The Significance of Makar Sankranti Festival - Life is Movement
In this week's Spot, Sadhguru writes about Makar Sankranti, the day before Mattu Pongal, "Makar Sankranti is the day where there is a significant movement in the zodiac - the arrangement of the earth’s dial around the sun - and this movement brings about a new change in the way we experience the planet itself." A photo gallery of the Pongal celebrations at the Isha Yoga Center also accompany the Spot.
 
 
 
 

The Makar Sankranti festival is celebrated as a very important festival in India. Sankranti literally means ‘movement.’ Everything that we recognize as life is movement. Fortunately, people who came before us have moved on, and people who come after us are waiting for us to move on ­– don’t have any doubts about this. The planet is moving and that is why it churns up life. If it were still, it wouldn’t be capable of life. So there is something called movement in which every creature is involved, but if there has to be movement, this movement has to be housed ­– this movement can only happen in the lap of stillness. One who does not touch the stillness of his life, one who does not touch the stillness of his being, one who does not know or has not tasted the stillness within and without, will invariably get lost in the movement.

The significance of Makar Sankranti is that it is the time to remind yourself that celebrating movement is possible only when there is a taste of stillness within you.

Movement is pleasant only to a point. The planet earth is moving gently in such a beautiful manner ­– it is only changing seasons. Tomorrow, if it just speeds up, throttles up a little bit, then all our seemingly balanced minds will become imbalanced, everything will spin out of control. So movement is beautiful only to a certain point. Once it crosses that point, movement becomes torture.

The significance of Makar Sankranti festival is that it marks the day where there is a significant movement in the zodiac ­– the arrangement of the earth’s dial around the sun ­– and this movement brings about a new change in the way we experience the planet itself. There are many sankrantis through the year; the two significant ones being Makar Sankranti, and right opposite, after summer solstice is Karka Sankranti. In between, there are many Sankrantis ­– every time the zodiac sign changes, it is called a Sankranti to suggest the movement of the planet, to understand that our life is sustained and nourished by this movement. If this movement ceases, everything about us will cease. On the 22nd of December, the solstice happened, that means in relation to the sun, the movement or the tilt of the planet reaches its maximum. Now, from this day onwards, the northern movement is strong. Things really start changing upon the earth. From Makar Sankranti onwards, winter is being relieved step by step.

This movement is also a significant aspect in the way we reap from this planet. There was a time when human beings could eat only what the earth offered. Then we learned how to get what we wanted from the earth; this is called agriculture. When we were hunting and gathering, we only picked up what was there. It is like when you were an infant, you ate or swallowed whatever your mother gave you. When you became a child, you asked for what you wanted. So we grew up a bit and started demanding and getting what we wanted, but still, you can only get what you want to a point that She is willing. If you stretch it beyond that, you will not only not get it, you will get something else. That is called industrialization. Agriculture is coaxing the Mother to give what you want. Industrialization is ripping her apart. I am not speaking against something. I want you to understand the way our minds are transiting, the way human activity is transiting from one level to another.

This is a day when we remind ourselves that everything that we are is what we take from this planet. I see everywhere in the world, people are talking about giving. I don't know from where they give. You can only take – either you take gently or you grab. Did you come with your own property from somewhere? What is there to give? You can only take. Everything is offered. Take sensibly, that is all there is.

The Makar Sankranti festival is also known and referred to as the harvest festival because this is the time when harvesting is complete and there are big celebrations. This is the day we acknowledge all those who assisted in making the harvest. The farm animals play a huge role in harvesting, so the following day is for them and is called Mattu Pongal. The first day is for the earth, the second is for us and the third is for the animals and livestock. See, they are placed a little higher than us because we exist because of them, they do not exist because of us. If we were not here, they would all be free and happy. But if they were not here, we couldn’t live.

So the Makar Sankranti festival is a festival for harvest; this is a festival to recognize the movement, movement being celebration, movement being life, movement being the process of life and the beginning and the end of life. At the same time, the word ‘shankara’ is used to remind you that the one behind this, Shiva, is a still one; stillness is the basis of movement. Though all the other planets are moving, the most important one is not moving. If the sun also takes a walk, then we are in trouble. He hangs there not moving. That is why everybody else’s movement is okay. But his stillness is relative because the whole solar system may be moving; the whole galaxy may be moving. So beyond that, the space which holds all this is absolute stillness.

One who does not touch the stillness of his being, one who does not know or has not tasted the stillness within and without, will invariably get lost in the movement.

