Shamash, the Mesopotamian god of the sun, exercised the power of light over darkness and evil. In this capacity he became known as the god of justice and equity and was the judge of both gods and men. (According to legend, the Babylonian king Hammurabi received his code of laws from Shamash.) At night, Shamash became judge of the underworld. Shamash was pictured seated on a throne, holding in his hand the symbols of justice and righteousness, a staff and a ring. The god is often pictured with a disk, having a cross inside, that symbolized the Sun.
Watching the sunrise was a daily practice, performed by the Mesopotamians in the honor of Shamash. This practice was also employed by Jews, even though it was officially condemned: "And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east." (Ezekiel 8:16 )
The Vedic scriptures of the Hindu religion refer to the sun as the store house of inexhaustible power and radiance. Ths sun god is referred to as Surya or Aditya. The Vedas are full of hymns describing the celestial body as the source and sustainer of all life on earth. The Ramayana speaks of Sage Agastya initiating Rama into sun worship through the Aditya Hridaya Mantra.
"Through meditation, one-pointedly fixed upon the sun, will come a consciousness (or knowledge) of the seven worlds." (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 3:26 )
It is said that Iran was once a center of Solar worship and that some of the Maga (Magha) priests of Iran had been brought to India to officiate in ceremonies. Referring to the Maga priests, Srivastava shows that these Maga priests came to India during the 6-8th century BC (Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Bhagalpur Session, 1968, pp.86 ff). The Maga priests were the famous Magoi or Magi, Zoroastrian priests who spread the worship of fire and Sun and erected temples at Taxila and Multan. Sun temples in ancient days were known as Aditya Grihas. The traveller Ktesias mentions a site of sun worship in western India (400BC).
Long before Aurelian created the new cult of the "Sol Invictus" at Rome, Apollo was called Bonus Deus Puer, or Bonus puer phosphorus, in many inscriptions consecrated to him, found in Dacia, mainly in the Apullum city, the capital of Dacia Apulensis province, called so in the honor of the Dacian sun god, Apollo. Apollo’s sceptre assumes at times the form of a cross (cf. coin of Gallienus reproduced in Victor Duruy’s Hist. des Romains, Paris, 1885, Vol. VIII, p. 42, ERE). The cult of Sun was brought to Dacia and from there to entire Europe, by the Agathyrsi, an Iranian tribe. Like the the Indian priests, they recited their laws in a kind of sing-song to prevent their being forgotten, a practice still in existence in the days of Aristotle (Problemata, xix. 28). The original dwellers of the province of Vojvodina, which forms Serbia's most northern border, are believed to be the Agathyrsi and Illyrians, later the Dacians, Thracians and Celts. A unique fragmentary relief, depicting the cult of the sun-god Mithra, was discovered at Konjica, in Bosnia. After 1980, sun gazing was revived in this region, being practiced today by many pilgrims visiting the holly site from Medjugorje.
SUN GAZING AT MEDJUGORJE
There have been various signs and miracles that accompany the already supernatural apparitions in Medjugorje. The most popular is undoubtedly the "Miracle of the Sun" phenomenon. The dance of the sun witnessed on August 2, 1981 at Medjugorje had considerably more facets than the October 13, 1917, phenomenon at Fatima. There seem to be some common elements that were witnessed by all of the approximately 150 people who were present on the mountain side that afternoon. The common elements are:
· It took place late in the afternoon when the sun was about to set.
· It seemed to come toward those who were watching it and then to recede from them. As it came closer, great darkness appeared behind it.
· The sun spins wildly and throws off a kaleidoscope of colors in all directions.
· The people could look directly at the sun without hurting their eyes. It doesn't hurt or damage the eyes to stare at it, even after 20 minutes or more of constant exposure.
The reaction of the people was varied. Some prayed, some cried, some were afraid, and some ran away. At the end of the event, a white cloud was seen coming down over the mountain side of the apparitions. It moved toward the sun, which continued to spin briefly, and then return to its normal state. The entire phenomenon lasted about fifteen minutes. Finally, for the very fortunate, Jesus or Mary may appear in the sun or on top of it, or sometimes a cross will appear.
