Navagrahas- Stars of Destiny

Posted by on Aug-1-2009

The mood of sea is reflected in the mind of the sailor. When the sea is troublesome we sailors have a turbulent mind. When its peaceful, we share the same notion.

Sailing through the calm sea- Aaah ! there is nothing like it. Patted by the gentle waves, lulled by the sea breeze , I enjoy standing still , gazing the clear sky above me.

The stars rightly described as ‘Diamond in the sky’ have always been a fascination for me.

I think stars have always been an attraction for man kind and it this interest which initiated the study about them.

From time immemorial, stars are believed to influence the life and destiny of humans and this led to the science of Astrology. All the ancient civilizations have made considerable contribution to this science and out of this Indians stand head and shoulders above the others.

Indian astrology revolves around the Navagrahas or the Nine Planets. The Navagrahas are nine important deities of the Hindu religious tradition. They are Surya, Chandra, Angaraka, Budha, Guru, Sukra, Sani, Rahu and Ketu. They stand for nine planets, the English equivalents of the first seven being, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. The last two, Rahu and Ketu are planet-like entities, unique to the Hindu tradition. Sun and Moon are also considered as planets in Indian astrology.

Ancient Indian visionaries had an extensive knowledge of Astronomy derived from observation, analysis and profound insight. They observed that planetary movements and human affairs presented remarkable coincidences and concurrences within repetitive cyclic patterns that made them predictable. Thus they codified their composite knowledge of Astronomy and Astrology into a single science called Jyotisha. This work became sufficiently significant to human affairs that it was invested with the status of a Vedanga, a limb of the Vedas.

The Navagrahas have lived in the minds of millions of Indians over scores of years . They have been celebrated and worshipped in sloka and stotra, in sculpture and music. The nine Navagraha deities are to be be found in a small, special, square enclosure in every temple. No visit to a temple is complete without the devotee offering worship at this enclosure. And a copper plate with the Navagrahas inscribed on them, is often to be found in the Puja room in Hindu households among the objects kept for worship. For, the Navagrahas are believed to determine the course of our lives. The popular Navagraha sloka –

bhaasvaanme bhaasayettatvaM chandrashchhaalhaada krudbhaveit.|
mangalo mangalaM dadyaat. budhashchha budhataaM disheit.|
gururme gurutaaM dadyaat. kavishchha kavitaaM disheit.|
shanishcha shaM praapayatu ketuH ketuM jaye.arpayeit.|
raahurme raahayedrogaM grahaaH santu karagrahaaH|
navaM navaM mamaishvaryaM dvishantete navagrahaaH|
shane dinamaNeH suuno hyanekaguNa sanmaNe|
arishhTam hara me.abhiishhTaM kuru maa kuru sankaTaM|
hareranugrahaarthaaya shatruuNaaM nigrahaayacha|
vaadiraajayati proktaM grahastotraM sadaa paThet.||
Let Shri Surya enlighten me the knowledge of the supreme(Lord Vishnu), Chandra(Moon) shower happiness on me, Mangala(Mars) give auspiciousness, Budha(Mercury) shower wisdom, Guru the greatness, Shukra(Venus) shower scholarship, Shani(saturn) provide well-being, Ketu give victory, Rahu desrtoy ill health. Let all the planets be beneficial to me. Let my wealth(devotion, financial properties, knowledge, etc.,) increase day by day. O! Shani(Saturn) the son of Surya, who shines with several virtues, destroy my ill-fate, full-fill my wishes, and please do not put me in difficulties(in the troublesome Saturn period). One should recite this stotra composed by Shri Vadiraja Swamy regularly for the blessings of Shri Hari and the destruction of one’s enemies(greed, jealousy, anger, false pride etc.,)

Apart this there are temples exclusively devoted to Navagrahas. For example the Navagraha Temple or the temple of the nine celestial bodies located in the south eastern part of Guwahati in Assam, on a hill by name Chitrachal. As the name indicates, this temple is dedicated to the nine planets in the solar system. Navagraha Temple at Guwahati Assam is a center of astrological and astronomical research. The Navagraha temple as it stands today was built by the ruler Rajeswar Singh in late 18th century AD. The temple tower was destroyed by an earthquake, but was reconstructed later. Enshrined in this temple are nine Shivalingams, representing the nine Celestial bodies, each covered with a colored garment symbolic of each of the celestial bodies. The nine planetary gods, namely area – Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu and Ketu. There is Surya Mandir near Guwahati on the Surya Pahar hill.

According to Indian Astrology, the unfavorable position of Planets in the Horoscope is responsible for all the hardships and struggles faced by us despite of the hard work and efforts we put in to improve our lives. The placement of the nine planets in the Horoscope points out the karmic influence on the behavior of the individual. Astrologists and Numerologists use this information to suggest remedial measures for appeasing the ill effects of Planets like wearing gemstones or rudrakshas, chanting mantras related to the planet etc.

When I look up and see the stars, I often wonder what they have got in store for me. Luck or…

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