A central tenet of Hinduism, a major world religion that stems from the ancient religion of the sun, is prayer and communion with divinity, through which one can receive spiritual strength, guidance, boons, and sacred knowledge.
One example of a prayer is described in the Svetasvatara Upanishad, a part of the Yajurveda, a Vedic text believed to have been written sometime in the 6th – 4th century BC. This prayer invokes the blessings of the sun at the onset of a meditation practice1 in order to connect “the mind and the heart” of a person with the forces of light (“by filling our bodies with light from above”).
In this prayer one asks for blessings and support from the divine sun, and for help with directing the focus of the senses and the mind inwardly towards the spiritual. This is explained as a way to reach the divine within and gain inner knowledge of that part of oneself, thereby revealing “that radiant One”, which in other translations is explained as the “Supreme Self,” or inward “Heaven.”2
May the light of the shining Sun
Join our minds and our hearts to God.
May He also support our lives
By filling our bodies with Light from above.
With His blessings, and by His Light
We’ll join our hearts and our minds to God;
We’ll surely reach to the highest state
By earnest effort and faithful meditation.
May the Sun grant this boon to me:
Let my mind and my senses be fixed on God.
Direct them inward, and thereby reveal,
By means of inner knowledge, that radiant One.
Surely it would be of benefit to everyone
To make such a prayer to the lordly Sun;
For he is the witness of everyone;
He grants his gifts to deserving men.
… I offer this prayer to the Lord, our Source:
Let me be one with [you], O God.
~ Svetasvatara Upanishad, translated by Swami Abhayananda3
Please note, more practice excerpts will be added as and when we find them. While we recommend the practice in this excerpt, featuring a passage from a text does not mean we can vouch for the entire contents of a text.
Vida Norris, Jordan Resnick, and Justin Norris, contributed research and writing to this article.
Other translations of this passage recommend this salutation to the sun to be done at the commencement of “yoga” (which in the Hindu tradition refers to various forms of meditation). For example, the translation by Swami Nikhilananda offers the following first lines: “May the sun, at the commencement of yoga, join our minds and other organs to the Supreme Self so that we may attain the Knowledge of Reality.” Source: Holy Upanishads – Svetasvatara Upanishad. Translated by Swami Nikhilananda. Chapter 2, Line 1. Accessed April 22, 2018. http://www.ishwar.com/hinduism/holy_upanishads/svetasvatara_upanishad/.
“THE SVETASVATARA UPANISHAD” Translated by Swami Abhayananda. Part 2, Lines 1-5, p. 4-5. Accessed April 22, 2018. http://www.themysticsvision.com/uploads/1/3/9/2/13928072/_______________________________________________________________________________________________________svetasvatara_upanishad.pdf.