New Delhi: In the Hindu month of Magha, the seventh day called Saptami Tithi is meant to worship the Sun God, known as Surya.
Magha Saptami is also known as Ratha Saptami or Surya Jayanti, is one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar.
The festival marks the day when the Sun God first came into being. It also refers to his chariot, which is driven by seven horses. This year, Ratha Saptami will be celebrated on February 1, as per the Gregorian calendar.
According to one of the legends, the Sun God was born to sage Kashyap and his wife Aditi, and since, he first appeared on this day, devotees celebrate Surya Jayanti.
The scriptures proclaim that the word “ratha” is symbolic of the mind. The mind is the chariot. Innumerable thoughts arise in the mind. These thoughts are like different horses, which pull the mind in many different directions. To enable the mind to progress toward the divine, the right set of horses should pull it in the right direction. This, indeed, is the spiritual insight and the deeper meaning of Ratha Saptami.
On the day of Ratha Saptami, devotees get up before sunrise to take a holy bath. The Ratha Saptami Snan is an important ritual of the day and should be performed at the time of ‘Arunodaya’ only. It is believed that by taking a sacred bath during this time, will free a person from all illnesses and ailments and bestow good health. For this reason Ratha Saptami is also popularly known as ‘Arogya Saptami’.
Ratha Saptami also signifies the movement of Sun God in his chariot towards the northern hemisphere. This day signifies the arrival of summer season and is also indicative of the rising temperatures, mostly across Southern states of India. Ratha Saptami also denotes beginning of the harvesting season and thus for Indian farmers it symbolises a promising beginning of the New Year.