An account, from April, 1989 tells the following: "Precisely at 6:40 P.M., a white disc appeared over the sun, dulling its brightness, enabling us to look directly at it without injuring our eyes. The disc began turning, both clockwise and counterclockwise, and moving vertically as well as horizontally over the sun, turning everything from scarlet to silver to copper to royal blue to purple to green--and then some (definitely no pastels, but brilliant breath-taking colors). Some British tourists, not members of our group, happened by and were astounded! In the midst of our joy and excitement, we told them about the events of Medjugorje as the sun pulsated, strobed (appeared to be flashing on and off), and exhibited every hue of the rainbow."
"The next day when we returned to Rome, the sun repeated its spectacular display at 6:40 P.M. but with far less intensity of colors, witnessed by all 55 pilgrims on the bus."
Another account, from September of 1990: "I observed thousands of people looking directly into the sun every day at 5:45 p.m., when the apparition was allegedly taking place."
The one hour difference (6:40 in April 1989 and 5:45 in September 1990) of the miracle is apparent and due to the one hour difference between the daylight saving time and normal time.
Rene Laurentin, an eminent Marian scholar, stated that "on numerous occasions, thousands have witnessed the sun change colors, spin, become a silver disc, throb and pulsate in the sky, and throw off a rainbow of colors." [ Rene Laurentin, Latest News of Medjugorje (June 1987), trans. Judith Lohre Stiens (Milford, OH: The Riehle Foundation, 1987), X.]
MASTERS OF SUN GAZING
What I realized was that gazing at the sun stopped the thought process, or at least made entry into a mindless state very easy. In one of the references to sun yoga -- Surya Yoga -- that I found in India, the sun is referred to as the place where the rishis and kings of ancient times returned after death.
Acharya Jowel is being recognised as Surya Swami for his Suryayog practice that is gaining a lot of followers in Mumbai. He says: "Through Suryayog, your mind naturally begins to concentrate, which is the aim of all spiritual processes. The sun's rays collide with our thoughts and create silence. The mind is too powerful to be managed by ordinary human consciousness. The photons from the solar system help to control the mind."
The 24-year-old Dimbeswar Basumatary, a college dropout in Balimari village west of Assam’s capital Guwahati, has sun-gazing as his passion. He has baffled ophthalmologists by staring at the sun for hours without blinking, while staring at a radiant sun for just 90 seconds can cause solar burn or retina damage.
He claimed that he had tried not eating anything for four days and did not experience hunger or thirst because the sun gives him food for survival in the form of solar energy.
A senior ophthalmologist Biraj Jyoti Goswami of the Sankardev Netralaya, a premier eye hospital in Guwahati, said that Basumatary had been examined a number of times and was found to have good colour vision with no significant problems detected so far. (Youth’s Sun-Gazing Baffles Eye Specialists, The Star, 17 December 2002)
Hira Ratan Manek (HRM) is a 63 year old mechanical engineer from Gujarat. He walked in the sun for long periods of time. He left his profession and dedicated himself entirely to his spiritual commitment. As he kept walking in the sun, he felt progressively energized. He also felt less and less need to eat food. There was no compulsion to do a fast; no will power was necessary. He follows the jain way of fasting and he takes only water after sunrise & before sunset. He has done fasting for 211 days, from 19th June 1995 to 15th Jan 96. The fast ended in the Jain temple situated in the Gujarat. When he completed the 211 days fast, his weight was reduced by 41 kg. and the Sugar level (Glucose) was lowered to 43. "Medical Science says that when the glucose level of a human being decreasing below 50, then the situation becomes dangerous, even though in his case nothing has append." Said Dr. P.D.Doshi the secretary of Health Care International Multitherapy Institute.
HRM started a 411 days fast at 1st January 2000 and was ready to go for continuous medical checkup during his fasting. The medical team is led by Health Care International Multitherapy Institute & Jain Doctors Federation jointly. It is fully supported by Jain Yuvak Mahasangh President Dr. Jitubhai Shah.
HRM has has completed 166 days of fast on 14th June 2000. His initial weight was 77 kg was reduced to 62kg. All other parameters were normal.
The pineal gland can be enlarged by Surya Yoga. Normal Pineal gland measures 6 x 8 mm in human body. As per C.T.Scan & MRI Scan reports of Mr. Hira Ratan Manek. it is 8 x 11 mm (enlarged). This may indirectly support the important role of pineal gland in energy transformation.
The pineal has documented effects on reproductive function, growth, body temperature, blood pressure, motor activity, sleep, tumor growth, mood, and the immune system. A healthy pineal also seems to be a major factor in longevity.
HRM has one intention that is to have humanity become truly independent. He stated: "Food makes us commit the maximum pain to others and exploit others."
SUN GAZING AND FASTING
There are two mechanisms by which sunlight suppresses the hunger:
by enhancing MSH production into the pituitary gland;
by enhancing serotonin and suppressing melatonin production into the pineal gland.
Exposure to sunlight makes pituitary gland to release the melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH). MSH stimulates the pigmentation of the skin, but it is also anorexigenic (suppresses hunger). Injection of MSH in one of the lateral ventricles of rodents leads to suppression of food intake in a dose-dependent manner.
Melatonin is produced, in the absence of sunlight, by pineal gland. Stress, refined sugars, and other factors that increase epinephrine output will also increase melatonin production. This is the cause of stress induced obesity.
Melatonin does inhibit the pituitary secretion of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which leads to increased hunger. That's why hunger is hard to control during the night and that's why the Ramadan fasting is maintained until sunset.
The pineal gland produces melatonin from serotonin, causing a decrease of the serotonin level. A common cause of obesity is the serotonin-deficiency. Symptoms include Sugar cravings, food obsession, binge eating, depression, anxiety, and phobias. Fasting results in increased turnover of brain serotonin (Curzon et al, 1972).
SUN GAZING AND HEALTH
Sunlight influences the metabolism of fatty acids in the retina. If you blink too much (more than three times a minute), it is a sign of organic weakness, (especially of the liver).
Eating too many sweets, fats, animal foods and alcohol make the eyes tired and weak. Writing in Psychology (July, 1929), Dr. R. A. Richardson, optician, says: "On a recent trip to Africa, I took advantage of the opportunity to find out whether cataract and blindness, often found there, were caused by the sun's intense light and heat, as I had been told. To my surprise, I discovered that the persons blinded by cataract were not those who worked in the open sunshine, but in the small shops and bazaars of Tunis. Questioning them, I traced their trouble to over-indulgence in proteins, sugars and starches, nicotine and caffeine."
Dr. Herbert Shelton - "Gazing directly into the sun actually improves sight and aids in overcoming disease".
Dr. Jacob Liberman. - Sunglasses block healing ultra-violet light and thus contribute to the increased incidence of blindness and eye disease in this country"
After discontinuing wearing his eyeglasses, Dr. John Ott wrote that he exposed his eyes to sunlight without lenses and his vision was much improved. He recommended similar therapy to his friends and they gained similar improvement in their vision.
When sunlight enters the eye, it stimulates nerves in the back of the eye to send impulses to the spinal cord. From there, these impulses are sent back into the brain to a tiny organ called the pineal gland. The pineal gland produces a hormone called melatonin, which affects not only the brain, but also other of the endocrine glands, such as the pituitary, the adrenals, the ovaries, and testes. In fact, the pineal gland is a regulator of the whole endocrine system. Over 60% of Americans tested had calcified pineal glands when they were over 50 years of age.
Psychiatrists are observing that SAD is caused by lack of sunlight. With the practice of sun gazing --not only in winter but you will not have depression in your whole lifetime. Fear goes away. 70 to 80% of the energy synthesized from food is taken by the brain and is used up in fueling tensions and worries. With a lack of mental tension, brain does not require the same amount of energy as before. As you proceed in sun gazing and as your tensions decrease food intake goes down. At 30 minutes duration of continuously daily looking at sun, you will slowly be liberated from physical diseases.
