What is the difference between a graha and a deva in both astrological sense as well as in spiritual sense? For example when we say Sun (Surya), we mean the star (planet astrologically) but is it same as Surya Deva?

There is Surya, Surya Deva and Surya Loka, how to connect these 3 things? So when I chant Aditya Hridaya Stotra, whom is it exactly referring to, the Planet Sun or Surya Deva and how are Adityas different from Surya Deva?

  • So is it the planet sun of our solar system they are talking about ??? because there would be so many suns in galaxy or is it that the sun which we see is representation of the aditya who is a cosmic being and hence we pray to it ?? @UdayKrishna
    – Pritish
    Aug 26, 2018 at 9:15
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    Possible duplicate of How can Wind, Sun and Fire be living beings?
    – YDS
    Sep 8, 2018 at 8:35
  • @YDS I read your answer, btw isn't the centre of galaxy is supposed to be sun as well ??? I think called as galactic sun??? also the galaxies must be moving round a centre right ?? So don't you think the sun mentioned in puranas should be that sun which is in centre of this whole material universe ???? and not this one in our solar system ???
    – Pritish
    Sep 8, 2018 at 9:04
  • So isn't it that the scriptures could be speaking of the sun in terms of consciousness rather than any physical thing, like it can be said that the physical aspect of affluence of the supreme soul is formed in terms of sun or as krishna said something like as bright as millions of sun, as we cannot see god with mere mortal eyes, but we can see sun and any physical sun, be it of solar system or gallactic centre has the same qualities of affluence of god ???
    – Pritish
    Sep 8, 2018 at 9:09
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    No I think it to be from our solar system which we see daily...for example, after looking at the sun, Kunti thought of calling Suryadev to test Durvasa's boon..or we find story that at sunset Arjuna will commit suicide if couldn't kill Jaydratha etc....so I believe it's from our solar system only...
    – YDS
    Sep 8, 2018 at 9:13

2 Answers 2


Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 12, Chapter 11

27-28 Sri Saunaka said: Please describe to us, who have great faith in your words, the different sets of seven personal features and associates the sun-god exhibits during each month, along with their names and activities. The associates of the sun-god, who serve their lord, are personal expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari in His feature as the presiding deity of the sun.

29 Suta Gosvami said: The sun travels among all the planets and thus regulates their movements. It has been created by Lord Visnu, the Supreme Soul of all embodied beings, through His beginningless material energy.

30 The sun-god, being nondifferent from Lord Hari, is the one soul of all the worlds and their original creator. He is the source of all the ritualistic activities prescribed in the Vedas and has been given many names by the Vedic sages.

31 Being the source of the material energy, the Personality of Godhead Lord Hari in His expansion as the sun-god is described in nine aspects, O Saunaka: the time, the place, the endeavor, the performer, the instrument, the specific ritual, the scripture, the paraphernalia of worship and the result to be achieved.

32 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, manifesting His potency of time as the sun-god, travels about in each of the twelve months, beginning with Madhu, to regulate planetary motion within the universe. Traveling with the sun-god in each of the twelve months is a different set of six associates.

33 My dear sage, Dhata as the sun-god, Krtasthali as the Apsara, Heti as the Raksasa, Vasuki as the Naga, Rathakrt as the Yaksa, Pulastya as the sage and Tumburu as the Gandharva rule the month of Madhu.

34 Aryama as the sun-god, Pulaha as the sage, Athauja as the Yaksa, Praheti as the Raksasa, Punjikasthali as the Apsara, Narada as the Gandharva and Kacchanira as the Naga rule the month of Madhava.

35 Mitra as the sun-god, Atri as the sage, Pauruseya as the Raksasa, Taksaka as the Naga, Menaka as the Apsara, Haha as the Gandharva and Rathasvana as the Yaksa rule the month of Sukra.

36 Vasistha as the sage, Varuna as the sun-god, Rambha as the Apsara, Sahajanya as the Raksasa, Huhu as the Gandharva, Sukra as the Naga and Citrasvana as the Yaksa rule the month of Suci.

37 Indra as the sun-god, Visvavasu as the Gandharva, Srota as the Yaksa, Elapatra as the Naga, Angira as the sage, Pramloca as the Apsara and Varya as the Raksasa rule the month of Nabhas.

38 Vivasvan as the sun-god, Ugrasena as the Gandharva, Vyaghra as the Raksasa, Asarana as the Yaksa, Bhrgu as the sage, Anumloca as the Apsara and Sankhapala as the Naga rule the month of Nabhasya.

39 Pusha as the sun-god, Dhananjaya as the Naga, Vata as the Raksasa, Susena as the Gandharva, Suruci as the Yaksa, Ghrtaci as the Apsara and Gautama as the sage rule the month of Tapas.

40 Ritu as the Yaksa, Varca as the Raksasa, Bharadvaja as the sage, Parjanya as the sun-god, Senajit as the Apsara, Visva as the Gandharva and Airavata as the Naga rule the month known as Tapasya.

41 Amshu as the sun-god, Kasyapa as the sage, Tarksya as the Yaksa, Rtasena as the Gandharva, Urvasi as the Apsara, Vidyucchatru as the Raksasa and Mahasa“kha as the Naga rule the month of Sahas.

42 Bhaga as the sun-god, Sphurja as the Raksasa, Aristanemi as the Gandharva, Uma as the Yaksa, Ayur as the sage, Karkotaka as the Naga and Purvacitti as the Apsara rule the month of Pusya.

43 Tvashtha as the sun-god; Jamadagni, the son of Rcika, as the sage; Kambalasva as the Naga; Tilottama as the Apsara; Brahmapeta as the Raksasa; Satajit as the Yaksa; and Dhrtarastra as the Gandharva maintain the month of Isa.

