Navagraha – Significance of 9 Planetary Gods in Hindu Dharma

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Navagraha – Significance of 9 Planetary Gods in Hindu Dharma

Planets are considered to have a major role in the life of each human being. This is not just based on Jyotish Shastra or Vedic Astrology, but it is what modern science also talks about.

Great seers of the past understood the cosmos very well and the cosmic significance on the living beings of planet Earth. Like Parashara Rishi and Jaimini Rishi, few seers compiled the knowledge of light or heavenly body, known as Jyotisha Shastra, based on Vedas.

As per Jyotisha Shashtra (also known as Vedic Astrology), nine planets have particular functions in the natal chart and represent special energies. These nine planets are collectively known as “Navagrahas.” The effects of these planets are influenced by the zodiac sign it occupies.

As senses control our body, planets control the possibilities and potentialities of a human’s life and energies based on their positions in the sky. Graha means planet or controlling, seizing, grasping, or cognizing.

Graha is associated with many other concepts, including marriage (Panigraha – a connection between bride and bridegroom as the bridegroom holds the little finger of a bride with his little finger).

Navagrahas are worshipped for good luck or to overcome adversity, bad luck, or misfortune arising from past karmas or birth-related defects (doshas).

Significance of Navagrahas

The Navagrahas are not just planets but specific vibrations in the cosmos influencing our mind and different body parts. They are the Vedic Gods, and each Navagraha can influence different aspects of our lives.

In the body, they facilitate the working of individual karma, while in the macrocosm, the unraveling of collective karma and the fate of the world.

Navagrahas – 9 Planets in Vedic Astrology

Of these nine planets (Navagrahas), seven are physically existing; Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, whereas two are physically non-existent; Rahu and Ketu.

All of these planets influence human life in various ways, and some planets are beneficial while others are malefic. Let us look into each of the Navagrahas.

1. Surya (Sun)

Sun is the lord of Leo zodiac Sign.

Standing in the center facing east in the company of the other planets, Surya is the Sun-god, also called Ravi, and he is considered the lord of the planets (Grahapati). He rides a one-wheeled chariot pulled by seven horses representing the seven colors of the white light and seven days of the week.

The day of the Sun is Sunday, and the gemstone is Ruby. The ill placement of the Sun in the horoscope can lead to mental tension, headache, fever, body ache, problems of heart, etc. Surya Namaskar is a good practice to have a healthy life.

2. Chandra (Moon)

Moon rules the Cancer Zodiac Sign.

Never depicted full in his images, Moon, also known as Soma due to his waxing and waning qualities, is seen every time in the upper body with two hands holding one lotus each and riding a chariot led by ten horses. Known for representing the mind, feminine nature, beauty, and happiness, a person’s mental stability, and well-being largely depend on the position of the Moon in the horoscope.

Urinary Infections, colitis, bronchitis, abdominal problems, etc., can occur with an ill placement of the Moon in a horoscope. Monday is his day, and Pearl is his gemstone.

3. Mangal (Mars)

Mars rules Aries and Scorpio zodiac signs.

The ferocious God with four hands, Mars, is also called Angaraka. He is the protector of dharma and chief of the Army of God in the sky. Also referred to as ‘hot planet’ Mars, in two of his hands holds a mace and a spear each and holds the other two hands in Abhaya and Varada mudra.

Mars rules over the body’s muscular system, nose, forehead, and circulatory systems. Placement of Mangal in the 1st,2nd, 4th, 7th, 8thand 12th house of horoscope causes Mangal Dosha, which brings about many malefic effects in human life. Tuesday is the day of Mars, and Coral is his gemstone.

4. Budha (Mercury)

Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo zodiac signs.

Governing the nervous system, Budha or Mercury represents intelligence and communication. Riding a chariot or a lion, Mercury has four hands, three embellished with a sword, a shield, and a mace, respectively, and the fourth is held in Varada mudra.

