Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Significance of Sankranthi

Significance of Sankranthi

Excerpt of message from Dr. BGY Shastri in US Kannada Group.

Dear friends and devotees,

Bhakti is eternal.

It is my pleasure to wish you all a Happy Sankranthi and to share with you of the importance of the festival.

Sankranthi

Sankranthi day is a Holy day because people honour it as such. Every day is Holy for those who utilise it for holy purposes, but these are some days set apart as especially significant and Makara Sankranthi is one such. Sankranthi, is so called because the day takes us from darkness to light; the path of light is open from today. On this day, the Sun starts on His northward journey by entering the Makara sign of zodiac. Change for good is Sankranthi. It reveals the beauty of the Divine. This day exhorts to glorify the occasion by new aspirations. It calls for the installation of God in our hearts, so that we may achieve victory in the game of life.

In a year, Sun passes through the twelve houses of the zodiac in twelve months. The Sun’s entry into each house of the zodiac is described as a Sankramana. ‘Kranthi’ means ‘change’. Sankranthi means a secured change. The Sun’s entry into each house of the zodiac is not considered equally holy. What then is the reason for giving special importance and sacredness to ‘Makara Sankramana’ the entry of the sun into ‘Makara’ (Capricorn)?
Besides the physical qualities associated with the sun’s movement into each house of the zodiac, there is an inner spiritual significance related to the ‘Makara Sankramana’. The sun takes entry into Capricorn between the months of Margasira and Pushyam. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna has declared, “Among the months, I am the month of Margasira”. The Margasira month is the crown among the twelve months. What is the reason? Among the planets of the solar system, the sun is the presiding deity. Without the sun, the life process in the world will cease. During the month of Margasirsha, the world experiences the abundance of the harvested food grains, which sustain and confer joy on the people.

The Uttarayana punyakala or the Makara Sankranthi is a holy occasion to offer prayers to the Lord. As the Vedas instruct us to pray: Asatho maa sath Gamaya (lead me from unreal to real); Tamaso maa jyothir Gamaya (lead me from darkness into the Light); Mrurthyor maa Amritham Gamaya(Lead me from death to Immortality) . Let us use this day to address this prayer, sincerely to our Ishta devatha (chosen deity) or to our Aaraadhya-devatha (the form of the Lord you like most).
Festivals connected with the moon and the sun are celebrated in our country, in order to drive into the minds of people, the importance of mind control, (chandra or moon is the deity of the mind) and of clarifying the intelligence (Surya or the sun is the deity of intelligence) . When the sun moves northward that is God-ward, the Intelligence too must pursue God-ward. That is the significance of Uttarayana. Sankranthi enables people to turn their vision towards the sublime (Uttharayana Punya Kala). The day is considered auspicious for individuals to embark on their journey towards the goal of a purposeful, sacred and blissful life.
This is well described in Mahabharatha. In Kurukshetra war, Bheeshma was fallen by Arjuana’s arrows. Since he had his end as per his wish, he waited up to Uttarayana Punyakala and then only reached abode.

“Samyak Kranthi Iti Sankranthi” Sankranthi confers peace and heralds a welcome change. It brings out the inner joy in people. It effects a change in the life-style. It generates sacred thoughts. People look forward to many worldly benefits also from this sacred occasion. It is also celebrated as a day, when a sacred bull is taken from house to house, while the owner recites the Ramayana story. The festival is also a joyous occasion for the youth folk. The Sankranhti festival is more important than any other festival because it is the day when the newly married son-in-law visits the home of his bride and is entertained lavishly.

Hindu festivals are full inner significance, imparting bliss, and not ostentatious shows. Every festival has a unique significance of its own.

The sun moves into a house of the zodiac every month. In a year he goes around the twelve houses of the zodiac. Of these, the main houses are four. The first is Makara Sankramana (the zodiacal sign of the Capricorn).
The second is Karkataka (Cancer).
The third is Thula (Libra).
The fourth is Mesha (Aries).
Of these four, the most important is Makara (Capricorn). The entry of the sun into Capricorn has physical, ethical, social and moral significance.

Sankaramana is the time when the inward journey towards a pure and unsullied heart is made. Just as the sun embarks on his northward journey, Sankranthi is the day on which the intellect should be turned towards the Atma (soul) for Self-realisation.

In the movement of the sun from house to house in the zodiac, the entry into Capricorn is most important. Capricorn is a sign of peace and contentment. According to the Gregorian calendar, Sankranthi begins on January 13 or 14. This confers a kind of mental and physical peace. In this period, farmers and others cultivating on the soil enjoy a period of rest. The farmers are at ease enjoying the fruits of their accomplishment. Their granaries are filled with grains of all kinds. During this month, farmers enjoy peace of mind and body.

Few people understand the true significance of festivals like Sankranthi. Man cannot secure enduring bliss through physical pleasures. He has to discover that the source of this bliss is within himself. Sankranthi enables man to make this discovery.

Sankranthi gives the call for total surrender. Sankranthi is also a kind of family festival. The whole world is one family. The festival relates to the entire world. It is not confined to one’s kith and kin. Sankranthi is related to the entire mankind and promotes in one and all a feeling of happiness.

With love and regards,

Sastry.

January 14, 2008 - Posted by | Sankranthi

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