Let The Sun Shine

Well, at least for the moment, the clouds have parted over the DC area, the rain has ceased, and sunlight is ricocheting through the trees, creating a million shades of green. The early sunrise and late sunset are one of the reasons I love the month of June.

Grammar police? Not so fast: the sunrise and sunset are two things that are part of one thing.

Yoga wisdom texts say that our pure and original state of consciousness is called Brahman. Brahman is understood to be pure spiritual energy. And the radiance of that pure spiritual energy, called Brahmajyoti, is said to be as bright as the light of 10,000 suns.

That’s right: inside your body, you are glowing with the radiance of 10,000 suns. When we realize our true spiritual nature we realize that we are all Brahman.

Does this mean we loose our individuality when we realize our true spiritual nature?

Nope. Here’s why:

The light of the sun comes in two forms: rays of light and particles of light. Whether you see light as a ray or as a particle depends on how you look at it. Both are equally valid expressions of light; the status of light as a ray doesn’t negate the status of light as a particle.

As I look out my window, innumerable particles of light are bouncing off the leaves of the trees, which register in my consciousness as green. Just as the each of the leaves on the trees is unique, each particle of sunlight is also unique.

And yet, each particle of sunlight has the same quality as all the others; the quality of being sunlight. Similarly, each of us are unique as individual beings – particles of spiritual energy – and yet we are one insofar as we are a spiritual singularity – Brahman – in the same way that particles of light share the quality of simultaneously being a singular ray of light.

Just as the sun’s rays emanate from the sun, the Brahmajyoti, the effulgence of Brahman also have a source. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna describes himself in this way:

brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham  – amṛtasyāvyayasya ca
śāśvatasya ca dharmasya  – sukhasyaikāntikasya ca

“I am the foundation of the immortal and ever present Brahman, of ever-lasting righteousness, and of absolute joy.”  – Bg 14.27

Thus we find that the radiance of Brahman is the glow emanating from the personal feature beyond it. This proposition isn’t unique to the Bhagavad-gita: in mantra 15 of the Sri Isopanishad, the Upanishad that describes Isvara, the Supreme Person referred to in the Yoga-sutras, the author requests the Supreme Person to remove the dazzling effulgence that obscures his personal features, for the beauty of the source of all spiritual light is even more beautiful than the radiant light itself.

The seasonal beauty of June is the beauty of light. For me, that light inspires a deeper sense of connection to nature, a deeper appreciation for the spiritual quality of all beings, and a deeper sense of connection to every individual spark of spiritual energy.

When we all let the sun shine in, we can all feel that same sense of simultaneous unity in spiritual diversity.

I hope the sun is shining on you.

 

Featured image: ‘Sunshine Land’ by TapWaterTaffy

Hari-kirtana

I’m a yoga teacher based in Washington, D.C. and the author of In Search of the Highest Truth: Adventures in Yoga Philosophy. I lead Yoga Teacher Training courses, workshops, and yoga classes. I also serve yoga practitioners as a private instructor and assist yoga teachers in their professional development.

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