Monday, January 26, 2015

658. Ratha Saptami, our Salutations to the Sun God …!

Sun is the Vedic God. He is regarded as the provider of energy by our forefathers much before the astronomers discovered it. He is the Supreme Cosmic Consciousness manifesting through the Divine Light and Warmth. He is the cause for the air to circulate and rain to fall, both of which are vital for all living being. Our ancients taught us the Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) to keep our body and mind in shape. Exposure to sunlight for just a few minutes at sun rise is enough to get the supply of Vitamin-D for the day. Romans and Egyptian used sunlight for healing illness. Sun is mood enhancer; we might have observed that if it is a cloudy day the whole day goes a little slumber.

According to Hindus scriptures the chariot of the Sun rolls on a single wheel driven by charioteer Aruna, the brother of Garuda. The chariot is drawn by seven horses representing the seven colors of rainbow. Ratha Saptami is observed on the seventh day of the bright fortnight in the Magha. It is the next day after Ratha Saptami which is ashtami, Bhishma chose to leave his mortal coils to attain “Moksha”. Earths inclination towards sun is too steep on this day and hence there is more sun shine on this day of the year.

All the planets in the solar system revolve around Sun, so also our earth rotates and revolves around Sun which is why we experience day and night. When the Sun is in Makara Rashi (Capricorn) earth tilts towards south and it appears as if sun is moving northward. When it reaches Karka Rashi (Cancer) earth tilts towards north and it appears as if sun is moving southwards this is the Uttarayana and Dakshinayana that scriptures talk about. Astrology says Sun is seen as gaining more power in Arohana (escalation) when in Mesha Rashi (Aries) and gradually loose power Avarohana (depletion) as it reaches Tula Rashi (Libra). Sun is in Libra in the month of Karthika and it is cold weather meaning its rays are not so fierce. When Sun is in Aries in the start of April it is hot meaning it has gained more power. Ratha Saptami signifies the northerly movement of Sun and it is time that it seems to start gaining power and it is the beginning of hot climate.

Tradition says that one has to take bath keeping leaves of Arka plant (Calotropis Procera) that has many medicinal benefits on the shoulders and head. These leaves can cure skin diseases, strengthens the root of hair and cools the scalp. This plant is symbolical representation as Sun as healer, since it has all the healing qualities as that of Sun rays in it.

Today is Ratha Saptami. May Surya Narayana bless you all with good heath.

Om Ashwa Dhwajaya Vidmahe, 
Pasha Hastaya Dhimahi, 
Tanno Surya Prachodayat.  

This Surya Gayatri mantra consists of three parts. In the first line there is the description of the flag on the chariot which has a horse in it and the second line is about the mention of His attribute namely the noose. And in the third is the request by us to Him to bestow us with all the vital energy for our survival.

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