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Updated on: Thursday, January 13, 2022, 09:27 PM IST

Makar Sankranti 2022: Of kites and til gul and the deeper meaning of the festival

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Amidst the happy sounds of kite flying, indulging in the sweetness of til gul, hoping to get over the winter gloom and marking the beginning of the harvest season, we are ready to celebrate Makar Sankranti yet again.

Every festival is losing its fervour and the celebrations are limited to buying some specific merchandise on festivals, rather than any spiritual progress. This year, let us get into the spirit of the festival and understand its core.

According to the Vedas, Sankranti marks the movement of the Sun from one constellation of the zodiac to the next, implying 12 Sankrantis in a year. Out of these, the Makar Sankranti is considered the most auspicious. This festival syncs with the solar cycle. The day announces the beginning of the harvest season. This day also announces the change in season as the sun now would begin its movement from Dakshinayan (south) to Uttarayan (north), implying the end of winters.

Tracing traditions

According to the scriptures, Lord Vishnu defeated the demons by severing their heads and burying them under a mountain, symbolising the end of negativities and prevalence of righteousness. Observed closely, Hindu traditions invariably focus on righteousness, knowledge and self-assessment. The traditions revolve around the fact that sticking to righteousness is the key to a happy life.

This day marks the cosmic change to a brighter tomorrow. As the last quarter of the year, crop harvesting takes a toll because of the harsh weather conditions. So, the sun’s journey towards the north, inviting more light, calls for a celebration, spiritually signifying that the human soul is moving from ignorance to knowledge. This day is appropriate for meditation or reinforcing sadhna, as the cosmos is alive, or chaitanya, with cosmic intelligence, which supports the quest of a seeker.

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Sweet indulgence

'Til gul ghya aani god god bola' — This Marathi expression used to greet each other on Sankranti while sharing the sweet laddoos made of sesame and jaggery. The importance, again, is of the aacharan or behaviour and vaani or the power of speech, which is the key to strong inter-personal bonds.

It is customary to make khichdi and eat til (sesame seeds). Here, it should also be noted that in Hindu culture, Ayurveda has a key role in deciding what is to be ingested. The body must remain in perfect condition to attain self-realisation. Ayurveda focuses on eating right as per the weather, season, and what is locally available.

As the temperature now fluctuates, the body becomes vulnerable. Khichdi makes a perfect meal as it is easy on the stomach and also provides necessary nutrition. Til, on the other hand, can absorb negativity and enhance the ‘sattva’; the purity, goodness and harmony, which facilitates spiritual practice. The natural oil present in the sesame seeds helps generate body heat and keeps the internal body temperature stable. Jaggery's iron and vitamin C content is known for its traditional remedy for respiratory disorders and throat problems.

Sun is seen as “Pratyaksha-Bramh”, “a manifestation of the ultimate”, conferring knowledge and wisdom. Like the sun, let us all BE the change we want to see and move our soul from Dakshinayan (ignorance) to Uttarayana (knowledge) this year.

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Published on: Friday, January 14, 2022, 07:00 AM IST
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