Krishna is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and as the supreme God in his own right, he is the god of compassion and love in Hinduism, is one of the most popular and revered among Indian divinities. Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Janmashtami according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in late August or early September of the Gregorian calendar; the anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are titled as Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical and mythological texts, they portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, as the universal supreme being. His iconography reflects these legends, shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young man with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna.
The synonyms of Krishna have been traced to 1st millennium BCE literature. In some sub-traditions, Krishna is worshipped as Svayam Bhagavan, this is sometimes referred to as Krishnaism; these sub-traditions arose in the context of the medieval era Bhakti movement. Krishna-related literature has inspired numerous performance arts such as Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Manipuri dance, he is a pan-Hindu god, but is revered in some locations such as Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, the Jagannatha aspect in Odisha, Mayapur in West Bengal and Junagadh in Gujarat, in the form of Vithoba in Pandharpur, Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Guruvayur in Kerala. Since the 1960s, the worship of Krishna has spread to the Western world and to Africa due to the work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness; the name "Krishna" originates from the Sanskrit word Kṛṣṇa, an adjective meaning "black", "dark", or "dark blue". The waning moon is called Krishna Paksha, relating to the adjective meaning "darkening"; the name is interpreted sometimes as "all-attractive".
As a name of Vishnu, Krishna is listed as the 57th name in the Vishnu Sahasranama. Based on his name, Krishna is depicted in idols as black- or blue-skinned. Krishna is known by various other names and titles that reflect his many associations and attributes. Among the most common names are Mohan "enchanter"; some names for Krishna hold regional importance. Krishna is with some common features, his iconography depicts him with black, dark, or blue skin, like Vishnu. However and medieval reliefs and stone-based arts depict him in the natural color of the material out of which he is formed, both in India and in southeast Asia. In some texts, his skin is poetically described as the color of Jambul. Krishna is depicted wearing a peacock-feather wreath or crown, playing the bansuri. In this form, he is shown standing with one leg bent in front of the other in the Tribhanga posture, he is sometimes accompanied by a calf, which symbolise the divine herdsman Govinda. Alternatively, he is shown as a romantic and seductive man with the gopis making music or playing pranks.
In other icons, he is a part of battlefield scenes of the epic Mahabharata. He is shown as a charioteer, notably when he is addressing the Pandava prince Arjuna character, symbolically reflecting the events that led to the Bhagavad Gita – a scripture of Hinduism. In these popular depictions, Krishna appears in the front as the charioteer, either as a counsel listening to Arjuna, or as the driver of the chariot while Arjuna aims his arrows in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Alternate icons of Krishna show him as a baby, a toddler crawling on his hands and knees, a dancing child, or an innocent-looking child playfully stealing or consuming butter, holding Laddu in his hand or as a cosmic infant sucking his toe while floating on a banyan leaf during the Pralaya observed by sage Markandeya. Regional variations in the iconography of Krishna are seen in his different forms, such as Jaganatha in Odisha, Vithoba in Maharashtra, Shrinathji in Rajasthan and Guruvayoorappan in Kerala. Guidelines for the preparation of Krishna icons in design and architecture are described in medieval-era Sanskrit texts on Hindu temple arts such as Vaikhanasa agama, Vishnu dharmottara, Brihat samhita, Agni Purana.
