The tradition of giving thanks to the Sun continues in the Indian subcontinent since millennia. Long ago, large sections of society understood the logic behind this tradition. Therefore, they engaged in it with fervor. Today, many of us do understand the basis behind such tradition. However, modern science can give us a partial insight into the way in which thought leaders in a distant past, inculcated respect natural resources among the masses. Through science we know that life on planet Earth cannot exist without Sun’s warmth and light. An awe about Sun’s role can kindle respect for life on planet earth and its dependency on Earth’s natural resources. Vedic seers kept this spark of awe through a simple daily ritual of gratitude. This ritual consists of offering to the Sun, daily. The offering in this ritual is a handful of water or Argya.
Any thanks giving ceremony is symbolic and is designed to kindle a delicate feeling within. The thanks-giving ritual to the Sun fits this definition. Water signifies the care and love which nature showers on all creatures. Besides, the ritual very brief but is done thrice a day, namely, at sunrise, noon and sunset. These three are transitional periods. The first water or Argya offering is ideally offered a bit before Sunrise. The second water offering is done when the Sun is overhead and the third one before the Sun sets. The Argya offering is generally followed with a short meditation using the powerful Gayatri mantra. The Gayatri mantra seeks the blessings of the Sun for a sharp intellect.
Sun worship in South India
Idai-Kaattu (இடைக்காட்டு சித்தர்) Siddhar, a wise person, who lived a few thousand years ago, during the Sangam age, in Tamil Nadu, composed a witty verse on Argya offering. People can easily remember the idea timing for Argya offering. The following verse can be translated into “Without seeing, without tilting and while seeing! Take a dip, See it vanish! See it Vanish!”. The verse is comical and cryptic but easy to
remember. The fact that a person who grazed cattle wrote a popular poem about Argya offering, attests to the popularity of giving thanks to the Sun even in the southern parts of the Indian subcontinent
காணாமல் கோணாமல் கண்டு கொடு!
ஆடுகாண் போகுது பார் போகுதுபார்.