The Importance of Makar Sankranti in Hindu Calendar Reform - PART TWO

A treatment in three parts
presented at the
First National Conference on Hindu Calendar Reform

Tirumala, 24-26 December 2010

Prepared by
Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Tamil Nadu, South India

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 2010


The scientifically-oriented pundits who originally established the time reckoning method used today for temple matters, broadly known as Nirayana, succeeded in separating the inseparable. I will discuss only one case to provide an example, the Makar Sankranti – or the specific time when Capricorn/Makar rasi begins. In my view this must be the most important cosmic passage of the year for the Hindu Samaj. Consequently, it ought to be treated with the utmost care; that is, its location in time has to be accurate. If accuracy is not attainable elsewhere or for other celebrations, the Makar Sankranti being correct will allow for the rest to reach the same accuracy.
In fact, there are only two points in time that need concern us: the Makar Sankranti of the December Solstice, and Mahavishuva, the March Equinox. The latter is the natural beginning of the zodiacal months, while the Makar Sankranti is the collective and individual culmination experience for a cosmic-based civilisation such as the Vedic.
Throughout the world the ancient Vedic calendar is used; therefore Makar and the December Solstice coincide and they are inseparable. But this is not at all the case in India, ironically the only country in the world where the Capricorn Sankranti itself is actually honoured by the whole society as an astrological passage; and rightfully so. This particular rasi/month epitomises that which is most valued in the civilisation. For this reason astrologers throughout the world sustain that India’s ruling astrological sign is Capricorn. This rulership can be proven by contemporary cosmology – and I will do so in the course of my presentation – but it is the ancient Rig Veda that provides the seal and sanction we need, especially in this moment of confusion brought about by the Ayanamsha Chaos.
In the Rig Veda the tenth month of the natural order is Makar, and it is held as the month of Victory for the initiate who has undertaken the Journey, as it is called in the Veda. This is not a journey through space: it is, more appropriately for a civilisation such as the Vedic, a journey in and through time.
With the aid of Mahakal, the Greatest God of all as the Puranas sustain and experience proves, the area the Initiate ‘explores’ in his or her voyage of discovery is through the ‘space’ of the year. Hence the Year is understandably the central figure of the Veda, around which the Sacrifice is conducted. The victory of the tenth month is when Time becomes the Ally and ceases being the Destroyer. Therefore Makar Sankranti is the portal to Immortality, the entry to the realm of the Immortal Ones, as Bhishma’s passing informs us.
There is a fundamentally important reason why Makar and Solstice are inseparable for a society grounded in veda. This is discovered by understanding what happens to the solar rays (cows/energy) at this special moment in time. That light is compressed to a point – hence in the physical world of condensed energy the day is the shortest. From there increase begins. Consequently this sacred most period was known throughout the ancient world as the Festival of Light, to honour the fact that from this Solstice onward the light (of the Sun that we adore) will increase. What was thus compressed into a Seed would necessarily extend itself from that compactness through the course of the year propelled by the Great God of Time – as Ally or as Destroyer.
This month/rasi is Saturn’s period, planetary ruler of Makar, hence in ancient, pre-Christian Rome this festival was known as the Saturnalia in honour of Saturn/ Chronos, the Time-Spirit. Yet, none of these civilisations have the right to claim Makar as especially their own. India does because of her ‘cosmic purpose’ – even today though most do not know the profound reasons for this celebration. But why should they? When the inseparable has been separated, what is there to understand? I will prove the point in this presentation when we make the Veda applicable today.
However, there is an eternal Dharma which Capricorn, better than any other sign/month, describes. Disconnecting it from the Solstice as our latter-day pundits have done, hides that Dharma from view: it can be anything to all men. There is nothing absolute and eternal, constant and unshakable to uphold motion (the journey through Time) as the natural Year does. To succeed in cementing this aberration only one thing was required: to separate the inseparable. Then all is relative, nothing is permanent and eternal, above all not the Dharma.
How was this accomplished? The task was simple enough – in fact so simple that one is justified in wondering why no one complained! The sacred duty of time reckoning for the Hindu Samaj was handed over not to astrologers but to astronomers who are not versed in the Veda. More appropriately, not just ‘versed’ because that accomplishment does not imply a Vedic Realisation, which alone grants keys to the higher knowledge contained in the Veda.
These astronomers made the fatal mistake of eliminating the natural year – Vedic to the core – and replacing it with another circle, the wrong one for temple purposes and horoscopy. They established their time reckoning in the constellations rather than in the ecliptic pathway of the tropical zodiac as in the Vedic Age. And because it is nearly impossible to establish an absolute and not ‘relative’ ayanamsha in that outermost sphere of the constellations – erroneously also called zodiac by astronomers – the true measure of the Earth was lost. Different theories were then proffered to the point where today Makar has been distanced from her true position and this most important of all Sankrantis is alleged to occur 23 days after the Solstice, an aberration known only in India and bearing no sanction in the Veda.
The truth is there cannot be any accuracy at all in the sidereal sphere. Its Zero Point, where measuring begins as for all circles, zodiacal/tropical or constellational, is arbitrary and simply relative – unlike the Zero Point of the tropical zodiac reposing on the Equinoxes and Solstices which remain eternally the same with no correction required. In the constellations used by the Nirayana School and therefore in all temple rituals, the ayanamsha depends on arbitrary and subjective selection. The point is that the natural order needs to be reinstated. With that achieved, the rest will fall into place without speculation or subjective relativism.
The Rishis who recorded the hymns for posterity anticipated this future condition. In their wisdom they left specific instructions to set matters right should the need arise. Certainly, given the chaos of ayanamshas that plagues our time reckoning, we do need to return to the Source, which states:

Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three.
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
Three hundred and sixty like pegs.
They shake not in the least.
(Rig Veda 1.154.48)

One is the wheel; the bands are twelve;
three are the hubs – who can understand it?
Three hundred spokes and sixty in addition
have been hammered therein and firmly riveted….
(Atharva Veda X, 8)

Indeed, the Rishi wisely asks, Who can understand? Yet, everything required for accuracy is contained in these verses. For the present discussion two points need to be highlighted: 1) The circle is one (RV). That is, all measuring is to be done within the One Wheel (AV), the circle of the twelve ‘bands’/rasis (360 spokes/pegs); and 2) They shake not in the least (RV).
In that One Circle, Makar and Solstice are obviously one and are inseparable; no mention is made of any correction required as is necessary when there are no permanent Equinoxes and Solstices. In the constellations, the circle used by Nirayana astrologers and pundits for time reckoning, there are no Equinoxes and Solstices. This implies that there is no astronomically-verifiable Zero Point or ayanamsha, one that requires no subjectivity to determine – the origin of the current Ayanamsha Chaos. And only in the tropical ecliptic pathway are the 12 rasis of 30˚/30 days to be found.
This is the aberration that took hold of the sacred Divine Maya or Measure, giving rise to ayanamshas of one’s fancy with no grounding in higher knowledge. In this presentation I will prove the specific point the Rishi made: THE CIRCLE IS ONE wherein all measurements are done.
The second point to note is: ‘THEY SHAKE NOT IN THE LEAST’ (RV), the 360 ‘spokes’ are ‘FIRMLY RIVETED’ (AV). How can this stability come about with the current ayanamsha chaos? If we wish to succinctly describe the Nirayana system foisted on the Samaj it is to state, simply put, IT SHAKES!
This shaking, shifting arises when the Zero Point itself wobbles indecisively, jumping from one position to another, lacking any accuracy at all. And for a system that claims to be ‘Vedic’, this situation is simply unacceptable.


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