A Hymn to Lord Surya

In Honor of Makara Sankranti

Adityahrdayam

Introduction by Swami Kripananda

This excerpt from sage Valmiki’s Ramayana, a great epic poem written in the Sanskrit language, extols Lord Surya—also known as Ravi or Aditya—the god of the sun, as the vivifying force behind creation.

The verses appear in a climactic episode of the epic’s sixth book, the Yuddha Kandha, “Battle Book.” Lord Rama, the embodiment of dharma, is about to reinitiate his fight against the demon king Ravana, who represents ignorance. Seeing this, the sage Agastya approaches the hero with words of encouragement in the form of a prayer to Lord Surya: the Adityahrdayam.

As soon as Lord Rama invokes Surya Devata, the Divine in the form of the sun, he finds within himself the strength and confidence to finally defeat Ravana. Lord Rama’s victory signals the definitive triumph of inner knowledge over ignorance.

These verses from the Adityahrdayam remind us that each new beginning is a propitious time to honor Surya Devata. The sun is a symbol of the light of Consciousness, which has inexhaustible nourishing power and is both an abiding and also ever-new source of wisdom.