Early medieval-era Tamil texts contain guidelines for sculpting Krishna and Rukmini. Several statues made according to these guidelines are in the collections of the Government Museum, Chennai; the earliest text containing detailed descriptions of Krishna as a personality is the epic Mahabharata, which depicts Krishna as an incarnation of Vishnu. Krishna is central to many of the main stories of the epic; the eighteen chapters of the sixth book of the epic that constitute the Bhagavad Gita contain the advice of Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield. The Harivamsa, a appendix to the Mahabharata contains a detailed version of Krishna's childhood and youth; the Chandogya Upanishad, estimated to have been composed sometime between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE, has been another source of speculation regarding Krishna in ancient India. The
The hamsa is an aquatic bird of passage, such as a goose or a swan. Its icon is used in Indian and Southeast Asian culture as a spiritual symbol and a decorative element, it is believed by Hindus to be the vahana of Brahma, Gayatri and Vishvakarma. Monier Williams translates the term from Sanskrit as "goose, swan, flamingo, or other aquatic bird of passage"; the word is used for a mythical or poetical bird with knowledge. In the Rig Veda, it is the bird, able to separate Soma from water, when mixed. In Indian philosophical literature, hamsa represents the individual soul or spirit, or the "Universal Soul or Supreme Spirit"; the word Hamsa is cognate with Latin "anser", Greek "χήν", German "Gans", English "goose", Spanish "ganso" and Russian "гусь". Jean Vogel, in 1952, questioned if hamsa is indeed swan, because according to Dutch ornithologists GC Junge and ED van Oort he consulted, swans were rare in modern India while the Indian Goose were common. According to Vogel and Indian scholars may have preferred translating hamsa in Sanskrit text as swan because the indigenous goose appears plump while the swan appears more graceful.
Paul Johnsgard, in 2010, has stated that mute swan do migrate to northwestern Himalayan region of India every winter, migrating some 1000 miles each way. The British ornithologist Peter Scott, in his Key to the Wildfowl of the World, states that northwestern India is one of the winter migration homes for mute swan, the others being Korea and Black Sea. Grewal and Pfister, in 2003, identified large swaths of northwestern India and northeastern Pakistan Kashmir and parts of south Pakistan as winter habitats of mute swans; the Sanskrit and Pali languages, both have alternate words for goose such as Jalapada, Cakragki, Majjugamana and others. Dave states that the hymns of Rigveda, verses in Hindu Epics and Puranas mention a variety of birds with the root of hamsa, such as Maha-hamsa, Raj-hamsa, Kal-hamsa and others, most of which relate to various species of swans mute swan, while some refer to geese. Dave's identification is based on the details provided in the Sanskrit texts about the changes in plumage over the bird's life, described voice, migratory habits, courtship rituals and flying patterns.
Some Sanskrit texts, states Dave, distinguish between Hamsa and Kadamb, the former being swan and latter as bar-headed goose. However, the earliest art in India, up until the early colonial period, does not depict swans, but rather birds that resemble the Anser indicus. Hence, the birds painted at the Ajanta Caves in the depiction of the Hamsa Jataka resemble the Anser indicus, which are famous for their yearly migration into the Himalayas; the hamsa, or the swan, is identified with the Supreme Spirit, Ultimate Reality or Brahman in Hinduism. The flight of the hamsa symbolizes the release from the cycle of samsara; the hamsa is the vahana of Saraswati – the goddess of knowledge and creative arts, her husband Brahma – the god with powers of creation, in Hindu trinity and his other wife Gayatri - the goddess of vedas, one of Adi shakti and her other husband Vishvakarma - the god of Architect. Lake Manasarovar in Hindu mythology, is seen as the summer abode of the hamsa. Poetical images are derived from the flight of the swans to that lake in the Himalayas.
During pranayama, a yogic exercise of breath control, hamsa came to epitomize the prana, the breath of life. In view of the association of a hamsa with several attributes as indicated above, Hindu rishi and sadhu have been given the title of paramhamsa, that is, the supreme hamsa, it connotes a particular person. For example, Paramahamsa Upanishad calls that Yogi a Paramhamsa, neither opinionated nor affected by defamation, nor jealous, not a show off, is humble, is oblivious to all the human frailties, he is immune to the existence of his body. He is beyond false lives realizing the Brahman. In chapter 3, the Paramhamsa Upanished states that the one who understands the difference between "staff of knowledge" and "staff of wood", is a Paramahamsa. Hamsa, or Hansa, are part of Indian mythology. Arayanna, or heavenly hamsa, are said to live in Manasasaras in the Himalayas, they are mentioned in the Ramayana. Hamsa, the swan, is part of the mythical love story of Nala and Damayanti, where it carries the stories, historical information and messages between the two strangers.
