Take me from darkness, dullness, laziness to brightness, activeness and enthusiasm
After a long winter, we start moving towards summer from Uttarayana. Even though winters are enjoyable, long and intense winters with less sunlight (short days and long nights) makes one dull, lazy and depressive. Sunlight gives energy to body, mind, earth and helps the whole atmosphere get charged with increased life force (Prana) thus supporting all the 84 lakh species in the world including plants by helping them to live their life to their potential.
Uttarayana is a word derived from two Sanskrit words and they are “Uttara” and “Ayana”. Uttara means north and Ayana means movement. During Makar Sankranti the earth moves towards north which means it starts coming nearer to the Sun. This brings about a change in the season on earth. It’s the end of winter and start of summer.
Uttarayana also signifies harvest season. After all the hard labour associated with farming such as tilling the land, loosening the soil, sowing seeds, irrigating the fields, protecting fields from the menace of birds Uttarayana is the celebration time as the result of hard labour is showered in the form of a bumper harvest.
Makar Sankranti, the start of Uttarayana is a major kite festival of India. On this day the whole sky line changes from a void empty space to dynamic space filled with colourful kites of all sizes, shapes and designs. Each one competes with the other in flying these kites higher and higher in the sky. Kite flying signifies offering of gratitude to the celestial beings (Gods) for their support, blessings and protection in providing us the food in the form of the harvest of foodgrains.
The whole process of agriculture, activities related to farming and harvesting guides us towards living a joyful life and spiritually enlightened life.
Before the sowing season starts the land is tilled. Hardened soil is loosened as unless the soil is loosened it will not help germinate the seed. Likewise a hardened mind doesn’t allow the seed of dharma (gyana) to germinate so the mind has to be loosened (made flexible, receptive) by tilling it with spiritual sadhana such as meditation, reading of scriptures etc.
In the next process seeds are sown in the tilled soil so we need to sow the seeds of knowledge from a guru. Guru gives the seed of gyana diksha. After receiving gyana diksha from an enlightened guru we need to water it regularly through satsangs and guru saniddhya.
At this stage, when the seed of gyana sprouts and starts to grow we need to protect ourselves from negative thoughts and others negative vibes as the crop is protected from birds menace.
The result of this hard labour leads to a beautiful harvest of spiritually evolved state (stithi) and once this state is achieved it will result in satisfying the hunger of other souls (atmas) as the harvested foodgrains would have satisfied the hunger of physical bodies.
Thus Uttarayana, Makar Sankranti is an occasion to start or grow towards ones spiritual journey and fly kites to seek support from the celestial beings as well as to offer gratitude for giving us human birth and making us capable to merge with them one day.