Navagrahams

By

Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran

About the Author: Mr T Sampath Kumaran is a freelance writer. He regularly contributes articles on Management, Business, Ancient Temples, and Temple Architecture to many leading Dailies and Magazines. His articles are popular in “The Young World section” of THE HINDU His e-books on nature, environment, festivals and different cultures of people around the world are educative and of special interest to the young. His e-books – Guide to 108 Divya Desams, Guide to 275 Siva Sthalams, Ganesha, Muruga, Pilgrimage to Narasimhaswami shetrams, Tirupati Gangamma, Vision of Sri Madhwacharya and Guru Raghavendra, The Path of Ramanuja, Guide to Kancheepuram, Hanuman and Hinduism in a nutshell have been well received in the religious circle. He was associated in the renovation and production of two Documentary films on Nava Tirupathi Temples, and Tirukkurungudi Temple in Tamilnadu.

Acknowledgement: I wish to express my gratitude to the authors from whose works I gathered the details for this book, and Courtesy, Google for some of the photographs. Special thanks to www.scribd.com for hosting my e-books.

Planetary worship is still in practice in India, and occupies a prominent position in the religious life of India today. Many diseases and other troubles of earthly existence are ascribed to the malign influence of angered planetary deities, whose wrath is to be pacified. Monumental representations of planets start appearing in North India in the Gupta period (7th century AD) and spreads to south India by 11th century AD. Graha (from Sanskrit gráha, - seizing, laying hold of, holding - is a 'cosmic influencer' on the living beings of mother Earth. In Hindu Astrology, the Navagraha: nine seizers or nine influencers, are some of these major influencers. The configuration of nine idols, called Navagraha, represents the nine principal heavenly bodies that influence man's life. They are considered different aspects of Paramaathma. Worshipping them is a way to attain His abode. Each of them confer different benefits like good health (Surya - Sun), Victory (Chandra - Moon), Family prosperity (Angaraka - Mars), Wisdom (Budha -Mercury), Honour (Guru Jupiter), Vocal skills (Sukra - Venus), Joy and happiness (Sani - Saturn), Strength (Rahu), and Personal opulence (Ketu).

The sages saw a relationship between the position and movements of the planets and the destiny of man, the sorrow and happiness experienced by him. There is a branch of astrology called 'hora-skandha'. If we know the planetary position at the time of commencing a job or enterprise, with its help, we should be able to find out how it would take shape, how we would fare in it. If our horoscope is cast on the basis of the configuration of the planets at the time of our birth, our fortunes over the entire period of our life can be predicted." After the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Siva) the Navagrahas (including Surya) have the maximum importance in Hindu Rituals. They are considered to play a major role in deciding the destiny of man. During the Vedic Era, the Sages and the Saints known as Rishis and Munis used to calculate the time from the sunrise till sunset by viewing the shadows. During night time they used the stars positions to judge the time of the moment. Unlike these days they never had any clock and measuring instruments, yet they were far more accurate in finding the planetary positions and their movements. What they found is astonishingly accurate to today's developed science and technology. They identified the planets and its influence on the earth and its particles so precisely that each planet has some relative element in its existence. Listed below are some of the links and examples that are quite relevant to Astrology and its notions. Sun being the largest star in our Solar system, while passing its rays to the earth also touches many other planets, before entering into the earth's

