Navagraha Deities

The Navagraha

The Navagraha denotes the nine celestial bodies (and not the nine planets as it is frequently errouneously translated) which are central to astrological calculations (and beliefs). The Navagrahas are: the sun, the moon, mars, mercury, jupiter, venus, saturn, and the two shadow planets Rahu and Ketu. [See: http://www.epoojaonline.org/navagraha.html]

Graha SuryaSurya
Surya is the chief, the solar deity, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives Aditi, Indra or Dyaus Pitar (depending on the version). He has hair and arms of gold. His chariot is pulled by seven horses, which represent the seven chakras. He presides as “Ravi” over “Ravi-var” or Sunday.
In Hindu religious literature, Surya is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see every day. Furthermore, Shaivites and Vaishnavas often regard Surya as an aspect of Shiva and Vishnu, respectively. For example, the sun is called Surya Narayana by Vaishnavas. In Shaivite theology, Surya is said to be one of eight forms of Shiva, named the Astamurti.
He is said to be of Sattva Guna and represents the Soul, the King, highly placed persons or fathers. According to Hindu mythology, among the more renowned progenies of Surya are Shani (Saturn), Yama (God of Death) and Karna (Mahabharatha) fame. Invoking Gayatri Mantra or Aditya Hrudaya Mantra (Adityahridayam) are known to please the Sun God. The grain associated with the Sun is whole wheat and the number associated to the Surya is 1.

Graha ChandraChandra
Chandra is a lunar deity. Chandra (moon) is also known as Soma and identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma. He is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He rides his chariot (the moon) across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. He is connected with dew, and as such, is one of the gods of fertility. He is also called Nishadipati (Nisha=night; Adipathi=Lord) and Kshuparaka (one who illuminates the night). He as Soma, presides over Somvar or Monday. He is of Sattva Guna and represents the Mind, the Queen or Mother.

 
Angraka graha.JPGMangala
Mangala is the god of Mars, the red planet. Mars is also called Angaraka (‘one who is red in colour’) or Bhauma (‘son of Bhumi’) in Sanskrit. He is the god of war and is celibate. He is considered the son of Prithvi or Bhumi, the Earth Goddess. He is the owner of the Aries and Scorpio signs, and a teacher of the occult sciences (Ruchaka Mahapurusha Yoga). He is of Tamas Guna in nature and represents Energetic action, confidence and ego. He is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident, club, lotus and a spear. His Vahana (mount) is a ram. He presides over ‘Mangal-var’ or Tuesday. There is a famous pilgrim place Mangalnath (in Ujjain,Madhya Pradesh, India). People who suffer from troubles related to Mangal Graha in their horoscope visit there on Tuesday. By worshiping & satisfying Mangal Graha, devotees get blessings & mercy of Mangal Devta. Only two temples of Mangal devata in India, of which one is in Amalner(Maharashtra) and another in Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Tamilnadu.Graha Budha

Budha
Budha is the god of the planet Mercury and the son of Chandra (the moon) with Tara (Taraka). He is also the god of merchandise and protector of merchants. He is of Rajas Guna and represents Communication.
He is represented as being mild, eloquent and of greenish colour. He is represented holding a scimitar, a club and a shield, riding a winged lion in Ramghur temple. In other illustrations, he holds a sceptre and lotus and rides a carpet or an eagle or a chariot drawn by lions.
Budha presides over ‘Budh-var’ or Wednesday. In modern Telugu Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada and Gujarati, Wednesday is called Budhvar; in Tamil and Malayalam it is Budhan.

