Sun Worship - Is this age old tradition still relevant?
Historians tell us that our ancestors in most countries at one time worshipped the sun yet in the modern world many think of the sun only as a convenience that gives us heat and light. Our ancestors were not stupid, they wanted to know how life worked and how they could better survive, sun worship helped in many ways.
The sun of course was and still is the most significant phenomenon in our local universe without which we could not survive. In fact if the sun suddenly stopped performing its current function, all life on earth would perish within a couple of days and in the resultant -270° and darkness, the planets of our solar system would disburse into space.
The reliability factor of our sun is not only necessary for all life, but has been wished and prayed for. During cooling and difficult times, people wished and prayed for the power of the sun to return. They wanted warmth and longer days. Those ancestors learned to count and record the days charting the movement of the sun which along with the study of the moon was the most rudimentary form of astronomy.
Our sun is one of billions of suns within our local galaxy but most importantly for us it sustains your life and mine which is reason enough to be grateful although unfortunately today many people see their existence as a right and not a gift.
Within Hinduism, the sun is deified directly as Surya depicted as the image above being drawn across the sky but can also be thought of as Vishnu, the sustainer of life also encoding astronomical and metaphysical concepts. Note that within Hindu cosmology* Shiva represents the potentiality that the Universe emerged from, Brahma shaped the universe and Vishnu sustains it enabling life as we know it to evolve.
Understanding the art of sun worship
Our sun and our many gods will not hear your prayers to have the world shaped the way you want it. There is no God that can give you happiness, love, wealth or peace and justice.
Know thyself is an old adage yet that phrase is incomplete.
It should say "know thyself as a part of this life."
By knowing and becoming responsible, we become co-creators.
We are programmed to think in terms of morality and competing with each other yet this human race has no basis in reality. The human competition to rule the world is a primary cause of suffering and if it continues unabated, all life on earth will be extinguished. No prayers can change that and real change must begin with you.
Worshipping the sun is an entirely private matter, it can be your secret. It is helpful to recognise the sun as the sustainer of life and without the sun you would not be alive. A first act would be to spend a few moments each day simply being thankful. Thankfulness has an uplifting effect on the human metabolism and also helps to calm the mind. Being thankful for what you receive in your life and to family and friends makes life much more pleasant, and this also happens on a universal scale.
For deeper insights and to further improve your well-being, it is helpful to appreciate the subtle nature of the human body and in particular the chakra system. Bringing the palms of the hands together in front of the chest activates the subtle energy in the body thereby increasing the intensity of your gratitude but you can take this one step further by praising the sun for your life.
In practice, stand facing the sun with your eyes closed ensuring the heat is not too great, bring the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and either silently or vocally offer your praise or gratitude to the sun. When done with sincerity there is sometimes a pleasant reaction within your body but if you do it with the expectation then you are sure to be disappointed.
As individuals none of us can change the world or end the suffering of countless millions. We can however know ourselves as a part of life and by doing so be more able to determine a happier future. Taking a few moments every day to appreciate the sun and perhaps the wondrous nature of the cosmos or the elements of nature in your own neighbourhood will help to engender peace of mind that can be furthered by paying more detailed attention to your existence.
* As India has been an occupied country for more than 1000 years, its knowledge and traditions have been severely corrupted.