In Indian mythology, it is said to eat separate milk from water from a mixture of both. The hamsa was used extensively in the art of Gandhara, in conjunction with images of the Shakyamuni Buddha, it is deemed sacred in the Buddhadharma. The name in other languages in which it is culturally important are Hindi: hans, Tamil: அன்னப்பறவை; the hintha is depicted in Burmese art, considered to be "swan" in its mythology, has been adopted as the symbol of the Mon people. Vahana History of Buddhism History of Hinduism Lake Manasarovar Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend by Anna Dallapiccola Deussen, Paul. Sixty Upanishads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-8120814677. Olivelle, Patrick; the Samnyasa Upanisads. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195070453
Varuna is a Vedic deity associated with the sky also with the seas as well as Ṛta and Satya. He is found in the oldest layer of Vedic literature such as hymn 7.86 of the Rigveda. He is mentioned in the Tamil grammar work Tolkāppiyam, as the god of sea and rain. In the Hindu Puranas, Varuna is the god of oceans, his vehicle is a Makara and his weapon is a Pasha, he is the guardian deity of the western direction. In some texts, he is the father of the Vedic sage Vasishtha. Varuna is found in Japanese Buddhist mythology as Suiten, he is found in Jainism.. The theonym Varuṇa is a derivation from the verbal vṛ by means of a suffigal -uṇa-, for an interpretation of the name as "he who covers or binds", in reference to the cosmological ocean or river encircling the world, but in reference to the "binding" by universal law or Ṛta. Georges Dumézil made a cautious case for the identity of Varuna and the Greek god Ouranos at the earliest Indo-European cultural level; the etymological identification of the name Ouranos with the Sanskrit Varuṇa is based in the derivation of both names from the PIE root *ŭer with a sense of "binding" – the Indic king-god Varuṇa binds the wicked, the Greek king-god Ouranos binds the Cyclopes.
While the derivation of the name Varuṇa from this root is undisputed, this derivation of the Greek name is now rejected in favour of derivation from the root *wers- "to moisten, drip". In the earliest layer of the Rigveda, Varuna is the guardian of moral law, one who punishes those who sin without remorse, who forgives those who err with remorse, he is mentioned in many Rigvedic hymns, such as 1.25, 2.27 -- 30, 8.8, 9.73 and others. His relationship with waters and oceans is mentioned in the Vedas. Vedic poets describe him as an aspect and one of the plural perspectives of the same divine or spiritual principle. For example, hymn 5.3 of the Rigveda states: Varuna and Mitra are the gods of the societal affairs including the oath, are twinned Mitra-Varuna. Both Mitra and Varuna are classified as Asuras in the Rigveda, although they are addressed as Devas as well. Varuna, being the king of the Asuras, was adopted or made the change to a Deva after the structuring of the primordial cosmos, imposed by Indra after he defeats Vrtra.
According to Doris Srinivasan, a professor of Indology focusing on religion, Varuna-Mitra pair is an ambiguous deity just like Rudra-Shiva pair. Both have wrathful-gracious aspects in Indian mythology. Both Varuna and Rudra are synonymous with "all comprehensive sight, knowledge", both were the guardian deity of the north in the Vedic texts, both can be offered "injured, ill offerings", all of which suggest that Varuna may have been conceptually overlapping with Rudra. Further, the Rigvedic hymn 5.70 calls Mitra-Varuna pair as states Srinivasan. According to Samuel Macey and other scholars, Varuna had been the more ancient Indo-Aryan deity in 2nd millennium BCE, who gave way to Rudra in the Hindu pantheon, Rudra-Shiva became both "timeless and the god of time". In Vajasaneyi Samhita 21.40, Varuna is called the patron deity of physicians, one who has "a hundred, a thousand remedies". His capacity and association with "all comprehensive knowledge" is found in the Atharvaveda. Varuna finds a mention in the early Upanishads, where his role evolves.
