The Sanskrit term ‘sankranti’ translates as ‘transference’ and is used to indicate the movement of Sun from one constellation to the next through the year.
Our ancients had known the nuances of creation, the motion of Sun and the planets, shape, size and location of various heavenly bodies millennia ago. The observance of 12 sankrantis in a year is an apt example. What our ancients also knew, and what majority has forgotten, is the science of energy, the shakti of the various heavenly bodies and the changes in energy pattern of creation as they underwent transition.
Sun or Surya, is a shakti, which is of significance to the dwellers of earth. It is the energy, which sustains life on the planet, something which is uncontested by modern science. The brilliance of the Sun is an experience which each one of us has had, so brilliant that it is not possible to look at the bright Sun with naked eye. The rishis of yore followed the Sun.
Gita says, you become what you follow. And so the rishis glowed like the Sun and had comparable powers as the Sun. To quote an example, Rishi Vishvamitra, who followed the Sun and to whom is attributed the Mahamantra Gayatri, is known to have created a parallel universe by chanting this mantra only.
Surya is the devta of gyan, of infinite knowledge and secrets of Creation. He is the Guru to Lord Hanuman and the progenitor of the glorious Suryavansha, in which were born heroes like Manu, King Bhagirath, King Raghu and Lord Ram. Surya existed before religion, and provides heat and light to every entity on earth irrespective of their religion, race or birth. That is, Sun knows no religion.
Interestingly, a Western university recorded the sound of Sun and the sound it emits is the sound of om (you may hear it on dhyan foundation website). It is sound which manifests as colors which further manifest into the five elements that constitute everything in physical creation. The rishis of Bharatvarsha, tapped into the sound of Creation and thousands of years ago, gave us the mantra om.
Makar Sankranti was of special significance in the ancient world, for it corresponded with the onset of the apparent northward movement of the Sun (uttarayan, in Sanskrit). That it is no superstition is evident from the subsequent naming of southernmost latitude in Sun’s trajectory as the Tropic of Capricorn by modern scientists after the constellation Capricornus (Makar, in Sanskrit) in which Sun entered at the point. It marked the beginning of the auspicious period for henceforth the days would become longer and brighter. Bhishma Pitamah, of the Mahabharat era, waited for this day to leave his body to facilitate his moksha.
Sun was special not just to Bharatvarsha, but all across the world. The English till date wish each other ‘a sunny day’ every time they greet. The ancient Egyptians worshipped Sun as Atum and Horus, Mesopotamians as Shamash, Germans as Sol, Greeks as Helios and Apollo. Roman Empire too celebrated the birth of unconquered Sun on the winter solstice (uttarayan) which coincided with December 25 at the time.
With the shift in earth’s axis, the phenomena of uttarayan has shifted from makar sankranti (Sun’s entry into Capricornus, January 15 as per Indian Calendar) to December 22, which is when Sun is in dhanu (Sagittarius). These subtle changes in the movement of Sun and their impact of various aspects of Creation are routinely observed and experienced by surya sadhaks at Dhyan Ashram and applied through the science of sound or mantras under the guidance of Guru for the benefit of Creation.
For a beginner, I prescribe a simple practice to tap into the energy of Sun in transit on the day of Makar Sankranti. At the time of sunrise, sit or stand facing the direction of Sun. Pay reverence to the energy of Guru and keeping the awareness of Sun at the point between the eyebrows begin with the chant of Ram (you may visit dhyanfoundation.com for the correct chant).
Continue with the chant as you take your awareness to the center of chest cavity and finally to the point of the navel. By now the Sun would be visible in the morning sky, a soft pink hue. Offer water to the Sun at this point and close your eyes. Distribute the prana of the Sun so acquired in your entire body. After sometime, open your eyes looking at your palms or a green patch. Write in your experiences to me.
A word of caution. Do not look at bright Sun directly. Practice under supervision.
(Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic Sciences. His book, ‘Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension’ is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing. Log onto to www.dhyanfoundation.com or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more.)
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the authors own.