Between the HA and the THA, the sun and the moon


image Last night I went for a motorbike ride with my dad. It had been the first day of summer (27 Celsius!), and the sky was clear and blue.

All of the sudden I discovered the moon – a big, dusty blue, almost full circle, hanging slightly over the green fields. It was breathtaking.

I turned around and noticed the sun. It was so bright that it appeared white. It was surrounded by circles of blue, purple and orange. Its force of light rays made it too hard to look at – unlike the harmless moon.

The moon and the sun created a diagonal line across the firmament, and no matter where we moved we kept being right in the middle. When I first noticed the line, the sun and the moon where the same distance from the horizon line. However, with time the moon rose, and the sun set. It is in such moments I feel the power of nature. It is as if the universe is trying to tell me a message.

In many traditional wisdom systems the sun and the moon are payed great respect. By observing them, early calenders were formed. And many rituals are connected to the two (e.g. the Scandinavian Midsummer and christmas).

In yoga we call an exercise for “hatha”. Hatha is translated to “force” or “against one’s will”. The name thereby denotes the discipline it takes to reach union with the Supreme (Iyengar’s Light on Yoga:520). The Supreme is the universal spirit. In Sanskrit “Ha” means sun, whereas “tha” means moon. In order to become happy beings we must, according to yoga tradition, balance and acknowledge such opposites. The path of yoga teaches us to unite the individual human spirit with the Universal Spirit. The ultimate goal is the state where all opposites are transcended, where everything flows together rather than fight each other, where there is no suffering (Shearer 2002:45-55,94). The Universal Spirit is expressed through “OM” which should be chanted, and which meaning should be worked towards (Patanjali in Shearer 2002:94).

 To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour. (William Blake)

The moon, also called “chandra”, represents the feminine and receptive, cooling. Its energy give us inward focus and grounds us. The sun, “surya”, represents the masculine, energetic, heating. When left nostril is open, the chandra element dominates. When right nostril is open, surya dominates. Alternate nostril bresthing / Nadi shodhanam is a technique to create balance between the two energies (Farhi 2000: 248).

In Inca lore, both the sun and the moon were born in the Titicaca Lake. Together they created the foundation for life. In Nordic mythology Sol (sun) and Måne (moon) are siblings All in all, the evening sky is a reminder of how we must always mediate between opposites to find harmony.

Read More:
Farhi, Donna. Yoga mind, body and spirit. 2000
Iyengar, B. K. S.. Light on Yoga New York: Schocken Books Shearer, Alistair. 2002. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. New York: Bell Tower. Tonight it will be full moon. It is therefore a great opportunity to practice chandra namaskar:

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