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Title: Ādityas  
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Subject: Varuna, Solar deity, Deva (Hinduism), Rigveda, Hindu deities
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Devanagari आदित्य
Sanskrit Transliteration Ādityas
Affiliation Adityas
Abode Heaven
Mantra Aum Adityebhyah Namah
Weapon Various
Consort Various
Mount Horses and many others

In Hinduism, Ādityas (Sanskrit: आदित्य, pronounced ), meaning "of Aditi", refers to the offspring of Aditi. In Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the Sun God, Surya. Bhagavata Purana[1] lists total 12 Adityas as twelve Sun-gods. In each month of the year, it is a different Aditya (Sun God) who shines. All these 12 Adityas are the opulent expansions of Lord Vishnu in the form of Sun-God.[2]


In the Rigveda, the Ādityas are the seven celestial deities, sons of Āditi,

  1. Varuna
  2. Mitra
  3. Aryaman
  4. Bhaga
  5. Anśa or Aṃśa
  6. Dhatri
  7. Indra
  8. Vayu (Mārtanda)

The eighth Āditya (Mārtanda) was rejected by Aditi, leaving seven sons. In the Yajurveda (Taittirīya Samhita), their number is given as eight, and the last one is believed to be Vivasvān. Hymn LXXII of Rig Veda, Book 10, also confirms that there are nine Adityas, the eight one being Mārtanda, who is later revived back as Vivasvān. [3]

"So with her eight Sons Aditi went forth to meet the earlier age. She brought Mārtanda thitherward to spring to life and die again."

The rigvedic Ādityas are Asuras, a class of gods in the Rigveda and are distinct from other groups such as the Maruts, the Rbhus or the Viśve-devāḥ (although Mitra and Varuna are associated with the latter). [4]

Bhagavata Purana

In the Bhagavata Purana, names of 12 Adityas (Sun-Gods) are given:

  1. Varuna
  2. Mitra
  3. Aryama
  4. Bhaga
  5. Amshuman
  6. Dhata
  7. Indra
  8. Parjanya (Savitr?)
  9. Tvashtha
  10. Vishnu (The head of all the Adityas[5])
  11. Pushya
  12. Vivasvan

In each month of the year, it is a different Aditya (Sun-God) who shines.[1] As Indra, Surya destroys the enemies of the gods. As Dhata, he creates living beings. As Parjanya, he showers down rain. As Tvashta, he lives in the trees and herbs. As Pusha, he makes foodgrains grow. As Aryama, he is in the wind. As Bhaga, he is in the body of all living beings. As Vivasvana, he is in fire and helps to cook food. As Vishnu, he destroys the enemies of the gods. As Amshumana, he is again in the wind. As Varuna, Surya is in the waters and As Mitra, he is in the moon and in the oceans.


The Adityas have been described in the Rig Veda as bright and pure as streams of water, free from all guile and falsehood, blameless, perfect.

These class of deities have been attributed to as upholding the movables and immovable Dharma. Aditya are the beneficent Gods who act as protectors of all beings, who are provident and guard the world of spirits and protect the world. In the form of Mitra-Varuna, the Adityas are true to the eternal Law and act as the debt exactors.[6]

In present day usage in Sanskrit, the term Aditya has been made singular in contrast to Vedic Adityas, and are being used synonymously with Surya, the Sun.

Linga Purana

According to the Linga Purana[7] the Aditya's are:

  1. Varuna
  2. Mitra
  3. Aryaman
  4. Bhaga
  5. Amshuman
  6. Dhata
  7. Indra
  8. Savitr
  9. Twashta
  10. Vishnu (The head of all the Adityas[5])
  11. Pusha
  12. Vivaswan

Vedanta and Puranic Hinduism

Āditya in the (Chāndogya-Upaniṣad) is also a name of Viṣṇu, in his Avatar known as Vāmana, the dwarf. His mother is Aditi.

Another such list, from the Vishnu Purana [8] is:

  1. Varuṇa
  2. Mitra
  3. Aryaman
  4. Bhaga
  5. Aṃśa
  6. Dhūti
  7. Śakra
  8. Savitṛ
  9. Tvaṣṭṛ
  10. Vishnu (This Sun-God is the head of all the Adityas[5] and is different from Lord Vishnu)
  11. Pūṣan
  12. Vivasvat


The Vedas do not identify the Ādityas and there is no classification of the thirty-three gods, except for in the Yajurveda (7.19), which says there are eleven gods in heaven (light space), eleven gods in atmosphere (intermediate space), and eleven gods in earth (observer space). In the Satapatha Brahmana, the number of Ādityas is eight in some passages, and in other texts of the same Brahmana, twelve Adityas are mentioned. [9] The list of 12 Adityas is as follows:

  1. Varuṇa
  2. Mitra
  3. Aryaman
  4. Bhaga
  5. Aṃśa
  6. Dhātṛ
  7. Indra
  8. Savitṛ
  9. Yama
  10. Sūrya or Arka
  11. Dakṣa
  12. Ravi

Adita Ishvara

  • Sanskrit version of Old Testament begins with "Adita ishvara akasham prithvi ca sasarja", meaning: In the beginning "Adita Ishvara" or "First God" created Earth and Heaven.[10] It can be interesting thus to compare this name Adita Ishvara with Aditya - another name of Vishnu (Vamana). The same text of Genesis 1:1 in Hindi version of Old Testament says that Parameshvara (Parama Ishvara) created Earth and Heaven - and Krishna is also known as Parameshwara. Indoaryan Vedas and Zoroastrian Avesta also have common name Ahura-Mazda, which may refer to some Vedic God (sometimes on Rigveda some demigods, devatas are worshipped by name "asura", which in Zoroastrianism is Ahura-Mazda. Cyrus the Great, who was Zoroastiran, was called Messenger of Yahweh - Jewish God of Old Testament[11]). See also: Vishnu sahasranama (Aditya: 39 aadityah, 563 aadityah - Son of Aditi)

See also


  1. ^ a b Srimad Bhagavata Purana 12.11.27-49
  2. ^ Srimad Bhagavata Purana 12.11.45: All these personalities are the opulent expansions of the Supreme God Vishnu, in the form of the sun-god. These deities take away all the sinful reactions of those who remember them each day at dawn and sunset
  3. ^ Rig Veda - Hymn LXXII - Seven Sons of Aditi and Martanda
  4. ^ Rig Veda Book 10, Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith
  5. ^ a b c Bhagavad Gita 10.21: "adityanam aham vishnur" meaning "Of the Adityas I am Vishnu"
  6. ^ Rig Veda Book 2, XXVIIth Hymn, Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith
  7. ^
  8. ^ Vishnu Purana: Book I: Chapter XV
  9. ^ Muir, John (1863). Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and Progress of the Religion and Institutions of India. Williams and Norgate.  p. 102
  10. ^ Sanskrit Old testament Sanskrit BIble
  11. ^ Isa 45:1-7

In the later Puranic texts, all Hindu deities were referred to as Adityas. Hence, the number of Adityas increased to 33 Koties or 33 types.

Further reading

On the Adityas

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