On the morning of Day Two of the Karthigai Festival, Surya Perai is the Vahana for the Lord. Surya is the representation of Fire (or Agni) and the fourth element of the Panchabhutas. The essential character of Fire is to generate heat and according to Hindu Mythology, Agni is one of the Eight Guardians that guard our Universe (known as Asta-dik-palakas).
During each procession the panchamoorthies are seated on their respective Vahana. The word “Vahana” denotes “that which carries, that which pulls” and signifies the mount of the God. The mount represents a Divine attribute associated with the God.
Sun God at Arunachala
On the advice of Brahma, Bhaskara (i.e. the Sun-God) who is a mass of refulgence but who was harassed by Asuras, devoutly worshipped the Lord of Arunachala.
After plunging into the sanctifying pure Tirtha created by Brahma, he circumambulated Arunachala, the Lord himself.
After gaining victory over all the Daityas and (the privilege of) circumambulating Meru, he gained supreme refulgence that destroys the brilliance of enemies. [Skanda Purana (P), Chapter 6, Verses 32-34]
Aditya whose shape was formed by Tvastr blazed with brilliance. The Lord of Planets attempted to cross Sonadri. The horses of his chariot lost their power and became tired. Due to the refulgence of Sonadri he became devoid of glory. Even with all the attempted motion of the possessor of cluster of rays (i.e. Sun), he became unable to go to the heaven. On the advice of Brahma he propitiated Arunachala. When the Lord was pleased, he obtained the path of the sky and splendid horses.
Ever since then the Sun never crosses the mountain named Sona but goes circumambulating him.
[Skanda Purana (P), Chapter 6, Verses 45-49a]
Arunachala is replete with mythology connected with the Surya, the Sun God. To find out more about Surya’s connection with the Hill, go to this earlier posting at this link here.
|Lord Ganesha to lead procession seated on His Rat Vahana|
|Preparing the Surya Vahana at the Alankaram Mandapam|
|After giving darshan in front of the Alankaram Mandapam, the Lord on Surya (preceded by Ganesha) start on their circumambulation of the mada veedhis|
|The Lord on his resplendent Surya Vahana|
|Proceeding along the mada veedhis (perimeter Temple streets)|
|Ganesha on Rat Vahana and the Lord on Surya Perai Vahana|