Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RATHA SAPTAMI


RATHA-SAPTAMI


(I-DISCOURSE BY N. R. SRINIVASAN, JANUARY 2012)
Hindus consider Ratha-Saptami as another auspicious day in the month of Magha to propitiate Sun-God. This falls on the seventh day of bright fortnight of Magha. On Makara Sankranti day the Sun begins its Northward journey and enters the zodiac sign Makara (Capricorn) coming from the Tropic of Cancer. Its slow journey starts from the Tropic of Capricorn northwards (Uttaraayana) on this day. On Ratha-Saptami Day all the seven horses come to the position and start moving slowly towards north direction. There is a time lag between Sun's entry to Makara and the seven horses coming to a steady position to start the journey. This day is very important to farmers as their annual day for harvest season. There is also a strong belief that this is the Birthday of Sun or Soorya Jayanti. This day is also known as Vidhaana Saptami, Aarogya Saptami and Achala Saptami. People take holy dip in early morning hours, fast and worship Sun-God, praying for good health and prosperity. This day is celebrated in Hindu homes and in rare Surya temples in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh (installed as Soorya-Naaraayana) and Martaanda Temple in Kashmir. It is also celebrated in all Siva temples wherever Navagrahas are consecrated. It is also a special festival day in Vishnu temples where Lord Vishnu is taken in procession with the orb of symbolic Sun at the back of the deity called Surya-prabha. This is one of the mounts for Lord Vishnu for the annual event of Brahmotsavam in South Indian Temples. Ratha-Saptami is famous in Tirupati located in Andhra.
People Chant Soorya Sahasranaama or the more popular Aaditya-Hridayam with Soorya Ashtakam on this day:

 
SOORYA-ASHTAKAM
Aadi deva namas-tubhyam praseeda mama Bhaaskara |
Divaakara namas-tubhyam prbhaakara namostu-te || 1||
Saptaaswa rathsm-aaroodham prachandam kasyap-aatmajam |
Sweta-padmadharam devam tam sooryam pranmaamy-aham || 2 ||
Lohitam rathamaaroodham sarvaloka pitaamaham |
Mahaapaapa haram devam tam sooryam pranamaamy-aham || 3 ||
Traigunyam cha mahaasooram Brahmaa-Vishnu-Maheswaram |
Mahaapaapa haram devam tam sooryam pranamay-aham || 4 ||
Brimhitam tejah-punjam cha vaayum-aakaasa meva cha |
Prabhum cha sarvalokaanam tam sooryam pranamaamy-aham || 5 ||

 
Bandhooka-pushpa-sankaasam haara-kundala-bhooshitam |
Eka –chakra-dharam devam tam sooryam pranamaamy-aham || 6 ||
Visvesam visvakartaaram mahaa-tejah pradeepanam |
Mahaapaapa haram devam tam sooryam pranamaamy-aham || 7 ||
Sri vishnum jagataam naatham Jnaana Vijnaana mokshadam |
Mahaa-paapa haram devam tam sooryam pranmaamy-aham || 8 ||
Sooryaashtakam pathen-nityam graha-peedaa-pranaasanam |
Aputro-labhate putram daridro dhanavaan bhavet || 9 ||
Aamisam madhu-paanam cha yah karoti raver-dine |
Sapta janma bhaved rogee prati-janma daridrataa || 10 ||
Stree –taila-madhu-maamsaani yast-yajettu ravair-dine |
Na vyaadhih soka daaridryam sooryalokam sa gacchati || 11 ||
Those who have undergone Upanayana Ceremony perform their mid-day prayers propitiating Sun-god with the following mantras (Maadhyahneeka mantras) which are also good for general prayer to him. These are:
Mitrasya charshanee dhritah snavo devasya | saanasim Satyam chitra-sravastamam |mitro janaan yaatayati prajaanan mitro daadhaara prithaveem-uta-dyaam | mitrah krisshteer-animisha-abhichashte satyaaya havya grithavad-vidhema | Prasmitra marto astu prayasvaan yasta aaditya sikshati vratena| na hanyate na jeeyate tvoto nainama(ga)m-ho asnoty-antito na dooraat ||
The Sun guides all and He watches every one of our actions. Soorya-mandala (Orb of the Sun) is Truth and has unique glow (Tejas). Only Yogis are fit to attain this Mandala (orb). Those who propitiate Sun with Havis (fagots) are gifted with good food, health and long life. Sins will not approach them either from their present births or earlier births.
Aasatyena rajasaa vartamaano nivesayann-amritam martyam cha | Hiranyayena savitaa rathenaa devoyaati bhuvanaa vi pasyan ||
Udvayam tamasaspari pasyantoe jyotir-uttaram | devam devatraa-soorya maganma-jyotir-uttamam ||
Udutyam jaatavedasam devam vahanti ketavah-drise visvaaya sooryam-chitram devaanaam udagaadaneekam chkshur-mitrasya varunasya-agneh-aapraadyaavaa prithavee antariksham soorya aatmaa jagatasta-sthushascha-tacchakshur-devahitam purastac-chukram uccharat || pasyema sarads-satam | jeevema sarads-satam| nandaama sarads-satam | modaamas-saradas-satam | bhavaama saradas-satam |srinavaama sarads-satam | prabravaama sarads-satam | ajeetasyaama sarads-satam | Jyokchas-sooryam drisay | ya udagaan-mahatornavaad-vibhraajamaanah sarirasya-madhyaat samaa-vrishabho rohitaakshah sooryo vipaschin manasaa punaatu||