SUNBATHING AND HEALTH
Celsus, Pliny the younger, Galen, and Cicero, are among the Roman writers who describe the use of the sun-bath. "Sol est remediorum maximum"--the sun is the best remedy--declared Pliny.
The Ancients, as disclosed by Herodotus and Antyllos, knew that "the sun feeds the muscles".
The old German epic poem, the Edda, tells us that Germans used to carry their sick, in the springtime to the sunny mountain slopes, in order to expose them to the sunshine. Certain Germanic tribes placed their feverish children in the sunlight on the tops of their houses.
The modern era of sun therapy began with the knowledge that pathogenic bacteria could be destroyed with the use of sunlight. Dr. Neils Flasen successfully used sunlight in the treatment of tuberculosis of the skin, thereby winning the Nobel Prize in 1903. Then, the development of antibiotics caused the death of sun therapy.
Studies have shown that exposure to natural sunlight increases the number of the white blood cells in the body. The main white blood cell increased the most is the lymphocyte. It is the lymphocyte that plays
the leading role in defending the body in an invasion by bacteria and foreign organisms. Because the lymphocytes increase in number after a sunlight exposure, their products of defense, the antibodies like gamma globulins, also increase in the blood. This increase of lymphocytes and gamma globulins greatly increase a person's ability to fight infections. The lymphocyte is also capable of producing a substance called interferon. This substance has the ability to stop the reproduction of viruses.
A very interesting substance found in almost all cells including lymphocytes is called Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (CAMP). If high levels of CAMP build up in the lymphocytes, they will be unable to function properly and will not be able to fight cancer cells. This substance is increased in the body under stress and also when such foods as coffee, tea, and chocolate are used in the diet, among other things. These substances block the natural elimination of CAMP that would normally take place.
Exposure to sunlight, especially in the winter months, greatly increases the ability of the children's bodies to resist disease and illness.
The animals given sunlight treatments eliminated toxic chemicals of some types 10-20 times as fast as the animals not receiving the sunlight treatments! Lead was removed from the body twice as fast as from those animals receiving sunlight exposure as from those that did not! The ultraviolet light in sunlight seemed to increase the enzymes that metabolize toxic chemicals and help to remove them.
Sunlight not only aids in moving the poisonous materials out of the body, but it also has a wonderful effect on the trace minerals needed by the organism. Sunlight's effects upon copper, molybdenum, manganese, nickel, and other important trace minerals have been studied. Following multiple exposures to sunlight, copper levels in the liver increased to almost half while tripling in the blood. Copper also increases by about 100% in the bones, heart, skeletal muscles, and other tissues beneficially. Therefore, we can deduce from this that sunlight can help us to metabolize and utilize the trace minerals that are
necessary in our bodies.
After sunbathing, lactic acid, the by-product of muscle metabolism that causes soreness and stiffness after strenuous exercise, is significantly reduced. Sunbathing also increases the ability of the lungs to absorb more vital oxygen, as well as the blood's capacity to carry and deliver it. Oxygen deficiency has been readily linked to a host of illnesses and discomforts ranging from chronic fatigue to cancer.
Two sterols, 7-dehydrocholesterol, formed by metabolic processes in animals, and ergosterol, present in vegetable oils, are converted, under the action of sunlight, respectively into cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, and calciferol, also called ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. In the absence of contact between sunlight and skin, dietary supplements become necessary. Fish liver oil, eggs, liver, fortified bread, and milk are the main sources. Overdose of vitamin D leads to an increased blood calcium concentration and symptoms such as vomiting.
SUNLIGHT AND THE PINEAL GLAND
The Pineal Gland produces serotonin and is the richest site of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is responsable for the "Psychadelic Experience". Considerable excess of serotonin was found in the Pineal Gland of mental patients & schizophrenics.
The Pineal Gland metabolizes serotonin into the hormone Melatonin. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland around twilight, in response to the diminishing light, and helps in the sleep process. Stress, refined sugars, and other factors that increase epinephrine output (as well as epinephrine medications) will increase melatonin production. The excess of melatonin cause alcoholism and whitens the skin.
