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Karka Sankranti 2010 : Significance of the day

Last Updated: 5/10/2010 11:02:42 PM

S N Rao

Sankranti means the Sun’s entry in a Sign. There are 12 signs in the Zodiac. Since the earth revolves around the Sun in 12 months the Sun appears to enter different Signs every month when viewed from the earth. Kranti means change, hence Sankranti means a forced change coming together. The change in Sign signifies important events. The entry point in each sign is considered important as it marks the beginning of change.

The earth rotates around its axis. This axis is tilted at an angle of around 23 ½ degrees. Hence the Sun seems to oscillate from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere at an interval of 6 months. The Sun is observed to be exactly on the equator on Mar 21st and Sept 21st. This is known as the Vernal equinox. On this day we get equal day and equal night. The maximum declination in the southern hemisphere is reached on Dec 21st which is known as Winter solstice or Capricorn ingress. It gains its motion in the northern direction and reaches maximum declination in the northern hemisphere on June 21st which is known as Summer Solstice or Cancer ingress. Western Astrology takes this reference as entry in Cancer sign. Hence according to them Sun enters Cancer on June 21st.  In Vedic Astrology the ayanamsha is subtracted and hence we get the date around July 15th as Karka sankranti.

The Significance of this day is that Sun embarks its journey to the southern hemisphere which is known as Dashinayana in hindu parlance. The entry point when sun enters Karka rashi is when dakshinayana begins. In India this sankranti coincides with the monsoon season. This is also a sowing season for crops and beginning of agriculture activities. In mundane astrology a chart prepared on this day and time would give prediction about the monsoon season and agriculture in the current year. In south India this transit is also known as Dakshinayana punyakalam. There is also a belief that Lord Vishnu goes to sleep during this period and the Ekadasi just before Karka Sankranti is referred as Deva sayani Ekadashi. Karkataka Sankranti day is chosen by many Hindus to perform Shradh or Pinda Daan for dead relatives and ancestors. In some regions Lord Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped on the day.

Transit of Sun in karka rashi is not considered as auspicious as there will be certain disturbances in the organization of solar forces and generally such times are not recommended for any good work. On the contrary they are held to be auspicious for meditation, initiation into secret mantras and performance of certain religious rites which are held to purify both the body and soul. This period is auspicious for performing shradh and rituals for pleasing the dead. This coincides with Pitru paksha, the sacred time to perform rites to the forefathers. Dashinayana represents the pithru or pitrayana. It is believed to be the night time for the devathas and they go to sleep. Hence a lot of significance is given during this period for performing these activities.

The panchang details for Karka sankranti is given below.

Date:           July 16, 2010
Time:           21:03:00
Time Zone:      5:30:00 (East of GMT)
Place:          77 E 13' 00", 28 N 40' 00" Delhi, India
Lunar Yr-Mo:    Vikriti - Ashadha
Tithi:          Sukla Shashthi (Ve) (42.63% left)
Vedic Weekday:  Friday (Ve)
Nakshatra:      Uttara Phalguni (Su) (23.26% left)
Yoga:           Parigha (Sa) (48.15% left)
Karana:         Taitula (Me) (85.26% left)
Hora Lord:      Mercury (5 min sign: Pisces)
Mahakala Hora:  Mercury (5 min sign: Gemini)
Kaala Lord:     Jupiter (Mahakala: Jupiter)
Sunrise:        5:37:39
Sunset:         19:16:29
Janma Ghatis:   39.4728
Ayanamsa:       24-00-15.68
Sidereal Time:  16:41:24

During this period sacred bath, prayer, japa, charity, and tarpana to forefathers are prescribed.

Tharpana should be given to all the fore fathers (by those who have lost their parents) with black sesame seeds (till) during parva kala. One should desist from sensual pleasures. Take only sattvik (vegetarian) food during this period.

Charity can be given to the deserving in the form of Anna Dana (food charity), Thila Dana, and Vasthra Dana.

Worshiping Lord Vishnu, Lord Sri Krishna, Sun God, and reciting Vishnu Sahasra Nama Sthothram, Purusha Sooktha, Aaditya Hridayam on this day is preferred.
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