Sarvendriyanam Nayanam Pradhanam
Tradition says that among all organs of the body (sarva + indriyanam), the eyes (nayanam) are the most important (pradhanam). Eyes provide us the direction and guide most of our actions. The eyes receive the information from the surrounding ecosystem and provide it to the brain to process these signals to direct the body to act appropriately. The eyes are also important communicators. In unspoken state people often communicate through their eyes. Thus, it is through the eyes that we input and output.
Many of our motherly divine forms are known by their eyes. For instance, we have ‘Kama+akshi’ of Kanchipuram, ‘Meena+akshi’ of Madurai, and ‘Vishala+akshi’ of Kashi. In Kanakadhara stotram, Shri Adi Shankaracharya on our behalf appeals to the mother Goddess to remove all the troubles through her look/stare, again a reference to the eye or its feature!
Nayana, the eyes provide us the sight, the drishti. Eyes have to help us in seeking the right inputs, the inputs that can improve our inner processes. This inner visioning or higher quality ‘drishti’ is called ‘antar drishti’. However, if the drishti is limited to the appreciation of the external world (bahya drishti) and acting in one’s self-interest, the purpose served has a limited objective. It is along the lines of Charvaka’s tradition which has its reflection in modern hedonism; micro-maximizing moves by a few leading to macro-level worse-off!
Astrologically right and left eyes are indicated by the second and twelfth houses in one’s lagna kundli/chart. These are the two houses adjoining the ‘lagna’ or the denoted notion of self. Surya or Aditya is often referred to be the provider of health and also good sight. Lack of ‘good sight’ is indicated in our Puranas in a figurative sense too. Dhritarashtra is an instance of not properly nuancing ‘dharma’ vs ‘adharma’.
Qualitatively improving one’s drishti during lifetime is desirable. ‘Look within’ is the way. Extending one’s vision even after one’s lifetime is needed. Modern-day eye donation facilitates this. We have the puranic instance of Dadhichi sage donating his bones to make ‘Vajra’ to serve a greater cause. By appreciating the importance of sight, we need to improve ‘antar drishti’, and also offer eyes when our need ends. The world shall be a better place.