Dr Robert Shimray
Browsing through Internet about Aphelion & Perihelion, one gets the meaning stating that Aphelion and Perihelion describe the furthest and closest distance the Earth is to the Sun, respectively. The Earth is farthest from the Sun (aphelion) roughly two weeks after the June Solstice, and closest to the Sun (perihelion) roughly 2 weeks after the December Solstice.
As one can get the information as required, recently one finds the uploading regarding Aphelion Phenomenon in Social Media through Whatsapp. As stated, such phenomenon is to last till the month of August. In which, variance in weather temperature is to take place. Sorts of warning such as the weather is to be colder than the previous which will have an impact on flu, cold, shortness of breath etc. The public in general is advised to increase immunity through various measures as required.
Looking into the astronomical point of view, no doubt, Aphelion and Perihelion phenomenon do exist. But how far will all the predictions in all sorts of media come true, time shall prove. Well, aside from the discussion we would like to come into spiritual realm, drawing a lesson from the so-called ‘Aphelion Phenomenon’ into Spiritual Aphelion.
Before getting further or deeper into the said subject matter, one gets to seriously know about the given topic terminologically. The word ‘Aphelion’ in a simplest term, looking into the dictionary, states–‘The point in the elliptical orbit of a planet, comet, etc., where it is farthest from the Sun.’ Looking at its origin term is– a Grecianized form of Modern Latin aphelium–attested in English from 1650s, coined by Johannes Kelper based on Greek apo heliou, which means, apo “away from” and helios “Sun”.
According to the calculation, as predicted, the aphelion phenomenon is to begin two weeks after the June solstice, apparently falling on 4 July 2022 @ 15:10, at the distance of 147,105,052 km from the Sun to Earth, when the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying warm summer months. The said phenomenon is to last till August.
Terminologically speaking, the vocabulary ‘aphelion’ which means ‘the time when Earth is farthest from the Sun’, is to implicate to its culmination of the term ‘farthest’. The word farthest could be more or less conjured up into the thought of negativity. When something is far from the other, there is a depravity in which connectivity is less or loosen. This could lead to coldness, denial, estrangement etc.
In conformity to the spiritual aspect, as human beings we all are, spirituality applies to all religions, regardless which one may follow. Given under the Sun, no matter whatever religion you profess; believe in something and worship someone, whom you call to serve as your God. In every religion, underlies the motive to love, serve, help each other. What has got in between is but selfishness, hatred, jealousies, motivating to the extremities of taking others’ lives.
Not to over emphasize any particular religion, but for the support of the subject matter, when any quotation is being used, the audience will kindly bear in mind to understand the purpose and objective as meant for.
The Need of the Hour
Taken life into most consideration as one could for all the better in life, the paraphernalia of life has taken hold of the main streamline, and where as placing the vital importance to the peripheral. What do then the words ‘paraphernalia’ and ‘vital importance’ refer to ? Paraphernalia could be referred to as concrete and abstract, referring to all busy schedules of life in order to acquire concrete material wealth, at the same time, abstractly, the minds of the people getting polluted with all sorts of hatred, jealousy, etc. On the other hand, ‘vital importance’ would mean of the higher level, referring to spirituality. What has caused the world today in its race ? It is but resulting into all unwanted and unwarranted life out of our selfish motives. Selfishness and greed knew no bounds but climaxing into untold miseries of life. Humans have struggled enough but to no avail. Ask the Wise of Old–Solomon, what life is, and he would answer in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter one verse fourteen, saying, “I have seen all the works that are done under the Sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
What counts life most at the end of the day is not what you owned, for it is but all vanity. What then is that one needs to excogitate to count life most ? People seem to get wiser when life seems to come to its exhaustion. Without much realisation Spirituality comes in to be the ‘need of the hour’ when all strength and struggles seem to run out. All efforts come to naught when there is but the lacking of spirituality. One may ask what spirituality then is ! It refers to the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. The shift in priorities allows us to embrace our spirituality in a more profound way.
In order to do away with Spiritual Aphelion, mending our ways becomes crucial. How do we then mend our ways ? Flipping through the book of 2nd Peter chapter one verses five to seven, it reads, “(5) And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
Worldly struggle is but of horizontal, where as spiritual struggle is vertical. We thus begin with:
1. Faith - It is but to believe in something without proof or evidence. Materialistic may not work, but does spiritually. One may not realise, but spiritual as we all are, we got to have that faith in whom we believe. Then comes the next level,
2. Virtue - Once you have that faith, then comes the internal transformation, through which integrity, honesty and morality abound.
3. Knowledge - Acquiring knowledge results in understanding and wisdom.
4. Temperance - It will guide one to discipline, restraint and willingness to do good.
5. Patience - It will culminate into steadfastness and of good character.
6. Godliness - It will bring to fruition righteousness and goodness
7. Kindness – It is but of the benevolence to others as you can be.
8. Love/Charity - It is an internal transformation. It is the highest level of spiritual maturity.
These 8 steps to spiritual maturity represent a process of sanctification. As vertically structured, having accomplished step by step, the greatest of all and the highest level of spiritual maturity, love surpasses all through. But without the base it is of no avail. Friends, what we need is but spiritual transformation. We got to take spirituality seriously. The question is whether we are gone farther from the centrifugal, causing spiritual coldness, culminating into chaos of life in reality.
Paradox in conclusion
With the increase in human knowledge, maximum extraction from Mother nature, for selfish gain and comfort has let to the depletion of various resources, causing Global Warming. Today, the world is getting hotter. But mind you ! We are getting further from the centrifugal, getting colder spiritually, in which, actually we all are to be tied up together, closer with each other. In the sense, we are to care, love and share without limit or drawing the line of control.
What has got into it instead? Hatred, jealousies, conspiracies and killings abound. Like how the Aphelion Phenomenon is, are we grown colder ? I wonder how our spiritual lives are. How far are you gone away from your spirituality ? Remember, we are at the threshold of the Aphelion Phenomenon. It’s time to ponder upon the pulse of our spirituality. Contemplating and reminiscing of the past, how blessed our own vicinity was ! It was of care-free life full of joviality and serene mentality. Compared to then, life seems to have changed a lot. Mind you, let not Spiritual Aphelion Phenomenon reign over you!
The writer is Departmental Director, Manipur Conference of SDA, Ching-meirong West.