44 Vishnu as the sun-god, Asvatara as the Naga, Rambha as the Apsara, Suryavarca as the Gandharva, Satyajit as the Yaksa, Visvamitra as the sage and Makhapeta as the Raksasa rule the month of Urja.

45 All these personalities are the opulent expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, in the form of the sun-god. These deities take away all the sinful reactions of those who remember them each day at dawn and sunset.

46 Thus, throughout the twelve months, the lord of the sun travels in all directions with his six types of associates, disseminating among the inhabitants of this universe purity of consciousness for both this life and the next.

In the physical realm, the sun sphere is one. Which is called Sol in modern language. But the deities presiding over the sun are 12, corresponding to the months. 12 individual conscious energies all non-different from each other. They basically have the same duties both general, as well as astrological.

The physical planet is not called graha. Graha is termed with respect to astrology. Graha refers to an entity that has the power to "seize, lay hold of, or grasp". The Navagrahas are 9 deities which have a hold on people's destinies, those who are born in Bhuloka. They are just a class of deities, nothing special other than that.

As far as I know Aditya Hridayam Stotra is applicable for any deity that controls the sun. It won't be applicable for the moon god.

  • So does it mean that aditya hriday stotra or any mantra to sun is referred to the deity consciousness and not the planet ?? Also does it imply that the diety rules the planet and its functioning from a non physical realm ?
    – Pritish
    Aug 26, 2018 at 10:41
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    Exactly. All mantras are directed at a spiritual level, and the deity is the receiver. Plus the deity rules the physical body of the sun, and actually resides in Swarga Loka.
    – user9072
    Aug 26, 2018 at 10:55

Surya is an aditya but adityas are not surya. Aditya means son of aditi. Now bhagwat purana specifies 12 forms of surya which does not mean that there are physically 12 suns but it just mean that they are spritual manifestation of surya. In brahma purana surya is identified as supreme personality and in bhagwat purana he is called as manifestation of hari. So it is just to honour him that that 12 gods who rules 12 different houses of astrology or expands in cosmic world are signified as his manifestation. So let me explain it in brief as we know the entire structure of religion is establiehed on an ideology of eternity and according to this concept each individual soul is manifestation of eternal one or supreme god. So in some puranas surya is dignified as supreme god and 12 suryas are just his spritual manifestations. For example when a movie is released the hero of movie represents the whole team and team members of the film and how leader of a political party represents all the members of his party the same way surya represents others gods and 12 adityas and second most important they are called adityas because they are sons aditi not because surya is an aditya. There is a verse in brahma purana which gives a story which proves that lord surya as supreme personality. According to this story once narad muni sees lord mitra meditating and he asks on whom is he meditating despite of himself being one of the supreme dieties(sanatan purush). Narad tells lord mitra that he is lord of three worlds, the time itself is within him and he is celebrated as one among chief dieties in many hymns of vedas then on whom is he meditating. Then lord mitra replies him that actually on whom he is mediatating is one of the most hidden secrets of truth than he tells sage that today he will reveil this secret to him on his personal request. Then lord mitra replies that actually only one personility is Supreme( sanatan dev) rest of all are his manifestations including myself. In this universe all hands, legs, heads and bodies are his hands, legs, heads and bodies, all energies and matters are his. The way how one vatta( air) is distributed as 5 different vattas(air) the same way this universe is filled with his different forms and i am just one of his forms or a part of his energy. This was the first time when the concept of eterninty was reveiled by any god. Then lord mitra says that according to his knowlege and experience lord surya is the one who is eternal or supreme god( sanatan dev) and all of us are his manifestations. Lord mitra regards surya as supreme god to honour him for helping adityas against daittya. There is another story of brahma purana regarding lord surya which gives account of lord suryas birth and how he killed daittyas by his effulgence. In one of the chapters lord brama says to all sages that all oblations given on name of any diety ultimately reaches lord surya because he is supreme or eternal. It gives even his 12 names and 108 names of all those dieties or energies who are his manifestations. Now let me differentiate graha surya and the spritual diety surya. First of all when surya is regarded as diety he is called as savitar the same way how chandra is called soma. So as savitar he is a vedic diety and as surya he is graha both are non different energies. Now let me answer the third question what is surya loka. So according me surya loka might be the chariot of surya which is defined in bhagwat purana. The chariot which is defined in bhagwat purana is not a physical chariot it just means surya loka and seven horses on the name of vedic meter are neither physical horses nor the driver aruna is physical driver of chariot. This chariot describes some inner reals as bhagwat purana also specifies human body as a chariot and our senses and mind as its horses and driver. So this chariot also could be of other meanings. According to bhagwat purana surya chariot or his place of residence moves around mount meru. So savitar is sun when he is stationary or signified as diety or being and he is surya when moving as a graha. Some of the theories of our moder science says that surya is large sphere made of large burning gas but some scientists even believe that actual sun god might be just the visble sun which is just a radiation from a cosmic objects. According to some theories rain, wind and lightning all occur beacause of radiations which comes from outer space from cosmic objects and here there is no concept of cloud charge or evaporation because some theories even says that clouds can never produce enough charges for such strong lightning or land and sea breezes can never cause such strong winds so these efects can only be produced by a non terrestial radiations. So conclusion of all this is that all these vedic dieties like surya, indra, vayu,etc produces effects of thundring, lightning, wind and illuminig through radiations which might come from star of our solar system or some other distant cosmic objects.

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    You have answered the question but please cite sources to support it, else it looks like personal speculation. You've mentioned Brahma Purana. Please add sources to support what you've said.
    – user9072
    Aug 27, 2018 at 5:12

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