|by Angela Pennington|
Many times I’ve tried to imagine what it was like for our ancestors at Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. In our modern way of living, electricity, street lights and neighbors make it almost impossible to fully grasp the intensity of ancient nightfall. Imagine looking out a little window and not being able to view the window pane through the darkness. Yet, the glow of a simple candle in the window could guide strangers from miles away. From earliest times, by every culture, the Sun has been worshipped as a Deity. Through the heat of the Sun’s rays, a fire, or a bolt of lightening shooting through the sky, fire has been venerated above all others. Perhaps while sitting during one of those long dark nights, praying for safety and security, humans recognized the Sun’s light warming their hearts, filling them with a sense of peace.
The ancients compared “inner light” to the Sun, the source of life itself and identified three phases. These phases express themselves equally and are necessary for the cycle of life.
The first is eternal life. This is where our soul is created and our spark ignited. In Jyotish we call this phase Sattvic. It is characterized by purity, illumination, stability, cleanliness, happiness, spirituality and health. Goodness and raised consciousness.
The second is a connecting point between eternal life and the earth. Light or intelligence. Commonly referred to as Rajas. Active and always blending life with action; characterized by creation, desire, lust, movement and attachment.
The third is the creation of the physical world. Through elemental combinations working in harmony with the Sun’s heat our physical life was created. Referred to as Tamas. Characterized by enertia, darkness, destruction, disease, ignorance, heaviness and sleep.
Darkness degrades, while sattvic qualities lift or elevate darkness. Rajas is a center point, when balanced, leads to a harmonious life. Ultimately, rajas is the “human monkey mind”. The mind must be quieted in order to clear darkness. As darkness clears, we take on a more sattvic life which empowers us to live through right word and action. All three of these phases or “gunas” are required for life. Balanced, we experience peace.
In our studies of Jyotish, we are taught each planet contains a guna (part of the Sun):
|Sun, Moon, Jupiter|| ||Sattva|
|Mercury, Venus|| ||Rajas|
|Mars, Saturn, Rahu, Ketu|| ||Tamas|
In Vedic astrology, the Sun represents; the soul, self, ego, father, vitality, status, bones, heart, growth of tall and strong trees. In BPHS Sage Parashara describes the Sun:
“The Sun has honey colored eyes, square body, he is of clean habits, is bilious, intelligent, manly, and has limited hair on his head”. ...“Sun has governance over all places meant for worship including a Temple, Mosque, Church and in the house where native performs regular prayer.”
The Sun is the natural ruler of the first house which represents our personality, overall character, potential and physical body. In the book ‘Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology’ by Bepin Behari: “the first house represents the beginning of all sentient beings, of all thought and idea; it stands for initial imagination, inspiration and aspiration... outgoing energy, or the power of taking the initiative and energetically participating in any activity.”
The Sun represents our ideas for creation and indicates what inspires and moves us - literally our functioning brain. Also, it is no surprise to hear people say “I need to follow my heart”, this is the natural compass of our dharma!
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.19
As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature's modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy.
During eclipse patterns, the light of the Sun is temporarily blocked. As we all know this creates challenges and difficult life experiences. Personally, I really struggled with the idea of eclipses and their impact until I changed my languaging. Now I have this helpful thought process at the ready:
Surya’s sattvic light is being blocked, which is Surya telling me something tamasic must go. In order to accomplish this, I need to balance rajas or the mind. This reminds me that all challenges begin and end with our thinking process. To embrace sattvic qualities, we must understand that tamas is the way in which the sun completes a cycle and clears anything dying. Rajas or our mind must detach and trust the natural process of birth and death. The other planets participate in the process with the Sun. Meditating on the planets and their respective guna is very enlightening (Sattvic)!
From my heart to yours, I wish you a wonderful new year filled with good health, abundance and happiness! - Angela