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Navgraha

In Vedic astrology, there are 9 planets. These are known as Nav (9) and grahas (planets ).

Navgraha
Navgraha

The nine bodies (navagraha)

  1. Sun (Soorya)
  2. Moon (Chandra)
  3. Mars (Mangla/Sevvai)
  4. Mercury (Budha)
  5. Jupiter (Guru)
  6. Venus (Sukra)
  7. Saturn (Shani)
  8. Upper lunar node (Rahu)
  9. Lower lunar node (Ketu)

Surya

Surya is the chief, the solar deity, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives Aditi, of Indra. He has hair and arms of gold. His chariot is pulled by seven horses, which represent the seven chakras. He presides as “Ravi” over “Ravi-vaara” or Sunday.

Surya the sun God | Hindu Faq's
Surya the sun God | Hindu Faq’s

In Hindu religious literature, Surya is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see every day. Furthermore, Shaivites and Vaishnavas often regard Surya as an aspect of Shiva and Vishnu, respectively. For example, the sun is called Surya Narayana by Vaishnavas. In Shaivite theology, Surya is said to be one of eight forms of Shiva, named the Astamurti.

He is said to be of Sattva Guna and represents the Soul, the King, highly placed persons or fathers.

According to Hindu scriptures, among the more renowned progenies of Surya are Shani (Saturn), Yama(God of Death) and Karna (Mahabharata fame).

Stotra:
Javaa kusuma sankasam kashyapeyam mahadutim
Tamorim sarva paapghnam pranatosmi divakaram

Chandra

Chandra the Moon God | The Hindu FAQs
Chandra the Moon God | The Hindu FAQs

Chandra is a lunar deity. Chandra (moon) is also known as Soma and identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma. He is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He rides his chariot (the moon) across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. He is connected with dew, and as such, is one of the gods of fertility. He is also called Nishadipati (Nisha=night; Adipathi=Lord) and Kshuparaka (one who illuminates the night).
He as Soma, presides over Somavaaram or Monday. He is of Sattva Guna and represents the Mind, the Queen or Mother.

Stotra:
Dadhi shankha tushaarabham ksheero darnava sambhavam
Namaami shashinam somam shambhor mukuta bhooshanam.

Mangala

Mangal | The Hindu FAQs
Mangal | The Hindu FAQs

Mangala is Bhauma (‘son of Bhumi’ or Bha) in Sanskrit. He is the god of war and is celibate. He is considered the son of Prithvi or Bhumi, the Earth Goddess. He is the owner of the Aries and Scorpio signs, and a teacher of the occult sciences (Ruchaka Mahapurusha Yoga). He is of Tamas Guna in nature and represents Energetic action, confidence and ego. He is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident, club, lotus and a spear. His Vahana (mount) is a ram. He presides over ‘Mangala-vaara’ or Tuesday.

Stotra:
Dharanee garbha sambhootam vidyut kaanti samaprabham
Kumaram shakti hastam tam mangalam pranamamyaham.

Budha

Budha is the god of the planet Mercury and the son of Chandra (the moon) with Tara (Taraka). He is also the god of merchandise and protector of merchants. He is of Rajas Guna and represents Communication.

Budha | The hindu FAQs
Budha | The hindu FAQs

He is represented as being mild, eloquent and of greenish colour. He is represented holding a scimitar, a club and a shield, riding a winged lion in Ramghur temple. In other illustrations, he holds a sceptre and lotus and rides a carpet or an eagle or a chariot drawn by lions. Budha presides over ‘Budha-vaaram’ or Wednesday.

Stotra:
Priyangu kalika shyaamam roopena pratimam budham
Soumyam soumya gunopetam tam budham pranamamyaham

Guru

Brihaspati is the Guru of Devas, personification of piety and religion, the chief offerer of prayers and sacrifices, represented as the Purohita of the gods with whom he intercedes for men. He is the Lord of planet Jupiter. He is of Sattva Guna and represents knowledge and teaching. He is often known simply as “Guru”.

Guru or Jupiter | The hindu FAQs
Guru or Jupiter | The hindu FAQs

According to Hindu scriptures, he is the guru of the Devas and the nemesis of Shukracharya, the guru of the Danavasa. He is also known Guru, the god of wisdom and eloquence, to whom various works are ascribed, such as the “atheistic” Barhaspatya sutras. Guru is usually depicted with an elephant or chariot drawn by eight horses as his vehicle. He is also depicted in a lotus flower.

His Tattva or element is Akasha or ether, and his direction is north-east. He is described of yellow or golden colour and holding a stick, a lotus and his beads. He presides over ‘Guru-vaaram’, Brihaspativaara or Thursday.

Stotra:
Devanaam cha rishinaam cha gurum kaanchan sannibhaam
Buddhi bhootam trilokesham tam namaami brihaspatim.

Shukra

Shukra, Sanskrit for “clear, pure” or “brightness, clearness”, is the name the son of Bhrigu and Ushana, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus (Shukracharya). He presides over ‘Shukra-vaara’ or Friday. He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction.

Shukra or Venus | The Hindu FAQs
Shukra or Venus | The Hindu FAQs

He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously mounted, on a camel or a horse or a crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.

Stotra:
Hima kundaa mrinalaabham daityanaam paramam gurum
Sarv shastra pravaktaaram bhargavem pranamamyaham.

Shani

Shani is one of the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology (that is, Vedic astrology). Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn. Shani is the son of Surya. His Tattva or element is air, and his direction is west. He is Tamas in nature and represents learning the hard way, Career and Longevity.

Shani or Saturn | The Hindu FAQs
Shani or Saturn | The Hindu FAQs

The origin of word Shani(शनि) comes from the following: Shanaye Kramati Sa: (शनये क्रमति सः) i.e. the one who moves slowly. Shani is actually a demi-god and is a son of Surya (the Hindu Sun God) and surya’s wife Chhaya. It is said that when he opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Shani on astrological charts (horoscope).

He is depicted dark in colour, clothed in black; holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and variously mounted on a black crow or a raven. He presides over ‘Shani-var’ or Saturday.

Stotra:
Neelanjana samaabhasam ravi putram yamagrajam
Chaaya martanda sambhootam tam namaami shanaischaram.

Rahu

Rahu is God of the Ascending / North lunar node. Rahu is the head of the demonic snake that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses, according to Hindu scriptures. He is depicted in art as a dragon with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. He is a Tamas Asura who does his best to plunge any area of one’s life he controls into chaos. The rahu kala is considered inauspicious.

Rahu the lod of the Ascending | The Hindu Faqs
Rahu the lod of the Ascending | The Hindu Faqs

According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, the asura Rahu drank some of the divine nectar. But before the nectar could pass his throat, Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu) cut off his head. The head, however, remained immortal and is called Rahu, while the rest of the body became Ketu. It is believed that this immortal head occasionally swallows the sun or the moon, causing eclipses. Then, the sun or moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse.

Stotra:
Ardha Kaayam mahaa veeryam chandraditya vimardhanam
Simhika garbha sambhootam tam rahum pranamaamyaham.

Ketu

Ketu the Lord of Descending
Ketu the Lord of Descending

Ketu is the Lord of Descending. He is considered as Tail of the Demon Snake. It is believed to have a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. In some special circumstances it helps someone achieve the zenith of fame. He is Tamas in nature and represents supernatural influences.

Stotra:
Palaash pushpa sankaasham taraka graha mastakam
Roudram roudraatmakam ghoram tam ketum pranamaamyaham.

Graha Stuti:
Brahma, Muraari, Sripuraantakaari, Bhanu, Shashi, Bhoomisuto, Budhascha
Guruscha, Shukra, Shani, Rahu, Ketavah, kuruvantu sarve mama suprabhatam

 

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Guru Shisha

An Ashrama in Hinduism is one of four age-based life stages discussed in ancient and medieval era Indian texts. The four ashramas are: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciation).

Guru Shisha
Photo credits: www.hinduhumanrights.info

The Ashramas system is one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism. It is also a component of the ethical theories in Indian philosophy, where it is combined with four proper goals of human life (Purusartha), for fulfillment, happiness and spiritual liberation.

Brahamacharya ashrama
Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य) literally means “going after Brahman (Supreme Reality, Self, God)”. In Indian religions, it is also a concept with various context-driven meanings.

In one context, Brahmacharya is the first of four Ashrama (age-based stages) of a human life, with Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (forest dweller) and Sannyasa (renunciation) being the other three Asramas. Brahmacharya (bachelor student) stage of one’s life, up to about 20 years of age, was focused on education and included the practice of celibacy. In Indian traditions, it connotes chastity during student stage of life for the purposes of learning from a guru (teacher), and during later stages of life for the purposes of attaining spiritual liberation (moksha).

In another context, Brahmacharya is a virtue, where it means celibacy when unmarried, and fidelity when married. It represents a virtuous lifestyle that also includes simple living, meditation and other behaviors.

