The great significance of Makar Sankranti (Uttarayan)

Makarsankranti is considered to be the new dawn of Gods. This festival is for adopting the Godly (positive) contemplation by quitting the demonic (negative) reflections. Present is this article on the forthcoming arrival of this auspicious day (15nth January) which begins with the self purification: physical, moral, mental and emotional as well as abstinence from the worldly pleasures, catapulting thoughts on to a higher plane.

Entrance of sun into the Makar Rashi (Capricorn) is called as M'akar Sankranti'. The sun tends towards Uttarayan after the fall of sankranti. This is recognised as the dawn of Gods and the beginning of the night for demons after the sunset. Thus it could be said as the evening of the demonic powers (negativity) and the beginning of the Godly hours (a new sunrise of positivity).

Importance of Makarsankranti/Uttarayan

According to religious assumptions, the position of sun from 'Makar' to Mithun has been called as Uttarayan i.e the days of Gods which is the awakening of the Godly consciousness (virtues) and this possibly is the reason of the significance of 'Uttarayan'. There is the mention in the Mahabharata of Bhishma Pitamah, lying on the arrow-bed had waited until Uttarayan to breath his last.

Natural reasons attached behind the significance of Uttarayan

In 'Uttarayan', the period of days increase daily while the period if nights shortens i.e, in uttarayan, nights consecutively are shorter but days are longer. The meaning of days being longer means the availability of the sunlight and the heat for longer times. Hence, the reason behind attaching much importance to the Sun of 'Uttarayan' is special from this natural point views also. The scientific importance of sun on eart is no more a hidden secret.

The geographical reasons hidden behind Uttrayan

From the geographical point of views, the 'Uttarayan' and 'Daksshinayan' occurs in the north and the south of the equatorial lines consecutively due to the position of the sun, the winters begin downhill soon after the fall of the 'Makarsankranti'. The virulence of the cold waves diminishes right after the pat of the 'Makarsankranti'. The crux of the reason of the taming down of the fury of the surf biting cold is the increase in the heat of the sun light. And with this increase in the heat of the sunlight, increase the consciousness of people as also their working efficiency too.

Makatsankranti of sun- a mahaparva

The Makarsankranti of sun is has been given of a 'Mahaparva'. In Uttar Pradesh, this festival is celebrated with the custom of eating khichadi and donating the ingredients of khichadi. Hence, this festival is also named as 'Khichadi'. This is the assumption in Bihar, Jharkhand and Mithilanchal that the form of sin expands by til-til ( by the smallest fraction measure), hence it is called here as 'Tilasankranti'. As a token form, til and items stuffed with til such as tilkut, tilwa etc are eaten on this day. Similar scenario is seen in Maharashtra also where the festival is celebrated by distributing sweets of til and its different products. The married women pay respects to their mother-in-laws in Rajasthan by offering to them Ghewar, Laddoos, Matthies in form of 'Vayana'. On the propitious day of 'Makarsankranti', countless devotees take bath on 'Sangam' and vow to tread upon the path of truth and religion.

Makarsankranti- all a play of stars

Makarsankrani or Uttarayan is all a play of stars in reality. It supposed to be the lone festival of the Hindu religion which is celebrated on the basis of date. Majority of the people know this much only that there cannot be any change in the 14 nth January i.e. ‘Makarsankranti which is not at all a fact. The date of this festival advance by one day every 72 years round i.e. keep on changing. This change visits a man’s life at most once or may be twice.

In fact, Sankranti is an incidence of the constellations happening every month in our galaxy. There are 12 months in a year and our stars too are 12. Sun enters in a newer star every month i.e. Sankranti. The Sanskrit word Sankranti means Sankraman.e. to enter. Makar Sankranti is celebrated the very day on which the sun rays falll on the capricon at 90 degre. The khichadi festival for the last 3 days has been falling on 15 Januaryand for the forthcoming years for 69 years also; it will be celebrated on the 15nth of January.

Different names of Sankranti in different states

This festival is denoted with different names in different Indian states viz:-
  • Tilgul in Maharashtra,
  • ‘Maghi’ in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana,
  • ‘Sankranti’ or ‘Sankrant or Til Sankrant’ or ‘Chura-Dahi’ in Bihar, UP and Bundelkhand and MP,
  • ‘Uttarayan’ in Gujrat,
  • ‘Suggi’ in Karnataka,
  • ‘Vilaku’ in Kerala and
  • ‘Pongal’ in Tamilnadu.

Fixed is the date of festival

Makarsankranti is the lone festival of the Hindu religion celebrated on the basis of the calendar date. If the knowledgeable peoples are consented upon, majority of festivals in India is celebrated based upon the Chandra Calendar and hence their dates remain changing on and on. Makarsankranti is based on the solar calendar and this happens so due to the faster speed of the moon compared to the sun.

Why the dates keep changing?

This year, Makarsankranti would be celebrated on the 15nth of January. Tradition it is held on the 14nth January every year. The reason of this is the speed of the Earth. The rotational speed of the earth on its keel and the speed of its rotation around the sun will be enabled to enter Capricorn as late as at 12 ‘o’ clock in the night. Therefore, this year, Makarsankranti is falling on the 15nth in stead of 14nth January. Now it will fall every year on the 15nth January. This difference of one day comes after 72 years.

Makarsankranti used to fall on the 13nth of January before 72 years. This incident comes once or twice in one’s lifetime.

The importance of bathing on the Sankranti Eve

After staying in Dhanu rashi ( Dakshinayan) for a whole month from Dhanu to Makar, the sun enters into Makar rashi (Uttaraysn). There bathing is considered essential to rid of the sankraman (infection) to feel fresh and fine.

According to the Shastras, Uttarayan is the period of days for Gods and Dakshinayan the nights of Gods. It is said Gods themselves came at Sangam and other sacred rivers to take bath. As per Hindu religion, during this period, there remains the presence of Gods and Tirthas in water. Hence one should take bath in the waters of Ganges, ponds, rivers on the days of Makar Sankranti, Kartik Purnima, Magh Purnima, Ganga Dusshera, Mauni Amavaya etc. According to the Hindu religion, the a few hours before the sunrise times are considered to be auspicious hours which are known as Brahm Muhurta also.

The scientific basis of bathing

Bathing means purity and righteouness. On the entry of the sun into the Makar rashi, the sato (righteous) and the rajo (hot) gunas (virtues) of the sun augment up which enters into our body in form of the sharp rays. Bathing is considered imperative therefore.

The impact of Sankranti on our life

On the Makarsankranti Eve, the Kirk and Makar lines cut up the earth. When the sun crosses over the kirk rekha, its light becomes lessened in the populated portion of earth. During this time, cold increases due to the entry of the sun in the Dhanu. Summer begins intensifying from Makarsankranti with the gusts of wind blowing on.

From Vasantpanchami, the windbegins to hot up, due to which, blood circulation increases. This is the reason why people feel spirited up in the vasant (spring season).

Newer leaves begin growing up on trees and ripening of the harvests initiates with the blowing of the hot wind. Therefore, from the agriculture point of view, Makarsankranti is considered to be an important festival.

An overview: The sun of Uttarayan inspires us to become a 'Karmayogi'. The sun of 'Uttarayan' exhorts us to shun the path of malevolence and wickedness, of negativity. It beckons us to embrace the Godliness- the God like traits and qualities. Therefore 'makarsankranti is the mahaparva- the great grand festival of triumph of positivity over the dark forces of negativity. We need only to understand and assimilate the philosophical message underlying into it.

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