Navagrahas are planets, the celestial bodies. Our tradition regards them to be 9 in number. “Nava” means “nine,” and “graha” means “planet,” and, hence, they are known as Navagrahas. These 9 planets are: Surya, the Sun, the most powerful living God, who bestows good health and prosperity; Chandra, the Moon, who rules the mind and brings success; Mangala, the Mars, who showers courage and prosperity; Budha, the Mercury, who bestows wisdom and wealth; Guru, the Jupiter, who blesses with education, knowledge and good health; Shukra, the Venus, who gives a long life and proficiency in fine arts; Shani, the Saturn, who ensures happiness; Rahu, the ascending node of the Moon, who strengthens life; and Ketu, the descending node of the Moon, who negates bad effects and brings prosperity.
Each of these Navagrahas, or planets, is ruled by an archetype and has a sacred energy associated with it. Hence, they play a profound role in influencing our lives. The type of authority the planets wield over a person will depend on their position in his or her birth chart, and also their present transit position. As the Navagrahas are greatly responsible for the happiness and adversities that take place in a person’s life, they are regarded as divinities and worshipped as Gods. It is no surprise that many temples in South India have shrines dedicated to the Navagrahas.
The Navagraha Pooja is the ceremonial worship done to the 9 planets. The planetary lords are the presiding deities of this Pooja, and this worship is done to seek their blessings. The day this remedy has to be done and also its frequency will depend on the condition of the individual and his or her requirements. The spiritual guides or astrologers can assess the need, based on a reading of the birth chart, and, accordingly, this ritual will be undertaken. (Performing this ritual at the famous Triprangode Shiva Temple has a special significance).
Planets are highly influential divine entities, and propitiating them can save us from harm and do us good. The Navagraha Pooja can obtain for the sponsors the protection and blessings of the planets. This can help remove negativities and add positive vibrations in life.
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