Ratha Saptami Festival
Ratha Saptami or Magha Saptami is dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun God). It is also observed as the birthday of lord surya also called as Surya Jayanti. Ancient scripts says that sun god started giving light to the universe from this day, thats why people celebrate this day as sun god’s birthday.
According to hindu tradition Lord Surya (Sun God) is portrayed as riding a chariot which is driven by seven horses. Ratha Saptami is observed on the seventh day (saptami) of Magha Masam (January – February)
Worshiping Sun God during this period is considered to be very sacred. People worship the sun in the early morning and recite the Surya Sahasranama, surya mantram. People believe that by pleasing the sun god, he will bless with good health, longevity, and success.
As per ancient scripts people says that Lord Surya (Sun God) who rides on 7 horses indicates that he drives away all our seven types of sins / thoughts with his blessings. ie sin done by knowingly, sin done unknowingly, sin done by mind with bad thoughts, sin done by saying bad words, sin done by doing worng things, sins done by body, sins of our past.
Ratha Saptami – Surya Jayanthi History
Ratha Saptami is celebrated as the birth of Surya to sage Kashyapa and his wife, Aditi. As per the legend, King Yashovarma of Kamboj empire had no heir to rule his kingdom. Soon, his prayers were answered, and he was blessed with a son.
His son was terminally ill. A sage who visited the king advised that his son should perform Ratha Saptami puja to get rid of his illness. After performing puja, his health was restored, and he ruled the kingdom.
It is also said that Sage Bhisma breathed his last breath four days after the Rathasaptahmi day on ekaadashi.
Rituals of Ratha Saptami – What To Do On Ratha Saptami-Surya Jayanthi
On this day people should wake up early and take bath before the sun rise. Bath-Snanam is very important or one of the major rituals on Ratha Saptami-Surya Jayanthi. It is also believed that taking bath before the sun rises on this day will be blessed with good health and wealth, so Ratha Saptami is also called as Arogya Saptami.
Some people do head bath by keeping gigantic Swallow Wort-Madar leaves (Jilledu Aaku), Broad beans, Kidney Bean leaves (Chikkudukaya Aaku) and (Regu Aku) by keeping these three leaves on their head and do head bath (tala snanam), by doing this will get blessings from Lord Surya (Sun God)
Some people say taking bath using Arka (ray of light) / Yekka (Jilledu-plant related to sun god) Leaves by keeping One leaf on the head with few rice grains over it, 2 leaves on the shoulders, 2 on knees and 2 on foot while having bath. The bath is said to be very sacred.
Best way is to take bath is river facing east, If not possible at the river place a block of wood in the bathroom and seat yourself facing east. Place the seven Arka leaves (seven births) on your head and have bath with mind fixed on God.
After bath you should offer your prayers to the Lord Surya at the time of the sunrise by offering water (pouring water very slowly to the Lord surya) with pot called Kalaash (chembu) to recieve mercy. After bath one shoud perform Surya Namaskar and read Aditya Hrudayam.
You can also lit lamps-Diyas with pure ghee and offer your prayers and worship Sun God with red flowers, Camphor and dhoop.
God Vishnu in the form of sun god is worshipped on this day. Recite and perform Japa such as Surya Sahasramnamam, Aditya hridayam, Suryashtakam, Gayathri, surya gayatri and offer puja to sun god.
Fasting can be done to attain knowledge.
People do Charity to yield good benefits. According to the Magha Masa rules Thila danam, Salagrama Dana, donating clothes, Blankets, Umbrella, Amla to the people in need are very sacred
If widows fast on this day, they get rid of widowhood from the next birth on wards.
Even the sin of slaying a Brahmin is expiated by the power of fasting on this day.
He who takes a bath at the time of sunrise is purified like Mother Ganges. He can never become a poor man.
Prasadam To Sun God On Ratha Saptami – What Is Offered On Ratha Saptami-Surya Jayanthi
Sesame seeds are favorite of sun God, so sweet made out of sesame seeds are offered as naivedyam or prasadam On Ratha Saptami. Sweet pongal, Vada are also offered to Surya by some people during puja. Paramannam or sweet pongal is prepared by placing vessel (bowl or mud pot) towards sun and coocked with milk, rice and jaggery (bellam)
Prayers And Mantras That Are Chanted On Ratha Saptami Day
Surya Gayatri Mantram
And other prayers related to Surya like the Surya Ashtakam etc.
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