The Sun – Our Life Giver

As I saw the sky lighting up with the first rays of the morning sun yesterday morning, the clouds turning into a million billows of soft, flame orange, I bowed and put my hands together to salute the sun which brings us our dawn everyday without fail, and wake us all up to life and living. What more beautiful than this can we ask…

During a discussion on yoga on the occasion of the International Yoga Day, some bigots insisted that the suryanamaskar asana could not be practiced by everybody because it had a religious dimension.

That is what happens when people look and fail to see or try to understand. If we take a few minutes to look at the diagram accompanying this article, we will find that the knowledge uncovered by science allows us to frame what we can call an integral view of our ‘holistic universe’.

By analyzing matter to beyond its microscopic level, science has shown that everything that exists in the creation is ultimately derived from energy of which for us on Earth the source is the sun, itself but one of the trillions of suns that are present in the whole universe and which likewise are balls of concentrated energy. This energy gets configured into sub-atomic particles like the neutron, proton and the electron, and together these make up into particles called the atom. Atoms join among themselves to form molecules – and all of these are referred to as ‘non-living.’

Then the ‘miracle’ happens – and science is busy exploring that frontier – when molecules coalesce to form spherical structures like drops that go on to become cells: the living begins. As all students of elementary biology will know, cells come together to form tissues – like bricks come together to form the walls of a house; and then these tissues build into organs like the brain, heart, lungs liver. Several organs working in unison make up an organism, which can be either plant, animal or human.

The direction of the arrows in the diagram indicates the progressive building up of complex structures, which have shapes and forms to which we give names, from energy that is ‘simple’ (as opposed to complex) in the sense of having no particular form and which comes from and is spread out in the whole of the universe – both that part of it which is visible to our eyes and their artificial extensions (telescopes) and the part which is invisible and is even larger since it is of astronomical proportions.

The beauty of this scheme unfolded by scientific knowledge is at several levels. For one, it shows that we all come from one universal source of energy. That energy underlies both the non-living and the living, and there is a continuum between the living and the non-living. A corollary is that therefore there is a fundamental interconnectedness between all that exists.

The philosophical correlate of this interconnectedness is that out of the One comes the many – in other words, the diversity of things that we see are but the expression of a unity. Sages have understood and experienced this long before scientists came up with their own beautiful and elegant discoveries which they schematized equally elegantly for us laymen to understand in relatively simple language. We may choose to shut our eyes and our minds and refuse to apprehend and appreciate such elegance and beauty, and we are the ones who will be the losers, not the scientists and philosophers, and even less even the universe!!

But the truth cannot be hidden and as the sages wisely put it – Ekam sat vipra bahuda badanti: Truth is One, the sages call it by different names. So the suryanamaskar is about acknowledging in great humility our connectedness with the sun, which is source of life as we know it, the sun itself being part of that vast cosmos to which we too are connected through that same sun.

That is why we are in awe at celestial phenomena, and love to watch the sun rise or set – and preferably in silence. That silence which comes from afar penetrates our very being and permeates us with such a sense of calm and peace that we wish it would last forever. And it can indeed, if only we tap it everyday – after all, it is for free, and available to everybody: we only have to wake up into it to soak and to be soaked in.

As I saw the sky lighting up with the first rays of the morning sun yesterday morning, the clouds turning into a million billows of soft, flame orange, I bowed and put my hands together to salute the sun which brings us our dawn everyday without fail, and wake us all up to life and living. What more beautiful than this can we ask…

 

*  Published in print edition on 3 July 2015

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