I heard of an incident in which Suryadev was once killed by Lord Shiva. Can somebody explain to me what is this incident and what Surya's mistake was? And also, please let me know how he became alive again. Please also include the source reference for this story.


4 Answers 4


The story of Shiva (temporarily) killing Surya the sun god is told in the Ganesha Khanda of the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. (See page 349 here.) As I discuss in this answer, one of the most prominent incarnations of Vishnu in ancient times was the sage Narayana, son of Yama god of death and twin brother of the sage Nara. (Nara and Narayana were the prevous births of Arjuna and Krishna.) In any case, in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana's account, the sage Narada asks Narayana about the birth of Ganesha, and then he asks how the remover of obstacles could have suffered such a big obstacle as losing his own head:

If Ganesha is Vighnahara or Vighnesha, that is, the one who removes all impediments, how came he to incur an impediment? Why did he have his head chopped off?

Narayana responds that it was due to a curse that Shiva had incurred. Once Surya the sun god tried to kill the evil Rakshasas (demons) Mali and Sumali. But these Rakshasas were devotees of Shiva, so Shiva came to their rescue, piercing Surya with his trident and (temporarily) killing him. The Sun immediately went dark, and the sage Kashyapa, Surya's father, was furious. (Kashyapa is the son of Marichi, one of the mind-born sons of Brahma, and Surya is one of the Adityas, the sons of Kashyapa and his wife Aditi.) Shiva restored Surya's life to pacify Kashyapa, but Kashyapa still put a curse on Shiva that he would kill his own son just as he had killed Kashyapa's son:

Mali and Sumali were two demons who were devoted to Shiva. The sun-god Surya did not like the demons and was about to kill them. The demons prayed to Shiva and Shiva intervened. He struck Surya with a trident and this made the entire world plunge into darkness. Surya was the sage Kashyapa's son and so, for this act, Kashyapa cursed Shiva. "Just as you pierced my son's chest with a trident, your son's head will be chopped off one day," said Kashyapa.

By the way, as I discuss in this answer, the Rakshasa Sumali had a daughter named Kaikeshi, who married the sage Vishravas. Together they had several children, including Ravana, Kumbakarna, and Vibhishana. So it's possible that if Shiva had allowed Surya to kill Sumali, Ravana might never have been born!

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    what is your base on "references to Ganesha in ancient Hindu scripture are few and far between...." ?... I just checked all the 18 Puranas... except Vishnu Purana I found mention and stories of Ganesha on every Purana...
    – Tezz
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 15:22
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    @Tezz What I mean is "authentic references to Ganesha". Many Puranic references to Ganesha occur in parts of Puranas that scholars consider to be interpolations. For instance, the sort of passages that reference Ganesha are often also the sort of passages that reference Radha and Goloka. In any case, there's a reason why Ganesha isn't mentioned in either the Ramayana or the Mahabharata, other than Vyasa dictating the Mahabharata to Ganesha, whereas Kartikeya is frequently referenced. It's because he wasn't that popular in ancient times. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 17:51
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    Oh then it's your own belief.... but as there are no stories in Mahabharat and Ramayana... we should get basic stories like... how he was born?... how he got elephant head?... how mouse became his vehicle?... how he became one tusked?.. how he became Ganapati and Vinayaka?... stories relating and explaining these things... and we have to look Puranas to know this .... Regarding Radha and Krishna it's your own belief that you doubt on existence of Radha... Iskcon and other devotees consider those passage of Padma and Vaivarta Purana the most authentic and revealed Passage among Puranas...
    – Tezz
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 7:11
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    @Tezz No, it's not just my belief, it's the considered conclusion of scholars based on things like style of languages in different passages of Puranas, discrepancies of manuscripts etc. It's universally agreed by scholars that Ganesha was not that popular in ancient times, and that it's only relatively recently that he became more popular. Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 7:15
  • I think Narayana is the son of Dharma, the son of Brahma and not the son of Yama. Only ISKCON interprets Dharma as Yama. Other translators used Dharma only. Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 7:19

Suryadev was angry on King Vrisadhvaja (father of Tulas) for ignoring other Gods and only worshiping Shiva and cursed him that he word lose all his wealth and prosperity. When Shiva heard this curse he got angry on Suryadev for cursing his greatest devotee and ran behind him to kill him. On this Suryadev got afraid and along with his father Kasyapa went to Vaikuntha. Due to being afraid and with all the terror their throat started drying out (this is where surya was about to die), they went to the supreme god Narayana and he granted them abhaya (no fear).


  • I don't think this is the story the OP is thinking of. This is a story where Shiva was about to kill Surya, not a story where Shiva killed Surya and Surya came back to life. Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 20:25
  • Thanks user3236549 for the story but it as Keshav said, this was the not the one I was searching. But anyhow, its good have another story.
    – Aby
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 12:45

Some reference said that Once Surya Deva showed he the most powerful Deva in the world. Without Him whole world is priceless. Then His son Shani Deva tried to calm Him and not present Him as great than Lord Shiva. But Surya Deva was so angry that time. Even he stopped his work to give light to the world. Without Surya Light whole world was going to dark space and Asuras are getting powerful. Than Shani put a Rudraksha on the Surya Planet and worshiped to Lord Shiva. Than the Rdraksha give most brighter light than Surya Light. Then Devraj Indra suspended Surya Deva from Divinity and Surya came to a Jangal and He saw two person who worshiped to Lord Shiva. Then Surya tried to kill those two Asuras Mali and Sumali. But they had a boon from Shiva that who would tried to kill them Shiva will totally destroy him. Thats why Shiva killed Surya for attacking to the Asuras. After geting this news to Surya's father Rishi Kashyppo cursed Shiva, Oneday The Trishul will kill Shiva's son.

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE! You should cite sources.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 3:10

Mali & sumali perfomed penace. Lord shiva was pleased by their penace and appeared before them. Mali and sumali got boon from lord shiva such that whoever attacks them will be killed by lord shiva. Surya dev once went fr rescue of his wife chaya who was attacked by mali and sumali. He attacked mali and sumali in order to rescue chaya. Lord shiva killed surya dev. After that chaya decided to give her life in order to save surya deva. Pleased by devotion of chaya lord shiva gave life to surya dev.


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