Makar Sankranti

Contents

1. Tithi
2. History of Makar sankranti
3. Information on Deity Sankranti is available in the panchang
4. Importance of Makar sankranti
4 A. Importance from the point of view of spiritual practice
5. Method of celebration
5 A. Benefit of highest merit acquired by a Holy dip on the day of Makar sankranti
5 B. Makar sankranti Offering
6. Use of sesame seeds
6 A. Importance of sesame seeds
7. Forbidden acts
8. Do not fly kites
9. Kinkrant or karidin

 


 

1. Tithi

This festival, unlike other Hindu festivals, is not dependent on the tithi (position of the moon) but on position of the sun. On this day, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn. To compensate for the difference that occurs due to the revolution around the sun, sometimes the day of sankrant gets pushed ahead by one day.

1. A.Which God is worshipped on Makar Sankranti ?

Sun Deity (Surya Dev)

This is the biggest festival of the Sun God. Life cannot be imagined in the absence of the Sun, which is the only factor that makes life energetic and gives its bright light for survival. This day is most important to also worship Shri Vishnu and Goddess Mahalakshmi.

2. History of Makar sankranti

Sankranti is considered a Deity. According to a legend Deity Sankranti killed a demon named Sankarasur.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated to let go of our differences and increase love in us. Spiritually, this day is very conducive for spiritual practice and to imbibe Chaitanya in the environment.

 

3. Information on Deity Sankranti is available in the panchang

The panchang provides information on the form, age, clothing, direction of movement etc. of Deity Sankranti. This information is appropriate to the changes taking place in Her according to time. He who is touched by Deity Sankranti gets destroyed.

 

4. Importance of Makar sankranti

The northward movement of the sun begins on this day. The period from Karka sankrant (the passage of the sun into the zodiac sign of Cancer) till Makar sankranti is called the dakshinayan. A person who dies in the dakshinayan period has a greater chance of going to Yamalok (southward region), than one who dies during uttarayan (northward revolution).

 

4. A. Makar Sankranti and the winter solstice

Many Bharatiyas conflate this festival with the winter solstice, and believe that the sun ends its southward journey (Sanskrut : Dakshinayan) at the Tropic of Capricorn, and starts moving northward (Sanskrut : Uttarayan) towards the Tropic of Cancer, in the month of Pousha on this day in mid-January.

There is no observance of winter solstice in the Hindu religion. Further, the Sun makes its northward journey on the day after winter solstice when day light increases. Therefore, Makar Sankranti signifies the celebration of the day following the day of winter solstice.

The date of winter solstice changes gradually due to the Axial precession of the Earth, coming earlier by approximately 1 day  every 80 years. Hence, if the Makar Sankranti at some point of time did mark the day after the actual date of winter solstice, a date in mid-January would correspond to around 300 CE, the heyday of Bharatiya mathematics and astronomy.

4.B. Sankranti

Sankranti is celebrated all over South Asia with some regional variations. It is known by different names and celebrated with different customs in different parts of the country.

In Bharat it is known by different regional names.

Makar Sankranti : Chhattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal

Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal : Tamil Nadu

Uttarayan : Gujarat

Maghi : Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. A day before, people of Punjab celebrate Lohri.

Bhogali Bihu : Assam

Shishur Saenkraat : Kashmir Valley

Khichdi : Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar

Makar Sankramana : Karnataka

In other countries too the day is celebrated but under different names and in different ways.

Nepal : Maghe Sankranti

Tharu people, Maithali, Newar :  Maghe Sankranti

Other people : Maghe Sankranti or Maghe Sakrati

Thailand : Songkran

Laos : Pi Ma Lao

Myanmar : Thingyan

Cambodia : Moha Sangkran

Sri Lanka : Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal

(Compiled by Ms. Supriya Jathar, Ramnathi Ashram, Goa)

 

4 C. Importance from the point of view of spiritual practice

On this day, from sunrise to sunset, the environment has more Chaitanya (Divine Consciousness); hence those doing spiritual practice can benefit from this Chaitanya.

 

5. Method of celebration

5 A. Benefit of highest merit acquired by a Holy dip on the day of Makar sankranti

The time from sunrise to sunset on Makar sankranti is auspicious. A Holy dip during this period carries special significance. Those who take a Holy dip in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krushna and Kaveri at the Holy places situated on the banks of these rivers acquire the highest merit.

5 B. Makar sankranti Offering

5 B1. Importance of making an offering during an auspicious period

The period from Makar sankranti to Rathsaptami is an auspicious period. Any donation and meritorious deeds in this period prove more fruitful.

