Makara Sankranti

published on January 9, 2006

On 14th January 2006, Hindus around the world celebrate MAKARA SANKRANTI. For Hindus, this is a very important religious observance and festival. Makara Sankranti marks the commencement of the sun’s uttarayanam (northern course). Sankranti means the passage of the sun from Dhanu Rasi (sign of the Zodiac) to the next, Makara Rasi. Makara Sankranti is a holy time (punya-Kala). Sankranti, signifying cosmic energy, also gives us the message of intellectual illumination.


In India, Makara Sankranti is a day of religious observance, pilgrimage to holy places and vrata. In Tamil Nadu, Makara Sankranti is celebrated AS PONGAL. In Kerala, it’s a season for pilgrimage to Lord Ayappa temple at Sabari Mala. Pilgrimage to Lord Ayappa Temple culminates on Makara Sankranti (January 14). Puja performed at the Ayappa Temple on Makara Sankranti day yields results multiplied crores of times. Mkakara Sankranti is also a great time for pious activities, gift giving and Devi Puga. The great reward of gift giving on Makara Sankranti is endless. The Bhavishya highly praise a bath in the Ganges during Makara Sankranti.


Makara Sankranti is a time for transformation of our natural impulses into high ideals. It is an ideal time for the individual, family and community in their march toward their ideal. It’s an ideal time to reach our highest expression in religion, art, science and literature. During Makara Sankranti, we see the flowering of our transcendent and moral qualities. Makara Sankranti is the chief occasion for festivals and the source of the best human happiness. The vistas it opens and the mysteries it propounds are great inspiration for us to march on. Makara Sankranti lifts our spirits and emancipates us from our personal limitations. In different ways, Makara Sankranti promises to transfer our Atman (Soul) to better conditions. It is also the time to rededicate our efforts to establish prosperity upon earth.


Sankaranti celebration adds a pure value to our existence in this high-tech society. Makara Sankranti celebration is greater than high-tech life, because Hindu festivals, rituals and Dharma Marga deal with higher and more practical themes than pompous things which modern technology dwells upon. Even in this super modern technological era, Makara Sankranti has a more important function in vitalizing the mind and ennobling –persuading the mind to relieve stress in the thick of active life. Life is an encasing, continuous, undivided process, a sort of cosmic movement of which we are expressions. As such, we are all motivated by this cosmic energy. It, rather than mind or matter, is the fundamental reality. And we become aware of it in ourselves through direct experience. Our universe reveals the workings, the development, the realization, the unfolding of a universal consciousness, or absolute spirit. The universe is spiritual and it has direction. Ordinary life, human actions, changes, life, desires, aims, intentions, and goals are affected by the absolute cosmic power. Absolute cosmic power plays a vital role in the universe’s progressive realization of the ultimate spirit.


Makara Sankranti celebration has a special relevance for Hindus living in this high-tech society. Hindus have been celebrating Makara Sankranti from time immemorial. This tradition preserves our heritage, and our treasures. Without our heritage and tradition, there will be no continuity in time and therefore, neither past or future, only mere biological existence. Hindus have to practice our tradition, festivals, smaskaras, purushartas, and sadhanas. We have to protect it, preserve it and promote it. Our tradition has meaning and value for us. Our Hindu past will throw its light upon the future. Even in this high-tech, competitive society, we have grown because of our Hindu values. In the coming years, Hindutva will provide us a structure. It will provide us an integrated vision. What we need is Hindu unity. The discovery of timeless Hindu values will be re-established, if we stand united. The theme was stressed in the Chandogya Upanishad centuries ago:


Yovai Bhuma Tat Sukham

Nalpe Sukham Asti

Bhuma Eva Sikham

Bhuma Tv Eva Vijijnasitavya


That which is whole is joy. There is no joy in fractional existence. Only the whole is joy. But we must want to understand the whole.


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