January 11, 2006
Change is always welcome (platonic scenario). It comes in various forms: some of which are pleasant while some are just better off. But a change is one thing which most of the people yearn for, crave for, work for, die for, pray for, and maybe blog for?Change is cometimes bleakly associated with escapism, because it drifts from the current situation, and because it avoids the culmination of the present, it is sometimes viewed so. And we seem to enjoy this!
A change is noticed, sometimes rejoiced, sometimes celebrated and occasionally mourned. Sticking to the feel-good factor and escapist mood proposed earlier, this post would deal with the positive aspects of change.
And a big change coming soon is on the January 14th.
Sankranthi: festival that signifies the beginning of the harvest season for the Indian farmers.
Its significance could be found at wikipedia (shamelessly copying):
Also called ‘Makara Sankranthi’, it is celebrated primarily in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Maharashtra. From this day onwards the sun with respect to the earth starts moving towards north signaling the oncoming of summer. The grand seer of Mahabharatha, Bheeshmacharya, waited for this day to die and ascend to Brahmaloka. The auspicious day of Sankranthi is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Typically in Andhra Pradesh, the festival is celebrated for three days. The day before Makara Sankranthi is known as Bhogi. On this day, early in the morning, old items in the house such unusable clothes, broken furniture are set on fire. Also while the old items are burnt, people start drumming on a small hand-held drum which is also thrown into the fire, in the end. A small twig, with dambar on the end is prepared as the stick used for drumming. On Sankranthi, people wear new clothes and visit temples to celebrate the harvest. The third day is known as Kanuma.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious day for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervor & gaiety. Lakhs of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar & Prayag and pray to Lord Sun. It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the country as Pongal, and in Punjab is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi. Gujarati’s not only look reverentially up to the sun, but also offer thousands of their colorful oblations in the form of beautiful kites all over the skyline. They may be trying to reach upto their glorious God or bring about greater proximity with the one who represents the best. It is a day for which Bhishma Pitamah kept waiting to leave his mortal coil. Makar Sankranti is the day when the glorious Sun-God of Hindus begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern Hemisphere. Sun for the Hindus stands for Pratyaksha-Brahman – the manifest God, who symbolizes, the one, non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious divinity blessing one & all tirelessly. Sun is the one who transcends time and also the one who rotates the proverbial Wheel of Time. The famous Gayatri Mantra, which is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom. Sun not only represents God but also stands for an embodiment of knowledge & wisdom. Lord Krishna reveals in Gita that this manifested divinity was his first disciple, and we all know it to be indeed a worthy one too. No Sundays for the Sun, may be because one who revels in its very ‘being’, the very essence of his own Self, is always in the Sunday mood. The co-relation of cosmic events with individual life and values is one of the most astounding traits of Hindu Masters. Once this co-relation is brought about thereafter these cosmic events become instrumental to remind us the best which we cherish & value. Of all the cosmic bodies Sun is the most glorious & important, thus every sun-centric cosmic event became very important spiritual, religious & cultural events. On Makar Sankranti day the Sun begins its ascendancy and journey into the Northern Hemisphere, and thus it signifies an event wherein the Gods seem to remind their children that ‘Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya’. May you go higher & higher – to more & more Light and never to darkness.
Getting back to some original thoughts, we see that this festival corresponds to change, in various dimensions:
- Seasonal change: anounces arrival of summer
- Astronomical change: sun starts moving towards north, with respect to the earth
- Religious change: Gods seem to remind us to go higher & higher – to more & more Light and never to darkness
- For kids (and those with kids inside them): kites and more kites
- For commerce: atleast movie industry people deem this as the most auspicious time to release movies
- For GOD’s sake, CHANGE, as in C-H-A-N-G-E: quoting again:
On this day, early in the morning, old items in the house such unusable clothes, broken furniture are set on fire. Also while the old items are burnt, people start drumming on a small hand-held drum which is also thrown into the fire, in the end.
This brings us to the philosophical aspect of all this, serves the agnostic (and atheist) as well:
Shed your old, worn-out, ill and wicked values and work towards a better self (I aint a politician to say that work towards a better society, and the Earth lives happily ever after.. ) . Simply put, renew your goals, your value system.. sharpen your focus, clean up the attic and arrange things (I mean mentally), have a more broader outlook and orderly thinking (mature/immature isnt the point). This is the perfect time for introspection, for self-help (I mean in the right sense, no pun), for YOURSELF. Because what you are now decides for what you will be tommorow.
Not something to preach, but such a thing would go unnoticed in the short run, and definitely gets noticed in the long run.
The only thing that remains constant is change.