Ādityas, in the plural, according to Prabhupada Swami, means the twelve sons of the Sun, Sūrya. In the singular, it only refers to Sūrya, also known as Aditi (Morning walk, April 04, 1974). Aditi, who according to the scriptures is female, has a sister named Diti, mother of the Daityas, described as a lineage of demons. Aditi and Diti are married to Kaśyapa. Aditi and Kaśyapa are considered to be the original mother and father archetypes, in the sense that every time an incarnation of God descends to Earth, Aditi and Kaśyapa also descend in the form of His parents. In other stories, however, Sūrya is depicted as a male cosmic entity who rules over the Sun.

Despite appearing to be a cosmological legend, Aditi, Diti and Kaśyapa were inhabitants of Earth, Aryans, and their residence was on the shores of the Caspian Sea, according to Prabhupada Swami (SB 01.08.45, May 07, 1973). It is not known for sure when this story took place but it is known that the migration of the Aryans to Asia is estimated at the beginning of 2000 bce., therefore, the story of Kaśyapa must predate this period. Āryan in Sanskrit means advanced, civilized, or the person who is advanced, civilized or who has knowledge. It is believed that the Aryan civilization originally inhabited the Middle East and later emigrated to Europe and Asia.

The twelve sons of Aditi and Kaśyapa are: Dhātā, Aryamā, Mitra, Varuṇa, Indra, Vivasvān, Pūṣā, Parjanya, Aṁśu, Bhaga, Tvaṣṭā and Viṣṇu (SB 6.6.38-39). According to Prabhupada Swami, Vivasvān transmitted the knowledge about the original religion to Manu, his son, 40 million years ago, based on Vedic calculations. Aditi and Kaśyapa are compared by Prabhupada with Adam and Eve, i.e. the first inhabitants of the Earth.

The twelve Ādityas are associated with the twelve months of the year, that is, each month is governed by one of the sons of the solar couple. This means that if you are interested in sun worship you should meditate each month on the different Ādityas as instructed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.11.32-45). The calendar used by the Aryans is called Saura Calendar and the months of this calendar do not exactly coincide with the Gregorian calendar. The months are divided according to Vedic astrology:

Vedic MonthGregorian CalendarĀditya
MadhuMarch 13th to April 12thDhātā
Mādhava April 13th to May 14thAryama
ŚukraMay 15th to June 14thMitra
ŚuciJune 15th to July 14thVaruṇa
Nabhas July 15th to August 14thIndra
Nabhasya August 15th to September 15thVivasvān
TapasSeptember 16th to October 15thPūṣā
Tapasya October 16th to November 14thParjanya
SahasNovember 15th to December 14thAṁśu
PuṣyaDecember 15th to January 13thBhaga
IṣaJanuary 14th to February 12thTvaṣṭā
Ūrja February 13th to March 12thViṣṇu

It is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam that these personalities (Ādityas) are expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, in the form of the sun god and that by worshiping them, each day at sunrise and sunset, one becomes free of sinful reactions (SB 12.11.45).

Although Prabhupada claims that the Ādityas lived on Earth, their stories sometimes resemble cosmological myths. Indra, for example, is known as the King of Heavens. In one of the myths he cuts off the three heads of Viśvarūpa, son of Tvaṣṭā. The three heads of Viśvarūpa were used for: drinking soma-rasa, drinking wine and eating food, respectively. When the heads fell to the ground, they were transformed into francolin partridge, sparrow and common partridge.

Another interesting fact cited in the text referring to the genealogy of the Ādityas is that during the time there were other kings who came from other planets (Gandharvaloka, for example) who flew over the Earth in aircraft (SB 6.8.39). Furthermore, there was also the spiritual master of the demigods, who was called Bṛhaspati, later replaced by Viśvarūpa, the one I mentioned earlier, who had three heads.

I tried to put together a family tree of the Ādityas but the story stops after Viśvarūpa’s death. His father, suffering from the loss, performs rituals and ends up creating a very powerful demon whose mission is to kill Indra. The demigods beg God to help them and God advises them to seek out a saint named Dadhyañca, son of Atharvā, also known as Dadhīci. This meeting marks the transition between Satya-Yuga and Tretā-yuga (SB 6.10.16).

The transcendental knowledge about the original religion was transmitted from God to Vivasvān, who transmitted it to his son Manu and Manu to his son Ikṣvāku. However, in the genealogy described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam there are three sons of Vivasvān who are given the title of Manu: Śrāddhadeva Manu, Śanaiścara Manu and Sāvarṇi Manu. I couldn’t find any references about which of them was Ikṣvāku’s father. In the family tree I have associated him with Śrāddhadeva Manu, son of Vivasvān and Saṁjñā, who is named before the other two Manus in the SB.

Another point that I did not quite understand was the association between Manu as the father of mankind and Lord Brahmā as the father of the human species. There is then another subject to be researched later. But overall, the family tree is a little clearer for me now. I hope you like the result!

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Satya-yuga, known as the golden age, was the first terrestrial age and lasted about 1,800,000 years (CC Madhya 20.318-329, New York, 1966). It was marked by the reign of the gods over the Earth and, in this way, represents a period of truth and goodness.


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