Samba Purana

The Samba Purana (Sanskrit: साम्ब पुराण, Sāmba Purāṇa) is one of the Saura Upapuranas. This text is dedicated to Surya. The recension of the text found in the printed editions[1] has 84 chapters. Chapters 53-68 of this text are also divided into 15 Paṭalas. After the customary beginning in Chapter 1, the text consists the narrative of Krishna's son Samba's getting infected by leprosy, after being cursed by sage Durvasa and consequently getting cured by worshipping Surya in the temple constructed by him in Mitravana on the banks of the Chandrabhaga at what was Multan Sun Temple.[2] The whole narrative is presented as a conversation between the king Brihadbala of Ikshvaku dynasty and the sage Vashishtha. Chapters 26-27 of this text narrate the story of bringing the eighteen Maga Brahmins from Śākadvīpa by Samba and appointing them as the priests of the Surya temple in Mitravana.

This text comprises a number of narratives dealing with creation, details of solar system, eclipses, geography of the earth, description of Surya and his attendants, construction of images of these deities, details of yoga, manners and customs, rites and rituals, dissertations of mantras and dana (gift).[3] Later chapters of the Sāmba Purāṇa are influenced.

Samba Purana is a text dedicated to the worship of Lord Sun (Surya). In Chapter two, Samba, a son of Lord Krishna was cursed to be afflicted by leprosy. In chapter 5, Samb was then advised by Narad Muni to worship Surya. In Chapter 14, Samba engaged himself in tapa meditating on Lord Sun at Mitravan (identified by scholars as Multan) which came to be called Sambapur. In chapter 16, Samba discovered an idol of Lord Sun midstream in Chandrabhaga (Chinab) river. He is then told in chapter 27 that only the Maga brahmins in Shakadvipa are capable of worshiping the idol of Lord Sun. Samba then went to Shakadvipa and fetched Maga brahmins to worship Lord Sun.

The Maga are described as reciting the Vedas in a mysterious way, they wear avayanga. They drink homa juice. Samba brought 18 families from Shakadvipa, flying on the Garuda bird. The image of Lord Surya explained that it was crafted in Shakadvipa itself, and eventually arrived at Mitravan. Much of the text is devoted to rituals associated with Sun worship.

Konark statue of Sun God wearing central Asian boots

The text in Brāhmaparvan of the Bhavishya Purana is largely taken from the Samba Purana which is regarded to be older.[4][5] R.C. Hazra in his Studies in the Upapuranas dates Sambapurana between 650-850 AD.[6]

Govindpur Inscription of Poet GangadharEdit

An inscription of Saka 1059 (1137-38 AD) was discovered by Cunningham at Govindpur in the Nawada division of the Gaya district. It gives tha account of Maga Brahmins being invited by Samba. The scholarly family of Gangadhar belonged to a clan of Maga Brahmins.[7][8] The inscription confirms that the tradition existed before Saka 1059, confirming the antiquity of the text of Samba Purana. The Gaya region is a major center of the Shakadwipiya brahmins who use local village names as the exogamous divisions of their community.


  1. ^ Tripathi, Shrikrishnamani (ed.). Sāmbapurāṇam (Upapurāṇam), Varanasi: Krishnadas Academy, 1983, pp.38-68
  2. ^ Dowson, John. A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature. Routledge. pp. 276–77. ISBN 9781136390296. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  3. ^ Hazra, R.C. (1962, reprint 2003). The Upapuranas in S. Radhakrishnan (ed.) The Cultural Heritage of India, Vol.II, Kolkata:The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, ISBN 81-85843-03-1, p.284
  4. ^ [ An Introduction To The Samba Purana by Bhavanath Jha, 2011]
  5. ^ [Adam Hohenberger, Das Bhavisyapurana (Mun-chener Indologische Studien, edited by Helmut Hoffmann, vol. 5) (Wiesbaden, Otto Harrassowitz, 1967, XII, Review by: Gustav Glaesser, in East and West , September-December 1969, Vol. 19, No. 3/4 ]
  6. ^ Samba Purana: a study, Erfan Ahmad, 2008
  7. ^ Dynastic History of North India, p. 348
  8. ^ Epigraphia Indica, Volume 2 1894, p. 330