Adityahrudayam as Upasana

From Yuddhakanda in Ramayana !

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Adityahrudayam is a Upasana stotra.
For those who are not initiated into the Hindu religion and philosophy - Upasana is a way of practice which allows one to control and calm the mind or say attain "chittasuddhi"!!. Upasana allows the seeker to formalize a formless truth to a form of his like and it allows him to practice. This is usually done by chanting mantras or Stotram. The repetitive chanting leads to internal calming effects or more precisely chittasuddhi. Upasana in that sense is a ritual though it may not involve elaborate puja etc. The Upasana evolved from the time of Vedas which are known as "Shrutis" . Although ritual process is not the essence of Upanishads, when we look at Upanishads which are part of "Shruti" literature, we do come across Upasana (for example in Chandogyopanishad). Upasana are more frequently seen in Smritis. Itihasas are part of Smritis. And Itihasas like Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bhagavatam contain mantras and Stotrams, which form the crux of a Upasana .

The Adi Kavya namely Ramayana has one such Stotram addressed to Sun God.
Surprisingly it is the only Stotram in entire Ramayana.
This comes in the 107th Sarga of Yuddhakanda.
The Stotram is taught by Sage Agastya to Rama.
The context is the battle with Ravana.
Rama is seemingly worried about the battle with Ravana who seemed to have mystical powers. Ravana was fresh and ready, seemingly in a better position to do the battle!
Concerned, Sage Agastya himself comes down and preaches the ancient secret ( 'Srunu guhyam sanatanam') to Rama to rejuvenate his spirits.

The Stotram starts with a preamble. The first two slokas announce the state of the battle and the arrival of Agastya to address Rama as follows (Sloka 3).
राम राम महाबाहो
श्रुणु गुह्यम् सनातनं ||

The third sloka makes it clear that Agastya is there to teach an ancient secret (गुह्यम् सनातनं) and elaborates on Adityahrudayam from fourth sloka onwards.

अदित्य हृदयं पुण्यं सर्व शत्रुविनाशनम्।
जयावहं जपेन्नित्यं अक्षय्यं परमं शिवम् ||4|
सर्वमंगळ मांगल्यं सर्वपाप प्रणाशनम्।
चिंताशोकप्रशमनं आयुर्वर्धनमुत्तमम् ||5|
रश्मिमंतं समुद्यंतं देवासुर नमस्कृतम् |
पूजयस्व विवस्वंतं भास्करं भुवनेश्वरम् ||6|

Agastya tells Rama in slokas 4-6 the importance of Adityahrudayam which is auspicious, beneficial, brings victory in the battle. He tells Rama that this prayer (Adityahrudayam) dispels doubts, alleviates sorrow and anxiety, increases longevity of life. He asks Rama to worship rising Sun-God who is greeted by Gods and demons alike and who illumines the world. These three slokas are beautiful and are wonderful to read! Most people even remember these slokas and recite them and feel as though they have recited complete Adityahrudayam.

Then Agastya extols the Sun god with his various facets in slokas starting from
सर्व देवात्मको ह्येष तेजस्वी रस्मिभावनः ...
..... ....
नक्षत्र ग्रह ताराणां अधिपॊ विस्व भावनः। (Sloka 15 line 1).

Bringing out that Sun god is the embodiment of all Gods. He creates and sustains hosts of gods, demons and their worlds by his rays. He is Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara. Indeed, it falls in line with the first level concept of Vedic Gods which included all of nature in the pantheon of Gods, Sun being the key.

Then from the second line of Sloka 15 onwards Agastya teaches direct prayers to Sun God ('namostu te .. नमोस्तुते').

तेजसामपि तेजश्वि द्वादशात्मन् नमोस्तुते॥15||
नमः पूर्वाय गिरये पश्चिमायाद्रये नमः |
ज्योतिर्गणानां पतये दिनाधिपतये नमः ||16|
जयाय जयभद्राय हर्यश्वाय नमो नमः |
नमोनमस्शस्रांशो अदित्याय नमो नमः॥17|
नम उग्राय वीराय सारंगाय नमो नमः |
नमपद्म प्रभोधाय प्रचंडाय नमो नमः ||18|
ब्रह्मेशानच्युतेशाय सूर्यायादित्यवर्चसे।
भास्वते सर्व भक्षाय रौद्राय वपुषे नमः ||19|
तमोघ्नाय हिमघ्नाय शत्रुघ्नायमितात्मने।
कृतघ्नघ्नाय देवाय ज्योतिषां पतये नमः ||20|
तप्तचामीकराभाय वह्नये विश्वकर्मणे |
नमस्तमोभिनिघ्नाय रुचये लोकसाक्षिणे ||21|
...... ...... .....
This goes on till sloka 21. These six slokas are the crux of Adityahrudayam which detail the actual salutations to be made to Sun God referring to him by various aspects of his power. These are the core prayer mantras to be repeated!

Then come the series of statements on the power and spread of the Sun God in four Slokas from Sloka 22 to Sloka 24

नाशयत्येष वै भूतं
तदेव स्रुजति प्रभुः ।
पायत्येष तपत्येष
वर्षयत्येष गभिस्तिभिः॥22||

Agastya says 'He alone actually destroys and brings into existence and sustains all that has come into existence. He alone radiates heat by his rays and sends showers'.

Then comes Agastya's exhortation to Rama in Sloka 25

एनमामापत्सु कृच्छेषु कांतारेषु भयेषु च।
कीर्तयन् पुरुषः कश्चित् नावसीदति राघव ||25||

That is to say that any person lost in wilderness or difficulties, singing the glories of Sun God, he will not come to grief.

पूजयस्व एनं एकाग्रो देवदेवं जगत्पतिम्।
एतत् त्रिगुणीतं जप्त्वा युद्धेषु विजयिष्यसि ||26||

Then he tells Rama the process of the Upasana. He tells Rama "Recite the mantras three times and you will be victorious". Three is number that repeats in several such instructions. For example, Nachiketa is made to repeat the process of fire three times in Kathopanishad. In marriages the tying of Mangala sutra is made with three knots !!

अस्मिन् क्षणे महाबाहो रावणं तं वधिष्यसि।
एवमुक्तो तदा अगस्त्यो जगाम च यथागतम् ||27||

Then Agastya tells Rama that in that moment "you will be able to kill Ravana" . Having conveyed the ancient secret Agastya disappears.

The slokas 28 and 29 confirm that Rama followed the advice of Agastya and was ready for the battle (Sloka 30). This state of Rama is diametrically opposite to that of Rama in the first sloka.

The last sloka was the poetic reaffirmation. The bright Sun pleased by the prayer of Rama, looking at Rama as though he is asking him to "hurry up " and complete the task!

अथरविरवदन् निरीक्ष्य रामं
मुदितमनाः परमं हृष्यमाणः |
निशिचरपतिसंक्षयं विदित्वा
सुरगणमध्यगतो वचस्त्वरेति ||

Thus the Adityahrudayam conveys the essence of the Sun God and beneficial nature of prayers addressed to him.

For countless millions it is a daily Upasana.
|| om tat sat ||