navagraha

The Nine Influencers

Graha (from Sanskrit ग्रह gráha, —seizing, laying hold of, holding) (Tamil: கோள், kōḷ) is a ‘cosmic influencer’ on the living beings of mother Bhumidevi (Earth). In Hindu astrology, the Navagraha (Sanskrit: नवग्रह, nine seizers or nine influencers, Tamil: கோண்மீன், kōṉmīn, lit. Imperial stars) are some of these major influencers.

All the navagraha have relative movement with respect to the background of fixed stars in the zodiac. This includes the planets: MarsMercuryJupiterVenus, and Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, as well as positions in the sky, Rahu (north or ascending lunar node) and Ketu (south or descending lunar node).

According to some, Grahas are the “markers of influence” that point out the karmic influence on the behavior of living beings. They themselves are not causative elements but can be compared to traffic signs.

Astrologers claim that Grahas influence the auras (energy bodies) and minds of beings connected to the Earth. Each Graha carries a specific energy quality, which is described in an allegorical form through its scriptural and astrological references. The energies of the Grahas [connect] in a specific way to the individual auras of humans at the time they take their first breath in a given nativity. These energy connections remain with [them] as long as their current body lives.

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 PrathishtaSurya 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 PradishtaSurya 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.

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