Through science most of us have learned about the existence of planets, the vast physical entities along with the earth in the cosmic sky. According to the wisdom such as of ancient Greece and Hinduism, these planets are also impersonal forces or the Gods/Goddesses one with the nature of our individual lives upon the earth.
The karma or an individual’s past life actions, a governing force of his future or destiny is said to coincide with the Planetary configurations, at the time of his birth. ‘The Planets are agents of your karma – they create your success or failure’ (Dr. Pillai, also known as Siva Baba.)
The Hindu astrological system known as ‘Jyotish’ or Vedic astrology is in essence a study of the Planetary movements to guide individuals to transcend its effects (which are caused by one’s own past life actions) in the present, to create a better future.
The Hindu astrology refer to these Planetary forces as the ‘navagrahas’. ‘Nava’ in the Sanskrit language mean ‘nine’. The Sanskrit term, ‘Graha’ is used to indicate the magnetic or possessive nature which is how the cosmic forces of the planets exert their influences on human lives. So the ‘navagrahas’ are the Planetary Lords of the Hindu astrology.
Since the nine Planetary Lords are the macrocosm of our personal lives, they are worshiped and befriended to benefit us in the path of our spiritual evolution while on earth.
The relationship established by astrology between the planets and human lives has not been accepted by the field of science. In this context it is noted that astrology irrefutably functions as a discipline that it is.
It is also applied for practical purposes like achieving success or loving relationships.
In the Vedic astrology, the twelve (12) Signs of the zodiac or ‘rashis’ are said to be each ruled by the Planetary deities. In addition, the other elements such as the twelve (12) Houses, or ‘bhavas’ and the twenty-seven (27) Lunar mansions, or ‘nakshatras’ are also associated with Planetary rulership / lordship.
The ‘navagrahas’ are worshiped along with the other Supreme Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon – they include Ganesha, Maha Lakshmi, Shiva, Parvathi, Muruga, Hanuman and Vishnu.
It should be noted here that though in Hinduism there is a mention of a number of deities of various forms – including the Planetary deities – they are all derived from the one Supreme Truth known as the Brahman.
The Nine Planetary Deities that are worshiped as the ‘navagrahas’ are as follows:
– Surya – the Sun God,
– Chandra – the Moon God
– Anagaraka or Mangala – the Mars God
– Budha – the Mercury God
– Guru or Brihaspathy – the Jupiter God
– Sukra – the Venus God
– Sani or Sanischara – the Saturn God
– Rahu – the God of the North Node of the Moon (represented by the Snake’s head)
– and Ketu – the God of the South Node of the Moon (represented by the Snake’s tail).
Each of the Planetary lords are attributed to certain significations.
The Sun God is assigned to signify primarily the soul. The Sun also represent the father. The Moon signifies the universal and individual mind, the Divine mother and emotions. The Mars signify the energy of warrior. The Mercury God signify speech, communication and intelligence. Jupiter signifies wisdom and abundance. Lord Venus signify reproduction and beauty. Lord Saturn signify loss and learning of the karmic lessons.
Worshipping Lord Rahu (North Node of the moon) ushers in the doorway to positive future. “Ketu (South Node of the moon) is known as the ‘inlet point’ for past life karmas.” (ref.: http://www.livingskillfully.com/ketu.html
The ‘navagrahas’ in the Hindu temples are commonly found along with other chambers of the Supreme Gods like Ganesha. They are nine statues placed in three rows. They represent the five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – along with the Sun, the Moon and the two nodes of the moon – Rahu and Ketu. The ‘navagrahas’ are commonly worshipped by the devotees by circumambulating the chamber for nine times.
In southern India there are also unique places of worship solely dedicated to one of the Planetary deities. Any defect found in the astrological chart of the native could be rectified by performing the specific rituals at one or more these temples. An astrologer is skilled in recognizing the details of the Planetary misplacements in the individual’s horoscope and in prescribing the required remedies (called ‘parihaaram’ in the Tamil language.)
Human beings are uniquely gifted as a species with free will. Using the astrological assistances “a person who uses it in alignment with divine purpose can generate more energy than the strongest planet.” (ref.: “How to Practice Vedic Astrology,” book by Andrew Bloomfield) The influences of the planets, though real can only be just that. They “do not really control us.”