The Sun

Great Symbols Series @ Theosophy Trust


THE SUN


Let us adore the supremacy of that divine sun who illuminates all, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, whom we invoke to direct our understandings aright in our progress towards his holy seat.

THE GAYATRI

 Where is the birthplace of the radiant sun that the Greeks rose to meet at dawn with a kiss upon their upraised hands? From whence came Helios, son of Hyperion "The High Going" and Euryphaëssa "The Far Shining"? What is the source of the light that shines from Loka Chakshuh, the Vedic "Eye of the World"?

 The Egyptians symbolized the birth of the sun through descriptions of the infant sun-god Horus, who arose from within the petals of a sacred blue lotus floating upon an endless sea. This sun was the "Eye of Ra," the "good eye of heaven" as the Samoyeds say. The idea of the eye of god was and is very widespread in the world. The fact that many people have conceived of the sun as both a youthful hero and an aged father merely suggests the cyclic rebirth of the orb's penetrating gaze.

Loka Chakshuh or Surya is depicted in the Vedas as the Godhead. of Supreme Truth and Knowledge, the Lord of Light. His two functions are luminous vision and luminous creation, suggesting that the vision of Truth and Knowledge is followed by the creation of Light. The medieval alchemists spoke of the sol niger, the black or invisible sun which they related to prime matter and the unconscious. The visible sun is at the nadir, out of which depths it must ascend toward its zenith, the invisible apex that oversees the creation of light.

 "Chaos ceases at the effulgence of the Ray of Primordial Light helped on by the Word of the Central Sun." During the active periods of being, this central, invisible source gives rise to a stream of ceaseless energy whose vibrating currents become more active at each descending rung of the sevenfold ladder of being. The equinoxes and various other cyclic phases and periods of the visible solar course are only symbols of the singular truth which remains hidden. The activity of this energy, increasingly involuting into gross matter, can be seen as a demonstration of numerical patterns which are arcane hieroglyphs containing the keys that yield an ever greater abstract knowledge of solar reality. The Secret Doctrine describes the Central Sun as an unseen point in sidereal space which constantly attracts our solar system. It is the Centre of Rest to which all motion is ultimately referable. It is the "reservoir within which divine radiance, already differentiated at the beginning of every creation, is focused." This focal point is everywhere and yet – like the logos – it is somewhere. As the earth is attracted to the sun in our solar system (though obviously the centripetal forces in the system are counterbalanced by the centrifugal), so our sun is a servant to a more remote centre around which it revolves. One may imagine increasingly expanded systems ultimately resolving themselves within a solar centre which encompasses all but which exists on an inconceivably homogeneous plane of matter. One may analogically imagine all systems resolving themselves into an essential, primordial point in endless space. In our cogitations, we are wise to remember the admonition that not even the Dhyan Chohans can penetrate the mysteries of the boundaries separating the milliards of solar systems from the Central Invisible Sun.

 In The Book of Dzyan the Central Sun is portrayed as causing the mysterious force called Fohat to collect primordial matter into globules and impel them to converge together as aggregates. This recommencement of spiralling motion, brought on by the heat of the Great Breath, creates the conditions necessary for the birth of the first 'primitive family,' the differentiation of matter into elements and sub-elements or what Occultism calls "temporary appearances." Such heterogeneous and temporary appearances are the prototypes of the visible suns and systems of planets as well as all the various combinations of life that they sustain. The principle activating and extending this process is the centrifugal energy of the universe – Lucifer, Lux, the light made visible in our solar system. It conveys the radiant energy flowing from the Central Sun which thus called into being and electrified the visible sun and earth and created the tension responsible for the revolution of the latter around the former. The activating principle of the earth can be traced through the physical sun to an energy that rises on a less mundane plane of existence.

 In this vast and multifarious universe, there are grades of solar bodies which are like 'organs' acting in the whole process of creation in conjunction with electrical channels that convey their collective influence to the earth. The Fiery Breath which resides beyond manifested nature emanates the Central Spiritual Sun, parent of electricity, the fire of life and the manifested universe. Through seven planes of being, like the many-storied universe envisioned by Siberian people, the suns beget sons which become solar centres of life energy at progressively more concretized levels. The Dhyan Chohans, the Seven Divine Sons of the One Light, are luminous suns existing in an incorporeal condition like divine parents of subsequent septenate life. These Holy Ones embody the emerging primal elements in their most pristine essence and harmonious balance. Like rays from a virginal fire, they give of their essence, instilling divine intelligence into the progeny of their sovereign lineage.

