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Planets and Mythology

Planets preceded living beings in the order of creation. Hence, from Man's point of view, planets are closer to divinity, or in other words, they are themselves divine. As scholars say, the strength of mythology lies in its timelessness. In Hindu mythology the nine incarnations [Avatars] of Lord Vishnu are supposed to correspond to the nine planets employed in astrological predictions. In this manner Indian astrology has its roots in Hindu mythology and astrology, - Jyotisha, is part of the Vedas, - hence Indian astrology is known as Vedanga.

In Hindu mythology Earth was created after the churning of the Ocean, the Gods [ Devas ] and the anti-gods [ Asuras ] taking equal part. During the churning fourteen precious ' gems ' [ ratna ] were brought up, one of which was ambrosia [ Amrita ]. This was supposed to be the nectar of Immortality. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a beautiful damsel and began distributing the nectar of life between Devas and Asuras, but serving the Asuras with wine instead of the precious elixir. To frustrate them from becoming immortal, and hence, invincible.

The Asura, Rahu, - The north node of the Moon, quick to comprehend Vishnu's action, quietly changed sides and sat unobserved between the Gods, - The Sun and the Moon. Rahu too was served with Amrita; but as soon as he took his draught, the Sun and the Moon noticing Rahu's presence among the company of the Devas, cut off his head. But since Rahu had already consumed the nectar, he couldn't be killed, though cut into two; the severed lower body came to be known as Ketu, - the south node of the Moon. And this, it is believed, is the reason why the Sun and the Moon suffer eclipses caused by the immortal Rahu.

Following this episode, there ensued a battle between the Devas and the Asuras. In the confusion, Jupiter [ Guru ] picked the Kumbha, - the vessel containing Amrit, and sped away from the battlefield. When the Devas and the Asuras realised that the Kumbh was missing and Jupiter as well, they stopped fighting to follow Jupiter together. A long chase ensued.

During this time, the Devas conferred together, apprehensive at the thought of Jupiter consuming the entire Amrit, which would certainly make him the Supreme of them all. But Shani, - Saturn, gave a hearty laugh and said that there was no reason to entertain such an idea, since he, Saturn, was already influencing Jupiter's mind by his own powers. He explained that under his spell, one cannot think rationally and cannot take right decision. And Jupiter continued his flight from the Asuras, and tradition says that he stopped at four places to take a breath, namely at Nashik, Ujjain, Haridwar and Allahabad, - cities in India. And it is further believed that at these spots the drops of Amrita spilled and hence once every twelve years when Jupiter transits the sign Aquarius, [ Kumbha ] there is held a religious congregation known as Kumbha Mela. Over the years, this fair is now held once every four years.

Based of this myth there is a belief in astrology that when a man comes under the spell of Saturn, known as Sade - Sati [meaning seven and half years], man goes through lot of sufferings.

However this is not a rule for the Planet Saturn is also known to bestow wealth and Good Luck when it transits through a favorable position in one’s chart during Sade Saati.


Kamini Uppal