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Archive for the ‘Graha’ Category

What is the difference between a graha yoga (conjunction) and a yuga?


First, take a geo centric point of view. Then imagine that you are in the northern hemisphere. (Somewhere near Ujjain is better).

Then recognise that different celestial bodies are at different distances.

Know that the earth’s spin makes all celestial bodies appear to rise in the east and set in the west.

Know that the nakshatras always appear to to rise and set along the same celestial line or longitude. That is why they are called in general fixed stars.

Know that the Devas/Grahas – Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Kuja (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn) do NOT rise and set along the same celestial line or longitude. The sunrise/other graha-rise position, is to the north or south relative to the previous day.

Observe that, there is a northen-most and a southern-most point for the sun/graha rises and sets.

Observe that all grahas have an uttaryanam when they tend north and on average and dakhsinayanam when the tend south on an average. Observe that some times a graha-rise can temporarily shift south during an uttarayanam and or shift west during a dakshinayanam. That is called a Vakra or a retrograde movement.

This entire effect  is caused by

  • the tilt of the earth’s axis to the orbital plane. The earth’s equatorial plane (the horizon as we observe it) is at 23.5 deg to the orbital plane. (The tilt increases as the earth slows down with age).
  • a geo-centric view of the movements.. or observable movements.

Graha Yogas and Nakshatra Yugas : In their north-south movements, grahas can pass by each other.

The moon passes by every nakshatra and every other graha once a month.

  • So a Chandra Nakshatra Yuga : for eg Chandra Dhanista Yuga occurs once a month.
  • And a Chandra-Other Graha Yoga (Conjunction) eg Chandra Sukra Yoga also occurs  once a month.

Surya passes by every every nakshatra and every other graha once a year. Therefore the Surya Nakshatra Yugas take place once a year and the Surya-Other Graha Yogas occur approximately once a year (not taking graha vakras into account).

  • The Surya Chandra Yoga occurs every month and we know it as Amavasya or New Moon Day.
  • One an average the Surya Sani Yoga occurs once in 30 years  and the Guru Aditya(Sun) Yoga occurs once in 12 years. (Since the average geo-centric periods of Sani and Guru are 30 amd 12 years respectively).
  • But for it to be a YUGA, a nakshatra must be involved. So a Guru, Aditya, Dhanishta Nakshatra alignment is called a Yugadi and the yuga duration is 12 years, the Kumbha Mela duration.
  • The Surya, Chandra, Dhanishta Yuga is the Pitamaha yuga and it is 5 years long.
  • The Surya, Chandra, Dhanishta, Sani Yuga is 30 years long. (Not used much).
  • The Surya, Chandra, Dhanishta, Guru Yuga is the Barhaspatya Yuga and it is 60 years long.
  • The Surya, Chandra, Dhanishta, Guru, Sani Yuga is also  60 years long.

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

Further Reading/ Future Reference/ I am yet to read it : http://ees2.geo.rpi.edu/geo2/Homework/HW1solar.pdf

Nakshatradhipatis from Vedic deities to Grahas, after Valmiki’s Ramayana


In the Valmiki Ramayanam, we find many references to Nakshatras. The adhipatyam of the nakshatras is ascribed to Vedic deities.

  • Raja Janaka said that the second of the two days of  PoorvaPhalguni and Uttara Phalguni where the Bhaga (deity) was Prajapathi, was recommended by the wise for marriage. (See : Sita Devi सीता देवी)
  • ब्रह्मन्  O brahmin! फल्गुनीभ्याम् उत्तरे दिवसे on the latter day of the two Phalgunis,  यत्र in which day, प्रजापति: Prajapati, भग: Bhaga, वैवाहिकम् to perform marriage, मनीषिण: wise people, प्रशंसन्ति are praising.
  • Similarly Raja Dasaratha selected the Pushya Nakshatram of Chaitra Masam for Rama’s coronation. (See : Arrangements were made for Sri Rama’s coronation as a crown prince and Dasaratha sent for Rama to tell him about his coronation.)
  • There are references to rasis  in the balakanda : तत: then, यज्ञे when sacrifice, समाप्ते was completed, ऋतूनाम् of seasons, षट् six, समत्ययु: were spent, तत: then, द्वादशे मासे in twelfth month, चैत्रे in Chaitra month, नावमिके तिथौ on the nineth day of the rising Moon, अदितिदैवत्ये presided by Aditi as devata, नक्षत्रे when the star (Punarvasu) , पञ्चसु ग्रहेषु and the five grahas, स्वोच्चसंस्थेषु in their own exalted places (houses), कर्कटे लग्ने in Karkata Lagna, वाक्पतौ when Brihaspati, इन्दुना सह along with Moon, प्रोद्यमाने was rising, कौसल्या Kausalya, जगन्नाथम् lord of the entire universe, सर्वलोकनमस्कृतम् bowed to by all the worlds, सर्वलक्षणसंयुतम् adorned with all the characteristics, विष्णो: Vishnu’s, अर्धम् facet, महाभागम् highly fortunate, ऐक्ष्वाकुवर्धनम् perpetuating the Ikshvaku race, रामम् Rama, पुत्रम् as his son, अजनयत् gave birth . ” Source
  • Note that there is a mention of grahas (पञ्चसु ग्रहेषु) and of rasis (कर्कटे लग्ने) but the naksharadhipati was Aditi : “अदितिदैवत्ये  नक्षत्रे when the nakshatra presided by Aditi as devata”
  • Dasaratha, Kausalya and their sons were always compared to Vedic Deities such as Indra, Aditi, Yama, Varuna etc.

Contemporary Hindu Astrology : This ascribes the adhipatyam (lordship) of the Nakshatras to Grahas. The vimsottari dasa calculations are based on this. This probably happened when the brihat parasara hora sastra became popular. This sastra was taught by Veda Vyasa’s father, Parasara to Maitreya. By Valmiki’s time, it may have been just beginning to gain acceptance. Valmiki and Vyasa were contemporaries, with Valmiki somewhat older to Vyasa. See (Generations between Rama and Krishna.)

Note: The muhurta selection, in the Ramayana was done by the kings themselves and not their priests and the muhurtam was sun-rise in both cases. Nowadays, the muhurta is selected any time of the day or night. It may also be noted that then a muhurta was a time unit of 48 min duration, but many modern Hindu weddings have to be performed at an exact instant, which is labelled the muhurtam.

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula


Graha means gravitational body not Planet.


Graha means to hold. The Indian word loosely translated as planet is Graha. It is suggestive of  grav-itation.

The word ‘planet’ itself is derived from the word ‘wanderer’ (unlike the fixed stars).

That is why Surya and Chandra are also “grahas”. It is also why Rahu and Ketu are called Chaya (Shadow) Grahas.

The word Graha is used from the earliest days in Indian Texts.

The nine grahas are Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Kuja (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu and Ketu.

It is wrong to translate the word graha as a planet and then to be crtical of calling Surya and Chandra as grahas. The error is not in our astronomy. The error is in the translation from Sanskrit to English and other languages.

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

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