atmosphere. Thus radiation emanated from the Sun is a mixture of rays with contamination from other planets. These mixed rays are suitable for some and not so for others, whether human or otherwise. To overcome these problems they found simple solutions from nature itself and discovered that each planet is, in one or other way linked to the nature, viz. tree, plants, grain, mineral and color too. They precisely found the links and identified it with remarkable influences. For instance, wheat is identified with Sun and if a person has the Star Sun placed in a weaker position, then he is advised to substitute wheat with other food items. This is a corrective measure which helped the sufferer from the ill effects of the planet/star. Like wise, for each planet they marked a particular grain, mineral, metal, tree or plant, color and flower. Humans are also capable to tune themselves to the chosen energy of a specific Graha through Worship with that Graha or its presiding deity. The effects of worship of specific deities are manifested accordingly to the layout of their relative energies in a given nativity of a worshiper in question, in particular depending on the Bhava occupied by the respective Grahas. "The cosmic energy we always receive contains different energies coming from different celestial bodies." "When we repeatedly utter a Mantra we are tuning to a particular frequency and this frequency establishes a contact with the cosmic energy and drags it into our body and surroundings." Hindus all over the world follow birth charts based on NavaGrahas (9 planets). Hindus believe that Navagrahas play a key role in their destiny, and are responsible for all the good or bad times one faces in life. According to Hindu Astrology, significance is attached on the positions of the nine planets in the twelve constellations of the zodiac, the belt around the sky in which the movements of Sun, Moon and planets are confined. People believe that transition of Saturn, Jupiter, Rahu and Ketu from one zodiac sign to other sign will bring good or bad or mixed fortunes. All miseries and obstacles caused by one or many planets will be mitigated by chanting Gayatris relevant to the specific ill placement of any of these planets in ones horoscope. According to Hindu Astrology an ill placement of any of these planets in ones horoscope can cause diseases or other negative effects in that person‟s life. The Navagrahas needs to be propitiated in

order to have a good life. Each of these Planetary Gods, except Rahu and Ketu, rules one day each of the week and also have Gemstones representing them. Praying to the grahas when they are with their consorts is considered to bring immediate positive influence as the grahas are in a cheerful mood. Navagrahas with their consorts are called SAKTHI SAMETHA NAVAGRAHAS. Navagrahas along with their consorts are found very rarely even in India. It is one of a kind in Singapore. "Different reasons are given for the ups and downs in a man's life, for his joys and sorrows. It is similar to finding out the different causes of the ailment he suffers from. The physicians, mantravadis, pandits, and psychologists will give different reasons. All these different causes may be valid. All of them go to create an experience. Many outward signs manifest themselves as the fruits of our past karma. They are all related to one another. The course of planets governing our life is in accordance with our karma. We come to know the consequences of our actions in previous births in various ways. Astrological calculations help us to find out such consequences as indicated by the heavenly bodies." The motion of planets in the solar system is a mapping, simply monitoring the pulse of the unified field as it wells up through existence. To fully know who it is and what it is you truly are, you must understand your place in the multidimensional universe. Each person is an inseparable, integral part of the totality of this universe. Jyotish gives expression to the interface of one‟s Transcendental being, one‟s prana, with the karmic scheme of things. In order to mitigate the negative effects of karma (shown as planet debilitation or difficult transits in the birth chart) or to provide more potency to one‟s good karma (shown as a planet that is in an exalted state or well-placed, or beneficial transits in the birth chart), devotees make pilgrimages to Navagraha temples. When things are out of harmony with Nature (karma), the Navagrahas can be an efficient means to affect healing and restore Natural harmony. Therefore, we relate to the Navagrahas to avert mishaps, and help bring health, peace, and harmony to our lives. As per the ancient scriptures, at temples, the Navagrahas are usually placed in a square, with the sun (Surya) in the center, and the other planets surrounding it. None face each other. The details of the 9 Planetary Gods – Navagrahas, in Hindu Religion are given below. Surya (SUN)

In Hindu religious literature, Surya is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see every day. Surya is the chief solar deity, one of the Adityas, son of Kashyapa and Aditi. Surya is the chief of the Navagrahas representing Sattvaguna. His consorts are Usha and Chaaya He has hair and arms of gold. His chariot is pulled by seven horses, which represent the seven chakras. The Sun is considered as a royal Planet and giver of life. He presides as "Ravi" over "Ravi-var" or Sunday.

Chandra (MOON) 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 married to daughters of Daksha Prajapathi. He has therefore 27 wives, representing twenty seven Nakshatras (constellations). His divine spouse is Rohini. The Moon represents the mind, feminine nature, beauty and happiness. The mental stability and well being of an individual to a larger extent depends on the placement of moon in horoscope.

