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According to some myths, Surya is the son of Kashyapa (a Vedic sage) and his wife, Aditi (Infinity Heavens) in others, he is the offspring of Dyaus (Sky), and still, in others his father is Brahma. Saptami also marks Surya’s birth and is therefore celebrated as Surya Jayanti (the birthday of the Sun-god).
There are many alternative names and epithets known to Surya, including Vivaswat (Brilliant), Savitr (Nourisher), Bhaskara (Light-maker), Dinakara (Day-maker), Lokaksh (Eye of the World), Graharaja (King of the Constellations), and Sahasra-Kirana (Of a 1,000 rays). Vishnu, who later largely replaced the position of Surya in the Hindu pantheon, is known as Surya-Narayana in his incarnation as the sun.
Surya was thought to ride his chariot across the sky and defeat the demons of darkness.
According to Hindu texts, Lord Surya has 12 different names, which are as follow:
Maitraya – The friend of all
Ravaya – Praised by All
Suryaya – The Guide of all
Bhanave – The Bestower of Beauty
Khagaya – Simulator of Senses
Pushne – The Nourisher of All
Hiranyagarbhaya – The Creator
Marichaya – The destroyer of diseases
Adityaya – The Inspirer
Savitre – The purifier
Arkaya – The Radiant
Bhaskaraya – The Illuminator
In the form of the Sun God Surya, Ratha Saptami is symbolically depicted turning his Ratha (Chariot) drawn by seven horses, with Arun as the charioteer, in a north-easterly direction towards the northern hemisphere. The symbolic meaning of the Ratha and the reign of the seven horses is that it represents the rainbow’s seven colors. It is also said that the seven horses represent the seven days of the week, beginning with Sunday, the day of the Sun-god Surya. The chariot has 12 wheels, which reflect the Zodiac’s 12 signs (every 30 degrees) (360 degrees) and constitute a full year, called Samvatsara.
The Sun’s own house is Leo (Simha) and every month he transfers from one house to the next and it takes 365 days for the total period to complete.
The Ratha Saptami Festival seeks the benevolent celestial distribution of the Sun God’s energy and light. Ratha Saptami also marks the steady rise in temperature across South India and is awaiting the arrival of spring, which is later heralded in the month of Chaitra by the Ugadi festival or the Hindu lunar New Year day.
Surya had three offspring with Samjna (Conscience), the daughter of Viswakarma. These were Vaivasvata Manu (one of the 14 original men or Manu), Yama (god of the dead), and Yami (goddess of the Yamuna river). Unfortunately, Samjna became so tired of Surya’s brilliant light that she one day gave him a handmaid, Chaya (Shade), and left him to live a life of reflection in the forests, transformed into a mare. She bore three children to the sun namely Manu, Shani, and Tapti.
Meanwhile, Viswakarma, chipped off some of the brilliance of Surya, perhaps seeking to dim the god and make it a little easier for his daughter to live with him. Various arms of the gods were created from these flaming fragments, including Vishnu’s discus, Shiva’s trident, Kubera’s club, and Karthikeya’s lance.
Rigveda says the sun that wakes one up from sleep. It’s because of the sun that everyone can work and they’re active. All living creatures depend on the sun. The sun removes physical, mental, and spiritual weaknesses and makes one healthy and long-lived. The seven colors of the sun are very good and important to your health.
Procedure to offer Surya Arghya
- Pick a copper utensil and fill it with water.
- Add red sandal, Kumkum, and red flowers to it, and during the sunrise time, face towards the east direction and let the waterfall down slowly (preferably back into a water container or river or into the soil).
- It is better to pour this water at the root of a plant.
- Place the utensil at equal height to your forehead with both your hands and recite either of the following mantra 11 times while pouring.
“ Om Suryaya Namaha “
Rituals of Ratha Sapthami
On Saptami’s day, the devotees take a bath before sunrise. Ratha Saptami Snan is an important ceremony to be held during “Arunodaya.” On a chariot in front of their house, the women put together a statue of Rangoli and the god of the sun, and seven horses. Arka Leaf is another important aspect of the day. The married woman will put 7 erukkam leaves on her body and put a little turmeric and pacharis (raw rice) on the top of the leaves to take a bath. When you take a bath, leave one leaf on your head, two leaves on your shoulders, two leaves on your knees, and two leaves on your legs. The man is only going to wash with the erukkam leaves and the rice without the turmeric.
Ratha Saptami’s Benefits
- People think that the Sun God, with his light, strength, and power, inspired the entire universe.
- A bath in the era of Ratha Saptami is thought to be capable of freeing a human from all diseases.
- By sacrificing the previous life, ritual baptism, or any other ritual practice, you redeemed the seven kinds of sins you committed in this life or previous life on the day of Saptami.
- The longevity, good health, and wisdom of those who strictly practice fasting.
According to, Surya is the prime member of the Navagraha (nine planets). It is the major source of life for all creatures. According to science, the whole bio-diversity is based on the process of photosynthesis which is only possible due to the existence of Surya (The sun). Lord Surya is considered as the evident God as it could be seen every day with bare eyes. Although Suryadev rarely has a distinct temple of himself, small images and statues of the Sun God can be seen in many temples along with that of other Gods.
Interestingly, Suryadev is worshipped as Lord Brahma during the day, Lord Shiva at noon, and Lord Vishnu in the evening.
The transition from season to spring and the beginning of the harvesting season are symbolic of Ratha Saptami. It is an auspicious start of the New Year for most Indian farmers. Both Hindus celebrate the festival in their houses and in countless temples dedicated to Surya throughout India.
Significance in Yoga
Due to the gift of Yoagasan given by ancient Sages, you can remain healthy and lead a long life.
Surya Namaskar should be done facing the early morning mild sunlight from the east.