navagraha worshipped as deities

Marianna Kropf marianne.kropf at THEOL.UNIBE.CH
Fri Apr 3 17:38:05 UTC 1998

Dear members of Indology group

In the process of my actual work about the ritual worship of the nine
planetary deities referred to as 'navagraha', I came across several
'white spots' in the material I have collected till now.
I mainly focussed on the worship/ ritual propitiation of one or all of
the grahas, as I saw it in Shaiva temples of Tamil Nadu: Aims and
contexts of the graha worship, the ritual guidelines followed by the
priests (including mantras, stotras, namavalis and indications for
different types of rituals adressing the grahas), ikonographical
appearance of the grahas, backgrounds of worship given by priests and
devotees, historical data on the temples.
Beside temples that are well known and selected by devotees for the
worship of all the grahas, there exist elsewhere circles of nine
different temples each one especially associated with one of the grahas
(as it is the case for nine temples situated around Kumbakonam). The
grahas may be depicted as a collection of their respective nine murtis
arranged on one and the same platform or one or the other of the
planetary deities is given its own shrine within the temple compound. I
am very clear about the very fact of a close relation between astrology
and navagraha worship, a detailed study of the former is not part of my
investigation, wherease I want to stress the later aspect.

In this context I need help concerning textual references:
[to point it out very clearly: I am not looking for jyotis.a sources]
Who knows of passages out of the Veda Samhitas, which adress the
navagraha (being at that time only seven) as deities?  Who can provide
me with references to graha worship given in the puranas? In the agamic
canons? Are there early S_ilpa texts that describe ikonographical
details and material to be used for navagraha murtis?
- One question I wish to answer: how far can we find references to a
kind of worship of navagraha in the ancient textual sources as it is
practiced nowadays? Do these references allow to say something on the
beginning of a tradition where the planetary deities are referred to as
(secondary) deities?
Any hints are welcome.

Who can provide me with information on further temples especially
connected with navagraha and their ritual worship? As far a I know,
there are in Andhra Pradesh, there seem to be at least one in Benares
(which one?!), ...
- it seems to me interesting to see whether or not shrines for the
grahas or at least graha-murtis placed in temples to be worshipped by
devotees and daily cared for by priests are a rather southern phenomen.

Thank your for your time and cooperation



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