नाशत्येष वै भूतं तदेव सृजति प्रभुः।
पायत्येष तपत्येष वर्ष्त्येष गभस्तिभिः॥ २२

एष सुप्तेषु जागर्ति भूतेषु परिनिष्ठितः।
एष एवाग्निहोत्रं च फलं चैवाग्निहोत्रिणाम्॥ २३

वेदाश्च क्रतवश्चैव क्र्तूनां फ्लमेव च।
यानि कृत्यानि लोकेषु सर्व एष रविःप्रभुः॥ २४

nāśatyeṣa vai bhūtaṁ tadeva sṛjati prabhuḥ |
pāyatyeṣa tapatyeṣa varṣtyeṣa gabhastibhiḥ || (22)

eṣa supteṣu jāgarti bhūteṣu pariniṣṭhitaḥ |
eṣa evāgnihotraṁ ca phalaṁ caivāgnihotriṇām || (23)

vedāśca kratavaścaiva krtūnāṁ phlameva ca |
yāni kṛtyāni lokeṣu sarva eṣa raviḥprabhuḥ || (24)


22) nāśatyeṣa vai – This (Brahman’s minuscule form, the sun ) causes destruction; bhūtaṁ - entire living beings (universe); tadeva sṛjati – (again) re-creates those beings; prabhuḥ - Brahman (contextually, the sun); pāyatyeṣa – He drinks water (subtly conveys the evaporation of water); tapatyeṣa – He causes heat; varṣtyeṣa – He causes rain; gabhastibhiḥ - rays of sun;

23) eṣa – He; supteṣu – during sleep; jāgarti – during active state; bhūteṣu - entire living beings (universe); pariniṣṭhitaḥ - within (referring to the Soul within); eṣa – He; evāgnihotraṁ – the sacrificial fire; ca phalaṁ - fruits accruing out of such oblations (discussed in the next word); caiva agnihotriṇām - those who perform daily fire oblations (they are known as nitya agnihotrin (as opposed to kāmya or optional agnihotrin);

24) vedāśca – also Vedas; kratavaścaiva – other types of fire oblations (generally called homa, as prescribed in Vedas in karma khāṇḍa); krtūnāṁ - such sacrificial rites (in the form of such sacrificial rites); phlameva ca – fruits (benefits accruing) of such actions; yāni kṛtyāni – being the cause of all other actions; lokeṣu - all the fourteen worlds (referring to fourteen types of worlds); sarva – for everyone; eṣa raviḥ prabhuḥ - sun is the Lord.

Summary of verses 22, 23 and 24:

Verse 22 categorically says that what is referred in Āditya Hṛdayam is the Self and not merely the sun, a planet. The verse speaks about five primary acts of Brahman – creation, sustenance, destruction, annihilation and re-creation (or sṛṣṭi, sthiti, saṁhāra, tirodhāna and anugraha referred in Lalitā Sahasranāma 264 to 274). Though the verse explicitly mentions only about destruction and re-creation, by making a reference to water and heat, sustenance is subtly conveyed. In fact, the subtle conveyance of this verse is being carried forward from the previous verse (21), where creation was discussed. The verse says that all the acts of Brahman are done through knowledge, which is conveyed here as the rays of the sun. Rig Veda (V.45) praises the sun thus. “....The rays of the approaching dawn are spread around the divine source of light, scattering the clustered gloom, has risen and opened the doors of knowledge of men. The sun of enlightenment spreads his light as splendour personified......May the sun (referring to individual soul, the Self within, covered by māyā), the Lord {this verse of Āditya Hṛdayam addresses the sun as Lord (prabhuḥ} of seven steeds (seven horses of the sun’s chariot or seven colours of the sun VIBGYOR or the seven upper worlds mentioned as seven vyāhṛti-s or worlds Gayatri mantra - bhūr, bhuvar,svar, mahar, janar, tapar and satya loka-s)........ The sun has ascended above the shining oceans ......I offer to you for the sake of rain, an all bestowing worship.......May we , by this worship pass safe beyond affliction and sin.” Going by several such Vedic hymns, it can be construed that what Agastya refers to is Prakāśa form of Brahman (Self-illumination, from which everything else shines).

