Some more observations on the saura mata

We had earlier compiled incomplete accounts of both the saura mata and its offshoots like the worship of revanta. We initially wanted to work on the final part of the incomplete revanta essay dealing with the specific point of the evolution of shAstA from revanta and the relationship between their tantric prayogas. Then we realized we never put together the additional material from the various purANas on the core saura mata that we originally intended. Since a few interlocutors had brought up saura issues and the original essay was too old we decided to put this part separately. This as such is common knowledge amongst Hindus educated in purANa-s.

Why did sAMba build sUrya temples?
This tale is a bit scandalous and often kept away from narratives (As a child I recall elders scrupulously avoiding this). As per the varAha purANa (VhP 117 ) and bhaviShya purANa (bhvP 1.129) sAmba was said to be a paragon of good looks and attracted women. nArada, arrived at devakI-putra’s abode and mentioned that some of his many wives were flirting with his son sAMba. After an enquiry kR^iShNa laid a spell on sAMba that he get a dreadful skin disease as a result of which the women would lose interest in him. sAmba invoked sUrya, who cured him of the disease, and told him that he would find an idol of sUrya for his worship. sAMba found this idol that was apparently crafted by vishvakarman from the kalpataru while he was having a bath in chandrabhAga. sAMba installed it in the forest of mitra at mUlasthAna. These purANas also mention two other places where sAMba installed saura temples. One of these is said to be kAlapriya on the south bank of the yamuna and the other is said to be sutira or muNDIra. The location of sutira as per tradition is in the eastern coast and is the same as the site where now the koNArka temple stands (in utkala). The site of muNDIra is generally believed to be the great Modhera temple in lATa-pradesha. Both muNDIra and mUlasthAna were ravaged by the Mohammedan vandals on multiple occassions, but the former survives to date. There is a stand-alone purANa by the name sAMba purANa that exists in manuscript and corroborates the tales given the mahApurANas.

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