Why should one face the east when praying?
When Then offering prayers it is suggested that a person must face the east. Even during auspicious ceremonies the person conducting the ceremony faces the east. There are specific reasons for this.
The sun rises in the east. The Vedas accord great significance to the rays of the rising sun.
In the Atharva-Veda, 17/1/30, it is said:
The rising sun destroys all kinds of diseases. It protects one from all causes of death.
Again, in the Atharva-Veda, 5/30/15, it is said:
To break the bondage of death stay connected with the light of the sun.
Again, the Atharva-Veda, 8/1/4, says:
To live in the light of the sun is like living in the land of immortality.
Hindus look up to the sun, which is God Surya. Since God Surya is symbolic of Lord Vishnu or Narayan, the sun is also called Surya Narayan. Surya also symbolizes Brahma. Surya is the sight of the world, giving and sustaining life and looking after the welfare of mankind. By praying to Surya one is amply rewarded and finds personal fulfillment. The Vedas recommend praying to Surya for special powers. Surya is witness to the good and bad activities of mankind and nothing can be hidden from Surya.
According to the Surya Upanishad, sages, saints and gods reside in the rays of the sun. To obtain maximum benefit of the rays when performing noble deeds and auspicious ceremonies, the Vedas direct that one must sit facing the east.
The rays of the rising sun are rich in a variety of ways with the ability to destroy harmful diseases. Sunlight is constituted of seven colours - violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. On either side, ultraviolet and infrared rays flank these. Each of these colours contributes their energy to sunlight. This energy assists the successful completion of auspicious ceremonies.
When the rays of the rising sun fall on the face and body, one is assured of a disease-free life and is greatly benefited.