Chapter Twenty-one
The Movements of the Sun
This chapter informs us of the movements of the sun. The sun is not stationary; it is also moving like the other planets. The sun’s movements determine the duration of night and day. When the sun travels north of the equator, it moves slowly during the day and very quickly at night, thus increasing the duration of the daytime and decreasing the duration of night. Similarly, when the sun travels south of the equator, the exact opposite is true—the duration of the day decreases, and the duration of night increases. When the sun enters Karkaṭa-rāśi (Cancer) and then travels to Siṁha-rāśi (Leo) and so on through Dhanuḥ-rāśi (Sagittarius), its course is called Dakṣiṇāyana, the southern way, and when the sun enters Makara-rāśi (Capricorn) and thereafter travels through Kumbharāśi (Aquarius) and so on through Mithuna-rāśi (Gemini), its course is called Uttarāyaṇa, the northern way. When the sun is in Meṣa-rāśi (Aries) and Tulā-rāśi (Libra), the duration of day and night are equal.
On Mānasottara Mountain are the abodes of four demigods. East of Sumeru Mountain is Devadhānī, where King Indra lives, and south of Sumeru is Saṁyamanī, the abode of Yamarāja, the superintendent of death. Similarly, west of Sumeru is Nimlocanī, the abode of Varuṇa, the demigod who controls the water, and north of Sumeru is Vibhāvarī, where the demigod of the moon lives. Sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight occur in all these places because of the movements of the sun. Diametrically opposite the place where the sunrise takes places and the sun is seen by human eyes, the sun will be setting and passing away from human vision. Similarly, the people residing diametrically opposite the point where it is midday will be experiencing midnight. The sun rises and sets with all the other planets, headed by the moon and other luminaries.
The entire kāla-cakra, or wheel of time, is established on the wheel of the sun-god’s chariot. This wheel is known as Saṁvatsara. The seven horses pulling the chariot of the sun are known as Gāyatrī, Bṛhatī, Uṣṇik, Jagatī, Triṣṭup, Anuṣṭup and Paṅkti. They are harnessed by a demigod known as Aruṇadeva to a yoke 900,000 yojanas wide. Thus the chariot carries Ādityadeva, the sun-god. Always staying in front of the sun-god and offering their prayers are sixty thousand sages known as Vālikhilyas. There are fourteen Gandharvas, Apsarās and other demigods, who are divided into seven parties and who perform ritualistic activities every month to worship the Supersoul through the sun-god according to different names. Thus the sun-god travels through the universe for a distance of 95,100,000 yojanas (760,800,000 miles) at a speed of 16,004 miles at every moment.
śrī-śuka uvāca
etāvān eva bhū-valayasya sanniveśaḥ pramāṇa-lakṣaṇato vyākhyātaḥ.
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; etāvān—so much; eva—certainly; bhū-valayasya sanniveśaḥ—the arrangement of the whole universe; pramāṇa-lakṣaṇataḥ—according to measurement (fifty crores of yojanas, or four billion miles in width and length) and characteristics; vyākhyātaḥ—estimated.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, I have thus far described the diameter of the universe [fifty crores of yojanas, or four billion miles] and its general characteristics, according to the estimations of learned scholars.
etena hi divo maṇḍala-mānaṁ tad-vida upadiśanti yathā dvi-dalayor niṣpāvādīnāṁ te antareṇāntarikṣaṁ tad-ubhaya-sandhitam.
etena—by this estimation; hi—indeed; divaḥ—of the upper planetary system; maṇḍala-mānam—the measurement of the globe; tat-vidaḥ—the experts who know about it; upadiśanti—instruct; yathā—just as; dvi-dalayoḥ—in the two halves; niṣpāva-ādīnām—of grain such as wheat; te—of the two divisions; antareṇa—in the intervening space; antarikṣam—the sky or outer space; tat—by the two; ubhaya—on both sides; sandhitam—where the two parts join.
