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The Nine Grahas

------ © Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary

Every horoscope has 12 rashis (signs), 9 grahas (loosely translated as planets and 27 nakshatras (constellations/lunar mansions). The interrelationship of these 3 factors reveals an ocean of information on which the entire edifice of astrology is built.


Everything in the manifest universe has to come under the vibration of nine principles of energy. These principles are not to be confused with their manifestations. However big or small, everything works accordance to the same plan. Knowledge of one manifestation can lead to an inference about another. Thus there is a reflection between the microcosm and the macrocosm. As above, so is below - a spiritual or cosmic law.


The number seven - the seven colours, seven musical notes, seven continents and seven charkas, the seven planes of reality are linked to the seven grahas or planets. These planets are listed below:


•  · Sun

•  · Moon

•  · Mars

•  · Mercury

•  · Jupiter

•  · Venus

•  · Saturn


These are the basis of the weekdays in this very order. But beyond the visible spectrum of seven colours, there are the ultraviolet (Rahu) and infrared areas (Ketu). These are not visible, but very powerful. Thus, corresponding to the 9 numbers, we have the nine grahas, which represent the nine planetary principles of energy. Just as any new number still is a combination of the primary 9 numbers, the nine grahas are sufficient to have a complete picture.


As already stated, everything in the manifest universe can be classified under any one of these 9 planets. The same can be applied with the 12 signs and 27 nakshatras. In other words, everything is signified by these factors. So we have different significations for each of these. The first step is to know (and understand) their significations. Karakatwas (Significations) should be mastered for any real progress in understanding astrology.


Apart from this there are subtle, spiritual principles behind every point of astrological reasoning. The more one understands these basics well, the more refined and dependable will be one's knowledge of astrology. All advanced techniques depend on the simple basics. Focus on them. Try to reflect upon what you learn. Memorize them gradually. Master them finally.


Extra-saturnine planets in Vedic Astrology: It is often asked whether Vedic astrology permits the use of the extra- saturnine planets. Strictly speaking most orthodox astrologers may not agree. Some Puranas refer to an insulating zone beyond Saturn called the lokaloka mountains, anything beyond which cannot influence us powerfully. But there seems to be proof that the ancients were probably aware of these planets. Some authors claim that the sage Vyasa was aware of the extra-saturnine planets and that he had given the positions of the planets at the time of the great war of Kurukshetra (Mahabharata). Other than the known planets, certain unidentified planets were also given. Working the positions of the newly rediscovered planets backwards, it is claimed that they are the same as the extra-saturnine planets. Arguably mentioning the positions doesn't necessarily mean endorsing the use of these planets for predictive purposes. It is hard to take sides with the level of research in this area being very low. If at some point in the future, they are accepted into Jyotish, probably they might be given (if at all) a secondary status. Let me explain myself clearly lest I am misunderstood.


The grahas are not the same as planets. A graha is that which "pulls or seizes" under its control. So there may be a thousand or million bodies floating out there in space. They may be planets, asteroids or anything else. But do they have any pull or influence on us? Here the pull does not refer to gravitational pull, but the subtle pull that a graha seems to exercise over us. There are many numbers. But there are only 9 fate numbers. In reality any other new number can be broken down to get one of these 9 fate numbers. Thus it is an accepted metaphysical or occult truth, that there are only 9 principles of energy or grahas. They are beyond our idea of the solar system. They are relatively more transcendental, though not the ultimate. Every solar system, every loka, every plane of existence has these nine principles manifesting in some manner. They may manifest in a million forms. So even Uranus, Neptune and Pluto come under the nine principles of energy (grahas). Perhaps Uranus is a secondary manifestation of the graha (principle of energy) called Rahu, while Neptune could be a secondary manifestation of Ketu. But secondary manifestations cannot be given the status of a graha. A representative is not equal to the main principle.


Only the grahas have a role in the Dasha system. Even an attempt to tamper with the dashas by including anything new will lead to a breakdown of the whole logic of Vedic astrology. But that does not preclude us from using them in other ways. Ketu is considered as more transcendental, since he is the significator of liberation (moksha karaka). Perhaps Jaimini did not include him in the list of contenders for temporary significators (chara karakas) since the one who holds the key to moksha cannot himself contend for the atmakaraka's post! Some dashas don't have Ketu, but we still use Ketu's role in the chart. More research has to be done to definitely conclude about the role of these extra-saturnine planets. Still one thing seems to be certain. Even if they are accepted, they will be delegated a secondary role, or even an optional role, in Vedic astrology. They will never get the same status as the nine grahas. It goes against the very foundations of the occult laws that are part of Jyotish foundations.


About the author: A graduate of the New South Wales Institute of Psychiatry's ( Australia ), multidisciplinary clinical masters degree in mental health, Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary has the unique advantage of a rare multi-disciplinary background and experience. He combines a unique blend of Mental Health/Behavioral sciences, Management and Ancient Wisdom backgrounds. His extensive studies (about 15 years of ongoing training/studies) in the medical model (both conventional and alternative), Counselling/Psychotherapy, Family & Organizational systems, Management and Spirituality, are complemented by practical experience gained through one-to-one interactions in both the clinical and corporate fields. Dr. Satya Prakash was past President of The Australian Council of Vedic Astrology (2001 to 2004) and also the editor of 'The Vedic Light' . He runs the MindCare Clinic and Institute of Behavioural Sciences , at Hyderabad , India ( ). The author may be contacted at: