The story of Surya and Aruna


Regular readers of Mahabore’s Mumblings will know my affinity towards Indian mythology and the lesser known tales from the same. This post marks my return to this genre after a reasonably long hiatus.

Here’s hoping you enjoy the same, and if you do so, let me know in the Comments Section below the post, and it also goes without saying, please share the post with all your friends and families as well.

So, without further ado, here goes the story of Surya, the Sun god and Aruna, his charioteer.

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SuryaArunaWhen the ocean of milk was churned and Amrita, the divine nectar of immortality was obtained, one of the asuras, Rahu disguised himself as a deva and sat down in line to drink the same. However, Surya managed to see through Rahu’s disguise and prevented Mohini from serving him the Amrita. Due to this Rahu had a longstanding grudge with Surya.

Despite the fact that all the devas knew about this enemity of Rahu’s with Surya, they did not do anything about it, and this enraged Surya to no end. He was of the opinion that the devas, being his kinsmen should have helped him get rid of Rahu’s threat once and for all.

Another version of the story has that, Rahu, enraged by Surya’s action swallows him whole and Surya is saved only when Lord Vishnu intervenes and Rahu is forced to regurgitate him. Surya blames the other devas for not coming to his aid when the asura Rahu swallowed him and insulted him so.

In any case, an angered Surya had decided to destroy all the worlds with his fierce heat.

As Surya was preparing himself to rise from the eastern kingdoms with the intention of burning through all the worlds with his heat, the great rishis approached the gods and asked them to intervene. The gods along with the rishis went to Brahma for a solution. Brahma confirmed their worst fears when he told them that Surya intended to destroy all the worlds with his heat, but he also reassured them when he told them that what was happening was pre-ordained and therefore a solution for this issue had also been determined beforehand.

He informed the gods and the rishis about how Aruna, the intelligent son of Kashyapa with a well-developed upper torso had recently been appointed the charioteer of Surya with the sole purpose of overcoming this particular situation. By doing his duty as a charioteer and staying in front of Surya all the time, Aruna shall absorb all the fierce energy emanated by Surya in his anger and shall ensure the well-being of all the worlds.

Aruna, having the divine providence of the reason for his birth, did just as Brahma described and ensured that Surya’s anger at the other gods did not result in the destruction of the worlds.

The Syamantaka Saga – 01- The magical gem


Syamantaka_cover
Image courtesy: Google images search

Satrajit was one of the Yadava princes in the lineage of Satwata and enjoyed the friendship of Surya, the Sun God. Once when Satrajit was walking along the seashore, he thought of Surya and meditated in his memory. When Surya presented himself as a great ball of fire, he requested the Sun God to do him a favor and appear in a more distinguishable form. Acceding to this request, Surya took off the jewel called Syamantaka from his neck which allowed Satrajit to see Surya in his true form, with a body like burnished copper and slightly reddish eyes.

satrajitBeing among the few mortals to have ever seen Surya in his true form, Satrajit was extremely thankful to him and started singing his praises. Pleased with the devotion shown in him Surya granted a boon to Satrajit, to which he requested that the Syamantaka gem be given to him. The Sun God then gave the gem to him and took back his place in the skies.

Satrajit wore the gem on his neck and was now as irradiant as Surya himself and when he returned to Dwaraka, the citizens thought that Purushottama, the eternal male who sustained the burden of earth for all time had come to visit Krishna. When they approached Krishna and informed him of this, he just smiled and told them that it was not Surya, but Satrajit who was coming back from the seashore wearing the Syamantaka gem that had been given to him.

Satrajit kept the jewel in his home which yielded eight loads of gold every day, which made him very wealthy. The gem also dispelled all fear of portents, wild beasts, fire, robbers and famine, which rendered its owner practically invulnerable.

