is different form Prāṇa and hence, both of them are separately mentioned. Veda says, “namaste vāyu”, which means “I worship you vāyu”. Similarly, Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (65) worships five types of prāṇa-s. This verse forms part of virajā homa mantra-s (performed at the time attaining saṁnyāsa and also during Śri Cakra navāvaraṇa pūjā). The verse says that by this oblation, let my five prāṇa-s be purified. Hence, it can be observed that vāyu is one of the pañcabhūta-s and prāṇa is the life force.

Yajur Veda classifies Pitṛ-s as one among the several deities. In III.iv.5.3, the Veda says, “pitaraḥ pitāmahāḥ pare'vare tatāstatāmahā iha mā'vata”. The meaning of this verse is – O! You fathers, grandfathers, you are near and far, O! Great ancestors protect me.” In this verse ancestors are invoked and prayed to protect the invoker.

Indra is yet another god who is worshiped through number of Vedic hymns. Rig Veda (I.30.13) says, “When Indra rejoices with us, may the Divine Powers give strength to us and may we rejoice, endowed with plentiful felicities” (please recall our discussions about descent of Divine Grace, known as śaktipāta).

Aśvin-s are two in number and they are known as Aśvinau (dual number) in Sanskrit. Some of the texts describe them as two sons of the sun, begotten during sun’s metamorphosis as a horse (aśva). They are endowed with perpetual youth and handsomeness. They are also considered as divine physicians and surgeons. They descend from the truth-consciousness (sat-cit) and ṛtaṁ (ṛtaṁ means enlightened and luminous, probably referring to Bliss or Ānanda. If this is construed as ānanda, then they refer to the state of saccidānanda. Aśvin-s play vital role in purifying our mind before the descent of Divine Grace. (We can discuss more about Vedic gods, if possible in a separate series).

Varuṇa, according to Vedic interpretations represent dedication. He chooses those who are highly advanced in their spiritual pursuits and take them to higher virtuous and spiritual process. He is one of the Vedic gods who impart Truth in the minds of spiritual seekers.

Maruts are invoked with Indra, the chief of gods. Maruts always come in troops and when they come, they give splendour, courage, valour, etc. Though Varuṇa presides over all water bodies, it is only Maruts who cause rain bearing clouds (probably working as the medium between Sun and Varuṇa). They are said to be sons of Rudras. They play supportive role in wars between gods and demons (war refers to conflict between good and evil thought processes).

Kubera is the chief of yakṣa-s. He is referred in Vedas (mostly in Atharvaveda) as Vaiśravaṇa. He is referred as Dhanādhyakṣā in Lalitā Sahasranāma 885. Further gods are not discussed here due to limitation factor.

The above three verses of Āditya Hṛdayam say that sun god represents all these gods. This goes to prove that sun god is nothing but a minuscule of Prakāśa form of Brahman and Agastya reminds Śrī Rāma to worship Prakāśa aspect of Brahman. This interpretation is explained in detail in the previous part.

More Articles:

Aditya Hrudayam - Part 3

Aditya Hrudayam - Part 5