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Aditya

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Aditya

For other uses, see Aditya (disambiguation).
Adityas

Devanagari आदित्य
Sanskrit Transliteration Ādityas
Affiliation Devas
Abode Heaven
Mantra Aum Adityebhyah Namah
Weapon Various
Consort Various
Mount Horses and many others

In Hinduism, Ādityas (Sanskrit: आदित्य, pronounced [ɑːd̪it̪jɐ]), meaning "of Aditi", refers to the offspring of Aditi. In later Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the sun.

Vedas

In the Rigveda, the Ādityas are the seven celestial deities, sons of Āditi, headed by Varuna, followed by Mitra (Vedic personification of Surya) :

  1. Varuna
  2. Mitra (Surya)
  3. Aryaman
  4. Bhaga
  5. Anśa or Aṃśa
  6. Dhatri
  7. Indra

The eighth Āditya (Mārtanda) was rejected by Aditi, leaving seven sons. In the Yajurveda (Taittirīya Samhita), their number is given as eight, and the last one is believed to be Vivasvān. Hymn LXXII of Rig Veda, Book 10, also confirms that there are eight Adityas, the eight one being Mārtanda, who is later revived back as Vivasvān. [1]

"So with her Seven Sons Aditi went forth to meet the earlier age. She brought Mārtanda thitherward to spring to life and die again."

As a class of gods, the Rigvedic Ādityas were distinct from other groups such as the Maruts, the Rbhus or the Viśve-devāḥ (although Mitra and Varuna are associated with the latter). [2]

Characterisation

The Adityas have been described in the Rig Veda as bright and pure as streams of water, free from all guile and falsehood, blameless, perfect.

These class of deities have been attributed to as upholding the movables and immovable Dharma. Aditya are the beneficent Gods who act as protectors of all beings, who are provident and guard the world of spirits and protect the world. In the form of Mitra-Varuna, the Adityas are true to the eternal Law and act as the debt exactors.[3]

In present day usage in Sanskrit, the term Aditya has been made singular in contrast to Vedic Adityas, and are being used synonymously with Surya, the Sun.

Brahmanas

The Vedas do not identify the Ādityas and there is no classification of the thirty-three gods, except for in the Yajurveda (7.19), which says there are eleven gods in heaven (light space), eleven gods in atmosphere (intermediate space), and eleven gods in earth (observer space). In the Satapatha Brahmana, the number of Ādityas is eight in some passages, and in other texts of the same Brahmana, twelve Adityas are mentioned. [4] The list of 12 Adityas is as follows:

  1. Aṃśa
  2. Aryaman
  3. Bhaga
  4. Dakṣa
  5. Dhātṛ
  6. Indra
  7. Mitra
  8. Ravi
  9. Savitṛ
  10. Sūrya or Arka
  11. Varuṇa
  12. Yama

Linga Purana

According to the Linga Purana[5] the Aditya's are:

  1. Vishnu
  2. Indra
  3. Dhata
  4. Bhaga
  5. Twashta
  6. Amshuman
  7. Varuna
  8. Mitra
  9. Vivaswan
  10. Pusha
  11. Savitr
  12. Aryaman

Vedanta and Puranic Hinduism

Āditya in the (Chāndogya-Upaniṣad) is also a name of Viṣṇu, in his Avatar known as Vāmana, the dwarf. His mother is Aditi.

Another such list, from the Vishnu Purana [6] is:

  1. Aṃśa
  2. Aryaman
  3. Bhaga
  4. Dhūti
  5. Mitra
  6. Pūṣan
  7. Śakra
  8. Savitṛ
  9. Tvaṣṭṛ
  10. Varuṇa
  11. Viṣṇu
  12. Vivasvat

Notes

In the later Puranic texts, all Hindu deities were referred to as Adityas. Hence, the number of Adityas increased to 330,000,000.(tettees koti)

Further reading

On the Adityas

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