why jyotish is called eyes of Veda? what is meant by lotus eyes of Sri Krsna or Sri Rama
Among first steps in approaching and differentiating important limbs (Vedanga) of vast body of Vedic Knowledge,we are learning that Vedic Astrology- jyotish, is called Eyes of the Veda . Just as eyes can see the road and guide the body in right direction, similarly eyes of Veda can show us the way toward reaching final Soul aim- God realization, as in core Veda is carrying that high level of Spiritual knowledge of sound and prayers, and we can learn a lot on different aspects of life, both mundane and spiritual from this Divine knowledge received by Ancient rishis/seers .. In our slavic languages root is similar videti/vedati means to see – to know.
Astrologer or jyotishi – is one on the life path of learning and applying this divine knowledge. But in away we all need some of that inner vision of knowledge to be cultivated .Is it just our human appearance defining us as humans or more our mentality and goals in life. What appears as human form can be at times driven by lower animalistic tendencies, or higher more turned toward cultivating divine values, so we need to develop clarity of seeing and deeper understanding whole palette and complexities of life.
Eyes are not only meant in physical sense organ here, but more pointing to evolving that vision of deeper understanding that knowledge is opening for us, helping to differentiate clear path, best for personal evolution on whatever stage,or karmic experience one happens to be, as well study of what is right action to perform in what time, .
But what else are those sight attributes beside the seeing of Time and understanding its quality, what really brings deeper meaning to one’s life, what is that bright vision of road ahead ? Is it based on our ability of imagination or are we already born with some clear map of the right road to follow ?
For ages eyes as symbol have all over world, through many other cultures been connected to All Seeing God. Just as physical 2 eyes , we have two closest lights on sky – Sun and Moon primarily, and further away all other stars. They are life givers and nurturing providers for Nature as whole, and people, especially astrologers, from dawn of time have praised those Luminaries above us in Sky.
As we are created from duality, our minds mostly continue to perceive life as dual -as dance of masculine and feminine is creation of all beings on our earthly plane. Hence we can trace numerous Solar and Lunar Deities, Sky Father and Earth Mother being worshiped across the world with different names. In Egypt there is well known Eye of Ra(Solar) and Eye of Horus (later connected to Lunar aspect), among Greek Helios, Apollo ,in Persia it was Mithra in Slavic pantheon there was Vid/ SvetoVid (all seeing/all knowing aspect of God) and many others.
In vedic culture list is particularity long and detailed for different personification of Solar/Lunar aspects of God’s manifestation. All of them were perceived as extension of God’s strength to protect, defend against disorder but also provide wisdom, safety, health etc. Different amulets of God’s eye, their engraving in places of Gods worship served as reminder of that and stayed as important symbols even till today in middle eastern area , just like in native cultures of other continents .
When speaking of those Eyes of God, right eye Sun ,considered as main source of light, is more masculine in quality relates to Sarva Atma and is our link with all other Souls, and like Father Sun is giving us purpose we should focus on doing during daylight. Moon is reflecting that to more mild light of feminine quality that we experience during night phase, we can compare it to Mother’s gentle, caring vision. But from human perspective both are providing us real essential life giving light and hence both are important as guidance and nurturing to different aspects of all beings.
Speaking on our eyes, its not just about content perceived (from outside world) but also understanding them as lenses through which seeing is happening , so what is that seeing that we are really cultivating? Also our eyes share some level of that quality of emitting the light, in sense of awareness, we also are able to give away to a level energy through them,in sense of consciousness as we are sharing some seed of that quality of Consciousness with the Source of all Life . Main quality of human beings is that there is potential in us to evolve, realize and live that reality .
And just as in physical sense more far we look from eyes, that space and all in it, is perceived from to a level distorted angles, so naturally a bit diverted picture of outside is reflected in our inner world. We have limitations in that physical sense, comparing even to some other animal beings regarding sight and other sense organs.
So what really is making human being capable if its not about sharpness of that physical sight?
Interestingly many mystics and Gurus and spiritual teachers of all cultures have spoken so much on importance to turn the sight inward toward that Source of seeing, as more we come closer to what is seen or Who the seer is -less the view is distorted, and less divergent vision is by numerous distractions, then we can easier come to that One true Source .
What happens in such process is that mind stills and seize to just consume outside through senses, only then it can come closer to realize its real nature, potential and resonance with that Light giving Source. Something worth reminding ourselves and dwell more upon in these times of consumerism and outside, Self-dissociative driven values of today world.
Now paying attention on this perspective does not by any chance imply being a jyotishi means someone is enlightened or takes role of some spiritual Guru, or religious but more serving as reminder that we are all here on path of evolution, learning, co-creating .With a helping hand of knowledge aim is to bridge toward integration and understanding our experiences, tune in with that time factor and to overcome some more challenging portions or developing appreciation and value chance to be born as a human being and further grow.
