Meaning of the 9 grahas or planets
By Krishna Wiuker
Darshan - Alan Wiuker
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The 9 Grahas
According to the Vedas, the planets are the instruments of
God, by which the law of karma operates.
The Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu
and Ketu are called the 9 “Grahas” (Sanskrit meaning
is “to grab” or “to hold”). According
to the ancient scripture Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: “Vishnu
(God) has incarnated as the Navagrahas (9 planets) to bestow
on living beings the results of their Karmas or actions. He
assumed the auspicious form of Grahas to destroy the strength
of the demons (evil forces), to sustain the strength of the
Devas (the divine beings) and to establish Dharma (cosmic
order or law).”
The planets, besides their huge physical mass and gravitational
force, are tremendous fields of subtle psychic or spiritual
energies, and it is at that level that we have to understand
their effects. This understanding is the basis of the science
of astrology. Each planet corresponds to a specific vibratory
frequency, color, subtle element, geometrical form, and even
a personality type with it’s own likes and dislikes,
friendships and enmities.
Each individual person is made of a specific and unique combination
of the energies of these planets that determines his characteristics,
likes and dislikes, personality and behavior.
It is interesting to note that Vedic astrology doesn’t
use the “outer” planets—Uranus, Neptune
and Pluto—even though there is some historical evidence
that the ancient Rishis knew about them; in the ancient scripture
the Mahabharata, three planets are mentioned which correspond
with the location and coordinates of the outer planets.
THE SUN – (SURYA)
The Sun, being the center of our planetary system, represents
the central position: the king, the soul, the government,
the masculine principle and our vital energy (together with
the Moon). Without the Sun, life on earth wouldn’t be
possible, therefore it represents the life force and energy.
Even though the Sun represents our true nature (the soul or
Atman), due to human beings’ spiritual ignorance, it
manifests more as the individual self or ego. The Sun represents
what the individual identifies with.
According to the sign and house in which it is located in
the birth chart, we can understand which areas will be important
for the person, or areas the individual has to experience
to find out his true nature and Self. Because of its fiery
nature, the Sun is considered a malefic planet in Jyotish;
it hurts or damages the areas it affects.
By identifying with a particular area of life which is not
the true self or soul, it brings a fall of consciousness,
leading to the experience of suffering, which will eventually
lead us to develop humility and recognition of our true nature.
The Sun represents the authority figure, the king, the government
or the boss. A strong Sun in the birth chart will indicate
a person with some authoritarian and leader personality, who
will tend to be in an important position in society or have
some relationship with the government. It also represents
the father or paternal figure. A strong Sun usually indicates
a rich or powerful father or a good relation with him.
A strong Sun in the chart indicates a mature soul with a developed
consciousness, strong personality, and good self-esteem. A
too-strong or predominant sun can indicate an overly authoritative
person, or someone who is too self-centered, always wanting
to be the center of attention, someone who has difficulties
working with or under other people, and, in general, a lack
A weak or afflicted Sun will usually indicate a difficult
relationship with the father or that the father has some problem,
or a low self-esteem, low vitality or health problems.
The Sun rules the heart, blood circulation, the sight, right
eye, head and headaches, hair growth or baldness, the abdomen
and digestive fire, dryness and fever. The ayurvedic constitution
is Pitta or fiery.
THE MOON - (CHANDRA or SOMA)
The Moon is considered the most important heavenly body in
Vedic astrology, due to its influence on the mind and emotions.
These are the instruments by which we perceive the world,
and act and relate with it, being the cause of the play of
The Moon reflects the energy of the Sun and balances its fire
with her fresh, cooling, nourishing and vitalizing light and
It represents the mind, emotions, prana, water and liquids.
Moon also represents the mother. Its position indicates the
type of relation with her and her well-being, factors that
have a deep effect on a person’s psychology and life.
It also represents the nourishment, food and material needs
for survival, all of which are provided by the mother. Therefore,
a strong Moon is a great strength in the chart and helps to
overcome difficulties in life.