As a grain of wheat is divided into two parts and one can estimate the size of the upper part by knowing that of the lower, so, expert geographers instruct, one can understand the measurements of the upper part of the universe by knowing those of the lower part. The sky between the earthly sphere and heavenly sphere is called antarikṣa, or outer space. It adjoins the top of the sphere of earth and the bottom of that of heaven.
yan-madhya-gato bhagavāṁs tapatāṁ patis tapana ātapena tri-lokīṁ pratapaty avabhāsayaty ātma-bhāsā sa eṣa udagayana-dakṣiṇāyana-vaiṣuvata-saṁjñābhir māndya-śaighrya-samānābhir gatibhir ārohaṇāvarohaṇa-samāna-sthāneṣu yathā-savanam abhipadyamāno makarādiṣu rāśiṣv aho-rātrāṇi dīrgha-hrasva-samānāni vidhatte.
yat—of which (the intermediate space); madhya-gataḥ—being situated in the middle; bhagavān—the most powerful; tapatām patiḥ—the master of those that heat the whole universe; tapanaḥ—the sun; ātapena—by heat; tri-lokīm—the three worlds; pratapati—heats; avabhāsayati—lights; ātma-bhāsā—by its own illuminating rays; saḥ—that; eṣaḥ—the sun globe; udagayana—of passing to the northern side of the equator; dakṣiṇa-ayana—of passing to the southern side of the equator; vaiṣuvata—or of passing through the equator; saṁjñābhiḥ—by different names; māndya—characterized by slowness; śaighrya—swiftness; samānābhiḥ—and by equality; gatibhiḥ—by movement; ārohaṇa—of rising; avarohaṇa—of going down; samāna—or of staying in the middle; sthāneṣu—in positions; yathā-savanam—according to the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; abhipadyamānaḥ—moving; makara-ādiṣu—headed by the sign Makara (Capricorn); rāśiṣu—in different signs; ahaḥ-rātrāṇi—the days and nights; dīrgha—long; hrasva—short; samānāni—equal; vidhatte—makes.
In the midst of that region of outer space [antarikṣa] is the most opulent sun, the king of all the planets that emanate heat, such as the moon. By the influence of its radiation, the sun heats the universe and maintains its proper order. It also gives light to help all living entities see. While passing toward the north, toward the south or through the equator, in accordance with the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is said to move slowly, swiftly or moderately. According to its movements in rising above, going beneath or passing through the equator—and correspondingly coming in touch with various signs of the zodiac, headed by Makara [Capricorn]—days and nights are short, long or equal to one another.
Lord Brahmā prays in his Brahma-saṁhitā (5.52):
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead under whose control even the sun, which is considered to be the eye of the Lord, rotates within the fixed orbit of eternal time. The sun is the king of all planetary systems and has unlimited potency in heat and light.” Although the sun is described as bhagavān, the most powerful, and although it is actually the most powerful planet within the universe, it nevertheless has to carry out the order of Govinda, Kṛṣṇa. The sun-god cannot deviate even an inch from the orbit designated to him. Therefore in every sphere of life, the supreme order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is carried out. The entire material nature carries out His orders. However, we foolishly see the activities of material nature without understanding the supreme order and Supreme Person behind them. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ: [Bg. 9.10] material nature carries out the orders of the Lord, and thus everything is maintained in an orderly way.
yadā meṣa-tulayor vartate tadāho-rātrāṇi samānāni bhavanti yadā vṛṣabhādiṣu pañcasu ca rāśiṣu carati tadāhāny eva vardhante hrasati ca māsi māsy ekaikā ghaṭikā rātriṣu.
yadā—when; meṣa-tulayoḥ—in Meṣa (Aries) and Tulā (Libra); vartate—the sun exists; tadā—at that time; ahaḥ-rātrāṇi—the days and nights; samānāni—equal in duration; bhavanti—are; yadā—when; vṛṣabha-ādiṣu—headed by Vṛṣabha (Taurus) and Mithuna (Gemini); pañcasu—in the five; ca—also; rāśiṣu—signs; carati—moves; tadā—at that time; ahāni—the days; eva—certainly; vardhante—increase; hrasati—is diminished; ca—and; māsi māsi—in every month; eka-ekā—one; ghaṭikā—half hour; rātriṣu—in the nights.
