We are at a time of the year, which is considered significant for those who are on the spiritual path. The Tamil month of margazhi starts from 16th [December]. What is the significance of this month? It is at this time of the year that the planet Earth is closest to the Sun. So this should have been the hottest month. But, this is a time when the planet is shy of the Sun, and the northern face faces away from the sun.
In the southern hemisphere, this is the hottest part of the year. In the northern hemisphere, this is the coolest part of the year. Because the northern hemisphere, or the northern face, of the planet is facing away from the sun. But it is closest. So in terms of temperature, because of the closeness to the sun, the angle at which the sun’s rays hit the planet, is very diffused. But in terms of sun’s gravity functioning on the planet, right now it is at the highest. So the maximum pull of the sun’s gravity, is functioning upon the planet at this time.
Margazhi month is a time to bring balance to the system
So this Margazhi month is a time to bring balance to the system. It is like if something is flying all over – if you just pull it, it gets centralised. So that is the effect that the Margazhi month has on the human system. It pulls you from the base. So it brings balance and stability. Recognising this, that one needs to bring balance and stability – this is a time when there are practices in the yogic system, which has transmitted itself into culture in many different ways.
This is a time when men will do what generally women are supposed to do, and women will do what men are supposed to do. In the sense, in Tamil Nadu, there’s a culture that, this is a time when men will go on nagarasan-kirtan. That means men will practice devotion, they will sing. Singing and devotion is largely considered feminine, so men will practice this.
Woman will practice making geometrical figures. Geometry and masculinity are very directly connected. If a woman sees something – let’s not say woman – if feminine sees something, it will always pay maximum significance to the colour and form of that. If the masculine sees something, it always sees the geometry first, and then the colour and the form. So it is in this month, women practice geometry. Not on paper, but in front of their homes. Through the Margazhi month, every woman is supposed to draw geometrical figures. Of course today you have templates – they are no good. You must practice geometry. Because – shifting from colour and form, to geometrical shapes and forms. This is a simple transformation of certain science into a cultural dimension.
[In the month of Margazhi] muladhara becomes the most dominant
Because of the closeness to the Sun, because of a general pull downward – muladhara becomes the most dominant. Because muladhara becomes most dominant, the preservative nature of life becomes dominant in the body. In the yogic system, we would say – when the preservation is dominant, this is not a time to grow. All life in the northern hemisphere is at it’s minimum right now. The growth of the tree, the plant, and if you plant a seed, you can see this – the growth will be slowest at this time. Not only because of the temperature, because of a general pull downward. So, because the growth will be very – because the growth will be held back, because of a certain inertia in the life force – this is a time that the body can recoup itself. This is a time, body can preserve itself well.
The inertia caused in all aspects of life – because of the closeness of the Sun, and being on the wrong side, everything being pulled down – seeds will not sprout very well. Recognising this, Margazhi, the month of Margazhi – there never are any marriages in Tamilnadu. Still it is being maintained. Because this is not a time for conception. Even those, who are in the life of householders, even a grihasta practices brahmcharya, for this period, generally. It is based in this, you see people are going to the hills. 40 days of brahmcharya, before they go there, because not a time for conception, because the seed will not sprout as well as it would another time.
So, in the science of breeding the right kind of human beings, Margazhi is not the time to conceive. There are many aspects attached to this – we don’t have to go by that, because it will develop a whole prejudice against the December born people. No December born is not the problem, December conceived. Not necessarily so, it is just that – to sync our lives with the natural movements of the Earth. To see that we ride the cycles of this planet. We are not crushed by the cycles of this planet.
In the process of evolving life. When I say, in the process of evolving life – I am not talking about, how to make monkeys into human beings. I am talking about – how to make human beings into better human beings. Better – not just physically. Better – not just mentally. But as a life, a better life. Oh, is one life better than the other? This is a difficult thing! But if you closely observe one life, to another – you will see how one life functions. Not in terms of social actions, not in terms of capability and competence – simply how life functions within the system is different from person to person. The system of yoga is seeing, how to make this life function at it’s highest. People think highest means – will I be the most successful person on the planet? Will I run 100m in so many seconds? Better does not mean that. Better simply means – as a piece of life, it is better.
There is no context to speak about this dimension, in normal parlance. Or in English language particularly, there is no way to say it. Because life is all same. Yes, life is all same. But it can function better. If you allow it, it will function better. If you do not allow it, it will not function as well. Whether we like it, or we don’t like it – that’s how it is.