The waxing and waning cycles of the Moon are well-known for
their effect on all life on earth: plants, ocean tides, climate,
the female cycle, fertility and emotional moods. The Moon
cycles directly affect the psychological and physiological
state of humans and all living beings. Statistical studies
have shown that mentally disturbed people feel more affected
or aggravated during the full Moon.
Being born during the waxing Moon usually leads to a more
extroverted mind and personality, while the waning Moon leads
to a more introverted mind.
The position of the Moon in the birth chart indicates the
way the person thinks and feels, his important subjects in
life and his relationship with the external world.
A strong Moon in the chart reflects mental and psychological
stability, good concentration and capacity of well-being and
An afflicted Moon usually reflects emotional difficulties,
mental or psychological disturbances or health problems.
The effects of a weak Moon can be overcome by meditation and
spiritual practices, living in calm places, in contact with
nature, and by white or light colors.
The exact degree of the Moon at birth determines the successive
planetary periods known as Maha Dashas, and it is an important
factor to predict the energies and issues that will predominate
over the course of time.
Moon represents female fertility, blood and body fluids, the
lungs, breasts, milk and the chest area. The ayurvedic constitution
is Kapha or phlegmatic, and partially Vata or airy.
MARS – (KARTIK, MANGAL or KUJA)
Mars represents energy, courage, initiative and action. It
also represents war and aggression. Depending on its position
it can be a positive spiritual energy to overcome obstacles
and grow spiritually, or it can become a destructive force,
causing harm, injuries, accidents and uncontrolled passions.
Mars is action-oriented, related to initiative, youth and
the conquering of enemies. It can lead to a very dynamic,
active and enthusiastic personality, or alternatively, to
one who wants to dominate others by force.
Mars also represents brothers, technology, technical or mechanical
skills, mathematics, computing, athletics and sports, medicine
and surgery, blood pressure, police and military people, dictators,
fire and explosions.
A strong and well-placed Mars in the birth chart indicates
a spiritual warrior—a lack of fear to face the difficulties
and enemies of life, internally and externally; control over
one’s own body and aggression. An afflicted Mars can
indicate a fearful, aggressive or violent person.
A weak Mars can lead to an uncontrolled dissipation or loss
of the vital energy in many directions. It can create muscular
weakness. Physical exercise is a good way to strengthen Mars
Physically it represents the marrow, muscles, physical strength,
the head, testicles and virility, and has a Pitta or fiery
MERCURY – (BUDDHA)
Mercury represents the intellect or Buddhi, the capacity for
discrimination, communication, language, learning, youth,
childhood, plays, sports and friends. Mercury has a constant
desire for learning, but it also creates a duality in the
mind, always comparing between the pairs of opposites. The
Moon represents the subconscious or emotional mind, but Mercury
represents the pure analytical and rational mind.
A strong and well-placed Mercury indicates good intelligence
and capacity for learning, oral or written communication skills
and good speech.
Mercury, when too strong or predominant, can lead to repressing
the emotions with reason, and can make for a very critical
A weakly-placed Mercury can lead a person to rely more on
emotions and instinct rather than on reason, and it can bring
some difficulties in learning, speech, the skin, nervous system,
and diminish the capacity to retain knowledge.
Mercury can behave as a benefic or malefic planet depending
on its association with other planets.
A person can have a good intelligence, but use it on a selfish
and destructive way, if afflicted by malefic planets.
Physically it represents the skin and breathing passages,
and it has a Vata or airy ayurvedic constitution.
JUPITER – (GURU or BRIHASPATI)
Jupiter represents the teacher, the “Guru,” the
one who leads us from the darkness of ignorance to the light
of knowledge. He stands for wisdom, knowledge, learning, goodness,
good luck, good karma and expansion.
In the Vedas, Brihaspati is called the Guru of the Devas,
the celestial or angelical beings. He is represented as a
priest—full of wisdom, righteousness, justice, goodness;
desirous to bless and give prosperity to everyone.
Jupiter also represents children, mainly the eldest son, and
in case of woman, it represents the husband.
