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Summary: The Buddha intervenes on behalf of a deva caught in the grips of an evil demon. This sutta belongs to the group of paritta (protection) suttas that are chanted by monastics for devotional and ceremonial purposes.
SN 2.10 PTS: S i 51 CDB i 145
Suriya Sutta: The Sun Deity's Prayer for Protection
translated from the Pali by
Thus have I heard:
On one occasion the Blessed One was living near Savatthi at Jetavana at Anathapindika's monastery. At that time Suriya, the sun deity, was seized by Rahu, Lord of Asuras. Thereupon calling to mind the Blessed One, Suriya, the Sun deity, recited this stanza:
i. “O Buddha, the Hero, thou art wholly free from all evil. My adoration to thee. I have fallen into distress. Be thou my refuge.”
Thereupon the Blessed One addressed a stanza to Rahu, Lord of Asuras, on behalf of Suriya thus:
ii. “O Rahu, Suriya has gone for refuge to the Tathagata, the Consummate One. Release Suriya. The Buddhas radiate compassion on the world (of beings).
iii. “O Rahu, swallow not the dispeller of darkness, the shining one, the radiant and effulgent traveler through the sky. Rahu, release Suriya, my son.”
Thereupon Rahu, Lord of Asuras, released Suriya, and immediately came to the presence of Vepacitta, Lord of Asuras, and stood beside him trembling with fear and with hair standing on end. Then Vepacitta addressed Rahu in this stanza:
iv. “Rahu, why did you suddenly release Suriya? Why have you come trembling, and why are you standing here terrified?”
“I have been spoken to by the Buddha in a stanza (requesting me to release Suriya). If I had not released Suriya my head would have split into seven pieces. While yet I live, I should have had no happiness. (Therefore I released Suriya).”
See also: SN 2.9