Shri Ganeshaya Namah
A few words before the English rendering of Aaditya Hridayam.
Trying to do justice to verses from the epic Ramayana – the first of all epics in the world – written over 5000 years ago, is impossible by anybody today. And for that matter, Sage Valmiki himself says that the prayer part is older than the epic itself. That must be obviously true, for, Sanskrit language existed in its poetic, prosaic and pristine form much before the penning of the epic. I have just attempted to give the limited version of my understanding of the Slokas (verses). Mistakes, if any, are all mine, and any praise for the work goes to blessings of Lord Ganesha, Lord Rama, the Sun God, and of course Sage Valmiki.
I have followed the system adopted by almost all translators of this great work. A bit of suggestion – to those who would like to take it. Read the original work in Sanskrit, for it has innumerable powers – too complex to be explained by my rather uninitiated self.
Aadityta Hridyam is part of the Yuddha Kaanda (or the war chapter) of Valmiki Ramayana.
Sage Agastya arrived at the battlefield to watch two warriors – Lord Rama and the demon king of Lanka – the ten headed Ravana. Due to incessant war the tired Ravana rested a little and got ready for war again. As Lord Rama was wondering as to how the formidable Ravana could be bested, Agastya began his advice to (Lord Rama to) do the same.
O long limbed Rama, dear Child, I will now reveal to you an ancient secret (method) to win against one’s adversaries. Listen to me (therefore), carefully.
Chanting the (divine verse) Aaditya Hridayam would grant you merits. The verse will help you annihilate all your foes. It is very auspicious and (will render you) beyond destruction.
The best amongst auspicious verses, (Aaditya Hridayam) will destroy all sins, dispel all doubts, worries and increase the longevity of life.
Worship the Sun God who is revered by the denizens of heaven and demons alike, (because) His rays reach all corners (of all the stellar systems) and on that count alone, He is said to be the Lord of the world.
(The Sun God) protects the Universe through his rays and is considered to be the protector of (all living beings be they) Gods or demons.
(Due to the aforesaid qualities), He is Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva (the holy Trinity), Subrahmanya – the generalissimo of the Gods, Indra, Kubera, Yama, Moon and Varuna – all rolled into one.
He is also the origin of all beings, embodiment of all (sense of) direction, the soul of the Aswini twins, controller of all atmospheric movements, the life breath of all living beings, and the Lord of all climes – from spring through fall and winter.
(These apart), He is one of the progeny of (the mother of creation) Aditi, (and in turn) Creator of every living being on the Universe, protector of all objects moving through space and commands the sense of duty (amongst mortals and immortals alike). He of the golden hue, is the preceptor of intellect.
He, who is omnipresent in the eight corners of space, has immeasurable amount of rays, (whose chariot) has seven (celestial) horses. Sun, the God of bliss also decimates those, which are unwanted in the Universe.
Being the One who controls the creation, safety and destruction of beings, (the Sun God) is praised by all living beings in the Universe (as He is) the self-controlled origin of Fire (and therefore) the one who destroys frost.
The Sun God, who traverses the Vindhyas (a mountain chain in central India), in the second part of the (Lunar) calendar, scatters darkness and the embodiment of the wisdom of the Rig, Yajur and Sama (the first three) Vedas, is the emperor of the Heavens.
The round shaped Sun God who rises at dawn in the colour of molten gold, who within himself contains the entire Universe, is the origin of all systems of creation, (by) inhabiting His own Creation, helps (all to) win over enemies, (because) He is benevolent at heart.
(I always) Prostrate before (Sun God) who is the head of the important 27 major stars, and all the minor stars, whose brilliance is more than that of (the) Fire (God himself), and who has twelve faces (for 12 months).
I prostrate before the One who rises in the east and sets in the west, who is the Lord of daylight (and so should you.).
I Worship (therefore so should you) the very embodiment of victory, the sign of auspiciousness, the One who has green coloured horses to carry him.
I Worship (so you too should), the brave and terrible one (for his enemies), the one of quicksilver reflexes, the one who makes (all flowers like) the lotus to bloom, and the one who has the final say in creation at the end of the 4 cyclical periods of time–Kritayuga, Threthayuga, Dwaaparayuga and Kaliyuga followed by the Great Flood.
I Prostrate before Him (so should you), the first among equals of the (first) three Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the One who impels all creations to behave in their ordained, organised way, the One who is in the form of (the brightest) star (in the Universe), and who burns all the unwanted (debris of the Universe), (by His) terrible face.
I Pay obeisance (so do the same) to the One who dispels darkness, who (triggers) the melting of snow, who has innumerable attributes, who decimates the ingrate, who shines by His innate glow, and who is the first amongst all the lights of the Universe.
I bow (so do the same) before the One who has the colour of molten gold, the (seed of) fire (in Him), who destroys the darkness of ignorance, and who is the witness of all merits and demerits of the denizens who inhabit the universe.
He creates the same world he destroys (and ipso facto the same beings within), creates heat by his rays but cools the same by sending down soothing rain.
He remains awake when all the living beings in the Universe are asleep, and due to his fierce form, bestows merit on all those who perform the daily fire ritual (Agnihotra).
The Sun God is the origin and protector of the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva), and decides the Universal path.
Listen O Rama! Anybody who recites these verses of Aaditya Hridayam during difficult times, or during journeys into (the unknown) forests, or when confronted with fear will never suffer.
Without being distracted (by the surroundings) pray thrice (a day) to the Lord of all (mortal and immortal) beings – the Sun God and you shall win (all) your battles.
After blessing the long limbed Lord Rama thus, and predicting that He would slay (the demon) Ravana, sage Agastya took leave.
His (clouds of) worry thus dispelled, the lustrous (Lord Rama) obeyed (verbatim) the sayings of sage Agastya with great happiness.
After purifying himself with water thrice, with undisturbed concentration, the invincible Lord Rama prayed to the Sun God thrice and thereafter picked up his bow (to fight Ravana).
Lord Rama thus cheered, advanced towards Ravana in full concentration with a will to slay him.
Thus pleased with Lord Rama, the Sun God surrounded by all the Gods in heaven showed him the path to decimate Ravana. Thus ends the Praise of the Sun God in the Yuddha Kaanda (the war chapter) in Valmiki Ramayana.