When the sun passes through Meṣa [Aries] and Tulā [Libra], the durations of day and night are equal. When it passes through the five signs headed by Vṛṣabha [Taurus], the duration of the days increases [until Cancer], and then it gradually decreases by half an hour each month, until day and night again become equal [in Libra].
yadā vṛścikādiṣu pañcasu vartate tadāho-rātrāṇi viparyayāṇi bhavanti.
yadā—when; vṛścika-ādiṣu—headed by Vṛścika (Scorpio); pañcasu—five; vartate—remains; tadā—at that time; ahaḥ-rātrāṇi—the days and nights; viparyayāṇi—the opposite (the duration of the day decreases, and that of night increases); bhavanti—are.
When the sun passes through the five signs beginning with Vṛścika [Scorpio], the duration of the days decreases [until Capricorn], and then gradually it increases month after month, until day and night become equal [in Aries].
yāvad dakṣiṇāyanam ahāni vardhante yāvad udagayanaṁ rātrayaḥ.
yāvat—until; dakṣiṇa-ayanam—the sun passes to the southern side; ahāni—the days; vardhante—increase; yāvat—until; udagayanam—the sun passes to the northern side; rātrayaḥ—the nights.
Until the sun travels to the south the days grow longer, and until it travels to the north the nights grow longer.
evaṁ nava koṭaya eka-pañcāśal-lakṣāṇi yojanānāṁ mānasottara-giri-parivartanasyopadiśanti tasminn aindrīṁ purīṁ pūrvasmān meror devadhānīṁ nāma dakṣiṇato yāmyāṁ saṁyamanīṁ nāma paścād vāruṇīṁ nimlocanīṁ nāma uttarataḥ saumyāṁ vibhāvarīṁ nāma tāsūdaya-madhyāhnāstamaya-niśīthānīti bhūtānāṁ pravṛtti-nivṛtti-nimittāni samaya-viśeṣeṇa meroś catur-diśam.
evam—thus; nava—nine; koṭayaḥ—ten millions; eka-pañcāśat—fifty-one; lakṣāṇi—hundred thousands; yojanānām—of the yojanas; mānasottara-giri—of the mountain known as Mānasottara; parivartanasya—of the circumambulation; upadiśanti—they (learned scholars) teach; tasmin—on that (Mānasottara Mountain); aindrīm—of King Indra; purīm—the city; pūrvasmāt—on the eastern side; meroḥ—of Sumeru Mountain; devadhānīm—Devadhānī; nāma—of the name; dakṣiṇataḥ—on the southern side; yāmyām—of Yamarāja; saṁyamanīmSaṁyamanī; nāma—named; paścāt—on the western side; vāruṇīm—of Varuṇa; nimlocanīm—Nimlocanī; nāma—named; uttarataḥ—on the northern side; saumyām—of the moon; vibhāvarīm—Vibhāvarī; nāma—named; tāsu—in all of them; udaya—rising; madhyāhna—midday; astamaya—sunset; niśīthāni—midnight; iti—thus; bhūtānām—of the living entities; pravṛtti—of activity; nivṛtti—and cessation of activity; nimittāni—the causes; samaya-viśeṣeṇa—by the particular times; meroḥ—of Sumeru Mountain; catuḥ-diśam—the four sides.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued; My dear King, as stated before, the learned say that the sun travels over all sides of Mānasottara Mountain in a circle whose length is 95,100,000 yojanas [760,800,000 miles]. On Mānasottara Mountain, due east of Mount Sumeru, is a place known as Devadhānī, possessed by King Indra. Similarly, in the south is a place known as Saṁyamanī, possessed by Yamarāja, in the west is a place known as Nimlocanī, possessed by Varuṇa, and in the north is a place named Vibhāvarī, possessed by the moon-god. Sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight occur in all those places according to specific times, thus engaging all living entities in their various occupational duties and also making them cease such duties.
tatratyānāṁ divasa-madhyaṅgata eva sadādityas tapati savyenācalaṁ dakṣiṇena karoti; yatrodeti tasya ha samāna-sūtra-nipāte nimlocati yatra kvacana syandenābhitapati tasya haiṣa samāna-sūtra-nipāte prasvāpayati tatra gataṁ na paśyanti ye taṁ samanupaśyeran.
tatratyānām—for the living entities residing on Mount Meru; divasa-madhyaṅgataḥ—being positioned as at midday; eva—indeed; sadā—always; ādityaḥ—the sun; tapati—heats; savyena—to the left side; acalamSumeru Mountain; dakṣiṇena—to the right (being forced by wind blowing to the right, the sun moves to the right); karoti—moves; yatra—the point where; udeti—it rises; tasya—of that position; ha—certainly; samāna-sūtra-nipāte—at the diametrically opposite point; nimlocati—the sun sets; yatra—where; kvacana—somewhere; syandena—with perspiration; abhitapati—heats (at midday); tasya—of that; ha—certainly; eṣaḥ—this (the sun); samāna-sūtra-nipāte—at the diametrically opposite point; prasvāpayati—the sun causes to sleep (as at midnight); tatra—there; gatam—gone; na paśyanti—do not see; ye—who; tam—the sunset; samanupaśyeran—seeing.
The living entities residing on Sumeru Mountain are always very warm, as at midday, because for them the sun is always overhead. Although the sun moves counterclockwise, facing the constellations, with Sumeru Mountain on its left, it also moves clockwise and appears to have the mountain on its right because it is influenced by the dakṣiṇāvarta wind. People living in countries at points diametrically opposite to where the sun is first seen rising will see the sun setting, and if a straight line were drawn from a point where the sun is at midday, the people in countries at the opposite end of the line would be experiencing midnight. Similarly, if people residing where the sun is setting were to go to countries diametrically opposite, they would not see the sun in the same condition.
yadā caindryāḥ puryāḥ pracalate pañcadaśa-ghaṭikābhir yāmyāṁ sapāda-koṭi-dvayaṁ yojanānāṁ sārdha-dvādaśa-lakṣāṇi sādhikāni copayāti.
yadā—when; ca—and; aindryāḥ—of Indra; puryāḥ—from the residence; pracalate—it moves; pañcadaśa—by fifteen; ghaṭikābhiḥ—half hours (actually twenty-four minutes); yāmyām—to the residence of Yamarāja; sapāda-koṭi-dvayam—two and a quarter crores (22,500,000); yojanānām—of yojanas; sārdha—and one half; dvādaśa-lakṣāṇi—twelve hundred thousand; sādhikāni—twenty-five thousand more; ca—and; upayāti—he passes over.
When the sun travels from Devadhānī, the residence of Indra, to Saṁyamanī, the residence of Yamarāja, it travels 23,775,000 yojanas [190,200,000 miles] in fifteen ghaṭikās [six hours].
The distance indicated by the word sādhikāni is pañca-viṁśati-sahasrādhikāni, or 25,000 yojanas. That plus two and a half crores and twelve and a half lakṣa of yojanas is the distance the sun travels between each two cities. This comes to 23,775,000 yojanas, or 190,200,000 miles. The total orbit of the sun is four times that distance, or 95,100,000 yojanas (760,800,000 miles).
evaṁ tato vāruṇīṁ saumyām aindrīṁ ca punas tathānye ca grahāḥ somādayo nakṣatraiḥ saha jyotiś-cakre samabhyudyanti saha vā nimlo-canti.
evam—in this way; tataḥ—from there; vāruṇīm—to the quarters where Varuṇa lives; saumyām—to the quarters where the moon lives; aindrīṁ ca—and to the quarters where Indra lives; punaḥ—again; tathā—so also; anye—the others; ca—also; grahāḥ—planets; soma-ādayaḥ—headed by the moon; nakṣatraiḥ—all the stars; saha—with; jyotiḥ-cakre—in the celestial sphere; samabhyudyanti—rise; saha—along with; —or; nimlocanti—set.
