IMPORTANCE OF SURYADEVA (SUN GOD) WORSHIP.
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
By Pujya Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji.
Traiimayāya trigunātmadhārine- is how the Sun God is described. Traiimayāya means his form is that of the Vedas according to the Śastras and the Puranas. With the power of the Vedas, the sun has emerged into existence and he rises and sets. Ratha Saptami is the most important day favoured by the Sun God, Surya.
How can a particular day be special to Surya? It is Surya who is responsible for the existence of day itself. Then why do we say so? So that, at least with that pretext or excuse, we will wake up early, at least in that one day. This day of Ratha Saptami which occurs in the Hindu calendar month of Māgha is very special for the sun. Those who worship the sun with prayers on this day will have all their wishes fulfilled, the scriptures such as Markandeya, Purana, Mahabharata and the Ramayana say.
Our combined wish is that Sri Swamiji’s good health should be restored. That wish has been fulfilled. One should see the rising sun. Many people do not wake up early because they are afraid that new life will then end soon (ādāya- meaning taking). It is when you wake up late that life is really lost. It is said that taking the life force of all creatures, the sun rises and similarly he sets. In truth, it is the opposite. According to some commentators who explain that it is “dāya”, which means giving--giving life energy to all, the sun rises. In the evening, expending all life energy, he sets. Both of these are very important in our lives, giving life and taking life. His form itself is life energy.
SUN GOD SPECIAL TO DATTA DEVOTEES
Sun is a very important deity to all Datta devotees. The name Poundarīka Rangasthala has been given to the arena (in Datta Peetham) because it has been named after Surappa Poundarīka Yaji. Where is his name mentioned? While narrating the ancestry of Sri Swamiji’s parents, Sri Jayalakshmi Mata and Sri Narasimha Shastry, the worshippers of the Sun God are mentioned. They were all very pious souls. Seven types of special yagas were performed by Surappa, an ancestor, because of which he earned the titles Deekshita, Yagi, Adhvari, Makhi and so on. Surappa Poundarīka Yagi had performed such great rituals. Many people forget the significance of such great titles. For instance, if someone’s name is Bhagyalakshmi, even as that person approaches, one should feel that the goddess of prosperity is approaching. We must try to justify the name we carry. Similarly, Surappa, Suri, Sura and Surya are all the names of the Sun God, just as the other names such as Aditya. They also indicate scholarship. Bearing the name Surappa, he actually carried out an intense worship to the Sun God. Born in that lineage, Sri Swamiji also performs very intense sun worship especially on Ratha Saptami day.
DON’T NEGLECT SURYA NAMASKAR
In earlier days, Swamiji himself had personally taught many disciples the practice of doing Surya Namaskara and encouraged them to do them regularly without fail. Many of them who have learnt, have also forgotten what they have been taught. What they took from him, they have simply returned to him. That is not the way of a true disciple. He accepts and puts into practice daily whatever has been taught by Sadguru. No child should ever complain that there is no time. The school bag might have become bigger and heavier, but that is no reason to say that there is not enough time to do Surya Namaskar. It is true that education has become more competitive, but using studies as an excuse, one should not neglect the performance of the Surya Namskara.
We are all devotees of Lord Hanuman. Are we not? Hanuman was the disciple of Lord Surya. Until the sun rises, it is not daytime. Only when the bell rings, the teacher arrives. How should a disciple behave in the presence of such a Guru? The Sun is the most disciplined and the most punctual of all. We may not be able to see the sun on certain days if there is a thick cloud cover. Such days are considered bad days. That is how important the sun is in our lives. Seeing the sun, having his rays touch our bodies, seeing the sunlight, are all most highly prized. Datta devotees especially, must respect the sun and rise early. It is not only when you are in the ashram, or when there are special programs that you should wake up early. Do not say, “The past three days I woke up early so today I will rise at ten in the morning.” It is wrong to think or speak like that. Waking up early in the morning is most essential every day. If the intellect should be sharp, one must rise early. Hanuman, who is the disciple of the Sun, teaches that Sadguru himself is Surya. He gives enlightenment.
