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Saturday, February 1, 2020

Ratha Sapthami 2020 : Surya prabhai at Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam

Ratha Sapthami 2020  at Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam

Today,  1st Feb 2020  (18th  day of Thai masam) is  Ratha Sapthami.   Ratha means chariot &  Sapthami is a thithi in a lunar month falling on the 7th  day of both sukla and Krishna paksha.   Ratha Sapthami also Surya Jayanthi is celebrated on 7th  day after Thai Amavasai-  Shukla paksha (waxing phase of moon)  dedicated to God Surya. 

Compared with the billions of other stars in the Universe,  it  is remarkable.  It is infact  a ball of gas (92.1 percent hydrogen and 7.8 percent helium) held together by its own gravity. It is  4,500,000,000 years old!  That's a lot of zeroes. That’s four and a half billion.  Going by what others do, i.e., burning  for about nine or 10 billion years – it can be said tobe halfway through its life. So no worries, it still has about 5,000,000,000—five billion (500 crores !)—years to go.  It is the SUN.

Science is very interesting !  - When those five billion years are up, the Sun will become a red giant. That means the Sun will get bigger and cooler at the same time. When that happens, it will be different than the Sun we know today. As a red giant, our Sun will become about 2,000 times brighter than it is now!  

Scientists are about to get their first-ever good looks at the poles of the sun, which could be key to solving some long-standing solar mysteries. The $1.5 billion Solar Orbiter, a European Space Agency (ESA) mission with strong NASA participation, is scheduled to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the night of Feb. 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Once it's aloft, the 3,970-lb. (1,800 kilograms) spacecraft will use several flybys of Venus, and one of Earth, to get into an unusual orbit around the sun — one that is significantly out of the ecliptic, the plane in which Earth and the other big planets circle.  Solar Orbiter won't get nearly that close to our star; the probe's highly eccentric path takes it within 26 million miles (42 million km) of the solar surface on closest approach. But the more-distant viewing location provides important advantages, mission team members have said.

The Sun, at the heart of our solar system, is a yellow dwarf star, a hot ball of glowing gases. Its gravity holds the solar system together, keeping everything from the biggest planets to the smallest particles of debris in its orbit.  In what is being considered a particularly rare event, scientists are projecting that the Sun will be an unusually cool customer by the year 2050. By combining data and observations from decades of Sun research, experts are predicting a “Grand Solar Minimum” will occur a few decades from now, making our parent star dimmer and cooler than it has been for a very long time.  Though to the common man,  the Sun would continue to look the same way as we have seen,  Sun goes through regular cycles of solar minimums and solar maximums, and that way,  a particularly cool solar minimum is on the way.

1st Feb 2020 was Ratha Sapthami.  It is believed that earth’s inclination towards the sun is the steepest on the day.  At some regions, special bathing rituals are observed.   Surya (Sun) worship is deep rooted in the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures.  The day  is celebrated as the birth of Surya to Sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi and celebrated as Surya Jayanthi in many parts. Legend has it that the greatest warrior Bhishma breathed last the day after the Ratha Sapthami day.  The Pithamaha is one the greatest characters in the Epic Mahabaratha and the asthami is revered as “Bhishmaashtami”.

நாம்  அனுதினமும் கண்களாலே பார்த்து சேவிக்க வல்லவன் - சூரிய பகவான்.  சூரியனுக்கு, : ஆதவன், ஆதித்யன், கதிரவன், ஞாயிறு, பகலவன், கனலி,  வெய்யோன், தினகரன், தினமணி, பானு என பல பெயர்கள் உண்டு. சூரிய பகவான்  தன் ரதத்தில் தினமும் சுற்றி திரும்பும் நேரமே ஒருநாள். சூரிய பகவான் ஒரு முகூர்த்த காலத்தில் 27,206,400 மைல்கள் சஞ்சரிக்கும் வல்லமை உடையவர். கருடனின் சகோதரரான அருணனே சூரிய பகவானின் தேர்ப்பாகனாக திகழ்கிறார். காயத்ரி, ப்ரஹதி, உஷ்ணிக்,ஜகதி, திருஷ்டுப், அனுஷ்டுப், பங்க்தி என்கிற ஏழு குதிரைகள் சூரியனின் ரதத்தை இழுத்துச் செல்கின்றன.

The Sun god is driven by a seven-horsed Chariot depicting the seven days of the week.   Going by Upanishad, their names are : Gayatri, Brhati, Usnik, Jagati, Tristup, Anustup and Pankti.  The charioteer of Surya is Aruna, who is also personified as the redness that accompanies the sunlight in dawn and dusk. Aruna was born to Vinatai and Sage Kashyapa….. the other son is the most illustrious Periya Thiruvadi (Sri Garuda Azhwar)  ~ to Aruna was born Jatayu and Sampati, who are mentioned in the epic Ramayana.  The chariot of Sun travels at a speed of 3,400,800 yojanas calculated as 27,206,400 miles in a muhurtha.  

Uttarayana is the six month period between Makara sankranti (Jan 14) and July 14 when Sun travels towards North in the celestial sphere. Ratha saptami marks the seventh day following the Sun’s northerly movement of vernal equinox starting from Capricorn (Makara).  A  journey from Makara rekai to Kadaka rekai – Capricorn to Cancer.  Ratha Sapthami  symbolically represents the Sun God Surya turning his Ratha (chariot) drawn by seven horses towards northern hemisphere in a north-easterly direction.

Traditionally in villages, Rangoli kolam is drawn with coloured rice powder depicting Chariot drawn by horses. From today, the days would get warmer, especially in South India. This is an important annual festival at Vaishnavaite temples.  At holy Thirumala, there would be purappadu of Uthsavar  Malaiappar in 7 vahanas.  In Kanchi, and other divyadesams -  there will be purappadu in the morning in Surya Prabhai and in the evening Chandra Prabhai. 

At Thiruvallikkeni, there was Suryaprabhai purappadu this morning.   Here are some photos of the grand purappadu : -

பெயரும் கருங் கடலே நோக்குமாறு*, ஒண்பூ
உயரும் கதிரவனே நோக்கும்* -உயிரும்
தருமனையே நோக்கும் ஒண் தாமரையாள் கேள்வன்*
ஒருவனையே நோக்கும் உணர்வு.   :  [முதல் திருவந்தாதி – பொய்கைப்பிரான்]

The rivers flow towards the mighty Ocean; lotus blossoms towards the direction of the Sun; all that is born eventually reach the lord of death ~ for us Srivaishnavaites, the only goal of realisation is the golden feet of the consort of Mahalakshmi -  Sriman Narayana.

~ adiyen Srinivasa dhasan (S. Sampathkumar)

•         In Greek mythology, Helios is the personification of Sun, imagined to be handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun.
•         Krishnamachari Srikkanth the dashing Indian opener, always  walked to the right of his partner while going out to bat with a characteristic head twist to the Sun. Once in an interview he was asked about this habit of looking at Sun. Pat came the reply : “Suryaha: prathyaksha devatha:”

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