The Sun, The Moon, and Mantra: By Linda Callanan
Yoga and Vedic Astrology share the same philosophical roots, which are believed to date back at least 10,000 years. Originally, one could not study or work with Vedic Astrology unless he was also a practitioner of yoga. The sharing of these two disciplines has left us with a system that contains large amounts of planetary knowledge as well as techniques that help to harmonize the planetary energies.
Vedic Astrology teaches the same principle of “oneness” that is so central to the philosophy of yoga. It is believed that within each of us is the energy of all of creation, including that of the planets. If we understand the dynamic roles the planets play in our lives we can work with their energy to move towards greater harmony within our selves and our lives.
Vedic Astrology, also known as Jyotish, offers a variety of remedial techniques to help us internally harmonize planetary energy. In my experience mantra is one of the most effective of the remedial techniques. Jyotish teaches mantras that are specific to an individual chart as well as mantras that focus on the external influence generated by the daily movement of the planetary cosmic dancers. The planetary mantras are believed to help us integrate the qualities of each planet within ourselves so that we can move towards internally harmonizing the universal energies.
Two of the primary indicators of energy dynamics and time on this planet are the Sun and the Moon. The Sun is the center of the earth’s solar system and is responsible for our light, heat and much of the planet’s energy. The Moon governs the gravitational force of the planet and holds the earth on its ecliptic path and prevents our planet from being covered with water. Science now knows that the earth, due to the density of its rock formation, needs a two-thirds greater stretch for equilibrium. The gravitational force of the Moon provides this extra stability.
The importance of these two planetary bodies to our earth’s well being and balance is manifested on a personal level within each of us. At the most basic level, the Sun and Moon will indicate the male and female polarities within each of us. The Sun is also responsible for much of a person’s physical energy and can influence one’s ambition and confidence. Since the Sun is so connected to one’s physical body and drive it also plays a role as a major indicator of the ego. The Moon is considered by Vedic Astrology to be the most important placement in a birth chart and is considered the significator of the mind. The mind, as taught by Vedic philosophy includes not only basic intelligence but also includes emotional makeup, innate tendencies from the sub-conscious mind as well as the basic ability to be happy and mentally stable. When the Moon is out of balance or challenged in a birth chart the person can have a tendency towards depression, feelings of lack of love, mental illusions and an overly emotional approach to life.
These two planetary bodies move quickly and their fast movement through the constellations causes a constant shift in their outgoing energy. The movement of these two cosmic bodies influences not only the rhythm of our daily lives but also affects the moods, thoughts and activities of people around us. We can not control the movement or affects of the Sun and Moon on life or other people but we can work to stay in harmony with their rhythm and therefore to stay balanced in our own reactions to their fluctuations.
One way we can work to stay in harmony with the energies of the Sun and Moon is to work with their mantras. Mantras for the planets are numerous and varied but one of the easiest to work with are known as “bija” or “seed” mantras. “Bija” mantras can be worked with for a short period of time and be quite effective. The main “bija” mantra for the Sun is “Sum” (pronounced “soom” as in “soon”). Chanting “sum” can work to improve health and resistance to disease and aids in increased powers of digestion. It has a harmonizing effect on the Sun’s fire element, increasing it when it is too low and decreasing it when too high. The “bija” mantra for the Moon is “som”, (pronounced “som” as in “soma” without the ‘a’). This mantra increases our inner joy and our capacity to express beauty and love. It also increases vital bodily fluids and strengthens the lungs and mucus membranes. These two mantras can be chanted from three to eleven minutes. The mantras should be started and ended with Om.
Traditionally, it was taught that if we get up by sunrise we could face the Sun and chant the Sun mantra eleven times. It was also considered a good practice to chant the Moon mantra whenever one is out in the evening and could see the Moon in the sky. These actions work to increase and harmonize the energy of the Sun and Moon within us.
Many of us are not going to chant the Sun mantra each day or any time we happen to notice the Moon. However, there are certain times each month when it can be helpful to use these mantras. The New Moon is the day when the Sun and Moon are conjunct each other. At this time the force of the Sun obscures the energy of the Moon and many will feel less energetic or positive. On this day chanting the Sun mantra can not only increase physical and mental energy but will bring one into greater harmony with the predominant influence. On the day of the Full Moon the Moon reflects its energy and chanting the Moon mantra will align one with the more joyous energy of the Moon. If one happens to be of a more emotional nature chanting the Moon mantra can work to bring the emotional mind into balance.
Chanting the Sun and Moon mantras according to the movements of the waxing and waning lunar cycle may not change your life in a major way and most likely will not impact the challenging energy of your natal birth chart. However, as the Sun and Moon dance with each other throughout the monthly lunar cycles chanting in harmony with their movement gives us an opportunity to participate in their dance and experience one of the songs of the cosmos.