It is considered the most benefic planet because of its nature
of giving and expanding, without expectations.
Jupiter usually blesses the areas related with its placement,
but for some ascendants like Taurus, Libra or Capricorn, it
can be adverse or bring inauspicious effects, because it is
the ruler of difficult houses. The position of Jupiter in
a birth chart will indicate the ways of spiritual learning,
type of faith or religion, teachers and material prosperity.
A strong and well-placed Jupiter in a chart is an indicator
of optimism, faith, interest in religion of philosophy, sense
of righteousness and justice, positive contacts with teachers,
wise or religious people, and good prosperity, caused by some
good past karmas and spiritual tendencies. It is very common
in the charts of religious people, priests, teachers, philosophers,
judges, lawyers, or prosperous people.
But in some cases, an excessively strong Jupiter can lead
a person to not make any effort to improve his life situation—an
excessive optimism that can lead to spiritual stagnation.
An afflicted Jupiter can indicate difficulty in getting a
spiritual teacher, or sometimes even getting a wrong, dishonest
or fake teacher, or a difficult relationship with teachers
in general. It can bring lack of faith and optimism in life,
or a more materialistic view of life, or material difficulties
that don’t allow the mind to expand into a more spiritual
An afflicted or weak Jupiter can indicate marital difficulties
or husband’s bad health, or difficulties to have children.
Physically it is related to the fat tissues, accumulation
of fluids, obesity, liver, pancreas and the sugar and fat
metabolism, the hips and the feet. Its nature is Kapha or
VENUS – (SHUKRA)
Venus is also a spiritual teacher, but he is the teacher of
the Asuras or demons—beings who were spiritually evolved
at some past time, but fell from grace due to strong materialistic
or selfish tendencies. Venus helps them find their path of
Venus represents the feminine, the beautiful, refined; attraction,
the desires and human passions; the sexual and marital relationships.
Venus is also associated with wealth, clothes, jewelry, music,
dance, the fine arts, creativity, semen, love, attraction
For a man, Venus is a significator for woman or the spouse,
whose characteristics and relationship can be assessed from
the position of Venus in the birth chart.
A strong and well-located Venus tends to bestow artistic talents
and creativity, physical beauty, good sense of esthetics and
harmony, prosperity, wealth and divine grace. A well-located
Venus has a spiritual potential of transforming the energy
of love and sensuality into devotion, cosmic love and a feeling
of the divine grace. If there are no other spiritual indications
in the chart, a too-strong or dominating Venus can lead to
an excessive attachment to sensual pleasure, and the material
objects of the world and its physical pleasures
An afflicted or debilitated Venus usually brings a difficulty
to obtain pleasure or enjoyment in life, which can lead a
person to look for exaggerated means of sensual gratification
to compensate. It can also indicate weakness or diseases of
the reproductive organs, or sexual disorders. In some cases,
if there are other spiritual indications, a debilitated Venus
can lead a parson to a sincere spiritual path, developing
a strong devotion, looking for God’s love alone.
Physically it represents the reproductive organs, urinary
tract and semen. Its ayurvedic constitution is Kapha and Vata.
SATURN – (SHANI)
Saturn represents austerity, discipline, restrictions and
sufferings. He is also a spiritual teacher, but one who teaches
through restriction, hard work, purification, service and
humility, leading the person to face his weaknesses and more
negative tendencies, to recognize and change them.
Saturn makes us face and work out the negative karma we created
in the past in the form of restrictions and sufferings, which
will lead us eventually to recognize our negative patterns
and develop responsibility and self-discipline to change them.
Saturn represents longevity, old age, concentration and meditation.
The position of Saturn in the chart indicates the areas of
struggle and difficulties in life, though in Vedic astrology
it is considered a very important planetary energy for spiritual
advancement and evolution.
A strong and well-located Saturn in a chart will indicate
a good capacity to endure the hardships of life, the capacity
for hard work, a strong sense of responsibility, seriousness,
self-discipline, austerity or “tapas.”
