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Chapter 16 – Verses 22 and 23 of Adi Parva of Mahabharata in Aastika Parva states

विशिष्टम् बलमीप्सन्त्या पञ्चवर्षशतात् परः |
एवं शप्त्वा ततः पुत्रो विनितामन्तरिक्षगः || २२ ||**

अरुणो दृश्यते ब्रह्मन् प्रभातसमये सदा |
आदित्यरथमध्यास्ते सारथ्यं संकल्पयत् || २३ ||

Which can be interpreted as ‘He should come out fully formed on his own and that will happen only after another five hundred years. Till then you have to patiently serve your sister and co-wife as her slave.” Having thus cursed Vinita, her son Aruna rose upwards and flew to the sky. There he became the charioteer of the Sun God guiding his chariot on the daily circumambulation of the universe. And one can see the form of Aruna guiding the chariot in the dawn when the sun is of reddish hue.’ [My question arises due to the verses 22 and 23, but does not pertain thereto]

Maharshi Krishna Dwaipayana states in verses 16 and 17 of Chapter 16 of Aastika Parva:

अण्डाभ्यां विनतायास्तु मिथुनं न व्यदृश्यत |
ततः पुत्रार्थिनी देवी व्रीडिता च तपस्विनी || १६ ||

अण्डं बिभेद विनता तत्र पुत्रमपश्यत |
पूर्वार्धकायसम्पन्नमितरेणाप्रकाशता || १७ ||**

Vinita’s two eggs, however, remained unhatched. With her own hands, she broke open one of the eggs and beheld her son. He was not yet fully formed. The top portion of his body was well proportioned and complete. He shone with the brightness and lusture of Mitra (Sun), but the bottom half of his body was unformed and just a mass of flesh.

Maharshi Krishna Dwaipayana continues :

स पुत्रः क्रोधसंरब्धः शशापैनामिति श्रुर्तिः |
योऽहमेवं कृतो नातस्त्वया लोभपरीतया || १८ ||

शरीरेणासमग्रेण तस्माद दासी भविष्यसि |
पञ्चवर्षशतान्यस्या यया विस्पर्धसे सह || १९ ||**

एष च त्वां सुतो मातर्दासीत्वान्मोचयिष्यति |
यद्येनमपि मातस्त्वं मामिवाण्डविभेदनात् || २० ||

न करिष्यस्यनङ्गं वा व्यङ्गं वापि तपस्विनम् |
प्रतिपालयितव्यस्ते जन्मकालोsस्य धीरया || २१ ||

विशिष्टम् बलमीप्सन्त्या पञ्चवर्षशतात् परः |
एवं शप्त्वा ततः पुत्रो विनितामन्तरिक्षगः || २२ ||

अरुणो दृश्यते ब्रह्मन् प्रभातसमये सदा |
आदित्यरथमध्यास्ते सारथ्यं संकल्पयत् || २३ ||

It is said that the son, angry at his mother’s haste in breaking his egg and bringing him forth not completely formed cursed her, “Due to your excessive haste to be equal to your sister and co-wife Kadru, you have made me handicapped, my limbs not yet completely formed. Therefore, for which co-wife you made me deformed, I curse you to become her slave for five hundred years. And Mother, your son in the other egg, he will liberate you from slavery, but that is possible only if you don’t break the egg and make him handicapped. He should come out fully formed on his own and that will happen only after another five hundred years. Till then you have to patiently serve your sister and co-wife as her slave.” Having thus cursed Vinita, her son Aruna rose upwards and flew to the sky. There he became the charioteer of the Sun God guiding his chariot on the daily circumambulation of the universe. And one can see the form of Aruna guiding the chariot in the dawn when the sun is of reddish hue.

My questions are these:

(a) Did the Sun God have a charioteer before Aruna was born?

(b) If so who was he? Where can I get the story and the proper scriptural references?

  • 8
    You should shorten your question. There's no need to tell the story of Aruna in this much detail, just briefly summarize the story and ask your question. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 26 '17 at 8:47
2

In my study, I have not been able to find any answer in our major Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Since I am not well read on the Vedas, I know not whether there is any Vedic Reference.

An answer of sorts is available on the site Onlinedarshan.com under Sparks of Wisdom in an article entitled 'Why a Charioteer for Surya'. I quote below the relevant portion:

"In the Hindu mythology, Surya the Sun God is depicted as riding on a one wheeled chariot drawn by seven horses representing the seven colours of the rainbow. He is also worshipped as Suryanarayan a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. It is said that Surya also known as Aditya was born to Kasyapa Maharshi and Aditi, daughter of Daksha. He was gifted with the power of enormous heat and light to sustain the existence of all beings on earth and dispelling darkness and providing energy in the form of heat. Besides Aditi, Kasyapa had two more wives – Vinita and Kadru. Through Kadru he gave birth to serpent species and to Vinita was born Aruna, a human being with the upper part of the torso and no legs. A few years later Vinita gave birth to another son with the head of an eagle and a human body who was Garuda. Thus Aruna and Garuda are step brothers of Surya. Once, while the Ocean of Milk was churned by the devas (heavenly beings) with the help of asuras (demons) to produce amrit (nector). Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini, a divine damsel to distribute it. The aim however was to see that the asuras did not partake of it and become immortal. So Mohini with the pot of nectar in hand started dancing and distributing it cleverly in the course of the dance she gave it to the devas only. One asura however was too clever and standing along with the devas, got a little nectar and put it into his mouth. Surya and Chandra, standing on either side of the asura, hinted this out to Mohini who acted smartly and chopped off the head of the asura. But since a few drops of the nectar had entered his body, he did not die and survived separately as two entities of a snake. The head came to be known as Ketu and tail as Rahu. They joined the row of significant planets and became part of the Navagrahas ( nine planets) Since then Rahu and Ketu harbored vengeance on the Sun and Moon and now and then attempt to swallow them. These times when Surya or Chandra would be partially inside the mouth of the serpent there would be partial darkness and such periods were called eclipses. But eventually the Sun and Moon would wriggle out of the serpents mouth.

Shield Against Heat

When the frequency of the attempts to swallow him increased, Surya became livid with rage. He took the form of a furious ball of fire thousand times bigger than the other planets. Blazing fire was flaming around him . Because of this the other planets and lives on heaven and earth found survival difficult. They took refuge under Brahama who got a idea to minimize the heat and radiance f the Sun. He decided to put up a screen before Surya as a shield, so that the intensity of the heat and light would be toned down. That screen would be a chariot driven by Aruna the step brother of Surya who alone could withstand the heat and light of Surya and tone it down.
Arunas torso would act as a shield and filter the heat and light falling on other planets and living beings. Further the chariot was made of fire proof material and the Sun’s rays themselves were used to create the seven horses with seven colours.
Bhrama blessed Surya and asked him to calm down a little in the interest of the others. Surya was also happy and his brother was given a status and would always be with him. The bright sky at dawn just before sun rise is known as Arunodaya (the rising Aruna) The world sees Aruna first before having darshan of Surya."

From this article, it appears that earlier, before Aruna became the charioteer of Surya, it was the Sun God Surya himself who drove his chariot.

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