The Navagraha and Me
Updated: Nov 9, 2019
I must begin with a confession: I have never in my life been interested in astrology. I’ve always thought it is a little…out there. I’ve never been one to read my horoscope or to know what sign you are just because I know your birthday. I just couldn’t be bothered.
Fast forward to when I took my 300hr advanced yoga teacher training. It was focused on Āyurvedic Yoga therapy, and introduced many of the Vedic sciences, including Jyotish, or Vedic astrology. We spent an entire weekend on the subject, and after that Friday night class I remember being so angry that we had to waste time on this subject. I didn’t get it and didn’t care to try to get it. I called my husband to vent, and told him I wasn’t going back the next day. He convinced me to stick with it and continue on.
That weekend didn’t convert me. But as I went deeper into my Āyurvedic studies, I realized just how very important Jyotish is to the practice. I came to find out that my aversion to astrology was disregarding an integral part of my beloved Āyurveda. So I decided to try to open my mind just a little and embrace it. A little.
It started with my first trip to India. We would spend a portion of each morning and evening propitiating the planets in ways that I could get down with. I carried the practice home with me and continue to weave it into my daily sādhana.
According to Jyotish, each day of the week is governed by one of the navagraha, or nine planets. Each planet has its own energy and its energy affects us; this is something we need to recognize so that we can work with (and not fight against!) the energy of the day.
Sunday is ruled by the Sun, and his name is Sūrya. The Sun represents the spiritual Self, and aids in transcendence. It is the source of our energy. The Sun is the father and guru, and as such, Sundays are a good day to worship the Divine Father and our spiritual teachers. The color to wear on Sunday is red. The best mantra to honor the Sun is Om Sūm Sūryāya Namaha.
Monday is the day of the Moon, who is named Chandra or Soma. The Moon represents the mind and its ever changing ways. It also represents the mother, or the Divine Feminine. Mondays are auspicious for activities that require change and movement, like gardening, cooking, and family matters. The best color to wear on this day is white, and the mantra for the Moon is Om Cham Chandrāya Namaha.
Tuesday is Mars, who goes by Kuja or Mangala. He is a planet of great energy, strength and courage, which makes Tuesday a great day for any activity that requires a lot of intensity. This includes physical activities, sports, math or science studies, and mechanical work. Red is a good color for Mars. His mantra is Om Kūm Kujāya Namaha.
Wednesday is ruled by Mercury, who’s name is Budha. He represents speech and communication, as well as having the capacity to connect us with our deeper powers of the mind. This makes Wednesday a great day for reading, studying or learning. We should wear green on this day. His mantra is Om Bum Budhāya Namaha.
Thursday is Jupiter’s day. His name is Guru, and is sometimes known as Brihaspati. He is thought of as the most helpful and benefic of all the planets, which makes Thursday the most favorable day of the week. He is a highly sattvic planet, and is the planet of intelligence and expansion. Spiritual studies, sādhanas, meditation, and religious rituals are great for this day. The color to wear is gold, and the mantra for Jupiter is Om Brahm Brihaspataye Namaha.
Friday is ruled by Venus. Her name in Sanskrit is Shukra, which means ‘brilliant light.’ She is the goddess of pleasure, love, beauty and delight, which makes Friday a great day to do anything related to art, relationships or experiencing worldly pleasures. Venus likes all colors, especially pinks, light blues and pastels. Her mantra is Om Shum Shukrāya Namaha.
Saturday belongs to Saturn. Saturn is known as Shani, and he is often feared for his reputation as the God of Death. He is the cause of contraction and destruction, which is not entirely negative; destruction is often needed before something new can be created. Saturdays are a good day for acquiring property or doing construction or spending time with elders and honoring ancestors. The best color to wear on Saturday is dark blue. Shani’s mantra is Om Sham Shanaye Namaha.
Aside from the planets that rule the days of the week, there are two more significant grahas in Jyotish: Rāhu and Ketu. They are considered secondary planets; astronomically speaking they are the nodes of the moon, meaning that they are the intersection points of the Moon’s orbit and the celestial equator. Rāhu is the north node of the moon. His color is bright yellow, red or orange and his mantra is Om Rām Rāhave Namaha. Ketu is the south node of the moon. His colors are bright red, orange or yellow and his mantra is Om Kem Ketave Namaha.
My sādhana has incorporated these simple ways of propitiating the planets every day and has provided a way for me to begin to tune into their energies. I may never be a Vedic astrologer, but no longer need to shun the whole system!
Brahmā murāris tripurāntakāri bhānuh shashī bhūmisuto budhashcha gurushcha shukrah shani rāhu ketavah kurvantu sarve mama suprabhātam!