It is SUNDAY – The Day of the Sun ! And, in fact, twice over – for today is also Bhanu Saptami : The Shining (Bhanu) Day on the Seventh (Saptami).
The reason for the observance is often said to be a (Re-)Birth Day of the Sun. AV XIII 2 25 therefore springs instantly to mind:
“Devout, aflame with fervent heat, Rohita hath gone up to Heaven.
He is re-born, returning to His Birthplace, and hath become the Gods’ Imperial Ruler.”
Rohita, of course, as we can see here in this fine art by Andrey Yarashevich, meaning ‘The Red’.
But let us bring it back to ‘Bhanu’ – and the accompanying Mytholinguistics of the Solar Speech !
Bhanu itself derives from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂ – which similarly refers to Shining, Illumination. Now there is something … mightily interesting going on in mytholinguistic terms with that PIE origin-point, but let us first examine several of its descendants in various Indo-European languages:
PIE *bʰeh₂ gives us Ancient Greek φαίνω (Phaino – Bringing Light, Illuminating, Revealing), φᾱνός (Phanos – Bright), φᾰέθω (Phaetho – Shine, Radiant) and φάος (Phaos – ‘Light’, ‘Illumination’, ‘Day’, ‘Glory’, and somewhat poetically a man’s span of ‘Life’; which quite overtly resembles its cognate – भास् (Bhas – Glory, Brilliance, Light : whence भास्कर, ‘Bhaskar’, to refer to the Sun as ‘making’ (kar) such) ), Irish Bán (‘White’, ‘Blond’), and potentially English ‘Beacon’.
Now this ‘Beacon’ is interesting to us because the Proto-Germanic it hails from – *baukną – actually refers to *signaling*. And certainly, beacon-fires have been a great and eminent mechanism for signaling at a distance in the ancient world (although there is … some debate about, for instance, the efficacy of the beacon-fires of Byzantium’s early-warning defence network which almost certainly inspired Tolkien’s beacons of Gondor in the Lord of the Rings).
You can see another of these sorts of developments in English ‘Beckon’ – from the similarly related Proto-Germanic *bauknōną.
Why do I say that all of this is interesting?
Because there are actually two Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂ roots.
One which refers to, as we have seen, ‘Illumination’ – and the other of which refers to ‘Communication’.
And which, intriguingly, seem to fulfil a surprisingly pervasive consistent intermingled pattern of derivation in Proto-Indo-European’s descended languages, too.
Consider Sanskrit भास् (Bhasa) – illumination … and भाषा (Bhasaa) – communication, language. There are slight differences of inflection on the ‘s’ sound, but the resemblance is clear.
Or, perhaps, Ancient Greek φᾰ́σῐς and φᾰ́σῐς (Phasis & Phasis); the former from the radiant PIE bheh via way of AG φαίνω (Phaino – a term which doesn’t just mean ‘Shining Forth’, but also carries with it an array of figurative usages for ‘Speaking Forth’), the latter from the eloquent PIE bheh via way of AG φημί (Phemi – to speak).
There is a similar ‘resonancy’ between two sets of ‘Bon’ sounding terms in the Germanic languages: those being the words derived from Proto-Germanic *bōniz, a prayer (whence Old Norse bœn, and modern English ‘Boon’ – the latter being what we are beseeching and petitioning The Gods *for*) … and those derived from Proto-Germanic *bōnaz, meaning ‘Shining’, ‘Beautiful’.
So, in Danish – bøn and bone, respectively; in Norwegian – bønn and again bone; Swedish – bön or böna and bona. The latter terms tend to refer to ‘polishing’ something to make it shine, or adorning to render more attractive; the former, to those aforementioned words for requests, supplication, prayer, beseechment.
Another example, from different roots, comes to us via Sanskrit स्वर् (Svar – Sun) alongside स्वर (Svar – Song, Voice, Sound). The former is from PIE *sóh₂wl̥ (which, of course, informs ‘Solar’, ‘Sun’, ‘Sura’, ‘Surya’, ‘Helios’ (via S => H sound-shift), etc.); the latter from PIE *swer … which means ‘to speak strongly’ – whether in terms of the volume or the content of one’s vocalization … or in terms of the gravity of what is said. To ‘Swear’, in modern English (cognate with Old Norse ‘Sverja’) certainly means ‘to speak strongly’ – although it is its more archaic sense of ‘To Swear an Oath’, to give one’s word, one’s solemn vow, that is more directly relevant.
Effectively, what has happened with that Sanskrit pair of ‘Svar’ terms is a mytholinguistic (re-)convergency – wherein terms for ‘Sun’ / ‘Solar’, and ‘Language’, ‘Empowered / Resonant Speech’ have become somewhat coterminous.
It is therefore perhaps apt that in AV 13 1, we find repeated hailing of the Sun as the Lord of Speech (Vachaspati – Vac, cognate with ‘Vox’, ‘Voice’; ‘Pati’ as in ‘Lord’ or ‘Husband’ – and of course, it is well-known that this turns up in reference also to the divinely inspired and guided Priest or Seer).
Now there are several ways in which we could seek to explain this recurrent pattern of mytholinguistic derivation.
One of the more obvious is that communication, as with illumination, is concerned with enabling us to ‘see’ things and to perceive them.
It is, we may suggest, an Apocalyptic saliency – in the sense of bringing about a Revelation.
However, I should suspect that there is, as ever, a deepa resonancy at hand. Namely – if we consider the potency of both Speech and Light in the archaic Indo-European world view … what we behold is not merely something that can passively ‘show’ things to us – but, rather, an active, vital force with which the Cosmos is continually reshaped, upheld, and maintained.
Both, in Their Highest Forms, are in-universe expressions of the Absolute – the Cosmic Law Itself (or, rather, Herself).
The terms for ‘shining forth’ and ‘speaking forth’ most strongly, therefore, are so coterminous precisely because they involve ‘putting something out’ from the element doing the shining and the speaking which can exert tangible impact upon the world around the shining speaker.
They are designations for ‘energy’, its flow and forceful application.
Bearing the imprints, yes, in terms of the High Speech of the utmost Divine, of Cosmic Order as Their effective sourcing of both radiancy and saliency alike.
And similarly, we encounter other terms – as we have considered elsewhere – which extend further this mytholinguistic resonancy in the overt directions of ‘Light’ and ‘Law’ … Rulership, in fact: an expressed feature of Command and active, tacit Solar Dominion over both Skies and Realm Alike.
Again, it is utterly unsurprising that we should encounter such strong coterminative coherency between the terms for the ultimate source for (Solar) radiancy and for High Speech amongst the human-kind.
To quote in closing, AV XIII 1 13:
“Rohita is the Sire and Mouth of Worship: to Him with Voice, Ear, Heart I pay oblation.
To Rohita come Gods with Joyful Spirit. May He by Risings Raise me till I join Him.”
Hail to the Sun !
ॐ सूर्याय नमः
ॐ रवये नमः
ॐ भानवे नमः