RATHASAPTHAMI ~ OM NAMO VENKATESAYA
!!! Lord Venkateswara staying in Tirumala Vaikuntam !!! Govinda Narayana Srinivasa Parandhama Pahimam Pahimam!!!.
!!! Chant Govindaa! Govindaa!! Govinda!!! Edukondalavadaa Venkataramanaa Govindaa Govinda!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

RATHASAPTHAMI

Rathasapthami is a festival that on the seventh day (sapthami) in the bright half
(Sukla Paksha) of the month Maagha. The birth of Surya is celebrated as Surya
Jayanti.
The Gayatri Mantra japa the sacred vedic chants to Savitur (Sun God) – is
recited by the people every day with great reverence.
Religious significance
The Sun God’s chariot is drawn by seven horses, the charioteer being Aruna.
The seven harses represent the seven days of a week starting with Sunday, the
day of Sun God Surya. The chariot has 12 wheels, which represent the 12signs
constituting a full year. Rathasapthami also marks the arrival of spring, which is
later harelded by the festival of Ugadi in the month of Chitra.
Legends
Rathasapthami marks the birth of Surya to sage kashyapa and his wife aditi
and hence celebrated as Surya Jayanti. A legend is narrated by the kamboj em-
-pire’s King Yashovarma, anoble King who had no heir to rule his Kingdpppm.
On his special prayers to God, he has blessed with a son was terminally ill. A
saint who visited the King advised that his son should perform the Rathasa
-pthami pooja with revernace to rid of his past sins . Once the King’s son per-
-formed this, his health was restrored and he ruled his Kiingdom well it is also
said that sage Bheeshma in Mahabharata legend of “Ichchamarana”,breathed
his last, aday after the Rathasapthami day.
Sun temples
There are Surya temples all across India where Rathasapthami is fervently
celebrated. However, the most famous one is the World Heritagre site of the
Konark Sun Temple, in Konark, Orissa. There are Sun temples in Modhera,
Gujarat, created by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty. In Arasavalli, Andra
Pradesh, there is a temple as one among navagrahas and where so ever the
-igrahas of Navagrahas are consecrated in any temple , Surya Vigraha will be
There at the centre of a square.
Arasavalli
Arasavalli is at distance of 2 Kms from srikakulam city in the same distruct in
Andra Pradesh. According to the legend, this Sun temple was built by Devendra
In the month of February on the Rathasapthami day,the Sun rays enter the tem-
-ple and touch the feet of the idol of Sun God. It is said that Devendra was cured
of his wounds by worshipping the Sun God of this place. Rathasapthami festival
is performed here with all the glitter and grandeur.
Khajuraho
Khajuraho is a conglomerate of temples in Madhya Pradesh, where the tem-
-ple for Sun God is very famous.The chariot of Sun God drawn by seven horses
with a standing idol of Sun which is of seven feet height can be seen in this
temple.The temple was built during the high time of candelas,vidyadhara Raja
built this temple in the first quarter of 11th century A.D.
Religious observance
God Vishnu in his form as Surya is worshipped on this day. Usually,
Rathasapthami begins with a purification bath (bathing is also done in a River
or sea ) by holding Arka leaves on their head while bathing and chanting a ver
se which is supposed to invoke the benevolence of the Lord in all that one ind-
ulges in during the rest of the year. Arghyam (water held in the palms) is offered
to the Sun God on this day while chanting hymns of the Sun God. It also involves
doing a puja with the ritual naivedya (food offering to God), and offering of
flowers and fruits. Important prayers offered to the Sun God on this occasion
are the Adityahridayam, Gayathri, Suryashtakam, Surya Sahasranamam. The
preferred time for the pooja is within one hour after sunrise.
The following mantra on Sun God is chanted while taking the bath.
“Saptha Saptha Maha Saptha
Saptha Dweepa Vasundhara
Sapth Arka Parna Madaya
Sapthamyam Snana Machareth”
Arka(in sanskit,meaning a ray or flash of lightning) leaves.‘Jillede’ in telugu