In verse 3.9.26 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, for example, he is stated to be the god of the western quarter, but one, founded on "water" and dependent on "the heart" and the fire of soul. In the Katha Upanishad, Aditi is identified to be same as the goddess earth, she is stated in the Vedic texts to be the mother of Varuna and Mitra along with other Vedic gods, in Hindu mythology she as mother earth is stated to be mother of all gods. In Yajurveda it is said: "In fact Varuna is Vishnu and Vishnu is Varuna and hence the auspicious offering is to be made to these deities." || 8.59 || Rama interacts with Varuna in the Hindu epic Ramayana. For example, faced with the dilemma of how to cross the ocean to Lanka, where his abducted wife Sita is held captive by the demon king Ravana, Rama performs a pravpavesha to Varuna, the Lord of Oceans, for three days and three nights, states Ramesh Menon. Varuna does not respond, Rama arises on the fourth morning, enraged, he states to his brother Lakshamana that "even lords of the elements listen only to violence, Varuna does not respect gentleness, peaceful prayers go unheard".
With his bow and arrow, Rama prepares to attack the oceans to burn up the waters and create a bed of sand for his army of monkeys to cross and thus confront Ravana. Lakshmana appeals to Rama, translates Menon, that he should return to "peaceful paths of our fathers, you can win this war without laying waste the sea". Rama shoots his weapon sending the ocean into flames; as Rama increases the ferocity of his weapons, Varuna arises out of the oceans. He bows to Rama, stating that he himself did not know how to help Rama because the sea is deep, vast and he cannot change the nature of sea. Varuna asked Rama to remember that he is "the soul of peace and love, wrath does not suit him". Varuna promised to Rama that he will not disturb him or his army as they build a bridge and cross over to Lanka; the Tolkāppiyam, a Tamil grammar work from 3rd century BCE divides the people of ancient Tamilakam into 5 Sangam landscape divisions: kurinji, paalai and neithal. Each landscape are designated with different gods.
Matsya is the fish avatar in the ten primary avatars of Hindu god Vishnu. Matsya is described to have rescued Manu and earthly existence from a great deluge; the earliest accounts of Matsya as a fish-saviour equates him with the Vedic deity Prajapati. The fish-savior merges with the identity of Brahma in post-Vedic era, still as an avatar of Vishnu; the legends associated with Matsya expand and vary in Hindu texts. These legends have embedded symbolism, where a small fish with Manu's protection grows to become a big fish, the fish saves earthly existence. Matsya iconography sometimes is zoomorphic as a giant fish with a horn, or anthropomorphic in the form of a human torso connected to the rear half of a fish. Matsya is a Sanskrit word and means "fish"; the term appears in the Rigveda. It is related to maccha, which means fish; the section 1.8.1 of the Shatapatha Brahmana is the earliest extant text to mention Matsya and the flood myth in Hinduism. It makes no mention of Vishnu, instead identifies the fish with Prajapati-Brahma.
The central characters of this legend are Manu. The character Manu is presented as the ancestor king. One day, water is brought to Manu for his ablutions. In the water is a tiny fish; the fish states it fears being swallowed by appeals to Manu to protect him. In return, the fish promises to rescue Manu from an impending flood. Manu accepts the request, he puts the fish in a pot of water. He prepares a ditch filled with water, transfers him there where it can grow freely. Once the fish grows further to be big enough to be free from danger, Manu transfers him into the ocean; the fish thanks him, tells him the date of the great flood, asks Manu to build a boat by that day, one he can attach to its horn. On the predicted day, Manu visits the fish with his boat; the devastating floods come, Manu ties the boat to the horn. The fish carries the boat with Manu to the high grounds of the northern mountains. Manu re-establishes life by performing austerities and by performing yajna. According to Bonnefoy, the Vedic story is symbolic.
The little fish alludes to the Indian "law of the fishes", an equivalent to the "law of the jungle". The small and weak would be devoured by the big and strong, needs the dharmic protection of the legislator and king Manu to enable it to attain its potential and be able to help later. Manu provides the protection, the little fish grows to become big and saves all existence; the boat that Manu builds to get help from the savior fish, states Bonnefoy, is symbolism of the means to avert complete destruction and for human salvation. The mountains are symbolism for the doorway for ultimate liberation; the tale of Matsya appears in chapter 12.187 of the Vana Parva, in the epic Mahabharata. The legend begins with Manu performing religious rituals on the banks of the Cherivi River. A little fish called Matsyaka comes to him and asks for his protection, promising to save him from a deluge in the future; the legend moves in the same vein as the Vedic version. Manu places him in the jar. Once it outgrows it, the fish asks to be put into a tank.