As time went by and the marvelous powers of the gem became public knowledge, Krishna was of the opinion that Ugrasena, the Yadava king should be given possession of the same. Although Krishna could easily have taken the gem from Satrajit and given it to Ugrasena, he did not do so because he did not want to cause any unnecessary disagreements due to this in the family.

Satrajit however was very fearful that Krishna might forcibly take the gem away from him and therefore gave it to his brother, Prasena for safekeeping. The Syamantaka gem in addition to its wonderful attributes also had a peculiar property. Although it was an inexhaustible source of good to a virtuous person, if a man of bad character ever wore it, then it would cause his death.

<<Part 2 of the story>>

Surya – The special boy


Morgue File (http://mrg.bz/jnYWqY)
Morgue File (http://mrg.bz/jnYWqY)

Today was the day that Surya would once again step out into the sunlight with confidence. He had decided that it was time that he put his unique gifts to good use and today would be a new beginning for him.

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5 yrs ago when he was barely 3 yrs old was when Surya first realized that he was not like the other kids in the orphanage. While he had always been a little taller and a little faster than the other kids there, on that fateful afternoon he realized that he was very different from all the other kids there.

As usual, when the bullies, Arjun and Rafiq came to the playground and started pushing the other kids away from the swings, and the see-saw, Surya decided not to give in to their threats on that day. In his mind, he had decided that he would fight back and fight back strong. Little did he realize that ‘strong’ in this context held an entirely different connotation.

When he just gently pushed Arjun away, he ended up pushing him away a good 8 feet. It was lucky that Arjun was not badly injured as he managed to fall on his knees and hands only. Rafiq was not quite that lucky. He managed to catch Surya’s right elbow on his thigh and ended up fracturing the femur bone itself.

This incident shook Surya up so much that he ran into the prayer hall of the orphanage and straight into Father John’s arms. The Father consoled the small boy, gave him a hug and only smiled mysteriously when Surya told him that he didn’t mean to hurt Arjun or Rafiq quite as badly as he actually did. All he wanted to do was to prevent them from bullying him and the other smaller children.

Although the kid was only 3 yrs old, Father John told him then itself that he was not like any other ordinary child and that he was special. He also cautioned Surya to be very careful around other kids especially when he was outdoors in the sun.

After all, the old priest was the only one who knew for a fact that this was no ordinary human child and was alien in every sense of the word. Three years ago when the coastal town of Thoothukudi in Tamilnadu was ravaged by a severe thunderstorm due to the unexplained solar flares, Father John who had then been cycling back from a fishing village narrowly missed being stuck by a meteoroid the size of a large bean bag. When he went to explore the furrow caused by the meteoroid, he had come across this small infant who was as tiny as a newborn baby would be. The humble Father, believing this child to be divine ended up bringing him to his orphanage and nurturing him along with the other children.

Based on Surya’s quicker development of motor skills and his ability to be stronger and faster than other children his age, Father John knew that this was a special child and it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world would learn about him. What he was more worried about was whether Surya himself would learn to use his gifts wisely and for the better of the greater good rather than misuse them for his own benefit.

That playground incident forced Father John to tell Surya the truth about himself and encourage him to explore the true depth and breadth of his powers. In the last five years, Surya with the help of Father John had learnt quite a bit about his special abilities and based on the advice of the simple priest had decided that he would indeed use these powers of his for the greater good of the downtrodden people in society.

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Today was the day that Surya would once again step out into the sunlight with confidence. He had decided that it was time that he put his unique gifts to good use and today would be a new beginning for him.

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This post has been written for The Write Tribe Wednesday prompt – The Boy where the post had to be about the picture at the top of the post.

Obviously the story in this post is a straight life from the story of the origins of Superman where he is sent to Earth from his home planet Krypton and derives his powers from the yellow sun of Earth. But then, the story is so classic that I thought it might be fun to re-imagine the same in an Indian setting. For whatever reason the boy stepping out into the sunlight kindled in me the memories of Superman’s origins and hence I decided to stick with the idea for this prompt.