SADGURU HIMSELF IS SURYA
Yesterday, in Yoga Vasishtha, we learned that Surya, Sadguru, Saraswati and Subrahmanya Swami- all have their names beginning with the syllable, “s”. It denotes a positive quality which is a winning attribute. One should not possess any negative qualities which lead to defeat. Many seed letters begin with “s”. Guru Mandalam is the grouping of such powerful forces. What does the Sun do? He gives light and good health. You must respond quickly, whether your answer is right or wrong. You can worry about it later. Do not delay in your responses. He gives rains, vitamins.
SADGURU AND THE SUN GIVE US EVERYTHING.
Everything that we have is because of them. What is it that they do not give? Never say that you have not received anything from them. Do they need to come to our homes and write and give us cheques? No. All that we have, has been given by them. The Sun gives light and removes darkness. Because of light we live. Light is ONE. Light alone can dispel darkness. If you have money, you have purchased a light bulb, install it and turn the switch on to get the light that removes darkness. Indirectly, money might have helped, but electricity came from the Sun. He gave the water that generates electricity. Both Sun and Sadguru are compared. In the summertime, the Sun shines his hot ray on dirty ponds and evaporates the pure water. He takes the water and rains an enormous shower. He has the power to fill up rivers and oceans. Ravi is another name for the sun. Everyone must rise definitely before seven a.m. You must learn the principle about the sun and develop an appreciation and reverence. Taking one liter of water, he returns a thousand liters.
Sadguru, likewise takes one rupee from you and gives you back a thousand rupees. This is most certain. This is not about money. Whatever he takes, he gives back, not doubled but multiplied not a thousand-fold, but infinite times. He does not restrict like bank interest rates. He does not take one liter of water and dump a hundred thousand liters of water in the same spot. If he did that, it would inundate the whole area as happened recently in Chennai. He will instead take and give rains to the entire world. Sadguru similarly protects your entire family. Do not worry that so and so has not come. You do your Sadhana properly. Then all those about whom you offer prayers will certainly benefit. We have come. Let us do our bit wholeheartedly.
SADGURU/SURYA REMOVES DARKNESS OF LAZINESS
The Sun gives light and removes darkness. What is darkness in our lives? It is not ignorance but laziness. Ignorance goes with faith, devotion and sincere effort. But laziness is hard to get rid of. Darkness is nothing but laziness. Laziness must be destroyed. One eats a lot and sleeps a lot due to laziness. He gets tired just from sleeping. Jyotishā bādhate tamaha. Only from light, darkness is destroyed. Light has to come from the Sun. You stand under the sun’s rays for 10 minutes and your health will definitely improve. You will derive and absorb different types of vitamins. Standing under artificial lights does not give such benefits.
Aditya Hrudayam gave victory to Sri Rama himself. Rama was none other than SrimanNārāyana, Maha Vishnu. He possessed all the powerful astras.(weapons). He incarnated only to kill Ravana. Yet Sadguru arrived that day to help Rama who was completely exhausted from battle and was frustrated at his thwarted efforts at killing Ravana. Ravana remained unhurt by Rama’s powerful arrows. Sri Rama became tired, he was filled with anxiety about how to kill Ravana. Ravana was not tired, he was ready for the fight. Rama, thus far had enjoyed easy victories. But now, victory eluded him. Rama’s battle tactics are superbly described in the Aranya Kanda. He rotates his bow in a circle and places it in auto mode. Such a one here was in despair. Rishi is Bhagavan. Sage Agastya came at such a time as Sadguru and gave the upadesha of Aditya Hrudayam to Rama. A poet has claimed that if he had not done so, to this day that battle would have continued. Ravana would remain alive and Rama would keep failing in his efforts.
SADGURU MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE, POSSIBLE
What Sadguru does is to make the impossible, possible. That is his great attribute. Sage Agastya gave a mantra and told him to do japa instead of offering him a battle weapon. People come to Sadguru with all kinds of problems. For one drowned in debt and wishing for a financial windfall, Swamiji just hands a raksha. The devotee gets disheartened. It is the raksha that not only clears debts but also showers profits. Sri Rama did not have any doubts, He was grateful for the upadesha.
