Margazhi, a Time of Stability – Part 1
Sadhguru speaks about the spiritual significance of the month of Margazhi, which in the Tamil calendar begins on December 16. He explains the cosmological basis behind why this month helps us create balance and stability within ourselves, and looks at the science behind some of the common customs in Indian culture associated with this month.
Sadhguru: We are at a time of the year which is considered significant for those who are in the spiritual path. The Tamil month of Margazhi starts from sixteenth. To bring a little understanding - generally all Indian calendar from north to south, which is generally referred to as the Hindu calendar is a luni-solar calendar that is, it is a certain mix - largely lunar, a bit solar element in it. The Georgian calendar which today the world follows, 1st January to 31st December. That is a solar calendar, altered for the sake of those who have a simplistic sense of arithmetic in their head. Like for example, we shifted our distance measurements from miles… from knots to miles and miles to kilometers. A kilometer has no reference point on the planet. A nautical mile refers to something geographically significant on the planet. If you travel on the equator or if you travel across the planet, every nautical mile represents a minute in the la… in the longitude and so in the latitude too.
So, the Georgian calendar is a kind of a compromise so that it is user friendly. The Tamil calendar is a solar calendar. The lunar calendar and the Georgian calendar always will be different by almost anywhere between fifteen to twenty-five days. But with the Tamil calendar, every year Margazhi starts on 16th of December and the next, the Thai, starts on 14th of January. What is the significance of this month? It is at this time of the year that the planet Earth is closest to the sun. So, this should have been the hottest month, but this is the time when the planet is shy of the sun and the northern face faces away from the sun. In the southern hemisphere, this is the hottest part of the year. In the northern hemisphere, this is the coolest part of the year because the northern hemisphere or the northern face of the planet is facing away from the sun, but it is closest.
So, in terms of temperature, because of the closeness to the sun, the angle at which the sun’s rays hit the planet is very diffused. So, it fails to warm the sun (earth) as it would if it was a little away. So, it happens to be the coolest month in the northern hemisphere. But in terms of sun’s gravity functioning on the planet, right now it is the… it is at the highest. In 2014, the 3rd of January will be the day when we are closest to the sun as a planet. So, the maximum pull of the sun’s gravity is functioning upon the planet at this time. So, this Margazhi month is a time to bring balance to the system. It is like if something is flying all over, if you just pull it - pooh, (Gestures pulling downwards) it gets centralized. So, that is the effect that the Margazhi month has on the human system - it pulls you from the base. So, it brings balance and stability.
Recognizing this that one needs to bring balance and stability, this is a time when - there are practices in the yogic system which is transmitted itself into culture in many different ways - this is a time when men will do what generally what women are supposed to do and women will do what men are supposed to do; in the sense, in Tamil Nadu there’s a culture that this is a time when men will go on nagarasankeertan. That means men will practice devotion. They will sing. Singing and devotion is largely considered feminine. So, men will practice this. Women will practice making geometrical figures. Geometry and masculinity are very directly connected.
If a woman sees something - let’s not say woman - if feminine sees something, it will always pay maximum significance to the color and form of that. If the masculine sees something, it always sees the geometry first and then the color and the form. So, it is this month, women practice geometry - not on paper, but in front of their homes through the Margazhi month, every woman is supposed to draw geometrical figures. Of course, today you have templates. They are no good. (Laughs) (Few Laugh) You must practice geometry because shifting from color and form to geometrical shapes and forms. This is a simple transformation of a certain signs into a cultural dimension. Because of the closeness to the sun, because of a general pull downward, Muladhara becomes the most dominant. Because Muladhara becomes most dominant, the preservative nature of life becomes dominant in the body.
In the yogic system, we would say when the preservation is dominant, this is not a time to grow. All life in the northern hemisphere is at its minimum right now. The growth of the tree, the plant and if you plant a seed, you can see this - the growth will be slowest at this time, not only because of the temperature, because of a general pull downward. So, because the growth will be very… because the growth will be held back, because of a certain inertia in the life force, this is the time the body can recoup itself. This is the time body can preserve itself well. The inertia caused in all aspects of life because of the closeness of the sun and being on the wrong side, everything being pulled down, seed will not sprout very well. Recognizing this, Margazhi… the month of Margazhi, there never are any marriages in Tamil Nadu. Still it is being maintained because this is not a time for conception.
Even those who are in… in the life of householders, even a grihastha practices Brahmacharya for this period generally. It is based on this, you see people are going to the hills, forty days of Brahmacharya before they go there because this is not a time for conception because the seed will not sprout as well as it would, another time. So, in the science of breeding the right kind of human beings, Margazhi is not the time to conceive. There are many aspects attached to this. We don’t (Laughs) have to go by that because it will develop a whole prejudice against the December-born people. (Laughs) (Few Laugh) No, December-born is not the problem, December-conceived. (Laughs) Not necessarily so. It is just that to sync our lives with the natural movements of the Earth to see that we ride the cycles of this planet, we are not crushed by the cycles of this planet.
Considering that the rotation of earth takes three hundred and sixty-four plus days, this is segmented. If you go as per the lunar calendar, you will have thirteen months or close to thirteen months. If you go by the solar calendar, you have twelve months. In the Tamil calendar, the Margazhi starts here and the Thai starts on 14th of January always and the New Year’s Day, the Tamil New Year’s Day is always on 14th of April unless there is a correction done for the leap year, which happens to be on 13th of April. But the lunar calendar varies almost twenty-five days because it has one month extra and every four years a month is adjusted in the lunar calendar.