Verse 23 explains about the Self, which (Brahman typically speaking is beyond gender; hence all theUpaniṣad-s address Brahman as “That”) prevails in all the three stages of normal consciousness such as awake, dream and deep sleep. Brahman as the Self within prevails within the body (body is the temple and the Self within is the sanctum sanctorum). This verse speaks both about the Self within and the universal Self. Self-realization does not stop with realizing the Self within. After realization, one has to look at the entire creation through the “eyes” of Brahman (Puruṣasūktaṁ says that Brahman has infinite number of eyes). Without Universal realization, Self-realization is not complete, though the latter precedes the former.

The above verse also dwells on fire (Agni) that is invoked during fire rituals, where oblations are offered into the fire. If the intention of Agastya were to reveal about the planet sun, there is no need for him to discuss about Agni here. Agni is the carrier of all the oblations to the respective gods, who preside over different aspects of creation and other four acts of Brahman. . Oblations are offered to fire, which is known as agnihotra. As explained earlier, there are two types of agnihotra rituals. Every day, grains are offered into the domestic fire and this is known as nitya agnihotra. The other one is kāmya or optional agnihotra, which is used while performing certain homa rituals, which are not of daily nature. {Further reading: Darśapūrṇamāsa is one of the śrauta rituals. There are three main categories. The first is called iṣṭi or haviryajñā in which the oblations are of rice or barley.  The second is animal sacrifice and the third is soma ritual. In the first category there are five types of rituals and they are areagnyādheya, punarādheya, agnihotra, darśapūrṇamāsa and cāturmāsya. Darśapūrṇamāsa is full and new moon ceremonies incorporate recitations from two Veda-s, Rig and Yajur and require the services of four priests. The full and new moon sacrifice (darśapūrṇamāsa) is the paradigm of all the iṣṭi-s.}Ritual oblations are different from Spiritual oblations. Spiritual oblations are made into the fire of Kuṇḍalinī, which remains in our body right from birth to death. Impressions of indriya-s are offered as oblations into the fire of Kuṇḍalinī. For every fire ritual, there is pūrṇāhutī, which signifies the end of all oblations. In internal oblations, pūrṇāhutī is the mind and ego and they are offered to the fire of Kuṇḍalinī.  This type of internal homa is known as nitya agnihotra.

Verse 24 also dwells on oblations. Apart from referring to various fire rituals as prescribed in karma khāṇḍa of Vedas, the verse subtly conveys that Brahman remains as a witness to all our actions. There are two types of yajña-s – one is for universal prosperity and happiness and another is self centric and is performed for personal upliftment. This verse says that Brahman stands as a witness to both these types of rituals. This also goes to prove that Brahman is described here and not sun as a planet. Sun is drawn as an example. Upaniṣads often refer to misconceiving a rope for a snake. What is the cause of this misconception? Obviously, it is our mind. Similarly, in Āditya Hṛdayam, though Brahman is the focal point of this sacred verse, we misconstrue it for the planet sun.  The verse also says that He is the cause of everything; in other words, He is the cause of creation. Obviously, sun cannot be the cause of creation. If the sun is the cause of creation, Kaṭha Upaniṣad would not have said “In the presence of Brahman, the sun does not shine, nor do the moon and stars, nor does lightning, let alone this fire.  When Brahman shines, everything follows.  By Its light, all these are lighted.” Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VIII.iii.4) also says, “Then, this person, who is the embodiment of happiness, emerging from the body and attaining the highest Light, assumes his real nature.  This is the Self.” Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (III.ix.10) also says, “Light is the mind” and again in (IV.iv.6) it says “upon that immortal Light of all lights the gods meditate as longevity.” This means that gods meditate on this Supreme Light for their immortality. 

Thus, to sum up these three verses, it is said that Brahman, who is in the form of blinding Light is the cause of this universe and is Omnipresent. He remains as a witness to all our actions. All other luminaries, including the sun draw their illuminating capacity only from the Prakāśa of Brahman, which alone is Self-illuminating and is also the cause of this universe. Having created the universe, Brahman stands alone only as a witness to all the actions and He neither directly nor indirectly causes any action in anyone. The universal existence is due to Law of Karma, which is called as “Law of the Lord”.

More articles:

Aditya Hridayam - Part 8

Aditya Hridayam - Part 10