You must see – there is a beautiful example in the spanda hall garden. We planted two naga lingam trees. We’ve taken care of them equally well. One has grown and flowered. Other is always struggling. There are different reasons for that. It’s like this – in the same home two children are born. One just flourishes within himself. Another struggles all the way. Because for life to happen, it needs a conducive atmosphere. Creating that conducive atmosphere, and allowing life to happen better – this time of the year has maximum possibility in this direction.
You know about, definitely you know about the story of Bhishma waiting to cross this dakshinayana to uttarayana, before he left his body. Because he wants to be out of this pull to the South. Down is called South. So, if it is pulling you down, the muladhara will be strongest. The preservative aspect will be strongest. He does not want to leave at that time. He wants the Sun to move away to a place, where there is an upward pull to his body. There is an upward pull to his being, so that he can ascend in a proper way.
Margazhi is significant for a spiritual seeker, because it brings a natural sense of stability into the system
The Margazhi is significant for a spiritual seeker, because it brings a natural sense of stability into the system. Particularly those who are suffering from any kind of ailments, particularly psychological imbalances. This is a good time to balance, because the Sun’s energy and the Sun’s gravity is pulling downward, one can stabilise themselves.
Stability before the upward pull happens is most important. If you are pulled upward, and you are not stable within yourself – it will lead to imbalances. So, this is called as Sadhanapada, and this is the peak of sadhana. That – if you do the necessary sadhana at this time – generally, traditionally, people don’t want to miss the brahma muhurtam in this month. That is, at 3:40am they are all up, and there are various processes to keep in touch with water.
There are many systems, and many cultural practices, and yogic practices to keep in touch with water. Because water is the largest element within you, and water is one thing that could slosh. If your water is not proper, it will cause imbalance in the system. In the yogic system – if there is a psychological imbalance, it is always seen as water element going out of control. Because if you have a tank full of water, and shake it – it will slosh. If you have a tank full of sand, or mud – it will not slosh the same way. So, the water element is what causes various levels of imbalances in a person, if the right kinds of things are not done with it.
So, traditionally there are various practices to be in touch with water. One of the simplest thing is, people always went into temple ponds at 3:40am in the morning, to take a dip. It would be good – we should keep our teerthakund open early, this month, from 16th [December] to 13th or 14th of January, we must keep it open very early. Those who want to make use of it, can make use of it.
Bringing stability to the water within is one big step towards bringing psychological balance
Bringing stability to the water within is one big step towards bringing psychological balance. Only when there is psychological balance, and physiological balance, and energy balance – will you dare to climb. Otherwise, a little one step – if everything shakes inside of you, you will only step backwards. There are any number of spiritual seekers, who are constantly one-step forward, one-step backward, one-step forward, one-step backward. Because the moment they take a forward step, they will notice imbalance, and they will come back. This is happening to too many people. Because not enough sadhana towards stabilising themselves. This particular month offers a phenomenal opportunity to stabilise oneself, because of the way – the relationship between the Sun and the Earth is such that it creates maximum stability.
Stability also means inertia. It’s not mobile. It is stable. So, it causes a certain level of inertia, and also stability. So, this month is used for stability, and the next month – thai – is used for mobility. If you have created enough stability within you, then only you would dare to be mobile. If you are riding a bicycle – only if you are well balanced, will you dare to move. Otherwise, you will sit on a bicycle with the stand on. Yes! Yes, that’s how life is happening for a lot of people. Because of the fear of instability, they sit on a bicycle with the stand on. You can peddle, you can get some exercise, but you are not going anywhere.
So, Margazhi is a blessed month, which is used for various processes. Across the Shiva temples in the South, there are various events happening on 16th, 17th, 18th of this month [December]. The one important step is the, Arudra poojas that happen. Rudra means a roarer. Somebody who is very effervescent. More than effervescent – a roar. Arudra means stable. Not roaring kind. Just absolutely stable. Arudra also suggests a certain inertia. Because rudra suggests movement, and creation. Arudra suggests, no movement and a certain inertia. There is inertia, there is enormous inertia in this part of the year. But the wise should make use of whatever there is. And, we need a certain level of inertia to bring stability. When you want to bring stability, the thing is to slow down. If you loose balance, the first thing is to slow down.
So, this is a time when everything slows down, and people want to make use of it. And that is why this Margazhi has become significant in a spiritual seeker’s life.