The fish outgrows the tank, with Manu's help reaches the Ganges River to the ocean. Manu is asked by the fish, in the Mahabharata version, to build a ship and be in it with Rishis and all sorts of grains, on the day of the expected deluge. Manu accepts the fish's advice; the deluge begins, the fish arrives to Manu's aid. He ties the ship to the fish, who steers the ship to the Himalayas, carrying Manu through a turbulent storm; the danger passes. The fish reveals himself as Brahma, gives the power of creation to Manu; the key difference between the Vedic version and the Mahabharata version of the allegorical legend are the latter's identification of Matsya with Brahma, more explicit discussion of the "law of the fishes" where the weak needs the protection from the strong, the fish asking Manu to bring along sages and grains. According to George Williams, there are many versions of the Matsya mythology in the Puranas; the names of the characters, the details, the plot and the message diverge in this genre of texts.
The Matsya Purana evolves the legend further, by identifying the fish-savior with Vishnu instead of Brahma. The Purana derives its name from Matsya; the legend as it appears in section 1.12 states that when a little fish appears to Manu, he recognizes Vishnu Vasudeva in the fish. The fish tells him about the impending fiery end of kalpa accompanied by a deluge; the fish once again has a horn. The gods build it, they build it big enough to carry and save all life forms, Manu needs to just carry all types of grain seeds to produce food for everyone after the deluge is over. When the great flood begins, Manu ties the Ananta Sesha to the fish's horn; the fish carries everyone to safety. According to Bonnefoy, the Matsya Puranic story is symbolic though quite different; the fish is divine to begin with, needs no protection, only recognition and devotion. It ties the story to its cosmology, connecting two kalpas through the cosmic symbolic residue in the form of Sesha. In another version of the Matsya Purana, the story is closer to the Mahabharata version.
At the end of Kalpa, Brahma is resting and the demon Hayagriva steals the Vedas. Vishnu discovers the theft, he descends to earth in the Matsya avatar. One day, the king of Dravida desha named Satyavrata cups water in his hand to offer it to his ancestors. There he finds a
Mohini in Hindu mythology is a goddess and the only female avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. She is portrayed as a"femme fatale", an enchantress, who maddens lovers, sometimes leading them to their doom. Mohini is introduced into the Hindu mythology in the narrative epic of the Mahabharata. Here, she appears as a form of Vishnu, acquires the pot of Amrita from the thieving asuras, gives it back to the devas, helping them retain their immortality. Many different legends tell including union with Shiva; these tales relate, among other things, the birth of the god Shasta and the destruction of Bhasmasura, the ash-demon. Mohini's main modus operandi is to beguile those she encounters, she is worshipped throughout Indian culture, but in Western India, where temples are devoted to her depicted as Mahalasa, the consort of Khandoba, a regional avatar of Shiva. The name Mohini comes from the verb root moha, meaning "to enchant, perplex, or disillusion," and means "delusion personified." In the Baiga culture of Central India, the word mohini means "erotic magic or spell."
The name has an implied connotation of "the essence of female beauty and allurement." The earliest reference to a Mohini-type goddess appears in the Samudra manthan episode of the 5th century BCE Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Amrita, or nectar of immortality, is produced by the churning of the Ocean of Milk; the Devas and the Asuras fight over its possession. The Asuras contrive to keep the Amrita for themselves. Vishnu, wise to their plan, assumes the form of an "enchanting damsel", she uses her allure to trick the Asuras into giving her the Amrita, distributes it amongst the Devas. Rahu, an Asura, tries to drink some Amrita himself. Surya and Chandra inform Vishnu, he uses the Sudarshana Chakra to decapitate Rahu, leaving the head immortal; the other major Hindu epic, narrates the Mohini story in the Bala Kanda chapter. This same tale is recounted in the Vishnu Purana four centuries later. In the original text, Mohini is referred to as an enchanting, female form of Vishnu. In versions, Mohini is described as the maya of Vishnu.
