“Makar Sankranti” is a festival celebrated in various parts of India with different names. It is basically a harvest festival. Makara in Sanskrit means the Capricorn Zodiac Sign. And Sankranti means the movement of the Sun from one zodiac sign into another. Makar Sankranti, therefore, means the transition of the Sun into the Capricorn Zodiac Sign. The Sun keeps on moving from one constellation to another. These constellations have been given various zodiac signs. And Makara (Capricorn) is one such sign. At this point the Sun ends its southward (“Dakshinayana”) journey and begins its northward (“Uttarayana”) journey.
In the ancient Indian context the Sun is a metaphor for wisdom. The light is a metaphor for wisdom and darkness is a metaphor for ignorance. All movement stands for growth. This is where the Upanishads say, “Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya”. It is a request to the divine to move us from darkness to light. It is a request to the divine to move us from ignorance to light.
Everything in the existence is moving. Everything is in a state of flux. There is nothing that is static and in a state of inertia. The earth is moving around its own axis. And apart from moving around its own axis it is also moving around the Sun. The Sun is moving around the solar system. And the solar system is also moving around its own galaxy system. Just look at a stone. At the outset we find that it is at rest and not moving. And when we peep deeper into the stone we observe a very mysterious phenomenon. The electrons in the stone are moving almost at the speed of light. Everything in the existence is moving. And this movement is a metaphor for growth. Every electron is in transition to Enlightenment. And the whole existence is in transition to Enlightenment. And this enlightenment is a biggest milestone in the journey of life. And when we reach this milestone, it is a point of inner celebration. In the Indian context all festivals are celebrated with this milestone in mind. Festivity and celebration is a state of our mind. Every milestone is a stepping stone to the other. There is nothing called a failure. Failure is not the opposite of success. Every failure is only a stepping stone towards success.
In India, everybody (children, young, and old) celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti with the flying of kites. The flying of the kites is a metaphor for the height and depth of this success and celebration.
I am sharing a small poem written on this occasion on 16th January, 2011. I am sorry the poem is in Marathi and can be enjoyed only by the Marathi readers: