What's the status of Surya as a deity as per acharyas of major sects (currently Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shaktas)?

Adi Shankaracharya listed him as one of the five equally worship-worthy Pañcayatan deities. So, roughly on a Saguna level, in the Smarta, we may consider him Bhagvān.

But, I have more so heard confusing terminologies/epithets being used for the Sun-God. People sometimes call him 'Surya-deva' , other times 'Bhagvān Surya', unlike Vishnu and Shiva who are mostly celebrated with the 'Bhagvān' epithet (at least in the layman jargon).

How about Vaishnavas, Shaiva and Shaktas? Is he considered "higher" than Indra (the King of the devas)? Does Surya fall under Indra's dominion?

Or, is he accorded the Bhagvān status too?

Note, that I'm not looking for direct scriptural statements like Aditya Hridya Stotra, where he's clearly glorified as just everything (Brahman), but more so, interpretation by acharyas of the sects on Surya's exact divinity status.

  • there is only one active sect (with subsects) today with significant numbers..
    – S K
    May 1, 2022 at 12:55
  • 2
    What is the reason for downvotes?
    – hanugm
    May 1, 2022 at 13:48

1 Answer 1



1. Smarta Sect:

Obviously, the Smarta sect considers the five panchayatana deities (Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva & Shakti) as equivalent Saguna-form of the one Supreme Nirguna Brahman.

Swami Nischalanandaji, the Shankaracharya of the Puri Math, explains in detail, about this viewpoint of the Smartas, in this Video.

2. Ganapatya Sect:

I don't know about the official statement from the sects acharyas, however, this statement of god Ganesha from the Ganesha Gita, is signage towards the equivalence of Surya as a Bhagvān.

Ganesha Gita 1.21

शिवे विष्णौ च शक्तौ च सूर्ये मयि नराधिप ।
याऽभेदबुद्धिर्योगः स सम्यग्योगो मतो मम ॥ २१ ॥

  1. God Ganesha spoke to Vyasa - "In my view, the real Yoga means observance of a complete non-difference, and non-duality between Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Surya and Me."

English Translation based on Gita Press's Hindi version.

However, the Supreme Brahman in this sect is the Maha-Ganapati, if I recall correctly (source for this, currently I cannot locate).

So, officially, at least we can say that the Smarta-Sampradaya recognizes the Sun-god, Surya as a Bhagvān.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .