Tantra. Saura sect

This sect worships the sun (surya). Though they may appear to worship the physical sun, the real object of worship is that of which the sun is but a symbol: the absolute (Brahman). It is a fitting symbol, for in the same way that the material sun illuminates and sustains the solar system, so the supreme illuminator sustains and is the source of everything seen and unseen, known and unknown. The followers of this sect regard the sun as an emblem of the absolute. Furthermore, the material sun is an indicator of the power of shakti operating throughout the universe, and it is a symbol of the light of consciousness of Shiva.

This sect has its roots in the depths of time, for the sun has always been venerated by people throughout the world. Many people have regarded it as mere nature worship, without really understanding the deeper significance. Yet the sun is an obvious nature created symbol of power. Even those who lacked sophistication and who perhaps lived in primitive conditions could, like everyone else, feel the power of the sun. They couid gaze in awe at the rising sun, feel its power and feel a strange stirring within them, a feeling that made them grasp a glimmer of the immense power of the cosmic or spiritual sun shining directly through their inner being. No religious system is really necessary.

The followers of sun worship in India are found mainly in Assam, Orissa and Bengal. In fact, there is a wonderful and world famous temple in Konarak, Orissa which is dedicated to Surya, the sun and all it represents. In certain bygone civilizations, the spiritual sun was also personified: Mithra by the ancient Persians, Apollo by the Greeks, and so on. In fact, it would seem that many religious traditions have worshipped the spiritual sun in a personified form. However, in modern times this has been heavily disguised and people usually fail to realize that a deity or form has its roots in sun worship. Without the material sun, nothing could live. In the same way, nothing could exist without Brahman, the light of consciousness (Shiva) and the power of manifestation and sustenance (Shakti). Worship of the sun is an obvious, yet beautiful way of venerating the transcendental through means of a symbol. This sect has almost faded away as a distinct sect in present day India.

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