Uttarayan 2014 : The Divine Morning
Uttarayan is a word that is made up of two Sanskrit words 'Uttara' meaning North and 'Ayana' meaning movement. This term thus suggests a Northward movement of Sun marking the decline of winter. Uttarayan festival is the 6 month period, observed between the winter solstice (22 December) and the summer solstice (21 June). It is basically a Hindu Festival which begins at Makar Sankranti and ends with Karka Sankranti. As per the Hindu mythology Uttarayan is considered the new beginning in any person's life. In Mahabharata, Bheeshma Pitamaha chose to leave his body on this day when Sun begins its journey toward the Northern hemisphere. As per the Hindu philosophy the entire Uttarayan period is one day for the Gods and the Dakshinayana period is night for them.
Makar Sankranti Celebrations in India
Uttarayan, the day time for the Gods is a great time for us too as the wind gets cooler and all living beings grow out of their shells to enjoy this new beginning. The end of winter cajoles us to come out from our deep slumber and awake to a new sunshine that the Almighty bestows us with. The beginning of the period is called Makar Sankranti which is celebrated across the country in myriad forms. This day is very auspicious and devotees in the Northern part of the country take a Holy dip in Ganga Sagar and Prayag. Down in the South, it is popularly known as Pongal and is celebrated with great fervor and devotion. In Punjab this day is observed as Lohri, which is celebrated with a bonfire, praying and distributing sweets. The Western India takes the Makar Sankranti celebrations to another level as here the sky is filled with colorful kites to make it look like a multicolor umbrella. Well, one country, one festival (Uttarayan) and a thousand ways to celebrate. No wonder, we present perfect a paradox of oneness and diversity. As mentioned earlier this is the day when the Sun begins its journey into the Northern hemisphere. Sun, as per the Hindu religion is a God who selflessly showers his blessings to all the mankind without any discrimination. Therefore, it can be said that, inspired from the Sun we should also start a fresh while forgetting the past mistakes.
Makar Sankranti: Mythical Stories
It is believed that on Makar Sankranti (the first day of Uttarayan), the Sun goes to visit his son, who is the Lord of Makar Rashi. On this day the father-son duo, forgets all their differences and meet. Therefore, this day also celebrates the special father son bond. Another belief also says that on this day Lord Vishnu ended the terror of demons by killing them and burying their heads under the Mandar Parvat. Moreover, after his penance to bring river Ganga on the Earth, Bhagirath did Tarpan to free his 60,000 ancestors from a curse. Interestingly, these 60,000 souls symbolize our thoughts which get maligned during our journey and to purify them we take holy dips in the Ganga. Thus, it indicates that we should keep a close check on our thoughts and ensure that we have a positive and upbeat state of mind. Taking a Holy dip symbolizes washing off our negative thoughts and cleaning the mind from all the evilness it has gathered during the journey.
Uttarayan Connects Us To The Divine Universe
All the living beings are connected to this vast universe and changes in the universe bring obvious changes in the lives of these beings. Once we understand the correlation between the two, it becomes easier for us to assess the significance of these festivals like Uttarayan. These festivals are nothing but cosmic changes that have a profound impact on our lives and planet. Our ancestors understood this relationship and lived their lives in harmony with the universe and different changes it throws. Further, it can be said that our forefathers have played a crucial role in connecting us with the universe, of which we are an indispensible part.
At the end we hope that the article gave you a fresh perspective to look at our festivals, which hold great significance even today. Here is wishing all our readers a happy and prosperous Uttarayan. May this morning period of Gods bring a new sunshine in your lives.
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