From the residence of Yamarāja the sun travels to Nimlocanī, the residence of Varuṇa, from there to Vibhāvarī, the residence of the moon-god, and from there again to the residence of Indra. In a similar way, the moon, along with the other stars and planets, becomes visible in the celestial sphere and then sets and again becomes invisible.
In Bhagavad-gītā (10.21) Kṛṣṇa says, nakṣatrāṇām ahaṁ śaśī: “Of stars I am the moon.” This indicates that the moon is similar to the other stars. The Vedic literature informs us that within this universe there is one sun, which is moving. The Western theory that all the luminaries in the sky are different suns is not confirmed in the Vedic literature. Nor can we assume that these luminaries are the suns of other universes, for each universe is covered by various layers of material elements, and therefore although the universes are clustered together, we cannot see from one universe to another. In other words, whatever we see is within this one universe. In each universe there is one Lord Brahmā, and there are other demigods on other planets, but there is only one sun.
evaṁ muhūrtena catus-triṁśal-lakṣa-yojanāny aṣṭa-śatādhikāni sauro rathas trayīmayo ’sau catasṛṣu parivartate purīṣu.
evam—thus; muhūrtena—in a muhūrta (forty-eight minutes); catuḥ-triṁśat—thirty-four; lakṣa—hundred thousands; yojanāniyojanas; aṣṭa-śatādhikāni—increased by eight hundred; sauraḥ rathaḥ—the chariot of the sun-god; trayī-mayaḥ—which is worshiped by the Gāyatrī mantra (oṁ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat savitur, etc.); asau—that; catasṛṣu—to the four; parivartate—he moves; purīṣu—through different residential quarters.
Thus the chariot of the sun-god, which is trayīmaya, or worshiped by the words oṁ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, travels through the four residences mentioned above at a speed of 3,400,800 yojanas [27,206,400 miles] in a muhūrta.
yasyaikaṁ cakraṁ dvādaśāraṁ ṣaṇ-nemi tri-ṇābhi saṁvatsarātmakaṁ samāmananti tasyākṣo meror mūrdhani kṛto mānasottare kṛtetara-bhāgo yatra protaṁ ravi-ratha-cakraṁ taila-yantra-cakravad bhraman mānasottara-girau paribhramati.
yasya—of which; ekam—one; cakram—wheel; dvādaśa—twelve; aram—spokes; ṣaṭ—six; nemi—the segments of the rim; tri-ṇābhi—the three pieces of the hub; saṁvatsara-ātmakam—whose nature is a saṁvatsara; samāmananti—they fully describe; tasya—the chariot of the sun-god; akṣaḥ—the axle; meroḥ—of Sumeru Mountain; mūrdhani—on the top; kṛtaḥ—fixed; mānasottare—on the mountain known as Mānasottara; kṛta—fixed; itara-bhāgaḥ—the other end; yatra—where; protam—fixed on; ravi-ratha-cakram—the wheel of the chariot of the sun-god; taila-yantra-cakra-vat—like the wheel of an oil-pressing machine; bhramat—moving; mānasottara-girau—on Mānasottara Mountain; paribhramati—turns.
