Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 13th 2008 - Ratha Sapthami


I am indeed very happy to start posting on the auspicious Ratha Sapthami Day.

Significance of Ratha Sapthami:

- It is said to be the day when Surya Bhagwan's ratha(his chariot drawn by 7 white horses) changes direction of travel. It is also considered as Surya Bhagawan's birthday.

- Ratha Sapthami is the seventh thithi after the Amavasya (new moon) thithi in the month of the Thai (mid January - mid February).

Scientific/Yogic Reasoning:

- The centerpiece of this worship procedure is the Ratha Sapthami ritual bath. The leaves of the erukku shrub (Calotropis gigantea, remember the "erukka maalai" we adorn Ganesha with on Ganesh Chathurthi? Its the leaf of that plant) shrub form an important part of the Ratha Sapthami ritual bath.

- Sri Agasthiar says that these leaves have an innate spiritual force that's similar to the one derived from the sihka knot and thus they can be used to achieve spiritual effects similar to those gotten from the sikha.

- The Ratha Sapthami worship procedure is designed to imbue us with gnaana (knowledge of the Divine) and launch us towards the Divine. Sri Agasthiar informs us that the practice of wearing one's hair in the sikha(kudumi) form is very conducive to the blossoming of gnaana. When sunlight falls on that head where the hair is tied in the sikha knot, it sets spiritual wheels in motion that start the process of gnaana acquisition

- But this is not practiced in modern times. So sage Agasthiya has mentioned an alternative.

How to worship Surya Bhagawan on Ratha Sapthami:
- On Ratha Sapthami day, wake up before sunrise, place a block of wood in the bathroom and seat yourself facing east.

- Place the following on your head (erukka leaves, some akshadai(turmeric mixed with rice, manjal) and take a head bath

- After the ritual bath, wear dry clothing and perform Soorya Namaskar and recite Sri Agasthiar's Aditya Hrudayam hymn. Link for it is here. http://sanskrit.safire.com/Sanskrit.html#pstotras -> Stotras to the Planets - Navagraha Stotras -> Aditya Hrudayam
In case you are not able to follow all of these, please do the following minimum things:

- Think of Lord Surya and pray to him sincerely on this day. He is the Lord who bestows good health and prosperity, hence pray to him for good health.

- In case you cannot chant Aditya Hrudayam or dont have the time, you can chant "Om Sooryaya namaha" 108 times and offer your prayers.

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