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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Makar Sankranti and Jagadguru Divas 2012

Read more about Jagadguru Divas here

Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj, founder of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat

Makar Sankranti is the first Hindu festival of the solar calendar and is celebrated with great devotion, zeal and fervor on 14 January each year. It falls on the day when the sun enters the zodiac sign of Makar (Capricorn) and when day and night are of equal duration. Offerings of rice and milk are made to Surya Dev, God Sun.

Makar Sankranti is a day of great significance and marks the beginning of auspicious times. The beginning of the period, when the sun travels northwards, is considered highly favorable for auspicious activities. It is celebrated as Pongal in the South, but in the North it is observed as Makar Sankranti. On this day, thousands of devotees take a holy dip in the Ganges and other holy streams. At Ganga Sagar, where the river Ganga enters the sea, a grand fair and festival is held on this day. Devotees in large numbers reach the Sagar Island in boats, and bathe there at a point where Ganga meets the sea. There, the pilgrims also visit the Ashram of sage Kapil, who according to our Puranas had burnt to ashes the sixty thousand sons of the King Sagar of Ayodhya. These sixty thousand dead princes were subsequently revived and made to ascend to heaven by the sacred waters of Divine Ganga, as She flowed over their ashes.

Makar Sankranti day (14th Jan) is also called 'Jagadguru Divas' and is extremely special and important, especially to the followers of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. On this day in 1957, our beloved spiritual master Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj was conferred in Varsanasi with the highest title 'Jagadguru' by the Kashi Vidvat Parishat, an apex body of all the supreme scholars and masters of India of the time. He was only 35 years old at the time.

(Above, Swami Nikhilanand of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat participating in the Makar Sankranti kite flying in George Bush Park, Houston)

In many cities in India and arond the world, the celebrations are huge. People offer thousands of their colorful oblations to the Sun in the form of beautiful kites. The act stands as a metaphor for reaching to their beloved God.

This year, 2012, devotees in Cuttack, Odisha, India will have the golden opportunity to celebrate Jagadguru Divas in the presence of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj during the week long sadhana camp at the Jagadguru Kripalu University site in Banara Village. The sadhana camp is taking place from Jan 12th to Jan 18th, 2012. All are welcome to attend.

Read about all the details of the Cuttack Sadhana Camp here.

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