Hiranmayena Patrena Satyasya Apihitam Mukham
Tatvam Pushan Apavrunu Satya Dharmaya Drustaye.
Like the way the Hiranmayam Jyotirmayam = goldenlooking (covered by light) vassal, covers the salya = aditya mandala = the whole celestial bodies of the outer space, Oh Pushan, the Sun, please (apaavrunu) = uncover for me so that it enables me to see Satya Dharma the truth which will be following the Dharma, righteousness.
This is the fifteenth sloka of Isavasya Upanishad of Sukla Yajur Veda. This sloka has been adapted widely as a preyar for Sun god before we practice the Sun postures because in addition to the prayer of sun it has a very important philosophical message. Here the prayer is not for any material gains but prays sun god for the knowledge of the truth and also for the ‘will’ to practice that truth in all situations.
Sun reveals us the reality and without the sun we are in darkness; we can not see the things around, the moment sun rises on the horizon all the objects become clear in their true form, at once. With the sun rise the life will start, activities take place, energization happens. This Sun is the cause for revealing the truth of the nature, he is the cause for manifestation of activity and also he integrates the whole creation according to their nature (Dharma).
You can never imagine the world without Sun. Medical studies show in the parts of the globe where they have large spans of night or darkness – namely the countries near poles, when the sun does not appear for long period of time there is high incidence of depression in people. When Sun is absent even animals and plants also go into hibernation or suffocation. Life becomes impossible without sun. Therefore sun is life giver for us.
You can see all objects under sun light but most interesting thing is all the celestial objects like the stars and the planets, milky ways and star clusters, all of them go into hiding the moment sun rises. They are there but they become invisible the moment sun rise occurs. The beautiful details that you perceive in the darkness of the sky, all the treasure that is there which the fascinating universe is and in front of that sight of the celestial objects, the details that you see on the earth are absolutely trivial and insignificant! But sun does hide the sight of the universe and brings the picture of the world in front of us!
The sky that you see in the night is the real or true picture of the universe. The light is in the form of small little tiny dots which are separated by huge space of darkness. Though proportionately the darkness is several billion times greater than the light even then strangely we feel the light is more than the darkness. That way light gives illusion. The light misleads us! The sun which rises in the sky not only takes away the details in the sky like stars and planets. But you can not even see the sun. You will be blinded and your eyes will be damaged. The light which is supposed to give us sight takes away our vision – and blinds us. Isn’t this is very strange?
Especially when you come out of a cinema theatre or a dark studio, you find that your eyes are blinded not because of the darkness but because of the light outside. Your eyes are adjusted to darkness or very negligible light, and when you come from the darkness into light, your eyes will be blinded for some time.
If the outside is not visible because of lack of light all that we need to do is to open the flash light so that that it will light up and will enable us to see things clearly. But in the case of blindness we experience when we come out of the theatre, that blindness is caused by the light. If light itself blinds you what can help us to come out of such blindness? In addition, if you try to force your eyes to see in that light, it is not only impossible to see but your eyes will be permanently damaged. The only solution at that time is, don’t fight with that light; don’t fight with your eyes and the brain centers. Close your eyes relax and open it slowly, little by little. Try to slowly assimilate the light after some time your eyes will get adjusted. Respect the light, respect the sun and approach it with very higher degree of humbleness and gentleness.
This analogy has been very effectively used for knowledge by the Upanisadic sage. Sun is also known as “Arya” which in other wards is the respectful address for somebody who is wize, who is elevated spiritually and who can help on with knowledge. Therefore sun is depicting knowledge. This knowledge helps us to understand things around us. With such an understanding we start seeing things clearly. Confusion will be shattered fear will be resolved. The light of the knowledge removes the darkness of ignorance.
Knowledge takes away our fear and confusion, knowledge open the vision of the world for us, knowledge is giving us an opportunity if unravel the secrets of the creation. All this technological developments and increase in comforts in the life have been possible because of this knowledge. This small little tiny knowledge can give us so much. One can imagine the vast knowledge that is available and this knowledge keep on growing with the passage of time. Knowledge is infinite. That is why it is said that the more we know we will come to understand how much we really do not know. In fact that is the true learning where it gives us an idea how much we do not know. Knowledge is the one ultimately which gives us peace and harmony.
