In Vedic Astrology Rahu and Ketu are considered “shadow” planets in that they do not have a physical mass but are the mathematical juncture points of the Moon and Sun’s orbit at which point eclipses occur. These energetic points carry a tremendous amount of power and hidden influence on our human psyche. Rahu, is the Northern node of the Moon, and Ketu is the Southern node. Ketu in particular is the most mysterious of the nine planets.
Ketu is called as a “Moksha Karaka”, an indicator of liberation, has the potential to give enlightenment, bliss and no rebirth when placed in 12th House in a chart. A person influenced by Ketu is gifted with healing abilities, psychic power, mastery of herbology, tantric capabilities and, on the negative side, ghost related ailments. When Ketu is favorable in a natal chart he brings a lot of luxury, wisdom, spirituality etc.
The Vedic deity Ganesha is closely associated with Ketu and is the planetary Overlord of Ketu. Lord Ganesha when prayed to also gives the Moksha (enlightenment) and obtains all the above through Ketu. Even the traditional forms of Ketu and Ganesha are related. The body of Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati out of clay, then had life infused into it. Later Ganesha had his head decapitated (see below mythology) and it was replaced with an elephant head. Similarly Ketu is the lower half of a severed snake and head-less. Whenever Ketu is placed in the sign of Sagittarius he is also known as Gaja Roopa (face of an elephant God).
To enhance the benefic effects of Ketu, when favorable placed in a natal chart, and reduce the negative effects when unfavorable, one can propitiate either Ketu or Ganesha Astroved offers poojas and fire rituals to Lord Ganesha and Ketu under our Astro Offerings on the Home page.
Mythology of Ganesha
Ganesha is also called Ganapati (Leader of the Ganas, a fierce army), Vigneshwara or Vighnaharta, the Lord and destroyer of obstacles. People mostly worship him asking for siddhi (success) in undertakings, and buddhi (intelligence). He is prayed to before any venture is started. He is also the God of education, knowledge and wisdom, literature, and the fine arts.
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine face with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles.
Sri Ganesha’s Significance
The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The sweet he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.
There are several stories of the birth of Ganesha. In the Shiva Purana, it is written that once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name ‘Ganapati’. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.
However, there’s another less popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the god’s and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati’s insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child’s head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, where upon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby’s body, thus reviving it.
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief, he is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus.
The devotees of Ganesha are known as ‘Ganapatyas’, and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.
The following are some of Lord Ganesha’s most common Names:
The 4th Moon phase falls every month twice called as “Chathurthi”. The Ganesha of 4th Moon on waning phase is called as Sri Sankata Hara Chathurthi and has the power to remove the biggest obstacles of our life. Chant the below Ganesha mantra daily, but in particular on the 4th Moon phase:
Om Gum Ganapathaye Namaha
Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most popular festivals in India which is the birthday of Lord Ganesha and also the most sacred day to Lord Ganesha and remedy a bad Ketu. It is observed on the fourth day of the bright fortnight during the August-September months. Clay figures of Ganesha are made, and after being energized and transferring your karma to the clay, the statues are then immersed into sea and water bodies.
Apart from this annual pooja, the Ganesh Vrata also known by the name of Siddhi-Vinayaka Vratam is done as a special Vrata for the attainment of some particular end in view, usually for clearing oneself of false and unjust accusations and charges, recovering lost objects, regaining lost status, and removal of obstacles in an enterprise. It is to be performed on the fourth day of the dark fortnight. It consists of elaborate worship of Lord Ganesha with Shodashopachara (a 16 step worship) and various offerings, after appropriate Sankalpa (desire). He who performs this pooja with faith, devotion and concentration obtains all that he desires and attains the Highest Abode.