The number 9 has humungous significance in Hindu Mythology – there are the Navaratnas(nine gems), Navadhaanyas(nine grains), Navarasas (Nine expressions) and the Navagrahas(nine planets). The Navagrahas have utmost importance in Hindu rituals probably next only to the Holy Trinity. The Navagrahas are not the nine planets as misconceived by many, rather they are the nine influences over an individual (Nava – nine; graha – to seize or influence). The Navagrahas are the transmitters of universal archetypal energy. The Navagrahas are the cosmic influencers of the aura and actions of a person on earth. There are five planets –Mangal/Chevvaai, Budhan, Brihaspathi (Guru), Shukran and Shani, Surya and Chandra being celestial bodies and the two shadow planets -Rahu and Ketu which are the north and south lunar nodes respectively.JyotishaShastra (astrology) is based on the relative positions of these nine grahas with respect to each other.

The ancient seers of India identified the planets and also their influence on earth so precisely that each planet has some relative element in its existence. The sun rays after impinging on other planets fall on earth making it an amalgam of many particles. When these rays fall on a person, it may have either negative or positive effect on him/her depending on their relative position at that time and also on the birth chart.

As per tradition, the Navagrahas are typically placed in a single square with Surya at centre and the other deities surrounding Him; no two of them are made to face each other, placed in a separate hall in a pedestal north-east to sanctum sanctorum. Navagraha installations are done in two ways:

The Aagama Pradhishta is one in which Surya occupies the central place, Chandra on Surya’s east, Budha on his south, Brihaspathi on his west, Shukra on his north,Chevvaai on his south-east, Shani on his south-west, Rahu on north-west and Ketu in the north-east.

The Vaidika Pradhishta is the other way in which Surya is at the centre, Shukra is in the east, Chevvaai 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.

Besides these orthodox methods, there are many other ways followed in many parts of India.

However it is believed that the Navagraha deities used to be in an annular manner i.e. all the nine planets were facing each other and could interact directly. This means that a person going through a rough patch due to the malefic influence of one planet would continue to experience bad time as all the planets were in direct contact with each other and would be passing on their effect to the next one and so on. This was until Idaikkaadar, a Siddhar formatted their positions in such a way that no planet would face another directly.Thus the noxious effects of the grahas could be mitigated.

 Surya is the chief of the Navagrahas representing Sattvaguna and hence the soul.His importance is evident from the fact that the Suryanar Temple near Kumbakonam is the only temple where each of the Navagrahas has an individual sannidhi. His consorts are Usha and Chaaya. The metal associated with him is copper while his element is fire.His Gemstone is Ruby and he dwells in the east. Agni is the ruling deity while the pratyaadidevata is Rudra.  Wheat is the grain associated with him and the taste identified is pungency.

Chandra (moon) is Sattvic and so is associated with the mind. His divine spouse is Rohini. The metal connected to him is silver and his colour being white while the element identified is water.His Gemstone is Moonstone/Pearl and resides in the north-west. Varuna is the ruling deity while the pratyaadidevata is Parvati.Saltiness is the taste associated, rice being his favourite grain.

Chevvaai(Mars) is the God of War, representing Tamasguna.His consort is Shakti. The metal associated with him is brass while the element is fire. His Gemstone is Red Coral and presides over the south. Bengal gram is the corresponding grain and acid being the taste associated. His presiding deity is Bhumi and the overall ruler is Subramanyah.

Budha (mercury) is the God of merchandise and is of Rajas guna.His wife is Ila. The metal colligated to him is zinc. The governing element is Earth. His Gemstone is Emerald and inhabits north.Vishnu is the ruling deity as well as the pratyaadidevata.The taste corresponding to him is mixed and Green gram is consociated grain.

Brihaspathi/Guru (Jupiter) is the Guru of Devas and the arch nemesis of Asura Guru, ShukraacharyaHe representsSattvaguna.He is a personification of piety, wisdom and eloquence.His consort is Taara. The metal associated with him is gold while the element is ether.His Gemstone is Yellow Sapphire/Topaz and dwells in the north-east. Indra is the ruling deity while the overall deity is Brahma. The taste associated is sweetness and chickpea is his grain.

Shukra (Venus) is Rajas in nature His consorts are Sukirthi and Urjaswathi. The metal associated with him is silver while the element is water.His Gemstone is Diamond and dwells in the south-east. Indrani is the ruling deity while the pratyaadidevata is Indra.Sour soya gram.

Shani (Saturn) is Tamasguna and progeny of Surya.His consort is Neela Devi. The metal associated with him is iron while the element is air.His Gemstone is Blue Sapphire and dwells in the west. Yama is the ruling deity while the pratyaadidevata is Prajapati. Taste associated with Shani is Astringent and Sesame is used for his worship.

Rahu is the head of the asura killed by mohini during the churning of nectar – episode. He represents Tamo Guna. His consort is Simhi.The metal identified is Lead.The element is air.His gemstone is Hessonite and lives In the south-west. Niritti is the ruling deity while the pratyaadidevata is Durga. Black gram is the associated grain.

Ketu is the body of the asura mentioned above .Tamas in nature.His consort is Chitralekha. The metal associated with him is mercurywhile the element is earth.His Gemstone is Cat’s Eye. Chitra Gupta is the ruling deity while the pratyaadidevata is Brahma.

One needs to visit the designated navagrahasthalas to make graha shanti so that the grahas may bestow all blessings and mitigate the malefic effect.


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