Spiritual Interpretation of Riks

We illustrate the spiritual interpretation by means of several riks. In all of them, if we pay attention to every word in them, the only meaningful explanation is the spiritual one.

Rik (1.22.20) to Vişhņu

This verse is part of the subhymn to Vişhņu made of six verses, (1.22.16) through (1.22.21), well-known as the shadvaişhņavam.

tad vişhņoĥ paramam padam sadā pashyanti sūrayaĥ, divīva chakşhur ātatam.

Literal translation: The wise always see the highest station paramam padam of Vişhņu like an eye extended in heaven.

We have to explain Vişhņu and the phrase ‘supreme station’ paramam padam. God Vişhņu mentioned in the rik is explained to be the sun. So for so good. This Vişhņu is Sūrya, indeed, but not the sun in the physical universe. Why? For otherwise, the highest step would be the meridian in the sky reached by the sun in its daily round; and the rişhi says that the wise see him always. Now how can the solar orb be found always at the meridian in the sky? And that too visible only to the wise? If it were just the physical sun, the meridian reached by him would be visible to the others also who are not wise; why should it be said that it is visible to the wise? There can be no doubt whatever that it is something uncommon, beyond the physical senses, a matter pertaining to the direct realization of the Wise. Otherwise, to say that the wise always see the sun in the meridian of the sky would be utterly fanciful and incoherent babble. It is because of its uncommon character that the Supreme Abode is said to be always seen by the Wise like an eye fully extended in the heaven.

The rik (1.50.10) to Sūrya due to seer Praskaņva

udvayam tamasaspari jyotish pashyanta uttaram

devam devatra sūryamaganma jyotir uttamam.

This verse occurs in several veda samhitās and also in Ch. U. (3.17.7)

The literal translation: Beholding the loftier Light that springs up above the Darkness tamas we have come to the Sun, the God among Gods, the most excellent (loftiest) Light.

The indologists explain this hymn as referring to the birth of sun in the morning. This view holds no water in view of the adjectives like loftier Light etc.

Sāyaņa quotes from the brāhmaņās in explaining that the word tamas signifies sin. In that case, the Sun cannot be the sun of the physical world. Sāyaņa himself, commenting on the fourth quarter, says that seer Praskaņva speaks of conscious union, sāyujyam with the Sun.  In this rik, then, there is an unmistakable mention of the supreme Light that transcends the senses and is signified by the word Sūrya, Sun. It is also to be noted that here in this mantra, whatever the interpretation, the Sun referred to is not simply the physical sun of our system, and this is clear.

We have instanced two riks-one devoted to Vişhņu as Sūrya, the Sun and the other to the Sun-God as the highest Light-to show the theory, that the Sun and the other Gods are really nothing but phenomena of Nature, cannot be sustained.

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