RAVANA = OUR DEMONIC TRAITS
Ravana is none other than the demonic traits we have inside us. Agastya has already given Rama many powerful weapons during the Aranya Kanda. At the battle, Rama forgot the mantras taught to him earlier. Those who are asleep during sunrise, do not enjoy victory. Those who remain asleep get robbed of their life energy. Those who are awake at sunrise are rewarded with enhanced life energy. This is the special feature of the Sun. That is why, whatever activity you may be engaged in, keep awake at sunrise. Let the rising sun’s rays fall in you. Wake up before sunrise. Does it not appear bad if you give a delayed response to a greeting? The Sun, who is very busy, comes and greets us with a good morning. He is Mitra, our friend.
SUN---FRIEND OF THE WORLD
Vishwamitra became friend of the world due to his worship of the sun. It was the sun who opened his eyes. When Vishwamitra became infatuated with Menaka the Apsara, ten thousand years went by. He did not brush his teeth, bathe or see the sunrise during those years. He never skipped a meal. That is what his history tells us. One day, finally he went to the river and brushed his teeth with a Neem stick or ash or salt. We did that as children. Now we got used to using toothpaste. Now they question whether our toothpaste contains salt. We have forgotten our own old traditions. We got corrupted with fashion. Toothbrushes cost five rupees each those days. In the olden times, only one brush was shared by the entire family. Now they are affordable and each has his own. Because we give up our good habits, we land in trouble. What happens if the body is neglected for ten thousand years? Perhaps, Menaka complained to him about his bad breath. This is the real story.
VISHWAMITRA’S AWAKENING BY SUN’S GRACE
When Vishwamitra finally went to brush his teeth, it was time for him to spit out. Then a bright light hit his eyes suddenly. This light hurt his eyes. He had completely lost his self-discipline. He saw the sun, who had already risen and wondered what that source of light could be. He vaguely remembered what he had learned a long time ago that the sun was the soul of beings. He suddenly wondered at this. The sun was well on his journey. Instead of offering the sun arghya, Vishwamitra was now about to offer him his spit. He felt disgusted with himself. He relented having wasted his life. He remembered his duty. His reverence for the sun returned. He now even forgot Menaka’s name. He had great accumulated power of penance, but he had fallen under the spell of Menaka. Now he told her that he did not remember her name, but knew that he had spent a long time with her and she had fed him during that time. Menaka was waiting for this day. She wanted him to realise what he had lost all this time. She bid him goodbye. Then Vishwamitra went to the Himalayas to continue his penance. He ultimately became Sage Vishwamitra, all by the grace of the sun. He was originally the king of Gadhi, the friend of Sadguru. The one who is drowned in laziness, wakes up once the flash of Sadguru shines upon him, like bright rays of the sun. Because Vishwamitra went out to brush his teeth, the flash of sunshine fell upon him. If one does not even make that small effort, the light will not shine upon you. That is why, daily one should see the sun and offer him obeisance. Take a bath, go out and look at the sun reverentially. Learn Aditya Hrudayam.
FIRST GREET SADGURU
We are devotees of Hanuman. How can we forget his Guru the Sun? It is okay if you do not greet me, but you must first offer salutation to Sadguru, Sri Swamiji. I am not pleased if you forget Sadguru and give me a greeting. You must first pray to Rama before worshipping Hanuman. That is why Swamiji first chants, “Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram”, before chanting “Jaya Hanuman jnanaguna sagara...” You must respect Guru first if you wish for the grace of the disciple. If you wake up at ten in the morning and chant Hanuman Chalisa, you will not gain the Grace of Hanuman, or at least not fully. If you went to bed late because of watching a movie, it is inexcusable. If it is because of work it is understandable. You spoil your life trying to encourage the TV channel.
BEING SELF-DISCIPLINED IS WORSHIP OF SURYA
Those who are forced to work late receive a worldly exemption, although not a spiritual exemption because they are left with no choice. Without a justifiable reason, do not stay in bed late. Do not study till 2a.m. I request you. It becomes demonic studies, viewed from a spiritual point of view. Like jet lag, the body goes out of tune. Study early in the morning, wake up at four o'clock or five in the morning to study. It is the best time to study. Best sleep time is from 10 p.m to 4 or 5 a.m. Many are under the mistaken notion that 4.00---5.00 am is the best time to sleep. No. Following this schedule is itself worship of Sun God.