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ARUṆA I(अरुण)

  • 1) Birth.
    Son of Kaśyapa by Vinatā. Kaśyapa, son of Brahmā, married Vinatā and Kadrū, and being so much pleased by their services he gave them boons. Kadrū got the boon to have 1000 nāga (serpent) sons, and Vinatā to have two sons more powerful and vital than the sons of Kadrū. After this Kaśyapa went into the forest again for Tapas. After a period, Kadrū gave birth to 1000 eggs and Vinatā to two. Both the mothers kept their eggs in pots so that they were in the right temperature. After 500 years the pot broke up and Kadrū had her 1000 sons. Vinatā felt pained at this and opened one of her pots. A child only half-developed emerged from the egg and he was Aruṇa. [M.B., Ādi Parva, Chapter 16, Verses 5-7]. After another 500 years the other egg of Vinatā hatched itself and a glowing son emerged. He was Garuḍa.
    2) Genealogy.
    While Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa wandered in the forest searching for Sītā they saw the wounded and disabled Jaṭāyu. Jaṭāyu described his genealogy as follows: “Kaśyapa, son of Brahmā, married the daughters of Dakṣa. Of the two wives, Vinatā delivered two sons, Garuḍa and Aruṇa. Sampāti was Aruṇa's elder son and he (Jaṭāyu) the younger. [Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Araṇyakāṇḍa, Canto 14]. [Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 19] also refers to Garuḍa and Aruṇa as the sons of Vinatā.
    3) Aruṇa curses his mother.
    The fact of Vinatā forcing open one of her eggs prematurely and Aruṇa emerging out of it with only a half-developed body has been mentioned above. Aruṇa got angry at the haste of his mother and cursed her to live as slave of Kadrū for 500 years, and then Garuḍa would redeem her from slavery. He also asked her to wait for 500 years so that the birth of another physically deficient son like himself might be avoided. After pronouncing this curse Aruṇa rose to the sky. This curse was the reason for Vinatā's becoming a slave of Kadrū. [M.B., Ādi Parva, Chapter 16, Verses 18-23].
    4) Aruṇa became charioteer of Sun.
    The Sun and the Moon betrayed to the Devas Rāhu, who waited at the entrance of Devaloka to snatch off the Nectar (Amṛtam) got at the churning of the sea of milk (Kṣīrābdhi). Thenceforth Rāhu does often swallow the Sun and the Moon. That phenomenon is called the eclipse (of the Sun or Moon. Sūrya-grahaṇa and Candra-grahaṇa). Enraged by these frequent attacks of Rāhu, the Sun-God began once to burn like anything. Murmuring that everyone would cooperate when there was something to be achieved, but would go on their own way when the object was achieved, the Sun-God began burning so virulently as to destroy all living forms, and the Devas were frightened by this and took refuge in Brahmā. Brahmā called Aruṇa and asked him to stand as charioteer in front of the Sun-God everyday so that the Sun's intensity might be reduced. From that day onwards Aruṇa has been functioning as the charioteer of the Sun. [M.B., Ādi Parva, Chapter 24, Verses 15-20].
    5) Birth of sons.
    Śyenī, wife of Aruṇa delivered two sons, Sampāti and Jaṭāyu. [M.B., Ādi Parva, Chapter 68, Verse 71].
    6) Aruṇa assumed female form.
    Śīlāvatī, the chaste woman, once did naked Tapas to redeem her husband, Ugratapas from the consequences of a curse. The object of her tapas was to prevent the next dawn (Sunrise). Owing to the intensity of her tapas the Sun ceased to rise, and this gave his charioteer Aruṇa some rest. Then it was that Aruṇa came to know of a programme of naked dance by the women in Devaloka. Women alone were admitted to the dance hall. Aruṇa, therefore, assumed female form and sat among the Deva women, and the beautiful ‘female’ kindled erotic sentiments in Indra and he enjoyed a night with ‘her’. Also, a son was born to them. And, before the day dawned Aruṇa, at the instance of Indra entrusted the child to Ahalyādevī and returned to join duty as the Sun-God's charioteer. (Aruṇa, while he acted as Indra's wife was called Āruṇīdevī). Aruṇa was a bit late to report for duty, and when questioned by Sun he detailed the happenings during the last night. This evoked the desire in the Sun to see Aruṇa in female form. Aruṇa did so, and the Sun enjoyed her. This also resulted in the birth of a son, who too was, at the instance of the Sun, entrusted to Ahalyādevī. Ahalyādevī brought both the children with tender love, which Gautama muni, her husband did not like. He cursed them and turned them into monkeys. After some time Indra went to Ahalyā to see his child and he was told the story of Gautama's curse. Indra searched out both the monkeys. In view of the elder one having a long tail he was called Bāli (Vāli) and the neck of the second one being very beautiful, he was named Sugrīva. At that time, Ṛkṣarāja, the monkey King of Kiṣkindhā was very unhappy because he had no sons. He came to know of Bāli and Sugrīva, and requested Indra to give both the monkeys to him as sons. Indra gladly obliged him. Indra blessed Bāli to the effect that half the strength of anybody who attacked him would be added to his own natural power. Indra then sent him and Sugrīva to Kiṣkindhā.
    7) Synonyms.
    Sūrasūta, Anūru, Aruṇa, Kāśyapi, Garudāgraja.

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