Aruna (Hinduism)

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the impression carved sitting just above the chariot, is Anura - robust phoenix unparalled in wisdom
saptasva chariot of Surya driven by Anura

Anura (Sanskrit: अनूरु; IAST: Anoora) literally means "one with no lower body or no thighs") is the charioteer of Surya (Sun god) in Hinduism.[1] This word is different from 'Aruna' (meaning reddish glow of the rising Sun), { Undeniably both sons of Vinata have bright charismatic aura yet the first born is not 'Aruna', but called 'Anura' or 'Anuru'}[2]

Anura is also found in Buddhism and Jainism literature and arts. He is the older brother of Garuda. Anura and Garuda are the sons of Vedic sage Kashyapa and his wife Vinata, daughter of Prajapati Daksha and Prasuti. His children were Sampati and Jatayu.

Mythology[edit]

Birth[edit]

Anura is found in different, inconsistent Indian legends. In the epic Mahabharata,[3] he was born prematurely and partially developed from an egg. According to this version, Kashyapa Prajapati's two wives Vinata and Kadru wanted to have children. Kashyapa granted them a boon.[4] Kadru asked for one thousand 'Dirghadeha' (meaning long bodied) Nāga (serpent) sons, while Vinata wanted only two yet extremely strong 'Divyadeha' (meaning emitting golden aura from body). Kashyapa blessed them, and then went away to a forest. Later, Kadru gave birth to one thousand eggs, while Vinata gave birth to two eggs. These incubated for five hundred years, upon which Kadru broke the eggs open and out came her 1,000 sons. Vinata eager for her sons, broke one of the eggs from which emerged the partially formed Anuru. Since Anura was born prematurely, his body was partially developed. Enraged by the haste of his mother, he cursed her that she will become the slave of Kadru for 500 years, when the second egg will break and his son will redeem her.[5] Having cursed his mother, Anura disappeared. He was bestowed to be the charioteer to Surya by his father, Prajapati Kasyapa. Accordingly, Vinata waited, and later the fully developed mighty eagle, her second born named Garuda (vehicle of Vishnu) was born.[4]

The epic narrates that in another tale that Surya began burning intensely angered by the attacks of Rahu (Rahu swallowing Surya is described to cause solar eclipses in Hindu mythology). The heat was so intense that it started destroying all living beings. The god Brahma asked Anura to become the charioteer of Surya, to shelter beings from Surya's burning heat.[3]

In the epics[edit]

According to the Ramayana, Anura was married to Shyeni[6] with whom he had two sons – Jatayu and Sampati.[7] Both of his sons played important role in the epic.

There is a legend about Mahabharata that Surya offered Anura and his divine chariot to his son Karna which he denied as he didn't want to rely on others to win the war, especially against Arjuna, who he acknowledged as a capable rival .[8]

Another legend, generally told in Indian folk tales linked to the Ramayana, states that Anura, once became a woman named Aruni and entered an assembly of celestial nymphs, where no man except the king of Heaven - Indra was allowed. Indra fell in love with Aruni and fathered a son named Vali from her. The next day, at Surya's request, Anura again assumed female form, and Surya fathered a son, Sugriva. Both children were given to Ahalya for rearing, but her husband sage Gautama cursed them, causing them to turn into monkeys, as he did not like them.[3][9][1]

{kindly do not confuse Anura with Aruna. Arun is another name to the Sun god, one of the Vasus born to Prajapati Kasyapa and Aditi }

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  2. ^ "Sanskrit - Dictionary". www.learnsanskrit.cc. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Mani p. 55
  4. ^ a b George M. Williams (2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2.
  5. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Astika Parva: Section XVI". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Sanskrit - Dictionary". www.learnsanskrit.cc. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  7. ^ Dalal, Roshen (18 April 2014). The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-81-8475-396-7.
  8. ^ Agarwal, Himanshu (20 August 2019). Mahabharata Retold Part-2. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-64587-785-1.
  9. ^ Freeman 2001, pp. 201–4.

General references[edit]