An afflicted Saturn can show a difficulty in facing responsibilities,
or trying to evade them, which leads to more suffering. It
can cause mental depression, loneliness, feelings of isolation,
addictions and chronic diseases. The more one tries to escape
from Saturn’s restrictions, the more intense those sufferings
become, leading eventually to extremely difficult situations.
Saturn’s restrictions lead to disappointment and detachment
from the worldly happiness, which eventually leads to the
search for true happiness within the spirit.
The best way to relate with Saturn’s energy is to understand
and accept his restrictions consciously through self-discipline
Saturn moves slowly, an indication that his lessons will have
to be learned over a long period of perseverance and hard
work. But after that, Saturn can give immense blessings and
He usually tends to postpone or delay things and the areas
of life that it affects in the chart.
A strong and dominant Saturn can be found in the birth charts
of hard-workers, servants, politicians, yogis and ascetic
Its energy can be positively channeled through fasting, selfless
service, seclusion and meditation.
Physically it is associated with the nerves and it has a Vata
or airy ayurvedic constitution.
RAHU and KETU (the nodes of the Moon)
Rahu and Ketu are not physical planets; they don’t have
a physical mass, but are very powerful energetic points in
the sky. They are the points of intersection between the path
of the Sun and the path of the Moon, causing the solar and
lunar eclipses. They are very important on the spiritual level,
as they are related with the unconscious shades, unresolved
karmas and conflicts coming from previous lives. They are
mythologicaly represented by a snake that was cut in two:
the head (Rahu) and the tail (Ketu). This inner conflict manifests
as two antagonistic, opposite forces in the sub-conscious
mind that generate conflicts, dualities, fears, compulsive
desires, rejections or phobias, and karmic situations which
lead us to face them and work them out.
When we can understand and connect those two antagonistic
forces, the “Kundalini”—the inner spiritual
power and strength—awakens, leading to inner healing,
peace of mind and spiritual illumination.
Therefore, Rahu and Ketu can be the cause of great conflicts,
dissatisfactions and diseases, but by understanding and working
them out spiritually, we can connect them and transform them
into a great spiritual power.
RAHU – (the north node)
Rahu is related with the unconscious desires, dissatisfactions,
fears, obsessions, ambitions and unresolved issues from previous
lives that need to be experienced in this life. The houses
and signs where Rahu is located indicate areas where there
will be mental restlessness, hypersensitivity, strong desires
to experience that area, but fears to do so and dissatisfaction
with it at the same time.
It tends to create very strong but unconscious desires, without
really understanding their causes, which can lead to compulsive
behavior, addictions, fantasies, unrealistic imaginations
Rahu represents the unconventional, illegal, dark but desired;
also foreigners, people out of the social system and its norms,
or “outcasts.” It can also be transformed and
sublimated into a spiritual energy, knowledge of the occult
side of the mind, or knowledge of psychology. Understanding
and control of this energy leads to esoteric knowledge and
awakening of the Kundalini power.
KETU – (the south node)
Ketu is represented by a Sadhu, a mendicant ascetic monk,
one who rejects the world and its vanity, instead looking
for the essential truth alone. Ketu indicates areas where
detachment has to be developed, areas that will be the source
of some suffering—with the purpose of being spiritualized,
searching for life’s very essence. Ketu is considered
a very important planet for spiritual evolution, because it
represents the capacity for renunciation, detachment from
the ephemeral, and a search for the truth and the essence
of life. It also represents Moksha, liberation from the cycle
of births and deaths and attainment of illumination.
A predominant Ketu can be seen in the charts of monks, ascetics,
renunciates, and psychic and clairvoyant people.
The placement of Ketu in the birth chart indicates areas that
have been experienced in excess in previous lives, now causing
feelings of dissatisfaction and rejection towards them.
Ketu can cause damage and restrictions in the areas it affects,
but it is also a way of spiritual learning.
An adverse Ketu can cause ruptures, breaks, accidents or diseases,
but alternatively it can bestow intuitive knowledge coming
from past life experiences.
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