Monday, 26 September 2016

The 13th Zodiac Sign

Social media was abuzz with news that NASA has discovered a 13th Constellation.For space researchers and astronomers,this might be a very good news and cause for further research work.I bet had it not been real,I would have loved to write a science fiction with a catchy title -'The 13th Planet'. How does it sound? The title seems worthy of a Hollywood sci-fi thriller.

But what does it mean for laymen like us.There was an amusing piece of information which stated that zodiac signs will change owing to this discovery.Ugh?! .If you believe in astrology this is news for you.Else,who cares? .The 13th constellation discovery is not going to give me a pay hike or promotion.Nor is it going to repair the potholes on the road to my home.Also,13 being considered by many as unlucky number,wonder whether the person being assigned the last planet in astrology will be happy about it?.

I do believe in astrology.But sometimes have seen very strange predictions and stranger results.
I am an Aquarius and have seen many times that whatever good things have been written in the predictions seem to come true for my other Aquarian friends but not for me.But the bad predictions..sigh..they always seem to come true for me.I always end up wondering how this is possible.

To give you an example,one prediction suggested that Aquarius will move to a bigger house this month.It did happen.For an Aquarian friend of mine.As for me,I did not move an inch from my present position.

Then came another prediction which stated that Aquarius will have to mind their words this week. I got into an unplanned,unnecessary argument even though I tried my best to avoid it.The Aquarius friend who moved houses was enjoying a peaceful week,both personally and professionally.

Then there are the Daily predictions,Weekly predictions,Monthly Predictions and Yearly Predictions.Sometimes I find that these are contradicting each other.For example,say,my Daily Prediction may state something like - 'Go out and meet people today.You are rocking'. Then my Weekly prediction may state something like - 'Mind your words this week.Don't talk much'. Well,I wonder how can I mingle with people without talking to them.Since the day is within the week,I assume that the weekly predictions will apply to that day also.But that day's prediction has a contradictory tone.

So now coming to the question of having a 13th planet in astrology.Will there be a realignment that will correct all these contradictions in astrology and make it more meaningful.That is one question for astrologers to answer.Till then, let the 13th planet be safe in the skies and not get entangled in astrological contradictions.

What has your experience been with astrology? Do you believe in it? Do share your thoughts.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Navagrahas-The Nine Planets in Hinduism

This article is inspired by my son's persistent queries about Navagrahas.I was unable to answer his questions about the significance of the Navagrahas we saw in the local temple.So I set off on a mission to find out the details for my son,for myself and whoever else would be interested in knowing about it.

Long before modern science identified planets and satellites,many millennia before,Hindu scriptures had identified nine planets known as Navagrahas.You can find these Navagraha vigrahas(statues) in most of the Hindu temples.It is a practice to do nine pradakshina(move around in clockwise direction) around the navagrahas after visiting the main deity's sanctum.As per Hindu astrology,these nine planets affect an individual's life stages.

Usually the Navagrahas are arranged in a square pedestal with the the Surya Bhagwan(Sun God) placed in the middle.This is to signify that the Sun is in the middle of the Universe and the other planets revolve around it.Unlike modern science which regards Sun as a big star,Hindu astrology regards the Sun also as a planet.Surya Bhagwan is always placed facing east and is depicted as riding a chariot of seven horses,representing the seven colours.The Sun,the natural giver of energy and vitality is considered as the bestower of success and prosperity in a person's life.Like in Western system,in Indian system also the first day of the week is named after the Sun God- Ravivar,meaning the day of the Ravi(Sun God).

Chandra(Moon God) Bhagwan is placed diagonally to Surya's left,facing South-East.Chandra is denoted as riding antelope.The moon god is considered as the lord ruling over a person's mental well-being.Chandra is also known as Soma and hence second day of the week is named after him as Somavara.(Monday). The moon is also regarded as a planet in Hindu astrology,in addition to the Sun,as opposed to them being regarded as Sun and satellite in modern astronomy.

Mangal(Chevvai in Tamil) Bhagwan(Mars) is placed on the left of Surya horizontally,facing South.
Third day of the week is named as Mangalvar(Tuesday),in honour of Mars.Mangal or Kuja,as he is known,rides a goat.Mangal is supposed to be the lord governing an individual's heath and life-span.

Buddh Bhagwan(Mercury) is placed diagonally to Surya,facing North-East.Buddha is depicted riding a lion.Mercury is the ruler of a person's intelligence.The fourth day of the week, Budhvar (Wednesday) is named after him.

Brihaspathi(Jupiter) is placed on the right of Surya,aligned horizontally and is facing North.Brihaspathi is the mentor of the Gods as per Hindu mythology and is also known as Guru.Hence the fifth day of the week is named after Guru as Guruvar(Thursday). Guru,being a mentor,symbolizes knowledge and good luck.Guru is shown riding an elephant.

Sukra Bhagwan(Venus) is placed facing East,in a straight line to Surya.Sukra is shown riding a horse.The sixth day of the week is named as Sukravar (Friday) after him.Sukra is considered as the bestower of good fortune,wealth and status.

Shani Bhagwan(Saturn) is placed facing West,again in a straight line to Surya.The seventh day of the week is named as Shanivar (Saturday) after Shani Bhagwan.Shani is one of the most feared of the nine planets as per Hindu astrology.Shani is depicted riding a crow.

The remaining two planets,Rahu and Ketu are quite strange entities.These are not planets but points of intersection of earth and moon's orbits.Rahu is shown as riding on a lion and having the head of a serpent.Ketu is shown as riding on a vulture and having the body of a snake.

Main difference between modern nine planets and Navagrahas is that Earth,Neptune,Pluto and Uranus are not part of the ancient Hindu nine planets.Another difference is that Sun and the Moon are also included as nine planets.The Navagrahas are considered to be affecting a person's horoscope and hence are important in Hindu astrology.

So next time you visit a temple and see the navagrahas,you know what they stand for.

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