Research by Dr. K. Blum at the University of Texas medical school showed that in total darkness rats preferred drinking alcohol to water, while if their pineal glands were removed their preferences would be reversed. Other studies where melatonin was injected into rats turned them into alcoholics. People from northern countries have increased melatonin, during the winter time, due to the weak sunlight.
The methoxyindoles are synthesized by the pineal in the absence of light and presumably exert inhibitory effects on the gonads.
Melatonin is the first substance that has been shown to safely and effectively lower core body temperature in humans.
Larval forms of amphibians undergo a marked blanching when maintained for a time in darkness. A similar response is displayed by many fishes. Blanching, which means the suppressing of melanin pigment, results from the release of melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) from the pineal. Melatonin exerts a profound contracting effect on dermal melanophores (pigment pores) leading to rapid blanching.
MELANIN AND NEUROMELANIN
An experiment at the University of Arizona where male patients were injected with a melanin extract, was designed to see if skin could be chemically darkened to prevent skin cancer. Results showed, as a side effect, that men became sexually aroused.
Melanotan - a synthetic version of a natural cell-activating hormone called alpa-MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone), which the body produces after a sunburn - was found to have other effects, including suppressing appetite and stimulating sexual desire. It works directly on the brain, where it affects a human's sexual desire as well as sexual performance.
According to Robins, 1991, darker pigmentation found in the genitals, may have evolved for the “protection of reproductive capacity”, in that the pigmentation protects gametes within the genitalia from ultraviolet radiation damage.
Neuromelanin is found into the eyes and in Substantia Nigra and Locus Coeruleus from brain. People with more eye melanin have less occurrence of macular degeneration; people with less eye melanin have greater occurrence of macular degeneration. About 15% of our original supply of melanin is lost in the eye by the age of forty and about 25% is lost by the age of fifty.
The brain center with the deepest pigmentation is the Locus Coeruleus or black dot. The Locus Coeruleus supplies the pineal gland with norepinephrine. The less melanin, the more calcified the pineal gland and less access the individual has to the spiritual world. Women with a calcified pineal gland (associated with a low production of melatonin) have a significantly greater risk of developing breast cancer. The pineal gland secretes melatonin, which activates the pituitary to release M.S.H. (Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone). It is in the melanocytes that melanin (Greek “melas”=black) is produced. Melanin is somewhat analogous to chlorophyll in plants.
Neuromelanin consists mostly of dopamine with 10-20% incorporation of cysteine.
X ray diffraction studies have shown that neuromelanin has a multi-layer (graphite-like) three dimensional structure similar to synthetic and naturally occurring melanins, but, these layers are stacked much higher in neuromelanin than in any other synthetic and naturally occurring melanins.
Neuromelanin was identified as a genuine melanin with a strong chelating ability for iron and an afinity for compounds such as lipids, pesticides, and MPP+. It plays a protective role by inactivating the iron ions that induce oxidative stress. When free neuronal iron increases to the point where neuromelanin becomes saturated and it starts to catalyse the production of free radicals, neuromelanin would become cytotoxic. Because hydrogen peroxide can degrade neuromelanin, the pigmented neurones could loose this putatively protective agent. The consequence is a release of iron and other cytotoxic metals or compounds from neuromelanin that accelerates neuronal death, as in Parkinson’s disease. The most consistent pathological finding in Parkinson’s disease is degeneration of the melanin-containing cells in the pars compacta of the substantia nigra. The more profound degree of hypomelanization found in the right substantia nigra explains the left (side of body) predominance of parkinson symptomsism.
The ability of neuromelanin to chelate other redox active metals such as copper, manganese, chromium, and toxic metals including cadmium, mercury, and lead strengthens the hypothesis that neuromelanin is a high capacity storage trapping system for metal ions and prevent s neuronal damage.
The afinity of neuromelanin for a variety of inorganic and organic toxins is consistent with the protective function for neuromelanin.