Makar Sankranti on 14th January
(Excerpts from Pujya Bapuji’s Satsang)
On the day of Makar-sankranti, the chariot of the Sun-god enters the Makar-rashi (one of the zodiacs). The process of entering a new sign of zodiac occurs every month, but since the Sun enters the makar-rashi in this month, thus a distinguishing meritorious period is generated. During this span, the sattvaguna (quality of goodness) is specially enhanced and the elements increasing the resistance towards diseases are acquired.
This whole month is considered a festival month. (The vow of bathing in the Ganges during this Magh month) On the other days, the merit of bathing in the Ganges is obtained only when we actually take a dip in it, but during the Magh month, the effect of Sun-rays is such that the waters of all the water-reservoirs on earth are considered as pure and beneficial as Gangajal. Nowadays, many medical scientists after studying the glory of the compassion and benedictions of Sun-god, are bringing forth stunning results by employing it in the medical field.
Dr. Hej Heuki says, “The rays of the Sun are more beneficial than medicines. The medicines destroy the useful bacteria along with the harmful ones.”
Dr. Hej Handrik found out through experiments that the rays of the Sun quickly penetrate into the body and increase the resistance towards diseases and make good the deficiency if any of any particular color.
The color doctors put it this way, “The deficiency of yellow color causes this disease, and deficiency of violet color causes that…” Ayurvedic doctors say that the vata, pita and kapha (the three humours) contain such-such color and that all the seven colors are granted by the Sun.
A scientist called Gardener Roni incurred wonderful benefits from Sun-therapy. He writes, “The body becomes so strong by Sun therapy that it ejects the harmful bacteria and becomes capable of protecting itself on its own.” Gardener Roni cured many patients by using the Sun-therapy.
I give you a nice technique of maintaining an excellent health. Do tribandha (the three bandhas – Jalandharbandha, Uddiyanbandha and Mulbandha) pranayama in the Sunlight – five pranayamas facing towards the Sun and other five turning your back towards the Sun. This will bathe the whole body in the Sun-rays or also you can perform Surya-Namaskara (Sun-salutation) in the presence of Sun-rays. Don’t ever look directly towards the Sun. The Sun-rays should certainly be made to fall on the navel. For 5 to 8 minutes, one should sit such as to make the rays fall on navel and for 8-10 minutes, sit turning the back towards Sun. Everyone should practice Sun-bath for a robust health and long-life.
The son of Lord Sri Krishna, Saamb was suffering from various disorders of skin and digestion. Finding that he was not reviving, Sri Krishna said to him, “I obtained a good health and various other benefits by worshipping the Sun-God. I meditated on Sun-god and performed Sun-bath after doing pranayama etc. in its rays. Saamb! You should also worship the Sun.”
Lord Sri Krishna advised his ill son, Saamb to do Sun-bath, to offer libation to Him (the Sun) and perform Surya-Namaskara and ultimately to meditate on him in the space between both the eyebrows (bhrikuti). Saamb was restored to health by following this.
The scientists are saying now but five thousand years back, the father of all scientists, Lord Sri Krishna, and even before Him, our rishis had already told about the health-restoring qualities of the Sun. But we don’t worship the Sun just for this that we may be rendered health, that the rays would provide Vitamin-D on entering through the skin and thereby cure skin diseases. The Sun-bath will undoubtedly bring about material benefits, but our outlook is not restrained only to the mortal body by gaining material benefits. The rishis of India have their eyes set on realizing the Self, the Lord, and these additional benefits shall come along without restraint.
Just as on performing Surya-Namaskara, naturally the pranayamas are themselves performed. Pranayamas open the pores of the lungs, and asanas activate the stiffened organs. Surya-Namaskara is essentially performed after Sun-rise so that the body gets the benefit of Sun-rays and also worship of Sun during sunrise brings purity in the intellect. Only a sattvik (purified) intellect can experience the Supreme-Being. Thus, Sun-worship is especially important on the day of Uttarayana. Apart from this, it is also a custom/rule to offer til (sesame seeds) and rice to Lord Shiva and to offer libation of water (with til and rice mixed in it).
Til (sesame seed) is considered to be of special importance on this festival. To rub on the body the paste of til while bathing; to bathe with til-mixed water; to drink til-mixed water; to perform Havana (sacrificial ladle) withtil; to consume til and to give away (as alms) til – all these activities are destroyers of sin and granters of merits. Performing virtuous deeds and giving donation hold special importance on this day. Some people donate money while others give away til-gur (raw sugar). On the contrary, I would want you to consign ‘yourself’ to the feet of the Lord. Pray to Him, “O Lord! Take my individuality, my ego and all that which belongs to me along with taking me.”
That which you considered ‘me’ and ‘mine’ – if you bestow all that to God, then what shall be left behind? Only the Lord…!