By: Ahana Raghavan
For: Gurukulam- The Shloka Learning Centre
Who are the Navagrahas?
The Navagrahas are the nine planets of Hinduism.
1) Sun- Surya
Surya, the Sun god, is portrayed as a man with a red complexion, four arms, and three eyes. He is seen holding water lilies with two hands, his third hand encouraging devotees, and with his fourth hand seen blessing worshippers. Often depicted riding in a chariot pulled by seven mares, he is known to heat/illuminate the world and ward away diseases and darkness.
2) Moon- Chandra
Chandra, the Moon god, is often seen holding a lotus and club in his two hands. He too mounts on a chariot, which is pulled by ten white horses, or antelope. A fun fact about Chandra is that he was cursed by Ganesha. Here is the story of this occurrence. One night, Lord Ganesha rode on his mouse. But, the little mouse fell due to his inability to carry Ganesha’s weight. Chandra laughed, so Ganesha cursed him, stating that anyone who looked at the moon on Ganesha Chaturthi will be falsely accused of something.
3) Mars- Mangala
Mangala, the god of Mars, is often seen with a red complexion, carrying a mace, spear, trident, and lotus with his four arms, and mounted on a ram. Something interesting about Mangala is that he is known to be the god of anger, and this is why he appears to be red.
4) Mercury- Budha
Budha, the god of Mercury, is actually the son of the Moon god, Chandra. He has four hands, three of which hold a sword, mace, and shield, while the four hand blesses worshippers. He mounts on an eagle, or rides a chariot driven by lions.
5) Jupiter- Brihaspati
Brihaspati, the god of Jupiter, has a golden body, with blue striped legs, and his head has a halo of the moon and stars. Brihaspati is known as “Guru”, as he is the main offerer of sacrifices and prayer and values piety, devotion, and religion.
6) Venus- Sukra
Sukra is portrayed with four hands, holding sticks, beads, a lotus, and a bow and an arrow. Sukra is seated on a white lotus and is standing next to a white horse. Sukra means “bright and clear” in Sanskrit, and Sukra was given the status of a planet since he was in Lord Shiva’s physical body for many years.
7) Saturn- Sani
Sani has a black complexion and is seen carrying a sword, a bow, two arrows, an ax, and a trident. Sometimes, the deity is mounted on a vulture or a crow. Sani also carries blue flowers and sapphire and wears blue or black clothing. He is often seen riding a chariot through the skies.
Rahu has a head but has no body. He was born of a lioness, is snake-like, and has extraordinary powers.
Ketu has a body but has no head. He was known to remove the effects of snakebite and treats illnesses coming from poisons.