Its Significance to Sun God could be compared to the significance of tulsi leaves
To Vishnu. Arka leaves are also used for worship of God Ganesha known by the
name Arka Ganesha and also for Hanuman. Its stems, called samidha (sacrificial
offering of wood) are used for the yanga ritual as a sacrificial offering to a ritual
fire. Its shape is said to represent the shoulders and chariot of Sun God. Its use
during the ritualistic ceremonious bath involves placement of seven leaves -one
on the head,two on the shoulders,two on the knees and two on the feet.
In some of the important vaishnavite temples such as the tirumala,srirangam
and Melukote, Rathasapthami is one of the important festival of the year.On this
day, in south India, Rangoli is drawn with colored rice powder depicting a chariot
and seven horses as symbolic of the Rathasapthami. Cowdung cake is also burnt
at the centre of this depiction and milk boiled on the fire is offered to the Sun God.
Other Sun festival
There are other festivals dedicted to Sun God Surya in India. Makara sank-
-ranti is the most widely celebrated Hindu festival dedicted to the Sun God.its is
Celebrated as Makara Sankranti throughout India and as Pongal, also known
As Thai Pongal by Tamils all over the world. People thank the Sun God for
Ensuring a good harvest and dedicted the first grain to him.
Rathasapthami
Aadi Deva namasthubhyam praseeda nama bhaskara!
Diwakara namasthubhyam prabhakara namosthuthe!!
Sun centric events falls continuously during pushya and Magha Masam
including Dhanurmasam, starting with Vaikunta Ekadasi and ending with
Rathasapthami. Worshipping Sun God during this period is very sacred and
Celestial.
Rathasapthami -21th Century
This year – “Ratyhasapthami” will be celebrated in sri Venkateswara
Temple at Tirumala on feb 10th 2011. On the day, the processional deities
Malayappaawamy and his consorts sridevi and bhoodevi will be taken out
On seven vahanams (vehicles) in a dawn to dusk celebrations.
One-day brahmotsvam is performed in Tirumala, and the Ustava mu-
-rthy is conducted in a variety of vahanams (vehicles) around the main
Temple precincts during the day. Pilgrims eagerly await Rathasapthami
Festival since the Lord takes ride on ‘seven holy’ on a single day.
“those pilgrims, who miss an opportunity to witness the procession
During the Brahmotsavams, throng the temple town to take part in the
Procession.” Of all the vehicles, lakhsof pilgrims congregate to witness
The first Ratham –‘Surya prabha’ vahanam- so as to see the first rays
Of the Sun falling on the feet, abdomen and of Lord Malayappa Swamy.
At Tirumala Surya Jayanti is performed on Rathasapthami Day
with seven vahanams, beginning with Surya vahanam, and ending with
Chandraprabha vahanam and in between sesha (with five hoods) Garuda
Hanuma vehicles carry Tirumalayappan alone from the temple in car stre-
-ets and Chakrasnanam will be held in the afternoon. Then again sri
Malayappaswamy will go round the temple alongwith sridevi and bhoo-
-devi and kalpavruksha vahana and sarvabhupalavahana and in Chandra-
-prabha vahana in the evening. This is called Arsha brahmotsavam
(the other three being-Deva Brahmotsava on vaikunta Ekadasi, Manava
Brahmotsava in ashwayuja- Bhadrapada, Rakshasa Brahmotsava on kaisika
Dwadasi).
Rathasapthami and tirumala
Rathasapthami festival in Tirumala has its own history. We find an
Inscription dt.26-1-1564 starting that then Karanikam Appalayyar granting
The village of Tiruvenkatapuram of Gandikota province, by Executing a
document on copper plate and depositing the same in sribhandaram,
authorizing the trustees (sthanettars) of the temple of collect the annual
income rom the village and use it for performing Rathasapthami Utsavam
at Tirumala and pallavotsavam at Tirupati for five days every year.
this inscription (99- vol. page 459-471) gives a very good description
of Rathasapthami festival as it was desired tobe conducted by karanikam
Appalayyar son of Kamarasappayya of Rigshakadhyayi, Aswalayana Sutra,
Bharadwaja Gothra.

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