Brihaspati graha.JPGBrihaspati
Brihaspati is the Guru of Devas, personification of piety and religion, the chief offerer of prayers and sacrifices, represented as the Purohita of the gods with whom he intercedes for men. He is the Lord of planet Jupiter. He is of Sattva Guna and represents knowledge and teaching. He is often known simply as “Guru”.
According to Hindu scriptures, he is the guru of the Devas and the arch-nemesis of Shukracharya, the guru of the Danavas. He is also known Guru, the god of wisdom and eloquence, to whom various works are ascribed, such as the “atheistic” Barhaspatya sutras.
His Tattva or element is Akasha or ether, and his direction is north-east. He is described of yellow or golden colour and holding a stick, a lotus and his beads. He presides over ‘Guru-var’, Brihaspativar or Thursday.

Graha ShukraShukra
Shukra, Sanskrit for “clear, pure” or “brightness, clearness”, is the name the son of Bhrigu and Ushana, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus (Shukracharya). He presides over ‘Shukra-var’ or Friday. He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction.
He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously mounted, on a camel or a horse or a crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.
In Astrology, there is a dasha or planetary period known as Shukra Dasha which remains active in a person’s horoscope for 20 years. This dasha is believed to give more wealth, fortune and luxury to one’s living if a person has Shukra positioned well in his horoscope as well as Shukra being an important benefic planet in his/her horoscope.

Graha ShaniShani
Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn, and is the Lord of Saturday. The origin of word Shani (शनि) comes from the following: Shanaye Kramati Sa: (शनये क्रमति सः) i.e. the one who moves slowly. Saturn takes about 30 years to revolve around the Sun, thus it moves slowly compared to other planets, thus the Sanskrit name शनि. Shani is actually a demi-god and is a son of Surya (the Hindu Sun God) and surya’s wife Chhaya. It is said that when he opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Shani on astrological charts (horoscope).
His Tattva or element is air, and his direction is west. He is Tamas in nature and represents learning the hard way, Career and Longevity. He is depicted dark in colour, clothed in black; holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and variously mounted on a black crow or a raven. He presides over ‘Shani-var’ or Saturday.

Graha RahuRahu
Rahu is God of the Ascending / North lunar node. Rahu is the head of the demonic snake that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses, according to Hindu scriptures. He is depicted in art as a dragon with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. He is a Tamas Asura who does his best to plunge any area of one’s life he controls into chaos. The rahu kala is considered inauspicious.
According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, the asura Rahu drank some of the divine nectar. But before the nectar could pass his throat, Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu) cut off his head. The head, however, remained immortal and is called Rahu, while the rest of the body became Ketu. It is believed that this immortal head occasionally swallows the sun or the moon, causing eclipses. Then, the sun or moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse.

Graha KetuKetu
Ketu is the Lord of Descending/South lunar node. Ketu is generally referred to as a “shadow” planet. He is considered as Tail of the Demon Snake. It is believed to have a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. In some special circumstances it helps someone achieve the zenith of fame. He is Tamas in nature and represents supernatural influences.
Astronomically, Ketu and Rahu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes. The fact that eclipses occur when the Sun and the Moon are at one of these points, gives rise to the story of the swallowing of the Sun and the Moon.

Associated characters

Each of the graha has associations with various characters, such as colors, metals, etc. The following table gives the most important associations:

Character Surya Dev (sun) Chandra (Moon) Mangala (Mars) Budha (Mercury)
Consort Suvarna & Chaaya Rohini Shaktidevi Ila
Color Yellow White Red Green
Gender Associated Male Male Male Neutral
Element Fire Water Fire Earth
God Agni Varuna Subramanya Vishnu
Pratyadi Devataa Rudra Gowri Murugan Vishnu
Metal Copper Silver Brass Zinc
Gemstone Ruby Pearl/Moonstone Red Coral Emerald
Body Part Bone Blood Marrow Skin
Taste Pungent Salt Acid Mixed
Food Wheat Rice Pigeon pea Mung bean
Season Summer Winter Summer Autumn
Direction East North West South North
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Character Guru (Jupiter) Shukra (Venus) Shani (Saturn) Rahu (north node) Ketu (south node)
Consort Tara Sukirthi & Urjaswathi Neeladevi Simhi Chitralekha
Color Gold White/Yellow Black/Blue Smoky Smoky
Gender Associated Male Female Neutral Female Neutral
Element Ether Water Air Air Earth
God Indra Indrani Brahma Nirriti Ganesha
Pratyadi Devataa Brahma Indra Yama Durga Chitragupta
Metal Gold Silver Iron Lead Mercury
Gemstone Yellow Sapphire Diamond Blue Sapphire Hessonite Cat’s Eye
Body Part Brain Semen Muscles Head Skin
Taste Sweet Sour Astringent
Food Chickpea kidney beans Sesame Urad (bean) Horse gram
Season Winter Spring All Seasons
Direction North East South East West South West
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Saturday -Tuesday


