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Artist: Pieter Weltevrede Credit: sanatansociety.org

 

 

320px-Lunar_eclipse_diagram-en.svgA common portrayal of Rahu is a demonic head. His vehicle is the lion or tiger. In astrology it is a natural malefic with characteristics similar to Lord Saturn. In fact it is considered the strongest malefic planet of the Zodiac.In Hindu Astrology (Jyotish), unlike the planets, who are all revered demi-gods of the pantheon, the Lunar Nodes are demonic entities. The Lunar nodes are the points where the Moon’s path in the sky crosses the ecliptic, the Sun’s path. The two points are called Rahu and Ketu and are treated as planets. The question arises how these Lunar Nodes come to occupy a place as important as the planets in Hindu Astrology. We need to trace their origin in Hindu mythology and Puranic ( ancient ) legends.

The demi-gods ( Devs) and their antitheses the Titans and demons ( Asurs)  are shown in a state of constant conflict to acquire control over the heavenly regions ( Swarg Lok ) and the earth ( Prithvi Lok ). The Demons rule the nether worlds ( Patal Lok ) from where they mount their attacks to win heaven and thereby gain power over the forces of nature enabling them to dominate the earth and destabilize it by polluting the minds of earthlings, and by causing earthquakes, floods and other natural calamities.  Allegorically it is the  struggle between the forces of good and evil. The demi-gods are often outwitted and heaven and earth fall under the spell of the demonic forces. Numerous legends speak of the rise of one great Titan after another threatening heaven and earth. The demigods then rush to the holy Trinity of Godhead ( Brahma the creator, Vishnu the sustainer and Shiva the annihilator) beseeching  their help  to oust the demons. Often the plight the demi-gods are in are of their own making. The demons succeed in gaining the upper hand when the demi-gods fall in righteous behaviour with bloated egos  and indulgences. After being duly reprimanded the Godhead then deigns to assist them through the employ of subterfuge and trickery. This becomes necessary because great demonic entities after engaging in extraordinary feats of penance, piety and meditation succeed in  gaining the blessings of the Godhead. The Godhead is obliged to grant them their wishes. Once thus empowered, the Demons cast away the mask of piety and launch attacks gaining control over the heavens.

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Both the Devas and the Asuras were keen to acquire Amrit, the nectar of immortality. Lord Vishnu suggested to the Devs that the only way to get that nectar was by churning the cosmic oceans for which it would be necessary to get the Asurs to join them in the exercise. The churning then began by winding the king of serpents, Vasuki ( seen coiling round Lord Shiva’s neck as adornment) round Mount Meru, the Hindu Olympus. Lord vishnu assumed the form of a giant turtle on whose back Mount Meru was placed. The Asurs were to hold the head of the serpent while the Devs were to hold the tail. It was hoped that the fumes from the enraged serpant would confuse the Asurs, but the Asurs were not to be deterred. The churning first produced a pot of deadly poison which threatened to annihilate the universe. Lord Shiva magnanimously intervened by offering to drink it and save the world. As the deadly poison went down he confined it to his throat which turned blue – henceforth the saviour was called Neelkanth, Lord Blue-Throat.

When the churning finally produced the coveted pot of nectar, the Asuras usurped it, refusing to share it with the Devs. To save the day Lord Vishnu assumed the form of an enchanting damsel and charming the gullible Asurs stole the pot away, dancing towards the Devs and pouring the nectar quickly into their goblets. Rahu, a leading Asur realizing the subterfuge transformed himself into a Dev and joined the ranks of the demi-gods, being served the nectar.

 

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The Sun and the Moon discovering his alien presence drew the attention of Lord Vishnu, now the divine damsel with the pot of nectar but too late, as Rahu had already drunk the nectar of immortality. Vishnu then let fly his famed discus severing Rahu’s neck from his body. but the two halves had already gained immortality and henceforth continued to haunt the Zodiac, seeking revenge on the Sun and the Moon by pursuing them and swallowing them time and again causing eclipses. The two nodes are however not associated with any Zodiac sign through lordship or ownership.

Rahu signifies all manner of separation, from tribe, family, home, region, country of origin –  ones essential roots. This could manifest as incessant travel or a career overseas, away from ones origins, even exile and execution. Separation could also imply absence of parental support or on account of being orphaned. Rahu’s adverse placement also indicates tendency to have  addictions  and obsessions, which could mean alcoholism, drug abuse and obsessive sex. Pronounced Rahu effects could even mean insanity and forms of mental instability, particularly when it afflicts a weak Moon ( which symbolizes the mind in the horoscope).  On account of its ability to eclipse the Sun, its influence can create grandiose illusions about ones importance. In the psychic area it could mean supernatural possession or susceptibility to adverse occult influences. His adverse influence can also be indicative of the possibility of being bitten by a snake. Viewed philosophically, Rahu signifies the spirit or soul’s contact with the material world and its machinations. It engenders desire and greed and is associated with materialism.

Another characteristic of Rahu effects is sudden or unexpected developments, both negative and positive. For instance sudden gain in wealth, through legacy or lottery or other fortuitous events or unforeseen calamities.However the gains would be of a dubious nature. Rahu can also produce beneficial effects like making the subject very prosperous, enhancement of status and ability to overcome enemies. Like all planets he is therefore also capable of facilitating Rajyoga – extremely beneficial effects.

Rahu is exalted in Taurus debilitated in Scorpio and favours Aquarius. It is friendly to Saturn, Venus, Mercury, neutral to jupiter and inimical to the Sun and Moon and Mars. In association with a planet it assumes its nature and magnifies it.

 

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RAHU YANTRA Credit: astrodevam.com

 

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