Importance of Rathasapthami :
Radha Sapthami or Rathasapthami is an auspicious festival celebrated by Hindus and the festival is dedicated to Surya Bhagavan / Suryanarayana. It is during this period that Surya moves from southeast to northeast. We worship Lord Suryanarayana for better health and well-being. Rathasapthami symbolizes the change of season in spring and the start of the harvest season. For most Indian farmers, this is an auspicious start to the new crop year. The festival is observed by all Hindus in their homes and in countless temples dedicated to Sun god, all over India. These are called Uttarayanam (the first semester) and Dakshinayanam (the second semester). The first semester is considered more favorable than the second semester. It is the day when Surya was born to know Kashyapa and his wife Adithi.
Significance of Radhasapthami:
Surya is considered an important god because he is the source of life. This is why he is place in the center of the Navagrahas (nine planets). Scientists have discovered that the sun is the center of the nine planets and all of them orbiting the sun. Our sages discovered this truth thousands of years ago and have mentioned it in various places in the Hindu scriptures. In fact, the characteristics of the sun and the nine planets have been clearly described in the Vedas. These characteristics can be identified in the “navagraha mantra“, and they are similar to what the NASA scientist described in his research results. It is a great testimony to affirm that many aspects of the Hindu faith are scientifically important.
The Scriptures proclaim that the word “ratha” symbolizes the spirit. The spirit is the chariot. Innumerable thoughts arise in the mind. These thoughts are like different horses, which push the mind in many different directions. To allow the spirit to progress towards the divine, the right set of horses must pull it in the right direction. It is, in fact, the deepest spiritual vision and meaning of Ratha Saptami.
Importance of Worshipping Suryanarayana:
Many people worship Surya Bhagavan because he is called as “Aarogya and Aishwarya Datha” (provider of health and wealth). Surya is worshiped early in the morning as new rays of sunshine emerge. It is believed and demonstrated that exposure to the fresh rays of the sun rejuvenates energy and purifies the mind and body. This is why many Hindus do suryanamaskaras early in the morning when the rays of the sun are fresh. Scientifically, it is also recommended that there are many benefits when exposed to the morning sun.
Naivedyam offered to Suryanarayana:
After prayers, people worship Surya Bhagavan and prepare Chakkara Pongal/sweet rice made with sugar or jaggery and Vadas for naivedyam with coconut, beetle and banana leaves and fruit.