Brahamacharya ashrama occupied the first 20–25 years of life roughly corresponding to adolescence.Upon the child’s Upanayanam, the young person would begin a life of study in the Gurukula (the household of the Guru) dedicated to learning all aspects of dharma that is the “principles of righteous living”. Dharma comprised personal responsibilities towards himself, family, society, humanity and God which included the environment, earth and nature. This educational period started when the child was five to eight years old and lasted until the age of 14 to 20 years. During this stage of life, the traditional vedic sciences and various sastras were studied along with the religious texts contained within the Vedas and Upanishads. This stage of life was characterized by the practice of celibacy.

Naradaparivrajaka Upanishad suggests that Brahmacharya (student) stage of life should extend from the age a child is ready to receive teachings from a guru, and continue for a period of twelve years.
The graduation from Brahmacharya stage of life was marked by the Samavartanam ceremony.
Grihastha ashrama:
Grihastha (गृहस्थ) literally means “being in and occupied with home, family” or “householder”.It refers to the second phase of an individual’s life. It follows Brahmacharya (bachelor student) life stage, and embodies a married life, with the duties of maintaining a home, raising a family, educating one’s children, and leading a family-centred and a dharmic social life.
Ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism consider Grihastha stage as the most important of all stages in sociological context, as human beings in this stage not only pursue a virtuous life, they produce food and wealth that sustains people in other stages of life, as well as the offsprings that continues mankind. The householder stage is also considered in Indian philosophy as one where the most intense physical, sexual, emotional, occupational, social and material attachments exist in a human being’s life.

Vanaprastha ashrama:
Vanaprastha (Sanskrit: वनप्रस्थ) literally means “retiring into a forest”.It is also a concept in Hindu traditions, representing the third of four ashrama (stages) of human life.Vanaprastha is part of the Vedic ashram system, which starts when a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation, takes an advisory role, and gradually withdraws from the world. Vanaprastha stage is considered as a transition phase from a householder’s life with greater emphasis on Artha and Kama (wealth, security, pleasure and sexual pursuits) to one with greater emphasis on Moksha (spiritual liberation).  Vanaprastha represented the third stage and typically marked with birth of grand children, gradual transition of householder responsibilities to the next generation, increasingly hermit-like lifestyle, and greater emphasis on community services and spiritual pursuit.

Vanaprastha, according to Vedic ashram system, lasted between the ages of 50 and 74.
It encouraged gradual transition of social responsibility, economic roles, personal focus towards spirituality, from being center of the action to a more advisory peripheral role, without actually requiring someone to actually moving into a forest with or without one’s partner. While some literally gave up their property and possessions to move into distant lands, most stayed with their families and communities but assumed a transitioning role and gracefully accept an evolving role with age. Dhavamony identifies Vanaprastha stage as one of “detachment and increasing seclusion” but usually serving as a counselor, peace-maker, judge, teacher to young and advisor to the middle aged.

Sanyasa ashrama:
Sanyasa (संन्यास) is the life stage of renunciation within the Hindu philosophy of four age-based life stages. Sannyasa is a form of asceticism, is marked by renunciation of material desires and prejudices, represented by a state of disinterest and detachment from material life, and has the purpose of spending one’s life in peaceful, love-inspired, simple spiritual life. An individual in Sanyasa is known as a Sannyasi (male) or Sannyasini (female) in Hinduism.

Hinduism has no formal demands nor requirements on the lifestyle or spiritual discipline, method or deity a Sanyasin or Sanyasini must pursue – it is left to the choice and preferences of the individual.This freedom has led to diversity and significant differences in the lifestyle and goals of those who adopt Sannyasa. There are, however, some common themes. A person in Sannyasa lives a simple life, typically detached, itinerant, drifting from place to place, with no material possessions or emotional attachments. They may have a walking stick, a book, a container or vessel for food and drink, often wearing yellow, saffron, orange, ochre or soil colored clothes. They may have long hairs and appear disheveled, and are usually vegetarians.Some minor Upanishads as well as monastic orders consider women, child, students, fallen men (criminal record) and others as not qualified for Sannyasa; while other texts place no restrictions.

Those who enter Sannyasa may choose whether they join a group (mendicant order). Some are anchorites, homeless mendicants preferring solitude and seclusion in remote parts, without affiliation. Others are cenobites, living and traveling with kindred fellow-Sannyasi in the pursuit of their spiritual journey, sometimes in Ashramas or Matha/Sangha (hermitages, monastic order).