Best wishes to all on the eve of Makar Sankranti Festival.

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Best wishes to all on the eve
of Makar Sankranti Festival

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Tithi

Information on Sankranti
is available in the Panchang:
The Panchang
(Hindu Almanac) provides information
 on the form, age, clothing, direction of movement etc.
 of Sankranti.
This information is appropriate
 to the changes taking place in Her according to time.
He who is touched by Goddess Sankranti gets destroyed.

Importance

The northward movement of the sun begins on this day.
 The period from Karkasankrant
 (the passage of the sun into the zodiac sign of Cancer)
 to Makarsankrant 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).

Importance from the point of view of spiritual practice:
On this day,
 from sunrise to sunset,
the environment has more chaitanya
(Divine conscious-ness) ;
 hence those doing spiritual practice
can benefit from this chaitanya.
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Methods of celebration

Applying the Kumkum between eye-brows

Benefit of highest merit acquired
 by a Holy dip on the day of Makarsankrant:
The time from sunrise to sunset on Makar-sankrant 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.

Offering:

 Importance of making an offering
 during an auspicious period:
The period from Makarsankrant to Rathsaptami
is an auspicious period.
Any donation and meritorious deeds
 in this period prove more fruitful.

Substances offered:

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 vermilion and turmeric to the forehead)
and gift articles to other married women.

1. Importance of a gift:

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

2. What should be gifted?:
 

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, utane (fragrant powder used during bath),
religious texts, Holy texts, pictures of Deities,
 CDs on spiritual topics etc.
should be gifted.

Small mud pots:

The festival of sankrant requires small
 mud pots called sugad (in the 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.

Use of sesame seeds:

Maximum use of sesame seeds
 is made during sankrant 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 Lord Shiva
and performing pitrushraddh
 (rite for the departed ancestors)
in which an offering of sesame seeds is made.

Importance of sesame seeds

 – Using sesame seeds eliminates sins:
On this day those who apply sesame seed oil and utane 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.

Importance according to

Ayurved:

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

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 shraddh prevents
demons from bringing obstacles during the rite.

Forbidden acts!

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


(Reference:
 Holy Festivals, Religious Festivals
 and Vowed Religious Observances,
compiled by H.H. Dr. Jayant B. Athavale
and Dr. Mrs. Kunda Athavale,
 published by the Sanatan Sanstha.)

This festival is celebrated

differently in different parts of the country.

Uttar Pradesh:

In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called ‘Khichiri’.
Taking a dip in the holy rivers on this day
is regarded as most auspicious.
 A big one-month long ‘Magha-Mela’ fair
 begins at Prayag (Allahabad) on this occasion.
Apart from Triveni,
 ritual bathing also takes place at many places like
 Haridvar and Garh Mukteshwar
 in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in Bihar. 

Bengal:

In Bengal every year a very big Mela
is held at Ganga Sagar where the river Ganga
is believed to have dived into the nether region
 and vivified the ashes of the
 sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath.
 This mela
is attended by a large number
of pilgrims from all over the country.

Tamil Nadu:

In Tamil Nadu Sankrant is known by the name of ‘Pongal’, which takes its name from the surging
 of rice boiled in a pot of milk, and this festival has more significance than even Diwali.
 It is very popular particularly amongst farmers.
 Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and milk
is offered to the family deity after the ritual worship.
In essence
 in the South this Sankrant is
a ‘Puja’ (worship) for the Sun God.
Visit Us @ www.MumbaiHangOut.Org Andhra Pradesh:
In Andhra Pradesh,
it is celebrated as a three-day harvest festival Pongal.
 It is a big event for the people of Andhra Pradesh.
 The Telugus like to call it
 ‘Pedda Panduga’ meaning big festival.
The whole event lasts for four days,
the first day Bhogi, the second day Sankranti,
 the third day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma.

Karnataka:

In Karnataka,
the festival is marked by visiting one’s friends
and relatives to exchange greetings,
 and by the preparation of a dish called
 
Ellu
 is marked by men,
 women and children wearing colorful clothing;
visiting near and dear ones;
and exchanging pieces of sugarcane,
 a mixture of fried til, molasses,
 pieces of dry coconut, peanuts and fried gram.
On this auspicious day,
people in Karnataka distribute
Yellu and bella (Sesame seeds and Jaggery)
and greet with the words
“Ellu bella thindu, Olle Maathu
Aadu”
 
(Eat sesame seeds and speak only good).
 The significance of this exchange is that
sweetness should prevail in all the dealings.

