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Pongal: Going gaga over the Sun

14 January 2022 03:12 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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With the world going gaga over solar energy, is there a better occasion to understand the importance of the sun? 

 

Since the early days, Hindus have understood how nature worked. Hindus generally look themselves as part of the nature of the grand cosmic things instead of looking themselves as humans, detached from “nature”. We are the nature

 

The Hindus had realized the importance of the Sun since the Vedic times (c6000 BC). In Hinduism the Gāyathrī Mantra is dedicated to Savitṛi, a Vedic Sun Deity.   


Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
(O) Supreme one; (who is) the physical, astral (and) causal worlds (himself). (you are) the source of all, deserving all worship, (O) radiant, divine one; (we) meditate (upon you) Propel our Intellect (towards liberation or freedom) -Rigveda 3.62.10   
Hence we can’t say that the Thai Pongal festival is just another Harvest Festival
of farmers.   


Every hour, more solar energy hits the earth than all of humanity needs for an entire year. Man should learn to harness this clean energy source by various environmentally friendly ways.   


With the climate change crisis reaching a tipping point and the pressure to find alternative energy sources replacing the fossil fuel, the scientific community and the corporate are scrambling to get on the solar power band.   
Nowadays everything is electric…particularly with Tesla coming in the scene the electric vehicle and other techs related to electricity generation has gotten a boost.   

 

Solar power is the most abundant energy source on Earth. You can use solar power to run your entire home. Solar is the world’s most popular form of new electricity generation and solar power produces no pollution

 

In this scenario there is no better way to emphasize the importance of Sun than celebrating Thai Pongal –celebrate the Sun, honour the Sun and defy it.   


Traditionally, Thai Pongal is seen as an agrarian festival mostly observed by farmers. A festival of Thanks Giving for the Vedic Sun God in return for the favours he had done in giving a bountiful harvest. Then it is extended to Maatu Pongal where dairy and farm animals that contribute to the food production in the mostly pastoral societies. Thai Pongal Festival and all other harvest festival of traditional societies around the world emphasize one thing-the importance of Sun- whether it is God, Star or whatever. However, later on when the empirical sciences took the front seat, it frowned upon the practice, as “Superstitious, Idoltary and Pagan”.   


Now things are changing, being bombarded with high-tech gadgets on a daily basis, societies seem to be realising the emptiness of these tech and the folly of exploiting the nature to its extremes.   


 Today, considering the above mentioned facts the sun contributes to much more than just help in growing food, the celebration of the sun become all the more important.   


With fossil fuels scorned upon, we see electricity taking the void. Among the methods of power generation also scientists and environmental and pressure groups are pushing for renewable energies, like wind, wave, hydro and particularly solar.   


Needless to say, we all know in the forefront of these is power generated from the radiation of sun-popularly referred to as Solar Energy. There are three main ways to harness solar energy: Photovoltaics, solar heating and cooling, and concentrating solar power. Maybe because if it is called Sun Energy it will give recognition to belief systems that venerated the Sun- which in turn will push back the constructs of the Western Empirical Science.   
Energy can be harnessed directly from the sun, though only slightly during cloudy weather. Solar energy is used worldwide and is increasingly popular for generating electricity or heating and desalinating water. Solar cells, are electronic devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity.   


The cost of manufacturing solar panels has plummeted dramatically in the last decades, making them an affordable form of electricity. Solar panels have a lifespan of roughly 25 years and come in variety of shades depending on the type of material used in manufacturing.   


Meanwhile, the concentrated solar energy is also used to generate power as well as in other applications. An excellent example of this is the solar cooker.   

 


On the downside solar panels are bad for the environment because toxic chemicals are used in their manufacture. The fabrication processes have waste products which can be harmful to human health and the ecology. Old solar panels may become toxic waste due to the heavy metal content of the solar cells and other contaminants. However, as technology evolves safer disposal techniques of these waste also be found.   


Solar power is the most abundant energy source on Earth. You can use solar power to run your entire home. Solar is the world’s most popular form of new electricity generation and solar power produces no pollution. Apart from the pollution given off during manufacturing, solar power is one of the cleanest, most sustainable, and most renewable resources in the world.   


Without sun there is no direct solar voltaic energy. By extension no wind energy, no wave energy, no hydro energy as well... In short no life.  


The burning of fossil fuels creates toxic pollution, which has an impact on global health. Pollution affects as many people as HIV or malaria, and has serious consequences on children, older adults, and all living plants and animals. Solar power reduces the amount of fossil fuels used, meaning less pollution is going into the air, and into our lungs.   


Since the early days, Hindus have understood how nature worked. Hindus generally look themselves as part of the nature of the grand cosmic things instead of looking themselves as humans, detached from “nature”. We are the nature.   


Hence they also understood the fact that the life on earth is created, sustained and even destroyed by the Sun.   
Hence, the Sooriya Gayathri.   


It is no wonder that while the Vedas celebrated Sun, the simple farmers and other looked upon the sun as a source of life as they understood the simple fact how the Sun sustained their livelihoods.   


Is there a better occasion than Thai Pongal to emphasize the importance of Sun these days?   
Happy Thai Pongal     

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