 

Donating during Makar Sankranti (video)

 

What items to donate during Makar Sankranti ? (video)

 

5 B2. Substances offered on Makar sankranti

‘An offering of new vessels, clothing, food, sesame seeds, pot of sesame seeds, jaggery, a cow, a horse, gold or land should be made depending on the capability. On this day, married women also make some offering. They take things from unmarried girls and give them sesame seeds and jaggery in return.’ Married women organise a ceremony of haldi-kumkum (applying vermillion and turmeric to the forehead) and gift articles to other married women.

Spiritul science of Haldi-kumkum ceremony (video)

 

1. Importance of giving a gift

Giving gift to another woman on Makar-sankrant

Giving a gift to another woman amounts to surrendering to the Divinity in the other, through body, mind and wealth. Since the period of Makar sankranti is favourable for spiritual practice, a gift given during this period results in bestowal of Divine grace and the individual gets the desired fruit.

2. What should be gifted on makar sankranti ?

How to offer ‘upayan’ during Makar Sankranti ? (video)

 

Spiritual science behind offering sattvik items as upayan (video)

 

 

Nowadays a wrong trend of gifting inappropriate commodities like soaps and plastic items has started. Instead, substances that are complementary to spiritual practice and are indicators of a married life, for example incense sticks, ubtan (fragrant powder used during bath), religious texts, Holy texts, pictures of Deities, CDs on spiritual topics etc. should be gifted.

5 B3. Small mud pots
'Sugad'
‘Sugad’

‘The festival of Makar sankranti requires small mud pots called sugad (in Marathi language). Vermilion and turmeric powder is applied to the pots and a thread is tied to them. They are filled with carrots, jujube fruits, sugarcane pieces, pods, cotton, chickpeas, sesame seeds with jaggery, vermilion, turmeric etc. Five pots are placed on a wooden seat, rangoli is drawn around the seat and worshipped. Of these, three are gifted to married women, one is offered to the Tulsi plant and one is retained.’

Subtle Drawing depicting Benefits of a sattvik gift

 

6. Use of sesame seeds

'Tilgul'
‘Tilgul’

Maximum use of sesame seeds is made during Makar sankranti festival. For example, bathing with water containing sesame seeds and eating and distributing tilgul (a sweet made from sesame seeds), offering sesame to Brahmans, lighting lamps of sesame oil in a temple of Deity Shiva and performing pitrushraddh (rite for the departed ancestors) in which an offering of sesame seeds is made.

Use of Til (sesame) during Makar Sankranti (video)

 

Spiritual significance of Til (sesame) (video)

6 A. Importance of sesame seeds

6 A1. Using sesame seeds eliminates sins

‘On this day those who apply sesame seed oil and ubtan to the body, bathe in water mixed with sesame seeds, drink water mixed with sesame seeds, perform a sacrificial fire, make an offering of sesame seeds and make similar use of sesame seeds, are liberated of all sins.’

6 A2. Importance according to Ayurved

Since Sankrant falls in winter, consuming sesame seeds is beneficial.

6 A3. Importance according to Spirituality

1. Since sesame seeds have a greater ability to absorb and emit sattva frequencies, consuming tilgul helps improve spiritual practice. Distributing tilgul to one another results in an exchange of the Sattva component.

2. Using sesame seeds in shraddha prevents demons from bringing obstacles during the rite.

Subtle-picture of a sesame seed

 

7. Forbidden acts

‘During the period of Sankrant, brushing teeth, talking harshly, cutting trees or grass and acts provoking sexual urges should be avoided.’

On the day of Makarsankranti little children and married women wear black clothes. Black colour is not only considered inauspicious in the Hindu Dharma but in Spirituality it is known to attract Tama frequencies from the environment. Thus wearing black can cause distress to the individual. As no Holy text substantiates the claim that ‘one should wear black clothing on the day of Makarsankranti or that wearing black clothing is allowed on this day’, do not wear black clothing on this occasion.

‘If you come across any Holy text stating that black clothes should be worn on the day of Makarsankranti’ then kindly let us know on email id : [email protected]

(Postal address : Mr. Bhanu Puranik, C/o Sanatan Ashram, 24/B, Ramnathi, Bandivade, Ponda, Goa Pin code 403401)

8. Do not fly kites

Today, when the Nation and Dharma are in peril, flying kites for the sake of entertainment is akin to, ‘Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burnt’. If the time spent on flying kites is used for the development of the Nation, it will make it progress faster; and if used for spiritual practice and missions related to Dharma, then society and the individual will benefit.

 

9. Kinkrant or karidin

This is the day after Sankrant. On this day a Deity killed the demon Kinkarasur.

Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text ‘Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances’

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