Svarbhānu or Swarbhanu (Sanskrit: स्वरभानु, lit. Splendour of Radiance) is a Hindu Asura (demon) traditionally held responsible for solar eclipses in Vedic mythology. The name is also used as an attribute of the demon Rahu in Puranic mythology, who is also connected to solar eclipses.
Svarbhānu is described as an asura twice in the Family Books of the Rig Veda. Svarbhānu is described to strike the Sun with darkness, overshadowing the sun with darkness. Stella Kramrisch considers this act as Svarbhānu as a deity greater than the sun. The Rig veda further narrates after this, the king of heaven - Indra struck down Svarbhānu and sage Atri found the hidden sun and replaced it in the sky. Svarbhanu again appears in the black Yajurveda and the Brahmanas. According to the Brahmanas, Svarbhānu with darkness pierced Āditya (the Sun), whom, however, the gods set free by means of svara (accents).
An assistant of Shukra, the teacher of the asuras and god of the planet Venus, was Svarbhānu, who quaffed the amrita proffered by Mohini, thereby achieving immortality as two beings : his head as Rahu, his body's trunk as Ketu.
According to the Mahabharata, Svarbhānu is described to incarnate as Ugrasena, though here, Svarbhānu denotes Rahu. The Sun god Surya is also described by the attribute the "enemy of Svarbhānu". Svarbhānu is described to strike both the sun and moon with arrows, the celestial bodies are revived by Atri as in the Rigveda.
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