When a human being makes the necessary effort to touch the stillness within himself, only then he knows the joy of movement. Otherwise, people are bewildered by the movement of life. Every change that happens in their life they suffer. These days, the so-called modern life is like this ­– any change means you must suffer. Childhood is tension, puberty is great suffering, middle age is unbearable, old age is abhorred and feared, and death is celebration ­– no that is pure terror. Every stage of life is a problem because people have a problem with movement, not understanding that the very nature of life is movement. You can only enjoy and celebrate movement if you have one leg stuck in stillness. If you know what stillness is then movement would be a pleasure. If you do not know what stillness is, if you have no contact with stillness, movement is bewildering.

People are trying to track the movement. Looking at the stars, looking at lines in their hands and looking at all kinds of signs including the tea leaves. People want to read the movement of their lives somehow. This struggle with movement, this paranoia about movement, is happening because there is no taste of stillness. If there was a taste of stillness in you, movement would not disturb you. It is something which sets a certain rhythm. Every rhythm has a beginning and an end; every movement has a beginning and an end. Movement means that which is in transition. Stillness means that which always is. Movement means compulsiveness, stillness means consciousness.

The significance of Makar Sankranti is that it is the time to remind yourself that celebrating movement is possible only when there is a taste of stillness within you.

Love & Grace

Editor’s Note: The significance of Makar Sankranti is well known in South India and is celebrated throughout the land. At the Isha Yoga Center, major festivals, including Makar Sankranti and Pongal, Navratri and Mahashivrathri are celebrated with great exuberance. These festivals are a part of Isha’s efforts to rejuvenate the ethos of Indian culture.

 
 
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6 years 6 months ago

Sadhguru, it is so beautiful to see the traditional way in which Makara Sankranti is conducted. Long live Indian culture! :) Thanks Guruji!

6 years 6 months ago

Thank you Sadhguru. Thanks a lot for the excellent description about Sankaranthi.  I was not knowing the real sense of Sankaranthi these many years. I too would celebrate the "Movement" from here on. And.. How true.. We have nothing to give but only to take.. either take it gently or grab it.

 Enjoyed the article very much. I wait for every wednesday absolutely for this Sadhguru..

6 years 6 months ago

how i wsh i could have been to celebrate the Pongal  festival.Only through this we are coming to undearstand the significance of ouer festivals   

6 years 6 months ago

Sometimes, this stillness which you have gifted me, is too overwhelming at the sametime, nourishing Sadhguru. Yes, you are right, only because of this stillness, I started enjoy life and even chaos somtimes, because i know there is a stillness somewhere waiting for me to experience it....Thanks...

6 years 6 months ago

how i wish i could have celebrated with all of u.i do understand now the importance of our festivals

6 years 6 months ago

Awesome as usual.. looking forward to the Mahabaratha program..

6 years 6 months ago

words move, music moves,
only in time
but that which is only living
can only die
words after speech reach
into the silence
Only by the form, the pattern
can words or music reach the stillness
as a Chinese jar still moves
perpetually in its stillness
not the stillness of the violin
while the note lasts
not that only
but the coexistence
or say that the end precedes the beginning
and the end and the beginning were always there
before the beginning and after the end
And all is always now.

-T S Eliot, Four Quartets.

6 years 6 months ago

Who else, but Sadhguru, can bring some of the most complex aspects of life into an understandable concept? Who else, but Sadhguru, teaches us and prods us to enjoy life, not fear life.

6 years 6 months ago

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... ...          .       

6 years 6 months ago

Everytime I read the blogspot, I get answers about issues which are bothering me. Thank you Sadhguru for explaining beautifully about 'movement'.

6 years 6 months ago

Sadguru, it really enhanced my perception towards the changes in my life...Pranaam

6 years 6 months ago

Dear Sadhguru:
Though I have been celebrating Pongal or Mahashankranti right from childhood never understood the full import of this. I bow to you for explaining thew profoundness of the same .

6 years 6 months ago

Excellent celebrations! I really Missed to be at Isha...hoping my presence in the next festival of Isha! 

6 years 6 months ago

Dear Sadhguru:

I bow down to you  for such a illuminating piece on Pongal which we had been celebrating without knowing its full import. 

6 years 6 months ago

Dearest and beautiful Master, 

Thanks so much for your precious words of wisdom, and especially for speaking and honoring Mother Earth, and the animals who are suffering so much caused by human exploitation and their cruel abuses and greed. 

My heart has melted into yours. I see only you in all faces, the animals, the trees, the mountains, the sky, and the oceans. Forever in Divine love with you! 

I am celebrating our movement in stillness!

Your blossoming flower, Vivi (Vivianne Nantel)

2 years 8 months ago

I have a strong feeling that our souls did several fights to reach here for this movement. It's all still there, boring and pointless. And when we go back we feel bad about what we did here or the way we moved this movement. I believe in karma. Please share your knowledge on karma if this make any sense.

6 years 6 months ago

........meant caused by human ignorance Sadhguru. Vivi

6 years 6 months ago

Movement is external . Stilness is internal (Inner Engineering).