Rath Saptami or Magha Saptami is also the birthday of the sun god
Today is Rath Saptami, an auspicious day in Indian calendar. It is also the birthday of the sun god. This marks the seventh day of the 'uttarayan' (northward movement) of the sun, the beginning of the spring to be followed by summer. This day marks the enhancement of solar power, the end of winter.
Across the country people take holy dips in seas, rivers and lakes and offer prayers to Sun god. There are several sun temples in India, the prominent one is at Konark, one of the seven wonders. Here on the Chandrabhaga beach thousands take holy dips before the sunrise and wait to have a glance of the sun at the distant horizon.
Seven is a magic number. There are seven colours in the solar spectrum (seen in the rainbow), there are seven days in a week, seven notes in our music system, seven stars in the Great Bear constellation (Saptarshi). We offer prayers to our seven past generations. When we feel elated or fotunate, there is a saying that one is in seven heavens! When some one is far, it is said one is acoss seven seas. And yes, before tying the knot the bride and the bridegroom go round the fire seven times. Every nation across the globe must have something to describe about sun god and the significance of seven.
Among several 'mantras' chanted on this day, the Gayatri mantra is most revered. On this auspicious day lets us offer our respects, gratitude and obeisance to sun god who sustains life on the earth.