Posted on: 14 January 2017

Painted by: M F Husain - 1988

Print, one of a portfolio of eleven: "MAHABHARATA". Numbered, signed. Ink and watercolour on paper.

The Surya Siddhanta defines Uttarāyaṇa or Uttarayan as the period between the Makara Sankranti (which currently occurs around January 14) and Karka Sankranti (which currently occurs around July 16).

Uttarayana is referred to as the day of new good healthy wealthy beginning.

According to Kauravas and Pandavas, in Mahabharata on this day Bheeshma Pitamaha, chose to leave for his heavenly abode. As per the boon granted to Devavrata (young Bheeshma), he could choose his time of death and he chose this day, when the sun starts on its course towards the northern hemisphere.
- Wiki

Image credit: © Trustees of the British Museum

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Bhishma could give up his life in icchha mrityu when he wanted, - he noticed the Solstice had passed, and it would be another six months till the Sun returned to the Northern Hemisphere.