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Chapter 06: Birth of Arun, Vasuki and Sheshanaga

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The Rishi Kashyap married thirteen daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Two of his wives were Kadru and Vinata.  Impressed with the loving care of these two wives, Kashyap decides to give boon to these wives. When he turned to Kadru, she said that she want thousand brave and radiant serpents, while Vinata said he want only two sons who must be braver and brighter than Kadru’s sons. Kashyap granted their respective wish and asked to take care during pregnancy. He then went to the forest for tapasya.

Within some days, Kadru laid thousand eggs and Vinata laid two eggs. The delighted wives preserved the eggs in warm containers. Five hundred years passed. Kadru’s eggs hatched into thousand serpents, but Vinata’s eggs did not hatch. Vinata became jealous over Kadru and the impatient Vinata broke the shell of one egg. The half-developed baby came out and it became angry and cursed his mother that he want to wait for another five hundred years for next egg to hatch.  Since due to her sibling rivalry, she committed this crime by making him a handicap forever, so the baby also added that she will become a slave to her sister and would free from her slavery until his brother hatch out from the egg by its own.After cursing his mother, the half-developed baby flew away from Vinata. Later upon the advice from Brahma, he became the charioteer of the Sun god. He is Arun also called as Aruna.

Vasuki, Sheshanaga, Elapatra and Manasa were the prominent among thousand Nagas born to Kadru. Vasuki is the eldest son of Kadru and also he became the king of all Nagas. Manasa is the sister of serpents and she became the serpent-goddess. Sheshanaga later became the bed of Lord Vishnu.The Nagas chose to live underworld in the ocean depth.

The story about how Arun became the charioteer of Surya is mentioned in Mahabharata and it is as follows.

After churning the ocean of milk, Devas got the divine nectar with the help of Mohini. But the asura, Rahu, drank some of the nectar. The Surya and the Chandra realized it and alerted Mohini. Then Mohini took the form of Vishnu and cut off the rahu's head before the nectar could pass his throat. The body of Rahu separated from head and it became lifeless. But the head, remained immortal due to nectar’s effect.

After this incident, Rahu became the enemy of both sun and moon. He then started to swallow the sun, but the sun passes through the opening at the neck. It marks the starting and ending of eclipse. Once when Surya was swallowed by Rahu, the sun went angry and it raised its frequency of heat without bothering it will result in the destruction of Universe. The Devas then requested Lord Brahma to save the world. Lord Brahma then advised Aruna, the son of Kashyapa and Vinata who has the power of divine radiance to become the charioteer of Surya and shield the world. From that day, Aruna precedes Surya in the heavens and is worshiped along with the sun. The chariot was made of fire proof material and the Sun’s rays themselves which is driven by seven horses. Before the Sun rises the red light of the dawn is his reflection. Aruna prevents the heat and shield the world from the anger of Surya. He is brother of Garuda. Jatayu and Sampati (King of the Vultures) were the sons of Aruna. Aruna was also mentioned in Ramayana where he took the form of an apsara, Aruni Devi and produces two sons – Vali and Sugriva.

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