Sun is self effulgent. As we behold this glow (tejas) we are all blessed with glow of the Supreme Principle (Brahma-tejas). Sun induces everyone to do their duty and awards fruits of action depending on the merit. He is present everywhere and comes in a golden chariot.
Sun is the repository of all knowledge. He is visible to all creatures in the world and helps to have an atma-darsana (Self revelation) to those who are qualified. The Sun rays take him everywhere like the horses. Sun is the eye for the Devas--Mitra, Varuna, Agni etc. He is the Self (Aaatma) of both animates and in-animates in the three worlds.
One who is the eye of the Devas who is effulgent and who rises in the East—let us see him for hundred years. Let us be happy for hundred years. Let us be happy and live with fame without fear of enemies and listen and extol his greatness for a Long time. [This is chanted while looking at the Sun with the Mudra (with aperture made out of fingers to avoid direct sun and to look at the bright mid-day Sun)].
The Sun rises as if he comes out of a big ocean. He, who bestows boons to his worshiper, let him cleanse our minds to be fit for divine knowledge!

[This mode of looking at the sun helps in strengthening eye-nerves and also gives finger exercise to overcome problems of arthritis etc. Yoga people recommend looking at the Sun for some time in the early morning hours.]

 
SRI SURYA STHUTI FROM SKANDA PURANA
 
The following is a rare hymn on Lord Surya by King taken from Skanda Puranam, Vaishnava Khanda, AyodhyA Mahatmya, and Chapter 7. In the brief Phalashruti, Lord Surya promises to fulfill all rightful desires of those who recite this hymn with immense devotion.

 rājovāca - bhagavan devadeveśa namastubhyaṁ cidātmane | namaḥ savitre sūryāya jagadānanda-dāyine || 1 ||

prabhā-gehāya devāya trayībhūtāya te namaḥ | vivasvate namastubhyaṁ yogajñāya sadātmane || 2 ||

parāya parameśāya trilokī timiracchide | acintyāya sadā tubhyaṁ namo bhāskara tejase || 3 ||

yogapriyāya yogāya yogajñāya sadā namaḥ | omkārāya vaṣaṭkāra-rūpiṇe jñānarūpiṇe || 4 ||

yajñāya yajñamānāya haviṣe ṛtvije namaḥ | rogaghnāya svarūpāya kamalānanda-dāyine || 5 ||

atisaumyātitīkṣṇāya surāṇāṁ-pataye namaḥ | satrāsāya namastubhyaṁ bhaktatrāya priyātmane || 6 ||

prakāśakāya satataṁ lokānāṁ-hita-kāriṇe | prasīda praṇātāyā'dya mahyaṁ bhakti kṛte svayam || 7 || ||

phalaśrutiḥ || agastya uvāca - ityevaṁ bruvatas tasya sa prasanno raviḥ svayam | āvirbhabhūva sahasā bhaktasya priya-kāmyayā || 8 ||
uvāca madhuraṁ vākyaṁ praśrayānata mūrddhajam || 9 ||

raviruvāca - varaṁ varaya rājendra prasanno'smi tavā 'grataḥ | dadāmi tad varaṁ te'dya yattvayā manasepsitam || 10 ||

rājovāca - bhagavan bhāskarā 'nanta prayacchasi varaṁ yadi | man nāmnā kṛta mūrtis te tiṣṭhatvatra sadā prabho || 11 ||

 raviruvāca - evaṁ astu manuṣyendra tava vāñchā manoharā | etat stotraṁ tvayoktaṁ me ye paṭhiṣyanti mānavāḥ || 12 || 

tebhyas tuṣṭaḥ pradāsyāmi sarvān kāmān nareśvaraḥ | tattat sthānaṁ parāṁ khyātiṁ tvan nāmnā yāsyati kṣitau || 13 ||
sarvān kāmān avāpnoti yo'tra snānaṁ samācaret | mad bhaktena sadā rājan kartavyaṁ snānaṁ atra vai || 14 ||
yaṁ yaṁ kāmaṁ iheccheta taṁ taṁ kāmaṁ avāpnuyāt || 15 ||

Iti śrīskānde-mahāpurāṇe vaiṣṇava-khaṇḍe ayodhyā-māhātmye śrīsūrya stutiḥ sampūrṇam ||