Book 5: Chapter 21
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 5: Chapter 21: Verses 12-19
Thus covering (adistance of) thirty-four lakh and eight hundred Yojanas (or two crore, seventy-two lakh, six thousand and four hundred miles) in the course of two Ghatikas (forty-eight minutes), the chariot of the sun-god, which represents the three Vedas (Rgveda, Samaveda and Yajurveda), continues to travel through the four cities (one after another in the order mentioned above). The wise speak of this chariot as having one of its wheels in the shape of a year with twelve spokes (in the form of the twelve months), a rim with six segments (in the form of the six seasons) and a hub with three pieces joined together (in the shape of the three parts of four months each). Its axle-tree is fixed (at one end) to the top of Mount Meru and has its other end placed (somewhere in the air) over (the belt of) the Manasottara (on the same level as the Meru). Fixed through and rotating on this like the wheel of an oil-press, the wheel of the chariot of the sun-god revolves over (the entire length of) the Manasottara Mountain. (Besides this) there is a second axle-tree, measuring one fourth of the length of the first, (i.e., thirty-nine lakh, thirty-seven thousand and five hundred Yojanas, the length of the first being one crore, fifty-seven lakh and fifty thousand Yojanas as already pointed out), with its lower end joined to the aforesaid (first) axle, like the axle of an oil-press, and its upper end fastened to the pole-star (with an aerial cord).
The interior of the chariot is thirty-six lakh Yojanas (or two crore and eighty-eight lakh miles) long and a quarter of it (or nine lakh Yojanas) in breadth. The yoke of the chariot of the sun-god is (also) of the same extent (nine lakh Yojanas long) : joined to this by Aruna (the charioteer), seven horses, severally bearing the names of the (seven Vedic) metres (Gayatri, Brhati, Usnik, Jagati, Tristubh, Anustubh and Pankti), carry the sun-god (seated in the chariot). Charged with the role of a charioteer, they say, sits Aruna in front of the sun-god but with his face turned towards the west (towards the sun-god in order to avoid showing disrespect to him by turning his back towards him). Even so, entrusted with (the duty of) uttering his praises (and ever seated) in front of him, sixty thousand sages, (known as) the Valakhilyas, (all) equal in size to the forepart of a thumb, extol the sun-god in a chorus. Similarly other Rsis (sages), Gandharvas (celestial musicians), Apsaras (celestial nymphs), Nagas (serpent-demons), Yaksas (a species of demigods), Yatudhanas (Raksasas) and gods-fourteen (in all) taken singly and forming seven groups when taken in pairs (each pair consisting of two individuals of the same species), and bearing diverse names-wait upon the Lord, the (universal) Spirit, in the form of the sun-god, called by different names, through different services and in distinct batches (of fourteen) every month. (It has already. Been pointed out in passage 7 that) the circumference of the terrestrial globe (at the belt of the Manasottara mountain situated in the heart of the outermost Dwipa, the Puskaradwipa) is nine crore and fifty-one lakh Yojanas. (Out of this) the sun covers ( a distance of) two thousand and two Yojanas in a moment.
Thus ends the twenty-first discourse entitled "A description of the stellar sphere as welt as of
the chariot of the sun-god and his entourage" in Book Five of the great and glorious Bhagavata-Purana, otherwise known as the Paramahamsa-Samhita.
- The diverse functions discharged by the seven groups of attendants of the sun-god enumerated above are described in other books as below (Visnupurana) "The sages extol him through hymns of praise, the Gandharvas sing before him, the Apsaras go dancing in front of him, and then follow the Raksasas. The Nagas draw the chariot (alongwith the horses), the Yaksas hold the reins and even St) the Valakhilyas sit in the same chariot surrounding him (on all sides)." For the names of the attendants as well as for those of the sun-god changing every month vide,. XII. xi, 33-34,