The sun’s chariot was built by Brahma himself. It is made completely out of gold.
There are twelve months in a year. Their names are Madhu, Madhava, Shukra, Shuchi, Nabha, Nabhasya, Isha, Urjja, Saha, Sahasya, Tapa and Tapasya. (These names of the months are slightly unusual. More common is Vaishakha, Jyaishtha, etc.) Two months constitute a season (ritu) and there are therefore six seasons in every year. These are grishma (summer), varsha (monsoon), sharat (early autumn), hemanta (late autumn), shita (winter) and vasanta (spring). Madhu and Madhava are the months of grishma, Shukra and Shuchi are those of varsha, Nabha and Nabhasya those of sharat, Isha and Urjja those of hemanta, Saha and Sahasya those of shita and Tapa and Tapasya those of vasanta.
In every season, two adityas (gods), two sages, two gandharvas, two apsaras, two rakshasas (demons) and two nagas (snakes) ride on the sun’s chariot to keep the sun company. Their names are as follows.
(i) Grishma – the adityas Dhata and Aryama; the sages Pulastya and Pulaha; the gandharvas Tumburu and Narada; the apsaras Kritasthala and Punjikasthala; the rakshasas Rakshoheti and Praheti; and the nagas Uraga and Vasuki.
(ii) Varsha – the adityas Mitra and Varuna; the sages Atri and Vashishtha; the gandharvas Haha and Huhu; the apsaras Menaka and Sahajanya; the rakshasas Pourusheya and Vadha; and the naga Takshaka. (The name of the second naga is not given.)
(iii) Sharat – the adityas Indra and Vivasvana; the sages Angira and Bhrigu; the gandharvas Vishvavasu and Ugrasena; the apsaras Pramlocha and Anumlocha; the rakshasas Sarpa and Vyaghra; and the nagas Elapatra and Shankhapala.
(iv) Hemanta – the adityas Parjanya and Pusha; the sages Bharadvaja and Goutama; the gandharvas Suruchi and Paravasu; the apsaras Ghritachi and Vishvachi; the rakshasas Apa and Vata; and the nagas Dhananjaya and Iravana.
(v) Shita – the adityas Amshu and Bhaga; the sages Kashyapa and Kratu; the gandharvas Chitrasena and Urnayu; the apsaras Urvashi and Purvachitti; the rakshasas Vidyut and Diva; and the nagas Mahapadma and Karkataka.
(vi) Vasanta – the adityas Tvashta and Vishnu; the sages Jamadagni and Vishvamitra; the gandharvas Dhritarashtra and Suryavarcha; the apsaras Tilottama and Rambha; the rakshasas Brahmopeta and Yakshopeta; and the nagas Kambana and Ashvatara.
The moon (Chandra) has a chariot that has three wheels and is drawn by three horses. The horses are competely white in colour. The sun drinks up the energy of the moon for a period of fifteen days. This period is known as krishnapaksha (the fortnight during which the moon wanes). The sun then replenishes the moon’s energy over the next fifteen days. This period is known as shuklapaksha (the fortnight during which the moon waves).
Budha (Mercy) is Chandra’s son and rides a chariot that is drawn by eight horses. The horses are yellow and the chariot is made of gold. Brihaspati (Jupiter) also has a chariot that is made of gold and is drawn by eight horses. But Shani’s (Saturn) chariot is made of iron.
Just as Indra rules over the gods, the sun rules over the planets and the moon rules over the nakshatras (stars) and the herbs. But all of these revolve around Dhruva (the Pole Star).
Svayambhuva Manu had a son named Uttanapada. Uttanapada had two wives, Suniti and Suruchi. Dhruva was Suniti’s son.
King Uttanapada was once seated on his throne. Dhruva happened to come there and clambered up onto his father’s lap. He was a mere child then, being only seven years old.
But Dhruva’s stepmother, Suruchi, objected to this.
“How dare you sit on the king’s lap?” she demanded. “That is a place that is reserved for my son. Get down at once.”
Although Uttanpada did love Dhruva, he dared not object. He loved Suruchi much more than he loved Suniti and he did not have the courage to go against Suruchi’s wishes.
Dhruva began to cry and went running to his mother. Suniti did her best to console her son. “Don’t cry, my son,” she said. “The king loves Suruchi more than me and so loves her son more than you. There is nothing that can be done. We are unlucky. We must have committed many sins in our earlier lives and this is the punishment that is being meted out to us. There is nothing to be gained by crying. One must try to perform good deeds in this life so that, in the next life, we are more fortunate. Forget about the king’s lap. Why don’t you instead try to attain a place that would be impossible for Suruchi’s son to achieve?’
Dhruva resovled that he would do this. He went away to the forest to meditate.
In the forest, he happened to come upon the sage Vishvamitra’s hermitage. He told the sage the story of his misfortunes and about his mission. “Please tell me how I can attain the highest place of all,” he said.
“The solution is to pray to Vishnu,” replied Vishvamitra. The sage also taught Dhruva a powerful mantra (incantation) that he could use for praying to Vishnu.
Dhruva started to pray to Vishnu. He faced the east and began to chant the mantra. For an entire year he continued to do only this. He lived only on fruits and roots. Demons and wild animals roamed all around him, but he paid no attention to them. One particular ogress adopted the disguise of Dhruva’s mother and came to Dhruva from his meditation. But Dhruva saw through this disguise and would not be distracted.
Finally, Vishnu appeared before Dhruva. “I am pleased with your prayers,” said Vishnu. “What boon do you desire?”
“Please grant me the boon that I may attain the highest place of all,” replied Dhruva.
Vishnu earmarked a place for Dhruva in the sky. Dhruva became the Pole Star. All the other stars revolve around Dhruva.
You probaby remember Brahma’s son, Daksha. Daksha married Prasuti. (In some Puranas, she is referred to as Asikli.)
Daksha and Prasuti had five thousand sons known as the Haryashvas. But the sage Narada came and told the Haryashvas that there was nothing to be gained by being addicted to material pursuits. They would be better off if they went away to meditate. Persuaded by Narada, the Haryashvas went off to meditate and have never been heard since. Daksha and Prasuti next had a thousand sons named the Shavalashvas. But Narada persuaded the Shavalashvas also to go away and meditate.
Daksha and Prasuti next had sixty daughters. Ten of these daughters were married to the god Dharma, thirteen to the sage Kashyapa and twenty-seven to Chandra.
The thirteen daughters who were married to Kashyapa were named Aditi, Diti, Arishta, Surasa, Muni, Surabhi, Vinata, Tamra, Krodhavasha, Ila, Kadru, Tvisha and Danu. (The names of the minor wives often vary from Purana to Purana.)
Aditi’s sons were known as the adityas (gods). There were twelve of them, named Indra, Dhata, Bhaga, Tvashta, Mitra, Varuna, Aryama, Vivasvana, Savita, Pusha, Amshumana and Vishnu.
Diti had two sons, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. These two and their descendants were known as the daityas (demons). Danu had a hundred sons, chief amongst whom was Viprachitti. They and their descendants were known as the danavas (demons).
Tamra was the mother of all the birds. Vinata had two sons, Aruna and Garuda. Garuda became the king of the birds. Surasa was the mother of snakes (sarpa). (Most other Puranas state that Surasa was the mother of the rakshasas (demons). Kadru gave birth to snakes (nagas). Chief amongst them were Ananta, Vasuki and Takshaka. Krodhavasha was the mother of rakshasas and Surabhi gave birth of all cattle. Muni was the mother of the apsaras and Arishta was the mother of the gandharvas. From Ila were born the trees and the herbs. And from Tvisha were born the yakshas (demi-gods).