Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Marriage of Surya and Soma

When the daughter of the sun god Surya (she is named Surya after her father) is getting married to the moon god Soma (who is on earth incarnated as the Soma plant from which the immortality granting Soma juice is derived), all the gods and other divine beings of the universe arrive to attend the ceremony. In the Rigveda, the marriage of Surya and Soma is described in the hymn 85 of Mandala 10. Here’s an excerpt which contains a description of Surya’s bridal dress and pomp (all translations are by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1896): 

“Raibhi was her dear bridal friend, and Narasamsi led her home 
Lovely was Surya's robe: she came to that which Gatha had adorned.”
“Thought was the pillow of her couch, sight was the unguent for her eyes: 
Her treasury was earth and heaven..when Surya went unto her Lord.”

Here’s another description of the ceremony: 

“Soma was he who wooed the maid: the groomsmen were both Asvins, when
The Sun-God Savitar bestowed his willing Surya on her Lord.”
“Her spirit was the bridal car; the covering thereof was heaven:
Bright were both Steers that drew it when Surya approached her husband's home.”

Surya is implored to prepare an exquisite wedding voyage for her husband Soma:

“Mount this, all-shaped, gold-hued, with strong wheels, fashioned of Kimsuka and Salmali, light-rolling,
Bound for the world of life immortal, Surya: make for thy lord a happy bridal journey.”

The hymn ends with a number of verses in which gods are invoked to bless the bride: 

“O Bounteous Indra, make this bride blest in her sons and fortunate.
Vouchsafe to her ten sons, and make her husband the eleventh man.”
“Over thy husband's father and thy husband's mother bear full sway.
Over the sister of thy lord, over his brothers rule supreme.”
“So may the Universal Gods, so may the Waters join our hearts.
May Matarisvan, Dhatar, and Destri together bind us close.”

It is said that the Hindu marriages are modeled on the marriage between Surya and Soma.

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