The day of Mercury is Wednesday, and the gemstone is emerald. His misplacement problems, like stammering, bronchitis, asthma, paralysis, brain fever, etc., can happen.

5. Brihaspati (Jupiter)

Jupiter is the Lord of Pisces and Sagittarius Zodiac signs.

Symbolizing knowledge, love, and spirituality, Jupiter, also called Brahmanaspati, is the teacher of gods and is praised in many hymns in Rigveda. Seated in a chariot driven by eight horses, Jupiter has two hands, and the horses represent eight branches of knowledge.

Indicated by Thursday and yellow sapphire as gemstone, his ill placement can cause diabetes, piles, tumors, liver malfunction, blood cancer, gout, etc. He rules over the thighs, flesh, kidney, liver fat, and arterial system.

6. Sukra (Venus)

Venus rules Taurus and Libra zodiac signs.

Venus symbolizes love and passion, the teacher of Asura and the author of Sukraniti. Generally shown with four hands riding a silver or golden chariot with eight horses, three of his hands hold a staff, a rosary, and a vessel of gold, respectively, and the fourth hand is in Varada mudra.

The best day for Venus is Friday; the gemstone is a diamond. His ill placement can cause eye diseases, indigestion, skin rashes, pimples, impotence, and venereal diseases.

7. Shani (Saturn)

Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius zodiac signs.

Shani Graha, or Saturn, is a Judge, God of Karma, who is invariably feared and especially worshipped by people believing in Hindu astrology. He makes and breaks fortunes by his influence and position in the planetary system. Holding an arrow, a bow, and a spear in three of his hands and holding Varada mudra in his fourth hand, he rides a chariot, buffalo, or vulture.

Saturn symbolizes longevity, misery, grief, and old age. Saturday is his day, and his gemstone is blue sapphire. His erroneous placement can lead to asthma, gout, rheumatism, impotence, etc.

8. Rahu (Shadow planet – Snake’s head)

He resembles Budha, but they are not the same in nature and temperament. He generally rides a dark lion while Budha rides a white lion. Rahu doesn’t have any special day for him, and it is said that he swallows the Sun and the Moon causing an eclipse. Bothered Rahu can cause several obstacles and miseries in one’s success. His gemstone is Gomed.

9. Ketu (Shadow Planet – Snake’s tail)

Known as Comet (Dhuma Ketu) in Sanskrit, he has the body of a serpent, making him similar to a comet in appearance. However, in images, he is usually shown with a marked poke body riding upon a vulture and holding a mace.

According to Vedic astrology, Ketu represents karmic collections, both good and bad, spirituality, and supernatural influences. The Gemstone of Ketu is Cats Eye.

Interesting Facts about Navagrahas

  1. Each Navagraha, except Rahu and Ketu, rules one day each week.
  2. Navagrahas are present in every Hindu temple as sub deities.
  3. Navagrahas are worshipped after Lord Ganesh is worshipped in any Aayojan.
  4. Rahu and Ketu are not planets but are ascending and descending nodes of the Moon.
  5. Almost every Hindu temple has Navagrahas meant to protect the temple and those entering the temple.
  6. No two grahas shall face each other if housed in a separate mandapa.
  7. The Sun is one of the Adityas, the son of Kashyap and Aditi. He is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see daily.
  8. The Moon is connected with the dew and is one of the gods of fertility. He got married to the daughters of Daksha Prajapathi; thus, he has 27 wives representing the 27 constellations (Nakshatras).
  9. Mars is considered the son of Earth, thus called Bhauma,
  10. Budha (Mercury) is the son of the Moon and Tara.
  11. 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 gives more wealth, fortune, and luxury to one’s living if a person has Shukra positioned well in his horoscope. Shukra is an important benefic planet in their horoscope.
  12. Shani is the demi-god and son of Surya and his wife, Chhaya.
  13. During Samundra Manthana, Rahu drank some of the divine nectar. Still, before it could reach his throat, Mohini, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, cut his head off, thus leaving an immortal head called Rahu and the rest of the body became Ketu.