|Posted on January 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM|
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasion for the Hindu and is celebrated in almost all the parts of the country in myriad cultural forms with great devotion, fervour and gaity. Makar Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same date every year on the 14th January (with just a few exceptions when it is celebrated on 13th or 15th of January)
Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti is transition. There is a Sankranti every month when the sun passes from one sign of Zodiac to the another. There are twelve signs of Zodiac, so there are twelve sankranti. Each of these sankranti's has its own importance but there are two important sankrantis – namely- the Mesh (Aries) Sankranti and Makar (Capricorn) Sankranti. Transition of sun from sagitarius to Capricorn is known as Makar Sankranti. From this day, begins the six month long Uttarayana.
SIGNIFICANCE OF MAKAR SANKRANTI:-
The festival of Makar Sankranti is associated with cutural significance:-
1. The Puranas say that on this day sun visits the house of his son, 'Shani' who is the swami of Makar rashi. These father and son donot have cordial relationship but inspite of differences between them, Lord sun makes it a point to meet each other on this day. Father in fact, himself comes to his son's house for a month. This day symbolizes the healthy relationship of father and son. It is the son who has the responsibility to carry forward his father's dream and continuity of the family.
2. From Uttarayana starts the day of Devatas and Dakshinayana is said to be the night of 'devatas'. So the most auspicious things are done during this time.
3. It was on this day when Lord Vishnu ended the ever increasing terrorism of the Asuras by finishing them off and burying their heads under Mandar Parvat(mountains).So this occasion represents the end of negativities and beginning of an era of righteous living.
4. The great savior of his ancestors, Maharaj Bhagirath did the great 'Tapasya' to bring Gangaji down on the earth for the redemption of 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar who were burnt to ashes at the Kapil Muni Ashram, near Ganga Sagar. It was on this day that Bhagirath finally did tarpan with the Ganges water for his unfortunate ancestors and liberated them from the curse. After visiting the Patala for the redemption of the curse of Bhagirath's ancestors, Gangaji finally merged in the sagar.
5. Bhisma declared his intent to leave his mortal coil on this day. He had the boon of 'ICHHA-MITYU' from his father, so he kept lying on the bed of arrows till this day and left his mortal coil on Makar Sankranti. It is believed that the person who dies during the period of Uttaryana becomes free from transmigration.
HOW TO CELEBRATE:-
1. To get up early in the morning before sunrise, have bath and be ready with water & flower for the sun rise. Worship the rising sun by offering water,flower with both the hands & then pray with folded hands by chanting the Gayatri Mantra and pray for knowledge, wisdom and enlghtenment to rise in the similar way to greater & greater heights.
2. Do tarpan for your ancestors. Offer water to the ancestors while praying for their blessings. Resolve to redeem the pledge and pride of your forefather.
3. Prepare laddus or other sweets of Til & Gur and offer them to your friends & relatives.
4. Have a lunch of Khichiri. This will inculcate simplicity in your life and habits.,
5. Give some 'daan' on this day to someone who truly deserves.
6. Visit your son at his place and give presents to the son and the daughter -in-law. If it is not possible to visit, then organise to send presents to them to express your love & affection to them.
Acharya Ajay Mohan Lal