The chariot of the sun-god has only one wheel, which is known as Saṁvatsara. The twelve months are calculated to be its twelve spokes, the six seasons are the sections of its rim, and the three cātur-māsya periods are its three-sectioned hub. One side of the axle carrying the wheel rests upon the summit of Mount Sumeru, and the other rests upon Mānasottara Mountain. Affixed to the outer end of the axle, the wheel continuously rotates on Mānasottara Mountain like the wheel of an oil-pressing machine.
tasminn akṣe kṛtamūlo dvitīyo ’kṣas turyamānena sammitas taila-yantrākṣavad dhruve kṛtopari-bhāgaḥ.
tasmin akṣe—in that axle; kṛta-mūlaḥ—whose base is fixed; dvitīyaḥ—a second; akṣaḥ—axle; turyamānena—by one fourth; sammitaḥ—measured; taila-yantra-akṣa-vat—like the axle of an oil-pressing machine; dhruve—to Dhruvaloka; kṛta—fixed; upari-bhāgaḥ—upper portion.
As in an oil-pressing machine, this first axle is attached to a second axle, which is one-fourth as long [3,937,500 yojanas, or 31,500,000 miles]. The upper end of this second axle is attached to Dhruvaloka by a rope of wind.
ratha-nīḍas tu ṣaṭ-triṁśal-lakṣa-yojanāyatas tat-turīya-bhāga-viśālas tāvān ravi-ratha-yugo yatra hayāś chando-nāmānaḥ saptāruṇa-yojitā vahanti devam ādityam.
ratha-nīḍaḥ—the interior of the chariot; tu—but; ṣaṭ-triṁśat-lakṣa-yojana-āyataḥ—3,600,000 yojanas long; tat-turīya-bhāga—one quarter of that measure (900,000 yojanas); viśālaḥ—having a width; tāvān—so much also; ravi-ratha-yugaḥ—the yoke for the horses; yatra—where; hayāḥ—horses; chandaḥ-nāmānaḥ—having the different names of Vedic meters; sapta—seven; aruṇa-yojitāḥ—hooked up by Aruṇadeva; vahanti—carry; devam—the demigod; ādityam—the sun-god.
My dear King, the carriage of the sun-god’s chariot is estimated to be 3,600,000 yojanas [28,800,000 miles] long and one-fourth as wide [900,000 yojanas, or 7,200,000 miles]. The chariot’s horses, which are named after Gāyatrī and other Vedic meters, are harnessed by Aruṇadeva to a yoke that is also 900,000 yojanas wide. This chariot continuously carries the sun-god.
In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is stated:
gāyatrī ca bṛhaty uṣṇig
jagatī triṣṭup eva ca
anuṣṭup paṅktir ity uktāś
chandāṁsi harayo raveḥ
The seven horses yoked to the sun-god’s chariot are named Gāyatrī, Bṛhati, Uṣṇik, Jagatī, Triṣṭup, Anuṣṭup and Paṅkti. These names of various Vedic meters designate the seven horses that carry the sun-god’s chariot.
purastāt savitur aruṇaḥ paścāc ca niyuktaḥ sautye karmaṇi kilāste.
purastāt—in front; savituḥ—of the sun-god; aruṇaḥ—the demigod named Aruṇa; paścāt—looking backward; ca—and; niyuktaḥ—engaged; sautye—of a charioteer; karmaṇi—in the work; kila—certainly; āste—remains.
Although Aruṇadeva sits in front of the sun-god and is engaged in driving the chariot and controlling the horses, he looks backward toward the sun-god.
In the Vāyu Purāṇa the position of the horses is described:
vahante vāmato ravim
cakre vākṣaḥ samāhitaḥ
Although Aruṇadeva is in the front seat, controlling the horses, he looks back toward the sun-god from his left side.
tathā vālikhilyā ṛṣayo ’ṅguṣṭha-parva-mātrāḥ ṣaṣṭi-sahasrāṇi purataḥ sūryaṁ sūkta-vākāya niyuktāḥ saṁstuvanti.
tathā—there; vālikhilyāḥ—Vālikhilyas; ṛṣayaḥ—great sages; aṅguṣṭha-parva-mātrāḥ—whose size is that of a thumb; ṣaṣṭi-sahasrāṇi—sixty thousand; purataḥ—in front; sūryam—the sun-god; su-ukta-vākāya—for speaking eloquently; niyuktāḥ—engaged; saṁstuvanti—offer prayers.