Still, the name of the avatar becomes Mohini from the original phrase describing his deliberate false appearance. Once the Mohini legend became popular, it was retold and expanded in several texts; the tales of Mohini-Vishnu increased among devotional circles in various regions. The same expanded Mahabharata version of the story is recounted in the Bhagavata Purana in the 10th century CE. Here, Mohini becomes a formal avatar of Vishnu; this legend is retold in the Padma Purana and Brahmanda Purana. In the Brahmanda Purana, Vishnu-Mohini after meditation upon the Great Goddess Maheshvari, acquires her form to trick the thieving asuras. Mohini has an active history in the destruction of demons throughout Hindu texts. In the Vishnu Purana, Mohini defeats Bhasmasura, the "ash-demon". Bhasmasura invokes the god Shiva by performing severe penances. Shiva, pleased with Bhasmasura, grants him the power to turn anyone into ashes by touching their head; the demon decides to try the power on Shiva himself. Shiva runs terrified.
Vishnu, witnessing the unfortunate turn of events, transforms into charms Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura is so taken by Mohini. Mohini agrees, but only on the condition. In the course of the dance, she places her hand on her head. Bhasmasura mimics the action, in turn, reduces himself to ashes; the legend of Bhasmasura is retold in the Buddhist text Satara Dewala Devi Puvata, with a slight variation. In this tale, Vishnu charms Bhasmasura; the female Vishnu asks Bhasmasura to promise never to leave her by placing his hand on his head as per the usual practice to swear on one's head. On doing so, Bhasmasura is reduced to ashes. In a similar legend related to the birth of Ayyappa, the demon Surpanaka earns the power to turn anyone into ashes by his austerities; the tale mirrors all other aspects of the Buddhist version of the Bhasmasura tale, where he is forced by Mohini to severe fidelity by keeping his hand on his head and is burnt. The prelude of the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana, the demon Nontok is charmed and killed by Mohini-Vishnu.
Nontok misuses a divine weapon given to him by Shiva. The four-armed Mohini-Vishnu enchants Nontok and attacks him. In his last moments, the demon accuses Vishnu of foul play saying that Vishnu first seduced him and attacked him. Vishnu decrees that in his next birth, Nontok will be born as the ten-headed demon Ravana and Vishnu will be a mortal man called Rama, he will fight him and defeat him. In a lesser-known tale in the Ganesha Purana the wise asura king Virochana is rewarded a magical crown by the sun-god Surya; the crown shields him against all harm. Vishnu as Mohini enchants Virochana and steals his crown; the demon, thus unprotected, is killed by Vishnu. Another South Indian legend about the demon Araka associates Mohini with Krishna rather than the god himself; the demon Araka had become invincible because he had never laid eyes on a woman. Krishna marries him. After three days of marriage, Araka's bonds of chastity are broken, Krishna kills him in battle. Transgender Hijras consider Krishna-Mohini to be a transsexual deity.
Stories about Mohini and Shiva have been po
Surya is a Sanskrit word that means the Sun. Synonyms of Surya in ancient Indian literature include Aditya, Bhanu, Pushan, Martanda and Vivasvan. Surya connotes the solar deity in Hinduism in the Saura tradition found in states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Surya is one of the five deities considered as equivalent aspects and means to realizing Brahman in the Smarta Tradition. Surya's iconography is depicted riding a chariot harnessed by horses seven in number which represent the seven colours of visible light, seven days in a week. In medieval Hinduism, Surya is an epithet for the major Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu. In some ancient texts and arts, Surya is presented syncretically with Ganesha or others. Surya as a deity is found in the arts and literature of Buddhism and Jainism. Surya is one of the nine heavenly houses in the zodiac system of Hindu astrology. Surya or Ravi is the basis of Sunday, in the Hindu calendar. Major festivals and pilgrimages in reverence of Surya include Makar Sankranti, Ratha Sapthami, Chath puja and Kumbh Mela.
