What is Uttarayana and Dakshinayana
This segment forms the basis of auspicious and inauspicious time of death of an individual.
The fact is that the Sun never rises or sets. This is the illusion that arises due to the rotation of the Earth planet. The Sun is ever awake. The Sun has two orbits relative to the Earth’s rotation and revolution.
The Earth’s rotation causes day and night while the Earth’s revolution around the Sun causes seasons.
Uttarayana: When the Sun proceeds from the summer solstices to the winter solstices, it is wholly a northern movement of the sun which is called Uttarayana.
Dakshinayana : Similarly, when the Sun proceeds from winter solstices to the summer solstices it is Dakshinayana.
Auspicious and Inauspicious Time of Death
The Shastra has put certain arguments that relate to the hour of death.
It suggests that, Uttarayana is most auspicious phase for one to leave the body while Dakshinayana is considered inauspicious.
Then the question arises as to, whether a being, who has surrendered his entire self to the Lord, dying in Dakshinayana attain Liberation? Is it not that he is dying in an inauspicious phase of the earth’s revolution?
First we must understand as to which phase of spiritual evolvement we fit into. The Vedas offer solutions to people based on their current state. Thus, we must know the different segments of the Vedas, to find our customized answers.
Karma Kanda, Jnana Kanda & Upasana Kanda
It is to be understood that the Vedas also known as the Shrutis have 3 parts (Kandas). They are:
1) Karma Kanda: This segment focuses on body and purification aspects of the body so that higher life is possible. It is for people with materialistic desires.
2) Jnana Kanda: This relates to the transition from the body to the soul. It is considered to be superior than Karma Kanda.
3) Upasana Kanda: It is further above the Jnana Kanda as relates to Surrender and acceptance of the Supreme Being as one’s sole benefactor. The person is called a Bhakta as he solely depends on the Lord.
Do you need to die in an Auspicious time?
The graduation within the Shrutis is from Karma to Jnana to Upasana or Bhakti. Things related to dying focus on the bodily aspects, thus applicable to those who have not recognized Jnana or Bhakti. People who fall under the rules of Karma Kanda are still very much on the bodily platform.
If you are a person with materialistic desires and do not have any connection with God, then Laws of Karma Kanda strictly apply. Things like Muhurta, time of Death, etc. must be Observed.
So,as a thumb rule, ordinary individuals who are not involved with spiritual activities are governed by the laws of Karma Kanda. For them dying on an auspicious hour counts. The season when the soul departed and other such auspicious and inauspicious factors decide their destiny.
When Time (Muhurta) Does not Matter?
For individuals who have graduated to the Jnana Kanda, have their focus on Brahman. They do not fall under the rules of Karma Kanda. Their involvement with Jnana topics and philosophy shall grant them a new body in their next life, such that they make progress in their spiritual journey. They have nothing to worry. People who are established in Brahman attain Sayujja Mukti.
Individuals who have gone further into the Upasana Kanda are people who take up Sadhana of Sri Vishnu, Sri Krishna, Sri Rama or any of the incarnations of Sri Vishnu. The moment their body drops off, they are immediately transported to the Spiritual Abode.
They are assured to attain the bodily features of the Lord and attain close proximity with Him. Thus, none of the rules of Jnana or Karma apply on such beings.
Hence, for a devotee or a perfect Jnani, whether they die in the day or night, in Uttarayana or Dakshinayana, it really does not matter. Liberation is guaranteed.
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