Rathasapthami – The Festival of Sun god
It’s true that I intended to write on speech as my first blog but I remembered that today that Feb. 13th 2008 is celebrated as RATHASAPTHAMI. It is a festival in which the sun god is worshipped. It is also celebrated as the birthday sun as the season changes from today. It comes on the seventh day (SAPTHAMI) of the bright half of the eleventh month (MAGHA) of the Hindu calendar. The importance of this Rathasapthami is that the sun is moving from the makari rasi (i.e. capricon) to the kunbha rasi (i.e. Aquarius) which is known as kunbha sankramanam happens once in 50 years. It is said that on Rathasapthami a chariot formed by stars can be sighted.
I don’t know how many people remember that we studied about the early man worshipping the natural forces when we were at school. There are still festivals that have come down from generations together about worshipping the natural forces and Rathasapthami is one of them.
Sun or Surya according to Hindu mythology means “The Supreme Light”. Sun is described having arms and hair of gold and drives through the heaven on a chariot pulled by seven horses which represent the seven colours of the rainbow with charioteer named Aruna. He is known as the visible form of god that we can see everyday. Our epics denote sun as a store house of power and radiance. He represents courage, will power strength, fame,hope, gives health and many more. Why? We already know that the source of vitamin D is Sun! Imagine world without sun……………. nah……… there’s no life. I think that’s the reason everyone worships Sun.
Worshipping sun god nothing new, our mythology is a proof of it. Lord Sri Rama worshipped sun god before going for the battle against the King of Lanka Ravana (also known as the last king of Asuras i.e. Rakshasas). King Satragit also worshipped sun god and got a gem from him called the Samanthakamani which is cause of prosperity which later on was given to Lord Krishna along with Satyabhama in marriage. We even have temples of sun god proving it, the famous Konark temple in Orissa, Arasavalli temple in Andhra Pradesh and many more temples.
On Rathasapthami milk is boiled and khir is made which is offered to the sun god. Not only this but there is lot of rituals (which I am sorry that I am finding a bit of difficulty in translating certain words from Telugu) followed on this day, but it is rare to find all these rituals followed in the cities and I don’t know how far these are being followed in villages as I haven’t been to villages on such occasions. But I do hope that everything is being followed making it possible for the next generations to remember and follow.
I was surprised to know that almost all the mythologies like the Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, German, and Iranian, Egyptian ……… all have traces of worshipping sun god!!!!!!!!!!! It’s less how much ever we write about such kind of topics but I am happy that I could write this much. Thanks to my grand parents who were very particular about festivals and epics. They believed that there is a lot of knowledge and science hidden and there is a purpose or a story behind celebrating festivals.