The oldest surviving Vedic hymns, such as the hymn 1.115 of the Rigveda, mention Sūrya with particular reverence for the "rising sun” and its symbolism as dispeller of darkness, one who empowers knowledge, the good and all life. However, the usage is context specific. In some hymns, the word Surya means sun as an inanimate object, a stone or a gem in the sky; the Vedas assert Sun to be the creator of the material universe. In the layers of Vedic texts, Surya is one of the several trinities along with Agni and either Vayu or Indra, which are presented as an equivalent icon and aspect of the Hindu metaphysical concept called the Brahman. In the Brahmanas layer of Vedic literature, Surya appears with Agni in the same hymns. Surya is revered for the day during the night; the idea evolves, states Kapila Vatsyayan, where Surya is stated to be Agni as the first principle and the seed of the universe. It is in the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas, the Upanishads that Surya is explicitly linked to the power of sight, to visual perception and knowledge.
He is interiorized to be the eye as ancient Hindu sages suggested abandonment of external rituals to gods in favor of internal reflections and meditation of gods within, in one's journey to realize the Atman within, in texts such as the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad, Kaushitaki Upanishad and others. The Mahabharata epic opens its chapter on Surya that reverentially calls him as the "eye of the universe, soul of all existence, origin of all life, goal of the Samkhyas and Yogis, symbolism for freedom and spiritual emancipation. In the Mahabharata, Karna is the son of unmarried princess Kunti; the epic describes Kunti's trauma as an unmarried mother abandonment of Karna, followed by her lifelong grief. Baby Karna is found and adopted by a charioteer but he grows up to become a great warrior and one of the central characters in the great battle of Kurukshetra where he fights his half brothers. Surya is celebrated as a deity such as the ancient works attributed to Ashoka, he appears in a relief at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, riding in a chariot pulled by four horses, with Usha and Prattyusha on his sides.
Such artwork suggests that the Surya as symbolism for the victory of good over evil is a concept adopted in Buddhism from an earlier Indic tradition. Sun is a common deity in ancient and medieval cultures found in South America, Europe and Asia; the features and mythologies of Surya share resemblances with Hvare-khshaeta of pre-Islam Persia, the Helios-Sol deity in the Greek-Roman culture. Surya is a Vedic deity, states Elgood, but its deity status was strengthened from the contacts between ancient Persia and India during the Kushan era, as well as after the 8th-century when Sun-worshipping Parsees moved to India; some Greek features were incorporated into Surya iconography in post-Kushan era, around mid 1st millennium, according to Elgood. The iconography of Surya in Hinduism varies with its texts, he is shown as a resplendent standing person holding lotus flower in both his hands, riding a chariot pulled by one or more horses seven. The seven horses are named after the seven meters of Sanskrit prosody: Gayatri, Ushnih, Trishtubha and Pankti.
The Brihat Samhita, a Hindu text that describes architecture and design guidelines, states that Surya should be shown with two hands and wearing a crown. In contrast, the Vishnudharmottara, another Hindu text on architecture, states Surya iconography should show him with four hands, with flowers in two hands, a staff in third, in fourth he should be shown to be holding writing equipment, his chariot driver in both books is stated to be Aruṇa, seated. Two females flank him, who represent the dawn goddesses named Usha and Pratyusha; the goddesses are shown to be shooting arrows, a symbolism for their initiative to challenge darkness. The iconography of Surya has varied over time. In some ancient arts from the early centuries of the common era, his iconography is similar to those found in Persia and Greece suggesting adoption of Greek and Scythian influences. After the Greek and Kushan influences arrived in ancient India, some Surya icons of the period that followed show him wearing a cloak and high boots.
In some Buddhist artwork, his chariot is shown as being pulle
Rama or Ram known as Ramachandra, is a major deity of Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna and Gautama Buddha. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being. Rama was born to Dasharatha in Ayodhya, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kosala, his siblings included Lakshmana and Shatrughna. He married Sita. Though born in a royal family, their life is described in the Hindu texts as one challenged by unexpected changes such as an exile into impoverished and difficult circumstances, ethical questions and moral dilemmas. Of all their travails, the most notable is the kidnapping of Sita by demon-king Ravana, followed by the determined and epic efforts of Rama and Lakshmana to gain her freedom and destroy the evil Ravana against great odds; the entire life story of Rama and their companions allegorically discusses duties and social responsibilities of an individual. It illustrates dharmic living through model characters.
