Dawn is the theme that adorns this issue of our Newsletter as we pay homage to the past decade and stand on the verge of a brand new decade, the second of this millennium, about to be born. In our everyday lives, dawn marks the end of night and physical sleep and the birth of a new day, renewed energy, a day that marks a progress or advance in what we know as time, a changeover into a new day, a moment that marks our shedding of the pages of the past represented by the “yesterday” . Perhaps because of this significant and constant mark of change after a night of sleep and rest, and because of the spectacular way in which she appears, Dawn has fired in man a sense of wonder, respect, even worship, and features naturally in his expressive and creative works such as in art and literature and philosophy. The Vedic literature, especially, seems to harbor a great reverence for dawn as the bringer of glory and enlightenment. Dawn takes on a feminine form, described as one who comes on a chariot and one who represents rays of consciousness. In Vedic literature, the Sun is taken to be Truth and dawn is that which appears before the rise of that Truth. It is an outbreak of higher consciousness and rishis are said to have several such dawns in their life-times. Let us dwell a while on the following mantra that reveals something of the Vedic reverence and awe for dawn, also known as Usha in Sanskrit:
adhi peshāms vakşha usreva barjaham;
i vapate nŗtūriv āporņute
jyotir vishvasmai bhuvanāya kŗņvatī
gāvo na vrajam vyuşhā āvartamaĥ.
Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“Like a dancing-girl she lays bare her clear forms of beauty, like a paramour she opens her breast, casting aside its defences, creating Light for the whole world. The radiant herds have left their open; Dawn has uncovered herself of her robe of darkness.'' (From website, Sri Aurobindo-Kapali Shastry Institute of Vedic Literature)
It is this symbol of dawn that Sri Aurobindo takes up as he begins the epic poem Savitri with a canto entitled The Symbol Dawn. In the darkest of nights, both physical and psychological, Savitri meets her dawn (spiritual awakening) on the night before Satyavan was to die.
For any revolution, a seed is cast somewhere in Time. This is the beginning of things to come, a revolution to be. Dawn is this beginning, this seed therefore embodies the hope, even the certainty of a particular future, a future as beautiful, high and uplifting, like the Symbol Dawn. May the dawning decade be a new beginning for all and everything.