Wishing All a Blissful Makar Sakranti and Lohri
A popular festival in India mostly falling on January 14 or 15 every year is Makar Sakranti.
Most Hindu festivals are an event of planetary and spiritual significance. Recognizing, that our human existence is a part of the whole Cosmos.
Sakranti is a Sanskrit word that means moving from one place to another and also the meeting of one with another.
There are 12 Sankranti’s during a year, as the Sun moves from one zodiac sign to another.
The most popular one is Makar Sankranti as Sun moves into Capricorn (Makar) sign which is ruled by Saturn.
Some people associate it with Uttrayan or northward movement of the Sun where the days start getting longer or winter solstice( which actually happens now around Dec 21).
In the epic Mahabharata, the great Yogi Bhishma Pitamaha, waited for this exact movement of Sun into uttrayan to leave his physical body. There is the great spiritual importance of this time, detailed in Srimad Bhagavatam by Lord Krishna himself.
At this time more positive cosmic energies are bombarding the earth. It helps people to take baths in holy rivers to fill themselves with pure prana, as water bodies have more energy around them. And of course, to try and connect with the energy of Sun god by doing puja, japa, havan, fasting and meditate deeply.
“Suryah Pratyaksha Devata”. Sun is God we can see.
Sun is the giver of light and life on earth. In spiritual language, it is our Atma, the Divine light, Chaitanya(consciousness) or prana.
So we pray to Sun god for our nourishment and expansion in all ways.
Just as the Sun shines its light for all beings in our universe selflessly, may we work selflessly for the growth of all beings.
May we increase our purity and wisdom just like the Sun keeps increasing its light. May we move from the darkness of delusions outside to the radiant divine light inside. The inner world is more real and deeper than the outer world.
Most festivals in ancient times in India were also in-built relationship reset buttons to forgive, forget, and feel love and warmth, which helped in developing equanimity on the spiritual path. Another aspect was to redistribute the wealth or resources around the community. It has lost economic relevance now in the modern consumer culture, where people are buying stuff every day.
Sadly, now in India as well as all over the world, most festivals have become sources of stress; excesses of food, drinks, and clothing; expectations of what to give and get; causing more ill will, pain and anxiety.
The spiritual aspects of harnessing the planetary energies by doing puja, japa, havan, fasting or meditation are mostly forgotten. As no one in the affluent slices of the society is really educated in school about these reasons, they are mostly dismissed as superstition or useless.
But the act of being generous to people who have little or nothing is still very important. On this day, food items like Sesame seeds, urad dal, rice, clothes, and money are donated to the poor and needy.
I feel that even if some people are motivated to donate only for the sake of accumulating good merits for themselves, it helps transform their consciousness even if it happens slowly. They set into motion a current, which at some point drops the greed or need for merit accumulation whether in this lifetime or the next.
The act of charity subtly transforms to an act of Just Sharing what one happens to have by God’s grace in that moment with others who don’t have.
Just as a channel; No me, No my.
The essence of most Hindu festivals was to bring balance to both our human and spiritual existence in the bigger cosmic play.
You can listen to the powerful prayer Aditya Hridaya Stotra; Aditya the Sun God and Hridayam which nourishes and heals the heart.