 It was the descendants of these Lords of Light who took on increasingly material garb and eventually walked upon the earth among men of many races and conditions. These great Heroes, like the rising sun, always came from the East. As Divine Races among men, they gave out sacred teachings and provided the foundations for the development of all the great civilizations that have existed in human history. These were the Solar Races around whom religious cults developed in every inhabited part of the world. These cults reached great heights in India, Egypt, Africa and the Americas, including the complex form which developed in Peru. There the Ynca, the first children of the sun, were placed by their Father in Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes in the world. From this solar brother and sister issued a lineage of royal descendants who were all known as children of the sun and called ynca. They ruled as Divine Kings and through elaborate ritual maintained a living link between the Sun as Godhead and the people of the mountainsides. In India the Surya Vansa or 'race of the sun' laid down its dynasty in Ayodhya. The Rig Veda speaks of them as solar kings. Later these kings became deified and their worship was the earliest anthropomorphization of the great primeval faith which considered the sun as Master of Life and Death. From this early and inspired devotion eventually arose ancestor worship which, wherever it exists in the world, is usually associated with a cult of the sun. As the sun is eternally reborn, so men are inspired to seek the source of their own rebirth and immortality. In allegorical fashion they achieve a sort of lineal immortality by keeping alive the psychic link with ancestors who are reborn again in the children of devout worshippers.

 The sun is sometimes symbolically described as the 'heart' and 'brain' of the solar system. From it sensations radiate into "every nerve center of the great body." But it is only a "window cut into the real Solar Presence" which reflects the interior work. From within there is a circulation of vital fluid that passes through our solar system like the circulation of blood within an organism. The sun contracts and expands like the human heart, its systolic and diastolic phases marking the eleven-year sun-spot cycles which are intimately connected with solar eruptions affecting the earth and other planets. Each year the solar 'blood' passes through its 'auricles' and 'ventricles' before washing out the lungs' and passing into the 'veins' and 'arteries' of the system to complete the eleven-year cycle.

 Through a telescope, the appearance of the physical sun is that of a disk with sharply defined edges, its brightest area being at its centre. During a solar eclipse, the corona may be seen to radiate out from this edge like a luminous halo, its shape varying with the phases of the sun-spot cycle. Spectroscopic findings reveal that sun-spots are merely indicators of activity going on within the sun. Like tubes, they penetrate through the convection zones toward the central zone. Here atomic radiations, which are largely reabsorbed due to tremendous gravitational pressures, counterbalance the centripetal force by a steady radiation pressure. One could say that the work of the centre is 'pushing out,' which is significantly reflected in the Sanskrit word Surya, whose root su means 'to press out' and is compounded in the term asu meaning 'to breathe.'

 During solar storms great streams of highly ionized particles spiral in colossal arcs out from the sun's surface. These predominantly hydrogenate particles rush through space and impinge upon the earth's atmosphere, vastly affecting its climate, stirring up its atmosphere and affecting rates of change and growth around the globe. These currents run along the 'nerves' described in occult doctrine and recharge the system, breaking down and refining material with their fiery sharpness. The hidden 'heart' of the sun expands with this ionized 'blood' and washes clean the lungs' of space within the solar system. With electrifying power it fills the 'veins' and 'arteries,' revitalizing all aggregates of life within its system. Despite their enormous effect upon the earth, these 'storms' are really minor aspects of the sun's own colossal cyclic scale. Given the amazingly balanced reserve of energy that the sun continually maintains, it is, relative to this larger perspective, almost calm and unchanging, as the poets and mathematicians say. At the solar centre, mass is extremely concentrated and, due to enormously high temperatures, only the most 'elemental' forms of matter could exist there. Chemical modification occurs as energy is convected out towards the surface of the sun where conversion to light energy takes place. The 'heat' in the dense solar centre is quite different from that which is produced by the radiating rays at its surface where the density of matter is less than that of air. This central heat, which continually maintains itself, involves a concentration of matter that suggests activities of incalculable power, controlled by an arcane principle of complete equilibrium at a primal level. To put it in terms of the solar 'heart' and 'brain,' the massive and thunderous beating of that 'organ' is contained by an autonomic system, as it were, which reflects the dictates of a highly synthesized and anterior light. This is directly analogous with the function of the pineal gland within the human brain which synthesizes light and regulates the performance of all the bodily rhythms. It is also the basis, intuitively or cognitively, of the frequent reference made by classical writers to man as a sun.

