Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Winter Solstice-Christmas-Makar Sankranti
Winter solstice is round the corner. On that day around 22 December, night will be longest and the day shortest of the year 2014. From that day Sun would again start its northerly journey. Initially very slowly and then gaining speed from the Indian festival of Makar Sankranti around 15th January. It is well known that Christmas is not a birthday of Jesus Christ (According to history, he was born in warmer periods when shepherds take their flock out for grazing. It was definitely not December. Many speculate the month to be September of the year 5 BC. Church accepts that neither Bible nor history tells us exact date of Jesus Christ’s Birthday.) The winter solstice celebration was originally a pre-Christian ‘pagans’ or ‘heathens’ event now digested as Christmas. It is ironical that some church leaders call it, not digestion, but redeeming of pagan festival. Many think it was a bit shameless when someone said “If anything, Christian practice has ‘redeemed’ the date from paganism and given it a new meaning full of praise to our Savior”. Such appropriation of someone’s legacy is unfair and ironical. It brings forth in mind a feeling when one recalls how invaders destroyed temples and used their stones to build monuments in praise or remembrance of their leaders. A look at ‘Kutub Minar’ (Delhi) or ‘Adhai Din Ka Jhonpara’ (Ajmer) is enough for anyone to see that the stones used in those structures are those that they mined from destroying the temple which existed there. Those stones were not ‘redeemed’ but were appropriated. Sense of fair play ought to overtake desire to celebrate Christmas. Someday somewhere someone may otherwise begin celebrating Maker Sankrant as Paul Sankrant or Thomas Sankrant.
At one time Sun was worshipped by every civilization. It was known as ‘Maithra-Worship’ by Europeans, Egyptians and Middle-Eastern natives. Sun is known as ‘Mitra’ in Sanskrit language. In American continent, Sun- Goddess Inti was worshipped . After advent of Christianity and Islam, only a handful civilizations are left who still pray to Sun god. However everyone knows the important role that sun plays. Life is impossible without Sun. No wonder, flags of 17 sovereign countries still put the image of Sun on that precious national symbol.
A utilitarian thanks Sun for its light and warmth. A more evolved person becomes even more thankful by adding its value also as an inspirer. Sun inspires him to import qualities of Sun in his life. Without looking for any return, without any discrimination, he provides light and warmth to everyone. It teaches him to be regular and dependable as Sun and giving without so much as even mentioning.
Hindus who worship Sun as Sun-god, want to acknowledge its God-like quality. Talking about quality, keep in mind that Hindu God is not same as Western or Islamic God. He is different. He does not give commandments, He is not jealous and He gives without seeking anything in return. There are many other differences. As an acknowledgement of Godly qualities, they worship Sun as Sun-god. Appreciating intensely is essentially nothing else but worshipping. Hindus are perennially told to evolve and rise to cultivate Godly attributes of benevolence. Therefore Hindu likes to inculcate in himself those wonderful qualities of God that attract him. He becomes watchful of his Karma.
Due to aggressive proselytizing undertaken by predatory religions, many older civilizations have now become extinct. However some of those who liked the ways of Celtics, Vikings, and hundreds of so called ‘pagans’ and ‘heathens’ of Europe have restarted Sun worship in their own way. Zoroastrians mark solstices and equinoxes in their religious calendar. Sun worship is currently a regular practice in countries with higher concentration of Hindus. These countries are India, Nepal, Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad, Surinam, etc.
Footnote for the persons with scientific bend of mind, Why 25th was winter solstice a couple of thousand years ago? And why they say that solstice is around 22nd December instead of giving a fixed firm date and time? Have you heard of Earths ‘Precessional orbit’? Earth has three motions. It rotates, revolves and gyrates on its 23.5 degree inclined axis. Locus of gyrating earth’s axis transcribes a circle. That is Earth’s precession Orbit. Due to this precession the date changes with time.
For more on Maker-Sankranti or Uttarayan scroll back on this blog or directly go to: http://nmsresolution.blogspot.ca/2012/01/uttarayan-makar-sankranti-lohri-pongal.html