Mangala (ANGARAKA) 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. Once, when Lord Shiva was in deep meditation, perspiration from his third eye fell on earth. The male child that was born of this sweat drop was Angaragan (Chevvai) He is the god of war and is celibate. He is considered the son of Prithvi, the Earth Goddess. His consort is Shakti. Mars is often referred to as a „hot planet‟ and protector of Dharma. Mars controls the muscular system of the body.

Budha

G

Budha is the god of the planet Mercury and the son of Chandra (the moon) with Tara (Taraka). His wife is Ila. He is also the god of merchandize and protector of Merchants. He is represented as being mild, eloquent and of greenish colour.

Guru (BRIHASPATI) Brihaspathi/Guru (Jupiter) is the Guru of Devas and the arch nemesis of Asura Guru, Shukraacharya He represents Sattvaguna.He is a personification of piety, wisdom and eloquence. His consort is Taara. Brihaspati is the name of a Vedic, personification of piety and religion, the chief priest 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 represents knowledge and teaching.

Sukra Shukra, the Sanskrit for "clear, pure" or "brightness, clearness", is the name of the son of Bhrigu and Ushana, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction. He is described variously mounted, on a camel or a horse or a crocodile. 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

Shani (SATURN) Shani is one of the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology (that is, Vedic). Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn. The origin of word Shani comes from the following: 'Shanaye Kramati Sa' 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. Shani is actually a demi-god and is a son of Surya (the Hindu Sun God) and his 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 consort is Neela Devi. Saturn is often referred to as a „dark planet‟ and symbolizes longevity, misery, grief and old age.

RAHU Rahu is God of the Ascending / North lunar node. Raahu is the Head of Demon Snake that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses according to Hindu scriptures. He is depicted in art as a dragon without a body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. His consort is Simhi. He is an Asura who does his best to plunge any area of one's life he controls into chaos. The Raahu kala is considered inauspicious. Rahu does not have any special day dedicated to it

KETU 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. His consort is Chitralekha There is a cluster of Navagraha Temples dating from the Chola dynasty near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. The Surya temple is the only one dedicated to the Graham. In fact, it is dedicated entirely to the worship of the Sun-God and the other navagrahas, the former being the object of worship as the principal deity and the latter as attendant deities.

The Navagraha temples and some of the legends associated with them:
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Surya Navagrahastalam – Suryanar Koil Chandra Navagrahastalam -- Thingalur Angaarakan Navagrahastalam – Vaitheeswaran Koil Budha Navagrahastalam – Tiruvenkadu Guru Navagrahastalam -- Alangudi Sukra Navagrahastalam -- Kanjanur Shani Navagrahastalam -- Thirunallar Raahu Navagrahastalam -- Tirunageswaram Ketu Navagrahastalam -- Keezhpermpallam

The Sivasuryanarayana temple at Suryanar Koil is one of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Suryan. This temple has shrines for each of the other planets as well. The legend says that Kalava Munivar had the rare ability to see the future. One fine day, he realised that he was soon going to be affected by leprosy. Since the Navagrahas controlled all the aspects of ones life, he prayed to the Navagrahas and

sought to be saved from the disease. Pleased by his devotion, the Navagrahas granted his wish. On coming to know of this, Brahma was furious because nobody had the right to change the destiny of a person. He cursed all the nine planets that they will have to undergo what Kalava munivar was destined to, and hence all the nine planets were affected by leprosy. The Navagrahas apologised and requested to know how they could overcome this curse. Brahma advised them to go the Thirumangalakudi and worship Prananatheswarar, at Vellerukkakadu, who alone could help them. After worshiping Prananatheswarar and his consort Mangalambigai, they installed an idol of Vinayakar a little away from there and started their penance. By God‟s grace they attained papa vimochanam (salvation from their sin). Kalava Munivar, for whom the Navagraha had undergone all the trouble, as a mark of gratitude, raised a temple at the same spot where the Navagrahas had performed their penance.

The sthalam of Chandran is Thingalur, which is located 36kms from Kumbakonam. Chandran is also hailed as Thingal and his abode is Thingalur. it is here that Chndran prayed to Lord Siva and got his blessings. As Chandran is held in the locks of Lord Siva, all devotees who worship Easwaran have also to worship this planet. The Devas and asuras were churning the paarkadal using Mandira Malai and the snake Vasuki. The asuras held the head portion of thesnake and the devas, the tail portion. The poison emitted by Vasuki was consumed by Lord Siva to save the devas, but the toxicity of venom affected the Devas who swooned on its impact. Alongwith the nectar (amirtham), Chandran emerged and it was he who revived the Devas. Apputhi Adigal was born in Thingalur. he was an ardent followerof Thirunavukkarasar, without ever laying his eyes on the great soul. He did a lot of welfare activity in his hometown in the name of Thirunavukkarasar. During his visit to this holytown Thirunavukkarasar heard about Apputhi Adigal and visited his abode and consented to partake in the meal offered in his honour. To serve food for Thirunavukkarasar, Apputhi Adigal sent his son to the garden to fetch a plantain leaf. When on this errand, a snake bit him and the lad passed away. Not wishing to disappoint his guest, Apputhi Adigal covered the corpse of his son and tried to serve his mentor. But realising the situation, Thirunavukkarasar carried the corpse to the temple of Lord siva in Thingalur and revived the boy singing and imploring the Lord with Thirupadigam.

Chevvai Bhagavan is worshipped in the town of Vaideeswaran Koil which is also called Thirupullirukku Velur, near Kumbakonam. Budha is the god of the planet Mercury and the son of Chandra (the moon). He is also the god of merchandise and protector of merchants. He is of Rajas Guna and represents communication – mind. The temple is located in Tiruvenkadu. The sthlam of Guru Bhagavan is Alangudi, near Kumbakonam. 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. The Devas, when churning the paarkadal for nectar, were hindered by the poisonous fumes from the snake Vasuki and prayed to Lord Siva for deliverance. Lord Siva consumed the deadly poison (Ala Visham), thus giving rise to the name Alangudi to this sthalam. As per the legend Lord Siva as a ferryman(boatman) was helping Sundaramurthy Swamigal cross the river (Vettaru) which was in spate, to reach this sthalam. The boat capsized hitting a rock, when halfway. Lord siva seated on his Rishaba Vahana helped him reach the sthala safely. Sundarar received his Gnanaupadesam after his darshanam of Dakshinamurthy at this sthala. Shukra, in Sanskrit means for "clear, pure" or "brightness, clearness", is the name the son of Bhrigu and Ushana, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus. He presides over 'Shukra-var' or Friday. He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction. 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. The origin of word Shani comes from the following: Shanaye Kramati Sa 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. Shani is actually a demigod 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). Saneeswaran is reputed to be both, a giver and destroyer. A person who prays to Saneeswaran will be blessed with not only riddance from the problems and worries faced, but a life that one desires. The sthalam of Sani

Bhagavan is Thirunallaru, which is located 3kms from Karaikal, enroute to Peralam. According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, the Asura Raahu 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 Raahu, 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. The temple is located at Tirunageswaram near Kumbakonam. The king of the nagas, Rahu prayed to Lord Siva and hence this place got the name Thirunageswaram. Here Rahu Bhagavan has manifested with both his consorts. At this sthala, the colour of milk changes from white to blue during Abhishekam. 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. The temple is located at Keezhperumpallam.
The japa mantras of Navagrahas are as under:
Surya "Om hram hreem hroum sah suryaya namah", 6000 times in 40 days. Chandra "Om shram sreem shraum sah chandraya namah", 10000 times in 40 days. Kuja(Mangala) " Om kram kreem kroum sah bhaumaya namah ", 7000 times in 40 days. Budha " Om bram breem broum sah budhaya namah" ,

17000 times in 40 days. Guru " Om jhram jhreem jroum sah gurave namah " , 16000 times in 40 days. Shukra " Om dram dreem droum sah shukraya namah ", 20000 times in 40 days. Sani " Om pram preem proum sah shanaischaraya namah " , 19000 times in 40 days. Rahu " Om bhram bhreem bhroum sah rahave namah", 18000 times in 40 days. Ketu " Om shram shreem shroum sah ketave namah " , 7000 times in 40 days.

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