There are sixty thousand saintly persons named Vālikhilyas, each the size of a thumb, who are located in front of the sun-god and who offer him eloquent prayers of glorification.
tathānye ca ṛṣayo gandharvāpsaraso nāgā grāmaṇyo yātudhānā devā ity ekaikaśo gaṇāḥ sapta caturdaśa māsi māsi bhagavantaṁ sūryam ātmānaṁ nānā-nāmānaṁ pṛthaṅ-nānā-nāmānaḥ pṛthak-karmabhir dvandvaśa upāsate.
tathā—similarly; anye—others; ca—also; ṛṣayaḥ—saintly persons; gandharva-apsarasaḥ—Gandharvas and Apsarās; nāgāḥNāga snakes; grāmaṇyaḥ—Yakṣas; yātudhānāḥ—Rākṣasas; devāḥ—demigods; iti—thus; eka-ekaśaḥ—one by one; gaṇāḥ—groups; sapta—seven; caturdaśa—fourteen in number; māsi māsi—in every month; bhagavantam—unto the most powerful demigod; sūryam—the sun-god; ātmānam—the life of the universe; nānā—various; nāmānam—who possesses names; pṛthak—separate; nānā-nāmānaḥ—having various names; pṛthak—separate; karmabhiḥ—by ritualistic ceremonies; dvandvaśaḥ—in groups of two; upāsate—worship.
Similarly, fourteen other saints, Gandharvas, Apsarās, Nāgas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and demigods, who are divided into groups of two, assume different names every month and continuously perform different ritualistic ceremonies to worship the Supreme Lord as the most powerful demigod Sūryadeva, who holds many names.
In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said:
stuvanti munayaḥ sūryaṁ
gandharvair gīyate puraḥ
nṛtyanto ’psaraso yānti
sūryasyānu niśācarāḥ
vahanti pannagā yakṣaiḥ
kriyate ’bhiṣusaṅgrahaḥ
vālikhilyās tathaivainaṁ
parivārya samāsate
so ’yaṁ sapta-gaṇaḥ sūrya-
maṇḍale muni-sattama
himoṣṇa vāri-vṛṣṭīṇāṁ
hetutve samayaṁ gataḥ
Worshiping the most powerful demigod Sūrya, the Gandharvas sing in front of him, the Apsarās dance before the chariot, the Niśācaras follow the chariot, the Pannagas decorate the chariot, the Yakṣas guard the chariot, and the saints called the Vālikhilyas surround the sun-god and offer prayers. The seven groups of fourteen associates arrange the proper times for regular snow, heat and rain throughout the universe.
lakṣottaraṁ sārdha-nava-koṭi-yojana-parimaṇḍalaṁ bhū-valayasya kṣaṇena sagavyūty-uttaraṁ dvi-sahasra-yojanāni sa bhuṅkte.
lakṣa-uttaram—increased by 100,000; sārdha—with 5,000,000; nava-koṭi-yojana—of 90,000,000 yojanas; parimaṇḍalam—circumference; bhū-valayasya—of the earthly sphere; kṣaṇena—in one moment; sagavyūti-uttaram—augmented by two krośas (four miles); dvi-sahasra-yojanāni—2,000 yojanas; saḥ—the sun-god; bhuṅkte—traverses.
My dear King, in his orbit through Bhū-maṇḍala, the sun-god traverses a distance of 95,100,000 yojanas [760,800,000 miles] at the speed of 2,000 yojanas and two krośas [16,004 miles] in a moment.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fifth Canto, Twenty-first Chapter of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled, “The Movements of the Sun.”

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