So coming back to rich vedic culture, we can understand even deeper on higher quality of those Luminaries from reading puranic stories. Even when that Original Soul of all Souls , Narayana, Vishnu decides, so far 9 of 10 times, to incarnate out of his own will as different Avatars, in performing his cosmic play or Lila . Avatars and their feminine energies- Shaktis are so often described in literature as having eyes like lotuses (ambuja-akṣa, kamala-akṣa),or lotus petals (puṇḍarīkākṣam). Specifically Sri Ram and Sri Krsna came through highest tone, to say that way, of Sun and Moon energies, or Solar/Lunar dynasties so called.
In descriptions often mentioned are their lotus like eyes . In order to understand is it just about that physical appearance ,resemblance to gentle lotus petals, full, healthy,sensuous, and tender looking? Or essence originates somewhere deeper from some spiritual quality when speaking of Avatars, what is that luminous, pious clarity, peace and comfort giving view on their eyes that is spoken and is shared with some quality of lotus flower.
Lotus symbolizes few things, primarily presence of quality of divine purity (value strongly connected to Vishnu and favorite flower of his consort Lakshmi). Lotus is growing in mud, but remains untouched with surrounding dirt, so doesn’t loose its divinity, and fully blossoms once when reaches above those muddy waters and opens petals to sky above. That also shows need to nurture important attitude of non attachment even when we are floating in muddy waters of this world, to keep our vision clear and set up on higher values.
What really nurtures such values, even if it at times is not visible to us outside,so even more important to remember and develop ability to see all way through to that seed of goodness or God-ness in every Soul, including oneself. Since from moment of conception with both material gravity, emotional desires and all mundane ties it’s so easy to get distracted with outside and confuse what is real virtue and what is in today world called just virtue signaling. How we learn to see through ,how we truly develop those qualities -we can learn a lot from Avatar lives.
As in famous saying from Romans – ‘all roads lead to Roma ‘, walking the roads of Indian culture we numerous times learn that all roads lead to Rama (and same but different Krsna ), as their lives have been endless beacons of pure Light through thousands of years, and are far more inspiring to learn from than any worldly conquests . Even studies of jyotish charts in our tradition start first from studying their lives and charts.There must be a reasoning to that .
So to catch some taste, there is one beautiful episode in epic Ramayana story, when Sri Rama just before final battle with rakshasas on Sri Lanka , in order to return his abducted wife Sita, was doing sacrifice offering to Durga Devi with prayer to win that battle. So 108 lotuses were required to be offered to receive such boon from Goddess, but as the story goes he was able to gather just 107 flowers and dedicated to finish yagya offering, he took his weapon and was ready to pull out one of his lotus eyes . At that moment Goddess was pleased with him and appeared to stop and granted him boon he asked for. *
Many valuable layers in this episode, but a point essential along the theme ~that being ready to sacrifice own eye is showing very deep meaning behind quality of giving, often connected to eyes. The point of giving is not in what we have but more what we are , giving of oneself , something as valuable as part of us, our light, our awareness, so even just that attitude of sacrifice was what really invited Goddess to manifest.
But when we really think on essence of offerings, what all opulent any form of God really needs from us in material sense ? Is it flowers, candles, food, clothes ,incense or is it more attitude of sacrifice of self (in sense of our Ego attachments , Ahamkar) for something of higher value. In essence we should observe in us any form of attachment to false, identifications with bad habits, or wrong beliefs, attitudes of some kind, and we need to reflect a bit on what is in that giving away, in meaning of sacrifice, which is far more important in our spiritual growth than any material offering . *
What to say of ultimate kindness of Sri Krsna, purna Avatar, who out of His causeless mercy, will accept even the smallest symbolic offering – even a drop of water or a tulasi leaf (Bhagavad-gita 9.26 ) if it is offered with love and devotion. So when we are guided to make such an offering, Krsna is really inviting us to reawaken our eternal, to taste of that blissful relationship with Him.
The key ingredient in such offering process is devotion. That’s how he on occasion accepted even poisonous offering and let even rakshasas to His eternal abode , but at other time would refuse to accept an offering even by devote if motivated by self-interest rather than love.
Why so?Because in his self-satisfied (atmarama) state of existence, He as God doesn’t need anything really, being the supreme controller, the ultimate refuge, and the proprietor of everything, but he does accept if we offer our genuine devotion, which is more of an inner quality.
So in line with the theme we can understand that real quality in such vision stands in purifying our ability to see beyond just surface, beyond faults and our arrogant prejudices and projections. To aim to recognize more close that inner, true nature of being, through all layers , and it also requires developing a feeling, as language of compassion to meet and see other beings as they are and where they are, without judging anyone.
