- Surya (655)
- Syamantaka Gem (591)
- Prince Hritadhwaja (old 139)
Surya: In the Puranas, there are distinct and different scales in the hierarchy of deities. At the highest end of the spectrum, there is the Divine Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. Surya occupies a much lower position. In the Vedas, Surya holds an eminent rank. He is one of the triad of Gods - Agni, Vayu and Surya - next in importance only to Indra. Gayatri, the most sacred verse of the Rig Veda, which is repeated everyday by devout Hindus, is addressed to Surya. The verse invokes him to confer his splendour on and stimulate the intellect of the worshipper. Surya's character as a luminary was always present in the minds of the Rigveda poets. He is said to diffuse golden splendour. He rides in a golden chariot drawn by seven swift horses. Manu, the law-giver, Yama, the God of Death and the River Yamuna are some of his many children. The story narrated in this book is based on the Markandeya Purana. How Surya was tricked into having two wives and how he ultimately lost his unbearably fierce effulgence, is the theme of the story.
Syamantaka Gem: The Syamantaka Gem was an ornament of the Sun God. It was a magical charm which had strange effects on its possessor. It did good to a virtuous person and bad to an evil one. When Surya, pleased with his devotee, Prince Satrajit, bestowed the gem on him, no one foresaw the violent upheavals it would cause, least of all the prince himself. Satrajit gave the gem to his brother, Prasena, who was killed by a lion. Jambava, king of the bears, killed the lion and carried the gem away. Since Krishna had admired the gem, he was suspected of having stolen it. To save his honour, Krishna went on a desperate gem hunt into the jungle. The adventures that follow make interesting reading and are narrated in this book, based on the version that appears in the Bhagwat Purana. It is said that Krishna had looked at the moon on Chaturthi (the fourth day after the full moon) and soon after was accused of having stolen the gem. To this day, the superstitious will not look at the moon on Chaturthi, lest they be accused of theft.