Monday 20 October 2014

Ratha Saptami (Surya Jayanthi) Festival Date in 2015. Mythological Significance & Importance of Surya Jayanthi.

Ratha Saptami is a festival of Sun God which is being celebrated on the Seventh Day in Shukla Paksha of Maagha Masam(January/Febuary) in every year. Ratha Saptami marks the birthday of Lord Surya Narayana(Sun) who was born to sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi on this day. Ratha Saptami Festival is also known as Surya(Soorya) Jayanthi or Magha Sapatami(in Odisha State) or Rathasapthami. It is believed that Sun God is eye-witnessed God.

Ratha Saptami festival will be celebrated on January 26, 2015(Monday) in the year 2015.

Mythological Importance of RathaSaptami:
Accoording to epic Ramayana, the sage "Agastya Maharshi" teaches Lord Rama the hymn of "Aditya Hrudaya which enables Him to kill Ravana. According to epic Mahabharata, "Yudhishthira worships the Sun and obtained the vessel of inexhaustible food (Akshyapatra). Offering prayers to the Sun is beleived to have the power to actuate our body and mind. In Rig Veda, the Lord Surya is described as "God among Gods". According to the vedas, the Sun is the soul for both moving and non-moving bodies.

Significance of  Ratha Saptami:
The Sun god travels in the north and south directions in a year. These are called Uttarayanam (the first half of the year) and Dakshinayanam (the second half of the year). Ratha Saptami festival marks the beginning of Uttarayanam(Uttara means North and Ayanam means Movement). On this day the Sun moves from Dhanur Raasi(Sagittarius) to Makara Raasi(Capricorn) represents Sun's movement towards Northern Hemisphere in a north-east direction.

It is symbolically represented in the form of the Sun God Surya turning his Ratha (Chariot) drawn by seven horses, with Aruna as the charioteer, towards the northern hemisphere, in a north-easterly direction.

The symbolic significance of the ratha and the seven horses reigned to it is that it represents the Seven Colours of the Rainbow. The Seven Horses are also said to represent the Seven Days of a Week starting with Sunday, the day of Sun god Surya. The chariot has 12 wheels, which represents the 12 Signs (each of 30 degrees) of the Zodiac (360 degrees) and constituting a full year, named Samvatsara.

The Sun’s own house is Leo Zodiac (Simha Raasi) and he moves from one house to the next every month and the total cycle takes 365 days to complete.

Religious Observances/Offerings to the Lord Surya:
During Ratha Saptami festival, Punya Snan(Holy Bath) is being performed with Arka(in sanskrit) leaves(Jilledu జిల్లేడు in Telugu). Women draw Rangoli in front of their houses to welcome the Divine, Healthy and Pleasant rays of Sun God. Arogya Saptami Vtram is also observed to get relief from health problems and disorders on this day.

On this auspicious day, devotees worship Aditya or Sun God by Parayanam (Chanting) of Aruna Prasnam (Surya Namaskara Mantrams), Aditya Hrudayam. Aruna Prashnam has 132 Panchatems ( Mantrams ) within 32 Anuvagam (Sections) and each Anuvagam is dedicated to one aspect of  Lord Sun God.

Important Sun God Temples in India:
  • The Sun Temple, Konark, Orissa
  • The Dakshinaarka Temple, Gaya, Bihar State
  • The Bhramanya Dev, Unao, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Sun Temple, Surya Pahar, Assam.
  • Suryanaar Temple, Kumbhakonam, Tamilnadu
  • Sun Temple, Modhara, Gujarat. 

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