avyaṅga

(‘that which is not incomplete or defective’)

The images of Sūrya, the Sun-god, have a waist band called abhyaṅga or avyaṅga. According to the Bhaviṣya-purāṇa, during each of the six ṛtus or seasons, there came to Sūrya one representative from among the following by rotation: ṛṣis, devatās, nāgas, gandharvas, apsaras, yakṣas and rākṣasas. In one of those turns Vāsuki, the nāga, presented Sūrya with a cord called ‘avyaṅga’ produced from his body.

This cord was composed of gold and was half red and half white. Iconographical representations of Sūrya are invariably shown with the avyaṅga. The followers of the Sūrya cult wear a similar cord round their waists.