Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Sun is a poor lover

The sun is now often hidden behind clouds. The sun, which is the source of all life, was astrologically also in its house of ascendance, that is in the zodiac sign of Aries recently.

All energy in the world can be scientifically traced back to the sun in one way or other. So brilliant is the sun but is brilliance alone life-sustaining? Why then do we look forward to the coolness of the rainy season?

A myth among the followers of Donyi poloism in Arunachal Pradesh says a frog hiding within a bamboo shoot shot the second sun. The weak sun became the moon and shone at night. This gave respite from the heat and life was able to flourish.

A Panchatantra story says a sage, while drinking water from the river in his cupped hands, found he had picked up a little mouse, too. He ended up taking her home, turning her into a girl. When it was time for her to get married, one of the suitors he invited was the sun. But the girl refused him saying he is brilliant, "a bit too brilliant, he will hurt my eyes".

Another myth is about the parijata flower: A young princess fancied the sun because he was so bright and handsome. He would visit the princess every night. On the day when her father reluctantly made arrangements for the two to get married, the sun did not show up. The dejected princess turned into the parijata flower which flowers only after the setting of the sun and closes before the sun is up.

Other myths confirm that the sun is not an easy or comfortable lover. It is important for the one you love to be brilliant and bright, beautiful or handsome, but too much of it does not make for compatible living. Brilliance needs to take rest for a while if its purpose is to be realised. During the day the sun engenders creation; during the night consolidation takes place so that further progress can be made the following day.

Rest or sleep at night works much the same way for human beings. Whatever activity it is, be it work or play, too much of it can be self-defeating. There has to be a period of action followed by complete inaction. We call these two phases as pravritti which means outward movement or progress and nivritti which is inner repose.

The sun had to learn nivritti. According to Acharya Mahaprajna, night is more tolerant; it gives space to all the aspiring ones in the form of the million stars and galaxies that also want to shine. And so it comes with the hope that the sun will rise again. But when it is sunshine and sunshine only, not only do the smaller, less brilliant stars find no forum for expression, there is little to look forward to. Life is built on anticipation and excitement that anything "new" brings.

The sun may not realise how many less brilliant stars are waiting for their bit of glory. Similarly, the learned do not know what it is to be unlettered or uninformed. The loved do not know how the less fortunate ones yearn for a little bit of it. Worse, the powerful do not know the plight of the exploited. Therefore, the dictionary uses words like "dominate" for the sun and people who behave like that. They also seem uncaring and so make poor lovers or friends.