World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) (17th : 2018)

Tradition of Sun Worship in Kashmir Kaul, Advaitavadini

Abstract

The identification of Sun with the supreme consciousness has been a phenomenon throughout the Indian tradition. This identification has concretized in the Ādityahṛdayam, from Vālmīki's Rāmāyaṇa. Meditation on the Sun in heart and reciting this stotra enables one to conquer all enemies, external as well as internal. Widely revered as one of the powerful stotras, is true in Kashmir too. Mārtaṇḍa, meaning “one who infuses life into the egg of the universe,” is one among the renowned architectural marvels of Ancient India. This Sun temple created at a significantly chosen location in Kashmir dates back to the eighth century. Another important reference is the Sāmbapañcāśikā, a mystical hymn that has remained a prominent stotra among Kashmiri Śaivas till date. Though of an unknown date, it presents both Vedic and Tantric symbolism in praise of the Sun as an existing entity that illuminates the universe and as the supreme consciousness hidden in the inner heart of each individual. The only available commentary by Kṣemarāja has interpreted it from the Trika Śaiva perspective. The Nīlamata Purāṇa prescribes the worship of Sun and the specific dates for Sun worship in Kashmir. There used to be the practice of drawing a sūrya maṇḍala by the house ladies and the practice of many related rituals are still exisiting. This paper aims to cover the period from the eighth-ninth centuries to the present for drawing the lost connections between the theory and practice, since the rituals followed by the masses have strong theoretical basis.

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