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-- Swami Vivekanand.
The Indian Mujahideen - home grown jihadi group in India, which claimed responsibility for the recent bomb blasts in the Indian state of Gujarat, has threatened a new round of attacks.
The group sent a new hate email to all Indian TV channels hinting of more terror attacks in Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Citing Quranic verses and warning Infidels, the email declares that not even a single Mujahid has been arrested till date. It seems that Jihadi group wants to save the further arrests of the terrorists from the students wing , SIMI ( Students Islamic Movement of India )
Colonel Jojan Thomas was killed in an encounter with terrorists in North Kupwara of Jammu and Kashmir. The body of Colonel Thomas was brought to Srinagar early on Saturday 23rd August, before being flown to his home in Bangalore. Bright officer, brave soldier, and a role model leading from the front, Colonel Jojan Thomas will remain an inspiration to many.
Know what your duty is
and do it without hesitation
For a warrior, there is nothing better
than a battle that duty enjoins
- Bhagvad Gita, Sankhya Yog (2-31)
Makar Sankranti -- The oldest solstice celebration.
Winter was a very difficult time for all primitive agrarian societies from east to west. The end of the growing season meant that the people had to live mostly on the food they had stored. In addition, the sun appeared in the sky for shorter and shorter periods each day, giving rise to the fear that it might disappear altogether, leaving the world in darkness and cold. The strengthening of the sun following the solstice was a reason for celebration, signifying the return of hope for a new spring. The concept of the birth, death and rebirth of the sun became associated with the winter solstice and thus with the savior god of many cultures.
The different dates for these celebrations are due to the precession of the equinoxes, which moves the date of the solstice backwards approximately one day every two thousand years. Currently, the calendar date of the winter solstice is in transition between the 21st and 22nd of December. By this definition, the oldest of the solstice celebrations is Makar Sankranti in India, which takes place on January 14th - an indication that it has been observed for over 30,000 years. Even if we offset the calendar discrepancies by 13 days, the possible age of this observance comes to about 10,000 years and still it becomes the oldest.
Across the globe there are Solstice celebrations fall on different dates; from East to West, from Shohgatsu in Japan to Christmas in Europe; the Makar Sankranti being the oldest of all.
Most of the Christians celebrate Christmas, birth date of Jesus Christ, on 25 December. But why was Dec 25th chosen as a date for celebrations. Actually, Christianity borrowed and then replaced Mithraism, which was the main religion in Persia and Rome. Followers of Mithraism used to worship the Vedic Sun-god "Mitra" or "Mithra". It was the birthday of Mithra, 25 December (winter solstice at that time), that was taken by the early Christians as the birthday of Jesus as a need and urgency by the early Christians to compromise with existing traditions. The real birthday of Christ was abandoned in favor of the birthday of Mithra. The worshippers of Mithra were called "Soldiers of Mithra" which is the origin of the term "Soldiers of Christ."
Read More : Is 25th December the correct date for celebrating Christmas ?
Introduction of Makar Sankranti -- Solstice celebration in India:
On Makar Sankranti day the Sun begins its ascendancy and journey into the Northern Hemisphere, which is called as Uttarayan. Thus, it is believed that it signifies an event wherein the Gods seem to remind their children that 'Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya'. May you go higher & higher - to more & more Light and never to darkness. Sun for the Hindus stands for Pratyaksha-Brahman - the manifest God, who symbolizes, the one, non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious divinity blessing one & all tirelessly. Sun is the one who transcends time and also the one who rotates the proverbial Wheel of Time. The famous Gayatri Mantra, which is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom. Sun not only represents God but also stands for an embodiment of knowledge & wisdom.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious day for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of the India, with great devotion, fervor & gaiety. Lakhs of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar & Prayag and pray to Sun God.
It is celebrated in southern part of the India as Pongal, and in state of Punjab is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi. Gujarati's not only look reverentially up to the sun, but also offer thousands of their colorful oblations in the form of beautiful kites all over the skyline. They may be trying to reach upto their glorious God or bring about greater proximity with the one who represents the best. It is a day for which Bhishma Pitamah kept waiting, during the Mahabharat period to leave his mortal coil.
Astrological Significance:Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti is transition. There is a sankranti every month when the sun passes from one sign of the zodiac to the next. There are twelve signs of the zodiac, and thus there are twelve sankranti's as well. Each of these sankranti's has its own relative importance but two of these are more important - the Mesh(Aries) Sankranti and the most important, the Makar(Capricorn) Sankranti. Transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn, during the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is known as Makar Sankranti. From this day begins the six-month long Uttarayan, considered very auspicious for attaining higher worlds hereafter.
While the traditional Hindu Calendar is basically based on lunar positions, but sankranti is a solar event, so the date should have been 21 or 22 December since the current date of the winter solstice is in transition between the 21st and 22nd of December. We all know that the dates of all Hindu festivals keep changing since most of the Hindus follow Lunar calendar. But Makar Sankranti is a Solar Solistice event, and should have been celebrated on 22 December.
So how or why is Makar Sankranti celebrated on 14th January?
The Indian winter solstice was traditionally been celebrated as Sankranti, though somewhere down the centuries a calculation of the precession of the equinoxes, which moves the date of the solstice backwards was not taken into account and hence it is still celebrated on 14th of January every year. But this day is still called as Uttarayan, which means "Northern journey", and marks the beginning of the sun's ascent. This proves that Makar Sankranti was been observed and celebrated on 14 January for over 30,000 years by the Hindus, who still follow traditions of the Sanatan Dharm, the Eternal Law.
This festival is celebrated differently in different parts of the India.
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