From the perspective of a human observer
when the sun enters the Northern Hemisphere it is called Uttarayana.
And when the sun enters the Makar Zodiac the day is called Makarsankranti.
From this date the day begins to get longer. It is a festive day for
householders to earn punya (merits) by donating food materials
to sadhus and offering grass to cows. People also rejoice by flying
kites and eating sweet balls of sesame.
For several decades the sadhus of this Faith go begging for alms on
this day. Even today, Makarsankranti is a day of donation for devotees
Swamishri in Mumbai
On 14 January 2000 Swamishri celebrated the festive occasion of Joli
in Mumbai. An evening assembly was arranged on the grounds of 'Kaamgaar
Kridabhavan' near Elphinstone station. The assembly had commenced at
5.45 pm with dhun and prayers. The evening program was charged with
speeches by Pujya Viveksagar Swami and Pujya Adarshjivan Swami on the
glory and significance of the Joli festival and Swamishri's sacrifice
for the social, moral and spiritual welfare of the devotees respectively.
The program agenda was interspersed with lively dances by balaks
(children) and kishores (teenagers).
Swamishri was devotionally honored with an array of garlands. He was
offered a shawl made of kites, a kite-card with a prayer by the women's
wing, a garland made of 80 paper kites (pasti) and a flower garland.
Then Swamishri blessed the assembly of 15,000 dignitaries, devotees,
and well-wishers by elaborating on the glory and significance of Uttarayana
and Joli Festival. Swamishri said: "Today, we are celebrating the
festival of Uttarayana. People throughout Bharat hold this day in high
esteem and a day of punya (merit). From today the sun begins
its march in the northern sky
Towards God as we say it. So it
is a day of offering charity (punya-daan), devotion, doing Satsang
and selflessly serving others. The merits of doing noble work for society,
the nation, one's religion and for one's family blesses one's soul with
spiritual elevation. People nourish sentiments of pleasing God and attaining
inner elevation, that is, attaining God's divine bliss in His abode
- Akshardham. This is the true achievement of human birth. And this
satsang (spiritual association), service, devotion is to be done
always but not only on this day alone
His blessings climaxed with the call for Joli. Swamishri stood up, with
a saffron cloth bag (joli) around each shoulder, and described
the tradition of asking for alms in villages. And then Swamishi's sonorous
call of 'Narayan Hare, Sachidanand Prabho' rang out throughout the huge
ground. Fifteen thousand devotees responded with thunderous clapping
and joy. Then, for the next 65 minutes the devotees enthusiastically
filed past Swamishri, offering their donations in a saffron cloth bag.