In Hindu religion and mythology, the nine planets occupy an important role. The planet deities are referred to as the NAVAGRAHA and they have a significant impact on the lives of individual and therefore a Hindu adorns these planets as deities, so that they may bring peace and harmony in their life and to avert any mishap. NAVA means nine. GRAHA means planet.
After the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Siva) the Navagrahas have the maximum importance in Hindu Rituals. They are considered to play a major role in deciding the destiny of man. All the nine grahams (planets) viz Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu (Snake’s head) and Ketu (Snake’s tail) give us pleasure and serenity and remove obstacles from our way. In astrology, great importance is placed on the positions of the various planets in the twelve constellations of the zodiac, the belt around the sky in which the movements of Sun, Moon and planets are confined. All astrology is totally based on the planetary movements and its effect on human beings.
The planets influence the outcomes of historical events of entire nations and the Earth. Each planet has its own mode of circumambulation – clockwise or anti-clockwise. Each planet faces a different direction. In religious rites, beetle nuts represent the planets and the priest invites each planet to be present there and witness and bless the puja.
Navagrahas the planet deities of which the first seven are Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn give names to the days of the week: Sunday to Saturday respectively. The other two Rahu (Ascending node) and Ketu (Descending node) are also fabled as planets, the former as a planet with a head and no body and the latter as a planet with a body and no head.
In addition to the nine planets, twenty seven nakshatras (constellations) through which the moon passes and twelve signs of zodiac of the sun, regarded as deities, are consulted at births, marriages and on al occasions of family rejoicing, distress or calamity. Shanti (Peace) propitiation ceremony is held to appease any unfavourable constellations.
Navagraha – the nine planets could be complimentary or inimical to an individual. The Navagraha could give harmony or misery to the individual as per its movements. One has to do Shanthis or Parikaras (propitiatory actions to counter the ill effects) for the particular planet (s) and its/their Lords (Gods); such direct appeals to the concerned planets and their Lords will give quick and timely results. The Navagraha Sthothram, given below, is so powerful, it appeals to all the planets and safeguards the reciter from any planetary ill effects.
Surya or Sun is the most powerful living God – whom everyone can see, perceive and pray. Though he is visible, he also has been presented in a variety of forms. Lord of this planet is God Siva
Chandra or Moon is a lovable God – Pleasing to the children as well as elders, universally appealing to everyone whatever may be the religion. Goddess Parvathi rules the planet.
Angaraka or Mars is regarded as a God of martial character, red in every aspect. Even the Romans held him as their Guru. He is the Son of Earth and is ruled by Lord Subramanya.
Budha or Mercury is considered as the greatest among the wise. This Devata bestows wisdom and wealth on his devotees. He is ruled by Lord Maha Vishnu.
Brihaspati is the Guru (Jupiter). He results in a cure from ailments and helps one to ward off his/her sins and gives strength, valour, longevity, etc. He grants the boon of fatherhood to the childless, good education (Vidya). He is ruled by Lord Dakshinamurthy.
Sukra or Venus is the bestower of long life, wealth, happiness, children, property and good education. He is ruled by Goddess Mahalakshmi.
Saniswara or Saturn is generally known to affect one adversely on occasions when he occupies certain positions in one’s horoscope. A prayer to him, especially on Saturdays, is said to mitigate the hardships one will have to face during these periods. Saniswara is considered equally a bestower of all benefits to the devotees who pray sincerely to him. He is ruled by Lord Yama.
Rahu is instrumental in strengthening one’s power and converting even an enemy into a friend. He is ruled by Goddess Durga.
Ketu brings prosperity to the devotee’s family. He grants good health, wealth, cattle and all around prosperity. He is ruled by Lord Ganesha and Indra.
Navagraha Shanthi or Parikaras
In all important Siva temples of South India, the Navagrahas (nine planets) are placed in a separate mandapa with a pediment of about three feet in height. Performing Navagraha Homam is very auspicious. Offerings like sesame seeds, rice or any of the “nine grains” that may be appropriate are also made. Lighting lamps with sesame oil or seeds on Saturdays is important to Sani. Thil rice and Paayasam are offered to Navagraha.
The planets which are inimical to an individual will give bad results during their Main Dasas (periods) or Antharas (sub-periods) or during their transits (Gochara). The aspects of life which generally receive such bad effects will be
(1) Those for which they are Karakas (governed by the planets),
(2) The aspects represented by the Bhavas which are owned by the planets, and
(3) Those represented by the Rasis (signs) which are resided in or aspected by them.
The planets also cause miseries or problems according to their Gochara (movements) results. Depending on which specific aspects of life are affected, one has to do Shanthis or Parikaras (propitiatory actions to counter the ill effects) for the particular planet(s) and its/their Lords. (Gods); this way of direct appeal to the concerned planets and their Lords will give quick and timely results.
Navagraha Places in Tamil Nadu:
1. Near Kumbakonam — Mars-Angaraka — Vaideeswaran Koil (4 Kms. from Mayiladuthurai on the Chidambaram Road).
2. Thiruvenkadu (10 Kms. Southeast of Sirkali) — Mercury-Budha
3. Keezhperumpallam (Near PoomPuhar. on Mayiladuthurai- PoomPuhar road). — Ketu (Descending node of Chandra)
4. Thirunallar — (on the way to Peralam- Karaikkal. 5 Kms. from Karaikkal) — Saturn-Sani
5. Kanjanur (An interior village on the Mayiladuthurai – Kathiramangalam Road) — Venus-Sukra
6. Suryanar Koil — (3 Kms. from Aduthurai which is on the Kumbakonam- Mayiladuthurai Road) — Sun-Surya
7. Thirunageswaram — (About 7 Kms. from Kumbakonam-Karaikkal Road) — Rahu (Ascending node of Chandra)
8. Thingalur — (1.5 Kms. from Thirupayhanam which is on the Kumbakonam-Thiruvayyaru Road) — Moon-Chandra
9. Alangudi — (About 15 Kms. from Kumbakonam on the way to NeedaMangalam) — Jupiter-Guru
Indian Astrology associates the following planets with the gods/goddesses as follows:
Sun: Lord Siva
Moon: Goddess Parvathi
Mars: Lord Karthikeya (Subramanya)
Jupiter: Lord Dakshinamurthi
Saturn: Lord Yama
Rahu: Goddess Durga
Kethu: Lord Ganesa or Indra