Nine Planets in Hindu Astronomy


Written by London Swaminathan
Post No.1180; Dated 18th July 2015

Hindus called heavenly bodies Grahas. So Nava Grahas/ Nine Planets include Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. Strictly speaking, sun is a star and moon is earth’s satellite and Rahu and Ketu are north and south lunar nodes. Four of the “nine planets” are not planets. They calculated correctly the time of the eclipses in spite of these naming.

Thesauruses like Amarakosa in Sanskrit and Diwakaram and Pingalandhai in Tamil give several names for the planets. What do we know from these names or epithets for the planets? Navagraha stotras also describe the planets, their colours and their virtues. Now and then we read some “scholarly” articles about Hindus copying Greeks or the Babylonians. Is there any truth in it?

Following are taken from our Hymns or Thesarus:
Statement 1
Mars is the son of Earth (Bhumi putra, Mahisuta)
Statement 2
Mercury is the son of Moon (Induja, Somaja)
Statement 3
Saturn is the son of Sun (Chaya putra)
Statement 4
Venus causes rains (Rain planet in Tamil)
Statement 5
Moon influences Mind; moon is born out of the mind of God
Statement 6
Sun is linked to Eyes; sun is born out of the eyes of God
Statement 7
60,000 Valakilya Rishis, seers of thumb size, travel with the sun.
Statement 8
Guru/Jupiter is the Teacher (guru) of the Devas; Venus is the Teacher of Demons. Both are Brahmins.
Statement 9
Colours of the Planets: Saturn is black, Jupiter is Golden, Mercury is Green, Mars is red and Venus is white.
Statement 10
Saturn is lame or a slow coach; Jupiter measures the years.


What is the meaning?
The above statements are rough translations of the words found in thesaurus or the hymns. What do they mean? Are they scientific?
The short answer is most of them are yet to be proved by science. Let me give some explanations

About Statements 1, 2, 3
When you say that a particular planet is the son of another heavenly body (Graha) it may mean collision between the two heavenly bodies produced X planet. So we call the X planet is the son of so and so. In short it is an astronomical event happened long ago. In astronomical terms billions of years ago.
Another meaning is one looks like another. For instance Mars looks like earth and so we call it the son of the Earth.

The third meaning is that earthly creatures are going to settle in Mars in future. So we call Mars is the son of earth.

The fourth meaning is a hidden meaning which we don’t know now. May be future scientific discoveries may prove us right. If we take soil samples from both the planets and compare it, clearer picture will emerge.
For instance there are several theories about the origin of moon. Nothing is proved beyond doubt. Some say it is a big chunk thrown out of earth because of a collision and it can be easily fit into Pacific Ocean. Some others say it was caught by earth and made a slave (satellite) of earth. These theories can be made as beautiful Puranic stories (Mythology).


About Statement 4
Venus- Rain connection may be superficial or more than that. It is in Sanskrit books as well as Sangam Tamil books. The amount of rains or the drought is forecast by the position or movement of Venus in the sky according to Tamil commentators. Science hasn’t proved it yet.

About Statements 5,6
Rig Veda says that the sun and moon are born from the eyes and mind of the Supreme God. We know for sure the connection between the moon and the mind. Lot of articles have come out in science journals linking the lunatics and the full moon. Hindus believe that doing Surya Namaskar every day in the morning will brighten one’s eyes. Science has to prove it.
“Chandrama Manaso Jata: Chakshor Suryo Ajayata” (Purushasukta in the Tenth Mandala of Rig Veda).

About Statements 8,9, 10
The colours are partly right. When we look at Mars in the sky it is blood red in the night sky.
When we say Saturn is “lame” we know that is the planet that takes longer years than other planets in completing one circle in orbit (30 years). When we say that Jupiter is the planet that measures years we mean it moves from one zodiac sign to another sign every year and completes the 12 zodiacal signs in 12 years which decides Kumba mela, Maha makam and other big festivals.


I have already written about the Valakilya Rishis (Lilliputian seers travelling with sun). I have also written about the Heavy planet Guru and its sling shot effect in sending the rockets without fuel. Guru in Sanskrit means Heavy and one who sends up (elevates) others.

My Conclusions:
1.No other language has got so many names for the planets or stars like Tamil and Sanskrit. This shows that astronomy was born here and we have not borrowed it from the Greeks or the Babylonians.

2.Brahmins in their Sandhya Vandhanam every day, worship Navagrahas in the same order like Sunday , Monday, Tuesday …….. They couldn’t have borrowed it from someone and inserted it in their Vedic ceremonies.

3.Tamil saint Sambandhar of seventh century CE sang about the nine planets in the same order. So it is Vedic and not Greek.

4. Moreover these beliefs are listed in 2000 year old scriptures in Tamil and Sanskrit from Kanyakumari to Himalayas covering the vast sub continent. So they couldn’t have borrowed it during Alexander’s time and spread it over the entire country. There were no mobile phones or telephone lines or electronic communication at that time!


5. Foreign beliefs can’t be inserted into Hindu ceremonies that easily. They have a fool proof system.

6. Purusha sukta of Rig Veda linked mind to Moon. It is scientifically proved with lots of research confirming the link between the two.

We can conclude that Hindus spread it to the whole word like their decimal system and Hindu numerals.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: