by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Ratha Saptami 2014 procedure in Tamil and Sanskrit


Ratha Saptami (Tamil: ரத ஸப்தமி, Sanskrit: रथ सप्तमि) is a Hindu festival that falls on the seventh day (Saptami) in the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the Tamil month Thai (தை).  As the month is called Makara (மகர மாசம்) it is referred to as Maagha or Magha Saptami in the Northern parts of India.

It marks the seventh day following the Sun’s northerly movement (Uttarayana) of vernal equinox starting from Capricorn (Makara).  The day is also celebrated as the birthday of the Sun God and called as Surya Jayanti.

In Tamil (and some parts of the other 3 southern states) ritual, the day is celebrated with a ceremonial bath and water offering to the Sun (அர்க்யம்).

The ceremonial bath is performed by placing a little turmeric powder (மஞ்சள் தூள்), some rice (அக்ஷதை), some Bermuda Grass (அருகம்புல்), on 7 Giant Milkweed leaves (வெள்ளை எருக்கு, अर्कपत्रं, Calotropis procera), placed on top of the head and taking a shower or immersion in a water body.  Immediately after the bath, the water offering is performed thrice.

The actual procedure depends various sect and family traditions, though the mantras are the same.  Some do not use Bermuda Grass, some split the 7 leaves on the head and both shoulders, and variations thereof.

A word of caution though.  Arka leaves (Giant Milkweed, வெள்ளை எருக்கு, Calotropis procera)are highly toxic and if not properly handled or ingested can cause blindness or even be fatal.  They have to be handled with extreme caution.

The mantras for both the ritual bath and the water offering - in Tamil, English, and Devanagri (Sanskrit) scripts - are archived into a ZIP file.  The download link is after the image.  The download link leads to 3 PDF files - use the language file you are comfortable with.

ratha-saptami-2014

Download Link [Tip: Once Link opens, hit Ctrl+S to download PDF file] (Update: D/L link removed on 09 Feb 2014 as info outdated)

07 Feb 2014 is Bhishma Ashtami - check back for procedure in Tamil.

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