Surya, Pala period sculpture, India 1100 century.
Surya (Sanskrit सूर्य Sūrya “sun”) is in the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, the Vedas, the personification of the sun, the heat and light. Surya embodies the morning and evening sun.
If Hindus worship Surya, they do not mean the “object sun”, but the “principle sun,” the light that is to recur daily and also distribute the spiritual darkness. Some pray especially at sunrise the Gayatri Mantra, which expresses the desire for spiritual light and enlightenment. This is addressed to Savitar (the “impeller”, the aspect of the sun before it rises. Other believers maintain the custom of the morning to bow with hands folded in front of the sun greeting. A physical form of sun worship is the “Greeting to the Sun”, the Surya Namaskar exercise of the Hatha Yoga system.