Now, from our jyotish angle interestingly 2.house of physical eyes and 10 H- vision, as dharma-purpose of eyes ( 9th from 2H), both we learn are Vishnu or Hari bhavas, and whenever we speak on Vishnu- purity becomes important. In 10H is sight, vision specifically , but on other level we say its also house where Avatar sits in Anahata chakra, it is place of Abhijit – fully spiritual nakshatra at noon,known also as Mid Heaven, where that unique connection to Paramatma, divine God’s spark in any living being is present, so true vision we can relate to that presence really.
One important layer of Karma in 10H, as whole chapter in Bhagavad Gita is on Karma yoga, and a lot can be understood even in line of ‘vision’, why so much importance is put on not being attached to fruits of one’s karma, but do it in detached way (niṣkāmakarma, self-less or desire-less action). As that peak on sky above our heads is His throne really .In other word, its field of our work area, where we are all given some duties in areas of our abilities (and even those opportunities are his gifts really). So in 10H is response-ability zone , so we are just called to work on what needs to be done, best in our capacity so in a way pouring from Him back to Him. Nothing truly belongs to us anyway, if one really think deep enough, except that awareness that is being developed through the process of duty ‘calling’ in the present moment. What He is seeing there also is our true intention and attitude with which we are doing something.
In devotional scriptures it is described, that just as all eyes are having black circle in middle (even the smallest of creatures) , that Omni-present ,all seeing vision is coming from Vishnu, Krsna as He in that sense is knower of all by his endless potency and if you think even that blackness is pointing that He ,in form of Paramatma is not seeing from Outside in but from inside out. He sees our Motivations, Intentions and true Aspirations within our heart. So same line as mystics point – turn your sight inward, align it with His , truly worth broad perspective.
And most famous Deity from Orissa state,where our jyotish Parampara lineage originates ,is having this specific form of Jagannath Deity, as Lord of Universe(Jagat) he is also that All Seeing Krsna within our hearts, however One calls or sees him, behind all numerous forms is One single Source. And that blackness in color is same as when you look longer to the Sun, as Source of all visible light and when close eyes, within that moment we are able to see like mirror inner image that black round circle .
Bhagavad Gita 10.41: Krsna saying to Arjuna
~Whatever you see as beautiful, glorious, or powerful, know it to spring from but a spark of my splendor.
deity of Jaganath Puri,Orissa
So mostly we are looking, but not always seeing through that aligned Divine vision, as it really requires of us cultivating inner purity of the heart. As saying goes ‘beauty is in the eye of beholder’, so mostly people judge in line to what they behold, based on own levels of purity or depth of vision and what we more often do is project own shadows, weaknesses to outside world which is in different way, but at the end also part of learning process. Just as we can never see our own eyes directly, but when we at least try to reflect and understand through interaction of relating with different perspectives, we can open space for more clear and deeper vision and genuine meaning, and cultivate more true perception of the World and Self.
In process of cultivating clarity and strength over own weaknesses in vedic system we are praying for guidance to deities of Vishnu and Shiva, as Omnipresent and Omnipotent aspects of God. Preference is sometimes there depending on own spiritual path ,but however it is said they are always mutually meditating on each other, and in a way we can think of that as important guidance to respect and nurture both values of strength and purity, as we all need both of them on our life journeys .
To mention that there are also three eyed Deities as Shiva with one of names called –Tryambaka ,Durga and Ganesha are Deities presented specifically with 3 eyes, third one being connected to knowledge, or rather inner wisdom that is real strength over any mode of tamas, ignorance or weakness.
Durga with her Motherly attentive eyes, also called Ambika, in her full vision of motherly vigilance is helping us to go in right direction. She is addressed for protection, burning all wrong thoughts, eliminating all sorts of attachments or all forms of darkness within or outside along our path. Shiva pure form is Guru tattva, knowledge and She, as his shakti is energy potency we call upon when needed to understand and lift our consciousness above inertia of tamas . Ganesha as their wise son in similar manner is one we address in prayers and meditations when in need for more stability on our path, as he removes all badhak- how we call seen and unseen turbulence and obstacles on our path, till final one.
To conclude its always great aim ,wherever we happen to be in personal maping, to accept Life in itself as a gift,and to keep our mind focus on what are real values in life, what is real essence of our Soul ,purpose and aim to align our vision to that angle.
From that perspective even this life with all its ups/downs,expectations is but a blink of an eye, so we should be aware not to get trapped in false identifications with lower senses or gravitational pull of ropes of desires . Observe what is purpose of such attachments, but we should aim to nurture some discipline and do some practice to transform and detach from such bindings, in order to open more space to fulfill real human and Divine potential that we are given.
* we can recognize similarity with later Egyptian myth when Horus looses 1 eye and is being restored by Goddess Hathor
** in biblical story of ‘Binding of Isaac’ and Abraham sacrifice, all 3 Abrahamic religions have wrote a lot in past, also worth reflecting more in this line