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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2526

An Honourable Celestial Giant - the Sun God

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…..

Our forefathers used to worship the Sun, the Head of our Solar System, as the primary object for veneration, while extending the ritual to copious other secondary, inanimate things, ranging from massive trees to many more less-significant celestial objects.

This was the era in which people thought the border of the horizon was the end of their world, something in turn may have led to the belief, that their world was flat indeed.

Most people of our generation find it a bit odd and even funny, in spite of shifting the focus elsewhere – on elaborate statues of all kinds. In general, we see the Sun as the tsar that keeps defining the obvious for us – and perpetually, of course for that matter: night follows day; spring follows winter and so on.

During my recent visit to New Delhi, the Indian capitol, I could see from my hotel window, thousands of men and women of all walks of life, practising yoga in public parks, very early in the morning. One of their first acts was saluting the Sun - known in Yoga terminology as Surya Namaskar. It involves a series of exercises that need to be done while facing the Sun.

When exposed to refreshing beams of early-morning sunlight, the impact on the devotees is understandable – inspiration beyond description. Ancient Yogis seemed to have understood the role of the Sun in maintaining the vitality of notoriously fragile human body.

Indians are not the only ones who are worshipping the Sun. Greeks and Native Americans used to do it as well, as a part of a global phenomenon despite being geographically poles apart, in the absence of physical communication of any sort.

The Sun is not an object for ridicule, just because our ancient folks worshipped it or Yogis still do it.

By being the ‘boss’ of our Solar System, it not only maintains very existence of our habitat – the earth – in its place in the universe, but also extends the generosity to nine more of the same category by the invisible force called gravity. The day this bond disappears, we will go along a tangent to oblivion, very tersely.

Without its contribution, I would not be able write this piece for you; nor will you be able to open your eyes to read it, as the energy for both acts did originate from this gigantic celestial object, something we just take for granted.

The Sun is a star in its own right and glitters. Therefore, it is eligible to be a celebrity, exactly like the stars animated by a combination of neon lights and laser beams on an Oscar Night. Perhaps, this must have been the reason for our forgotten ancestors to worship the celestial giant on a pious platform.

In Europe, as we are about to put a very harsh winter behind us, the early signs of a breathtakingly beautiful spring are brought about by the emergence of inexplicable radiance of the Sun coupled with tickling breezes.

Of course, if a ray of light was subjected to the vigorous analysis by a physicist’s tool, it would tell us the presence of seven visible rays – ranging from violet to red and myriads of non-visible forms such as ultra violet and infra red, in proportion to the technological advances at his disposal at a given moment in history: a few hundred years ago, it turned out to be just seven colours, as the tool used to be a simple prism; more sophisticated equipment discovered, there were more to it and the finding of new things in a beam of light will continue in step with the evolving technology.

If the theory of the movement of light could evolve – from moving in a straight line to packets of energy, known as quanta – there is no reason to rule out the possibility of finding stuff much more interesting than colours.

In this sense, the rays of a spring sun instil something special in our souls that a physicist so far neither recognized nor came up with a way or device to measure with. It is the overwhelming inspiration that it brings in to our daily lives. In this context, the fact that most of the inventions have been made during spring time, comes as no surprise.

There is no substitute for an early-morning walk across a moor constantly bombarded by a quiver of sun beams; they have the power to stimulate each and every cell in our mortal physical body in a matter of seconds, something, a few gallons of Vodka or its comrades-in-spirit cannot achieve in a generation.

By combining a mythical mystery, staying at a distance to be looked up to, robbing the audience of the possibility of making direct contact and countless other undocumented factors, the Sun may have stirred up the curiosity of our ancestors like no other object in the sky that in turn metamorphosed into veneration in the long run.

Even today, there are plenty of sensible folks who would not hesitate to hang up a poster of the Sun in their bedrooms instead of that of a bespectacled career scientist – not visionary scientists of Einstein calibre - with a goatee beard, who thinks he has the monopoly for scaremongering by stirring up endless – and useless as well - debates on range of subjects from climate change to hypothetical strikes by meteorites, especially when research funds dry up due to the global meltdown.

The Sun keeps challenging we-know-all brigade on regular basis: the predictions based on finite human intelligence are riddled with endless flaws leaving a gaping hole in the credibility of a community who are hell bent on grabbing headlines.

Since the power of the Sun is beyond dispute, it is not surprising that some folks try to emulate the phenomenon by appointing themselves implicitly as the agents of the celestial star on the earth. This is a dangerous move as far as the health and security of those who are ambitious enough to be engaged in this ambitious adventure.

The middle-aged chap, who has been changing his ground holes in search of darkness in a fast-shrinking landmass in the north of Sri Lanka, knows better than anyone else, the consequences of this disastrously questionable move. History has never been kind in documenting the legacies left behind by the hydro-carbon copies of the Sun God.

- Asian Tribune -

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