 The Puranas tell how the Devas asked the Rishis to bring the Sun into Satya Loka. The Sun-God warned them that if he left his place the world would be destroyed. One of the Rishis offered to put his 'red cloth' in the place of the Sun's disk and thus originated the visible shell of the sun. In fact, the sun is thickly surrounded by a red shell of matter, and it is only during a solar eclipse that we can gain the "indisputable evidence" of the real sun. This 'robe' of the sun, as the ancients called it, is made up of all the chemical elements to be found on earth and on every other planet but they exist in a more 'developed' state of matter, and our globe must necessarily become far more 'refined' before its elements could match the condition of those within that chromosphere. The whole magnificent process, involving the replacement of our earthly molecules with the 'giant atoms' from the Infinitude 'above,' is a grand symbol of what takes place microcosmically along the Guruparampara chain between teacher and disciple. Like the magnetic sun, the teacher attracts the chela, but the very centrifugal force of his luminous power forces the disciple to discover his own orbit, that he may eventually become a source of light himself. And just as the 'storms' upon the sun's surface seem to almost overwhelm the humble planet, so the forces surrounding the Guru must be slowly approached and assimilated by the disciple. An infinite process of exchange and refinement must take place.

 We are advised that in order to acquire an understanding of the refined condition of the solar photosphere and chromosphere we must possess a knowledge of the sixth state of matter. In man this would correlate with the lighting up of buddhi. To achieve this one must work backward from the kama rupic vehicle to the awakening of manas which, The Secret Doctrine states, is endowed by the "spirit of our Visible Sun." In wedding manas to buddhi, man approaches the "Equatorial Sun" at the third level of manifestation. Beyond this radiates the "Polar Sun" which gives to man the spark of Atman from the Central Spiritual Sun. In pursuing upward along this vital channel within his being, man gradually realizes the Kshetrajna within, "The Soul's Spiritual Sun."

 At all levels the sun is the most perfect symbol for this divine process. It not only points to the source of all process itself but commands the central position of omniscience in the universe. As the Vedas teach, all the gods attain to vastness by following Surya. Being exalted, He sees all and therefore knows all and, as one who takes in the whole world at a glance, He was invoked by the ancient Greeks in taking oaths. Not only does He make clear the path of goodness and purity to those who seek to walk in it, but He is pure Himself. As Kepler understood, He is physically at the spatial centre of the solar system and is symbolically representative of abstract Oneness. He is Sol, Solar, the absolute 'Good' overbrooding Plato's Divided Line. Like the seed of the arcane ancestor, the sun never dies but is always reborn. The transformation of a mere one percent of its mass from hydrogen to helium supplies enough energy to insure radiation and life-breath for at least a billion years. The extinction of our sun lies so far in the future that countless stages of refinement shall have affected all life within the entire solar system, producing forms and levels of consciousness few men have dreamed of on this earth. "Before the hour of the 'Solar Pralaya' strikes on the Watchtower of Eternity, all the other worlds of our system will be gliding in their spectral shells along the silent paths of Infinite Space." All the compassionate and stormy exchanges between spirit and matter that will have produced the perfected harvest of this solar system will be completed and their refined essence will have moved on to other arenas of universal evolution.

 The Tarot relates the sun to purification and tribulation, "the sole purpose of which is to render transparent the opaque crust of the senses so that they may perceive the higher truths." Man, in his efforts to purify himself, unites himself by degrees to his prototype in heaven. As he does, he is drawn higher and higher, into successive rays, each of which supersedes the one lower, causing it to break away, until he is at last drawn into the highest beam of the Parent-Sun. It is taught that upon the death of one who has attained moksha, the soul goes from the heart of the body to the crown of the head, traversing the sushumna nerve. Thence it goes to the region of Surya Mandala along the solar rays and, entering into the Sun, is released into Paramapadha, the realm of the essence of the body of Ishwara. Tat tvam asi – THAT THOU ART.