Rama is important to Vaishnavism. He is the central figure of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, a text popular in the South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, his ancient legends have attracted bhasya and extensive secondary literature and inspired performance arts. Two such texts, for example, are the Adhyatma Ramayana – a spiritual and theological treatise considered foundational by Ramanandi monasteries, the Ramcharitmanas – a popular treatise that inspires thousands of Ramlila festival performances during autumn every year in India. Rama legends are found in the texts of Jainism and Buddhism, though he is sometimes called Pauma or Padma in these texts, their details vary from the Hindu versions. Rāma is a Vedic Sanskrit word with two contextual meanings. In one context as found in Arthavaveda, states Monier Monier-Williams, it means "dark, dark-colored, black" and is related to the term ratri which means night. In another context as found in other Vedic texts, the word means "pleasing, charming, lovely".
The word is sometimes used as a suffix in different Indian languages and religions, such as Pali in Buddhist texts, where -rama adds the sense of "pleasing to the mind, lovely" to the composite word. Rama as a first name appears in the Vedic literature, associated with two patronymic names – Margaveya and Aupatasvini – representing different individuals. A third individual named Rama Jamadagnya is the purported author of hymn 10.110 of the Rigveda in the Hindu tradition. The word Rama appears in ancient literature in reverential terms for three individuals: Parashu-rama, as the sixth avatar of Vishnu, he is linked to the Rama Jamadagnya of the Rigveda fame. Rama-chandra, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu and of the ancient Ramayana fame. Bala-rama called Halayudha, as the elder brother of Krishna both of whom appear in the legends of Hinduism and Jainism; the name Rama appears in Hindu texts, for many different scholars and kings in mythical stories. The word appears in ancient Upanishads and Aranyakas layer of Vedic literature, as well as music and other post-Vedic literature, but in qualifying context of something or someone, "charming, lovely" or "darkness, night".
The Vishnu avatar named Rama is known by other names. He is called Raghava. Additional names of Rama include Ramavijaya, Phreah Ream, Phra Ram, Megat Seri Rama, Raja Bantugan, Ramar. In the Vishnu sahasranama, Rama is the 394th name of Vishnu. In some Advaita Vedanta inspired texts, Rama connotes the metaphysical concept of Supreme Brahman, the eternally blissful spiritual Self in whom yogis delight nondualistically; the root of the word Rama is ram- which means "stop, stand still, rejoice, be pleased". According to Douglas Adams, the Sanskrit word Rama is found in other Indo-European languages such as Tocharian ram, reme, *romo- where it means "support, make still", "witness, make evident"; the sense of "dark, soot" appears in other Indo European languages, such as *remos or Old English romig. This summary is a traditional legendary account, based on literary details from the Ramayana and other historic mythology-containing texts of Buddhism and Jainism. According to Sheldon Pollock, the figure of Rama incorporates more ancient "morphemes of Indian myths", such as the mythical legends of Bali and Namuci.
The ancient sage Valmiki used these morphemes in his Ramayana similes as in sections 3.27, 3.59, 3.73, 5.19 and 29.28. Rama was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Chaitra, a day celebrated across India as Ram Navami; this coincides with one of the four Navratri on the Hindu calendar, in the spring season, namely the Vasantha Navratri. The ancient epic Ramayana states in the Balakhanda that Rama and his brothers were born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya, a city on the banks of Sarayu River; the Jain versions of the Ramayana, such as the Paumacariya by Vimalasuri mention the details of the early life of Rama. The Jain texts are dated variously, but pre-500 CE, most sometime within the first five centuries of the common era. Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, a part of the solar dynasty of Iksvakus, his mother's name Kaushalya implies that she was from Kosala. The kingdom of Kosala is mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina texts, as one of the sixteen Maha janapadas of ancient India, as an important center of pilgrimage for Jains and Buddhists.
However, there is a schola