By: Dr. G. R. Vijayakumar
The eyes as sensory organs are receptors of light. The objects that we see, reflect the light which falls on and stimulate the rods and cones situated in the retina. They transduce the images into micro-electric impulses, which are transmitted by the optic pathways to the occipital lobe, and visual cortex. Here the images are processed, refined, optimized, and interpreted as the objective, tangible world that we observe.
In the Seventh decade of my life, I have developed ‘Diabetic Retinitis’ a condition of blindness, progressively damaging eyesight. When I sought help to at least continue my Sai-seva, my professional colleagues in Opthalmology, Dr. M.S.Ravindra and Dr. Karthik assured me that only Sai Baba can grant me his third eye to continue my writing on Sai Parabrahman!
What is this a ‘third eye’ that I should pray to Sai Baba? It is the pineal gland. Situated below the Pituitary gland. The internal structure is incredibly similar to normal human eyes. It consists of rod and cone structures as in the retina. Similar pigments that are present in the eyes are also traced here. The pineal gland is light sensitive, thus making it very similar to our eyes and hence, the name ‘Third Eye’ is somewhat justified.
A Neurosurgeon at the University of Southern Carolina referred to the pineal gland as the ‘mind’s eye’. The pineal gland is responsible for maintaining the circadian rhythm and is the source of melatonin, a hormone vital for regulating the biological clock. A French mathematician René Descartes regarded it as the ‘principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed’.
Sai Baba is also known as ‘Tryambakesh’ as Lord Shiva as He is said to have three eyes. The sun and moon are his eyes, while fire is his third eye. The two eyes relate to the physical world, whilst the third eye metaphorically signifies a perception that’s more on intuition and experience!
The mythological interaction between Kamadeva and Shiva is a metaphoric depiction of the insight bestowed by the third eye. The deity of love and lust is called Kamadeva. ‘Kama’ means ‘lust’. Lust is a power that can overpower discretion, restraint, and focus. The story goes that Kama hid behind a tree and shot an arrow at Shiva’s heart. Shiva got a little disturbed. So, he opened his third eye, which is a fiery eye, and burnt Kama to ashes.
Desire and lust are essentially a sense of incompleteness. The legend of Shiva and Kama has a yogic dimension and interpretation. Shiva was meditating and when he opened his third eye, realized the illusory nature of the objective world, he saw Kama, his lust, and destroyed it by burning it down.
Opening the third eye implied the appreciation of Brahman – the unmanifest foundation of all the manifest creation. The third eye is, therefore, referred to as ‘Gyananakashu’, the eye of knowledge.
Sai Baba’s devotees have a special significance for the third eye. We invoke his blessings by constant Brahmasmi – I am a manifestation of Brahman.