A universal symbol for the source of life, the Sun has been worshiped and accorded a preeminent status across varied cultures, mythology and religions. Hindu religious texts personify the Sun as Surya, the only form of divinity that is visible to human eyes. In Hindu iconography, Surya is frequently depicted as a magnificent king riding a chariot drawn by seven horses that represent the seven colors derived from sunlight.
As sacred fire, the Sun plays a vital role in virtually all important Hindu rituals. The Gayatri Mantra, believed to be the most powerful of chants is dedicated to Savitr, an aspect of Surya. The Gayatri praises Surya’s glorious effulgence and seeks his blessings as a source of spiritual enlightenment and intellectual attainment. Ancient yogis devised the Suryanamaskar, a set of 12 yogic postures performed in the presence of the early morning sun that revitalizes every part of the body.
The flaming magnificence of the Sun, its fathomless energy and wondrous life-giving properties are an eternal source of creative inspiration. As a textile motif, it is an age-old favorite, featured in various stylized forms on saris. Kanjivaram weavers often go beyond motifs and capture the sun’s ineffable glory with their weaves, using deep, brilliant oranges, yellows, reds and gold, shot through with complementary hues, creating stunning works of art to adorn the feminine form. Besides their superb aesthetic values, these are sacred colors, symbolizing purity, goodness, plenitude, prosperity and fertility.