Positioning in Hindu custom

As per Hindu customs, the Navagraha are typically placed in a single square with the Sun (Surya) in the center and the other deities surrounding Surya; no two of them are made to face each other. In South India, their images are generally found in all important Saiva temples. They are invariably placed in a separate hall, on a pedestal of about three feet in height, usually to the north-east of the sanctum sanctorum.

There are 2 kinds of installation of the planets when arranged in this fashion, known as Agama Prathishta and Vaidika Prathishta.

In Agama Prathishta, Surya occupies the central place, Chandra on Surya’s east, Budha on his south, Brihaspati on his west, Shukra on his north, Mangala on his south-east, Shani on his south-west, Rahu on north-west and Ketu in the north-east. Temples such as Suryanar temple, Tiruvidadaimarudur, Tiruvaiyaru and Tirucchirappalli follow this system.

 
Agama Prathishta
Rahu symbol.png
Rahu
Shukra symbol.png
Shukra
Ketu symbol.png
Ketu
Guru symbol.png
Brihaspati
Surya symbol.png
Surya
Chandra symbol.png
Chandra
Shani symbol.png
Shani
Budha symbol.png
Budha
Mangal symbol.png
Mangal

In Vaidika Pradishta, Surya is still in the centre, but Shukra is in the east, Mangala in the south, Shani in the west, Brihaspati in the north, Chandra in the south-east, Rahu in the south-west, Ketu in the north-west and Budha in the north-east.

Vaidika Pradishta
Ketu symbol.png
Ketu
Guru symbol.png
Brihaspati
Budha symbol.png
Budha
Shani symbol.png
Shani
Surya symbol.png
Surya
Shukra symbol.png
Shukra
Rahu symbol.png
Rahu
Mangal symbol.png
Mangal
Chandra symbol.png
Chandra

Other temples install the Navagrahas in other arrangements.

In Ramanathapuram district, in a place called Navapashana, nine stone slabs are worshipped as the Navagraha. In temples like Tirukuvalai and Tiruvarur, the nine planets stand in a straight line. In Thirupanjali temple, they are represented by nine holes in a stone.

The Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple boasts a unique structure wherein the nine grahas are installed in a single stone. Surya is prominently displayed in this structure with seven horses in a chariot with two wheels and a charioteer. The other eight grahas are placed in eight directions with the sun in the centre.

At Agasthiyar Temple Chennai Pondy Bazaar a totally different form of position is done with Sun at the elevated centre and the remaining planets in an octogonal structure. This is called Agasthiyar Kattu (the form promoted by Sage Agasthiya).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navagraha

See also: http://thesevenminds.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/navagraha-and-the-fixed-stars/

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3 thoughts on “Navagraha Deities

  1. […] in the Atharvaveda and Chāndogya Upaniṣad, the Chāndogya mentioning Rāhu. In fact the term graha, which is now taken to mean planet, originally meant demon. The Rigveda mentions an eclipse causing […]

  2. Rahu and Ketu Kala Sarpa | The Seven Worlds September 13, 2014 at 3:44 pm Reply

    […] yoga in Hindu astrology. Kala Sarpa Yoga is formed when all the planets are hemmed between the Navagraha Planets Lord Rahu and Lord Ketu in one’s […]

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