Navagraha Grahas – Planets

The Navagraha (nava; Devanāgarī: नव, Sanskrit: nava, “nine”; graha; Devanāgarī: ग्रह, Sanskrit: graha, ‘planet’) describe nine celestial bodies used in Hindu astrology.

The Navagraha are said to be forces that capture or eclipse the mind and the decision making of human beings, thus the term graha. When the grahas are active in their Daśās or periodicities they are said to be particularly empowered to direct the affairs of people and events.

Rahu and Ketu correspond to the points where the moon crosses the ecliptic plane (known as the ascending and descending nodes of the moon). Classically known in Indian and Western astrology as the “head and tail of the dragon”, these planets are represented as a serpent-bodied demon beheaded by the Sudarshan Chakra of Vishnu after attempting to swallow the sun. They are primarily used to calculate the dates of eclipses. They are described as “shadow planets” because they are not visible in the night sky. They have an orbital cycle of 18 years and are always 180 degrees from each other.