Maharashtra:

Ornaments made of sugar balls In Maharashtra
 on the Sankranti day people exchange multi-colored
 tilguds made from til (sesame seeds) and sugar
and til-laddus made from til and jaggery.
Til-polis are offered for lunch.
 While exchanging tilguls as tokens of
goodwill people greet each other saying –
 ’til-gul ghya, god god bola’
meaning
‘accept these tilguls and speak sweet words’.
 The under-lying thought in the exchange of tilguls
 is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities
and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends.
 This is a special day for the women in Maharashtra
when married women are invited for a get-together
 called ‘Haldi-Kumkum’ and given gifts of any utensil,
which the woman of the house purchases on that day.
Hindus wear ornaments made of ‘Halwa’ on this day.

Gujarat:

In Gujarat Sankrant is observed more or less
in the same manner as in Maharashtra but with
a difference that in Gujarat there is
a custom of giving gifts to relatives.
 The elders in the family give gifts to the
 younger members of the family.
 The Gujarati Pundits on this auspicious day
grant scholarships to students
 for higher studies in astrology and philosophy.
This festival thus helps the maintenance of
social relationships within the family, caste and community.
Kite flying
has been associated with this festival in a big way.
It has become an internationally well-known event.

Punjab:

In Punjab where December and January
are the coldest months of the year,
huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankrant
and which is celebrated as “LOHARI”.
Sweets, sugarcane and rice are thrown in the bonfires,
 around which friends and relatives gather together.
 The following day,
 which is Sankrant, is celebrated as MAGHI.
The Punjabi’s dance their famous Bhangra
dance till they get exhausted.
 Then they sit down and eat the sumptuous food
that is specially prepared for the occasion.

Kerala:

The 40 days anushthana by the devotees of Ayyappa ends
on this day in Sabarimala with a big festival.

Bundelkhand:

In Bundelkhand and Madhya Pradesh
this festival of Sankrant is known by the name
‘Sakarat’ and is celebrated with great pomp
 & merriment accompanied by lot of sweets.

Tribals of Orissa:

Many tribals in our country start their
New Year from the day of Sankrant
 by lighting bonfires, dancing and eating their
particular dishes sitting together.
 The Bhuya tribals of Orissa have their Maghyatra in
which small home-made articles are put for sale.

Assam:

In Assam, the festival is celebrated as Bhogali Bihu.

Coastal Region:

In the coastal regions,
 it is a harvest festival dedicated to Indra.

About dhavalrajgeera

Physician who is providing free service to the needy since 1971. Rajendra M. Trivedi, M.D. who is Yoga East Medical Advisor www.yogaeast.net/index.htm http://www.yogaeast.net/index.htm Graduated in 1968 from B. J. Medical College, Amadavad, India. Post Graduate training in Neurological Surgery from Charles University in Czechoslovakia. 1969 - 71. and received Czechoslovakian Government Scholarship. Completed training at the Cambridge Hospital and Harvard University in Psychiatry. Rajendra M. trivedi is an Attending Psychiatrist at Baldpate Hospital. He is the Medical Director of CCA and Pain Center in Stoneham, MA where he has been serving the community since 1971 as a Physician. OTHER AFFILIATIONS: Lifer of APA - American Psychiatrist Association Senior Physician and Volunteer with Massachusetts Medical Society and a Deligate of the Middlesex District. www.massmed.org Patron member of AAPI - American Association of PHYSICIANS OF INDIA. LIFE MEMBER OF IMANE - Indian Medical Association of New England. Member of the Board of Advisors "SAHELI, Boston,MA. www.saheliboston.org/About1/A_Board Dr. Trivedi is working closely with the Perkin's School for the Blind. www.perkins.org. Dr. Trivedi is a Life member and Honorary Volunteer for the Fund Raising Contact for North America of BPA - Blind People Association of Amadavad, India. www.bpaindia.org Dr.Trivedi is the Medical Advisor for Yoga East since 1993. He is a Physician who started Health Screening and Consultation At Shri Dwarkami Clinic in Billerica, MA. https://www.dwarkamai.com/health-and-wellness

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