From Prashanti Kutiram our residential campus, a couple was posted as yoga teachers in
Humility is the true litmus test to see whether the knowledge has made you a wise person, or not. Wisdom and arrogance do not go together. When one becomes humble with knowledge then knowledge has served its purpose of transforming one and making him a different person.
A knowledge which does not transform you did not really enter into you. But you may remember it very clearly you may quote from the scriptures. Such knowledge has only become like an addition – or like an attachment to you. All such knowledge which forms our addition becomes our “ego”, which is very dangerous. The knowledge which is light removes our blindness but a knowledge which becomes our ego and the ego of knowledge blinds us further like the way light makes us blind when we come out of a theater. Knowledge which does not transform us becomes burden (of knowledge). This burden of the knowledge gravitates us more and more towards material gains such as name fame, popularity praises and honors, position and authority. They all appear to be good and real but that is how our eyes are blinded. If the eyes are blinded by darkness or ignorance knowledge can help us to come out of that blindness. If we are blinded by knowledge itself, then what else can help us to come out of that darkness, it is like we give a medicine for killing unwanted bacteria but the bacteria within us is using the medicine itself for its growth then we will be in greater trouble. Similarly light is supposed to give us clarity but we are blinded by the light itself. In the same way if knowledge which is supposed to make us humble, will become our arrogance, then what can save us, you will not be able have any knowledge which can save you like the way. When your eyes are blinded by light no other light can help us.
This is the difference between a scholar [pundit] and a sadhaka [spiritual seeker]. A scholar has arrogance of knowledge and a seeker has humility because of knowledge. A scholar feels he can intellectually solve all issues. On the other hand a sadhaka will be prayerful. Prayer really means a heart to heart talk with divinity that I am nothing and you are everything. I am ignorant and you are knowledge. All my knowledge belongs to you rather knowledge does not belong to me but I belong to knowledge. When we surrender our ego completely in humbleness, what god shows us, leads us is the path of truth in the way of righteousness.
A child while walking on the sand said to god, “I saw behind me four foot prints while walking. And I felt assured that you are walking with me because I thought the other two foot prints belong to you. But now I don’t see the foot prints, I am worried where did you go, leaving me alone?”
God replied her “don’t worry when you don’t see the two extra foot prints it is only because I am carrying you and the foot prints you see are mine.”
Humbleness, innocence, wisdom, and the path of truth and righteousness, all of them go hand in hand one helping the other. In humility the sage prays Oh God Pushan, the nourisher, Lord Surya, I do not see but you show me.
Of the various forms of arrogance than arrogance of knowledge is most difficult to conquer. The arrogance of beauty lives for few years of youth, to preserve arrogance of wealth one has to work hard, and that arrogance gathers people who are only greedy. So all other arrogances are associated with some thing which will make you realize that it is short lived where as the arrogance of knowledge is some thing which will be most difficult to come out of it.
A humble posture and a prayerful mood at once makes one slow contemplative, gives due consideration for others view point, appreciates others way of looking and in addition it provides one an opportunity not to react but to respond suitably. With humbleness one will come to exercise the idea it is futile to react but to make one to understand is the only issue and therefore who is humble will not react but to properly respond. Swami Vivekananda said self confidence is often mistaken as arrogance and humbleness for weakness. Spiritual way is to be humble which is born out of knowledge and strength and not out of weakness.
This is a mantra to make us feel and experience that it is god’s work going on and not ours. He is the knowledge and we belong to knowledge and not otherwise – not the knowledge belongs to us. Utilize the knowledge and don’t misuse this knowledge.
When pandavas were in the aranyavasa [the life of forest] during that time
Let this mantra from Isavasya Upanishad remind us this valuable concept every day when we chant this mantra before doing suryanamaskaras.