navagraha worshipped as deities

jayabarathi barathi at PC.JARING.MY
Sat Apr 11 09:32:20 UTC 1998

>At 07:38 PM 4/3/98 +0200, you wrote:
>>Dear members of Indology group
>>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.
>        Dear Marianna,
>                I have not come across any reference to worship
>        of the planets as such in the Sangam Literature
        (c 300B.C.-300A.D.),. But planetary effects on human
        and mundane affairs are touched upon in PuRanAnURu

                But there are some small facts that I put forward
         which I hope will be of some use to you.

>        Enigmatic Navagrahas in the Sea:
>                There is a place called Devi Pattinam, a few
>        miles to the north of Ramanathapuram and north-west of
>        Rameswaram in Tamilnadu. This place is associated with
         the Rama saga. The sea-shore is the sea-front to the
         Palk Strait. There is a place on the sea-shore called
         Nava Paashaanam".
>               It is a Navagraha Kshetra. You have to wade into the
>        sea for about 100 yards off-shore. There, standing in
>        waist-deep water, are nine pillars. They are arranged
>        in the classical Navagraha arrangement of a square with
>        a central dot, which is typical of Navagraha PrathishTa.
>                The pillars are about ten feet in height from the
>        the sea -floor. How deeply rooted below the sea-floor level
>        we cannot guess.
>                The priest wades to the site, and plasters sandal paste,
>        Saffron powder and puts on flowers. Then he performs the
>        puja with the recitation of respective Mantras.
>                The pillars look like granite. But they are so
         weather-beaten with wind and sea-water with layers and
         layers of barnacles, that it is difficult to tell.
>                The place is of unknown antiquity and still poses
>        a mystery to people.
>                Rama is said to have performed Puja to the Navagrahas
>        before the invasion on Lanka.
>>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.

>                In Tamilnadu, among the Siva temples, one will
>        notice a phenomenon.
>                There are more than 200 ancient temples of
>        Siva, which are known as the ThEvAra ThalangaL
>        ThEvAram hymns have been deicated to those temples.
>        Whether sung on unsung, there are several Siva
>        temples which have been honoured with ThalaPurAna
>        or local mythologies. According to some of the stories,
>        one or all of the Navagrahas would at one time or
>        other have made special worship to the Siva of a
>        particular temple. So a minor shrine would be installed
>        in that temple for that particular planet.
>                In due course, the temples became pilgrm centres for
>        alleviation of afflictions of planetary maladies.
>        It became customary for the common crowd to go to the
>        shrine of the planet, rather than to Siva, and offer
>        worship only there. In Thiru naLLARu this is what has
>        happened. The Emperor NaLa came fleeing from the effects
>        of SanaiScara. He sought refuge in Siva and was freed
>        from the effects of Kali Dhosha. Since Siva removed
>        Kali Dhosha and maleffects of Sani, the temple
>        became a centre for people seeking such a remedy.
>        But in due course, the Lord who removed the effects
>        of Sani lost His importance, giving way to Sani. And
>        Thiru NaLLARu now is a Navagraha Kshetra because of Sani.
>                Several of the Siva temples associated with Navgrahas
>        are ThEvArappAdal temples.
>                They are;
>                Sun: Thiru MIyachUr, Thiru Ven KaAdu, Innambar,
>                     Thiru Avadu ThuRai., KumbakONam, ChAyAvanam,
>                     ThEthiyUr, ThiruvaiyARu, KalzukkunRam,
>                     Parudhi Niyamam, AdAnai.
>                Moon: KEthAram, SOmEswaram, PrayAg, KumbakONam.
>                Mars: VaithIswaran KOil, KAnchi
>                Mercury: Thiru VeN kAdu, KurukAvUr.
>                Jupiter: KAnchi, Chithambaram, KoNdIchcharam,
>                        Alangudi.
>                        In Alangudi, there is a shrine of
>                DakshinAmUrthi. People afflicted with maleffects of
>                Jupiter, worship the DakshiNAmUrthi. Each planet has
>                an adhi devata and pratyadhi devata. In many cases
>                the adhi devata is worshipped for beneficient effects.
>                In the case of Jupiter, the adhi devata is DakshiNAmUrthi.
>                Venus: SrI VAnjiyam, KAnchi.
>                Sani: Thiru NaLLARu, VEdhAraNyam, Thiru ArUr,
>                      ThiruchchenggAttangudi.
>                RAhu: KEthAram, SIrkAlzi, SempAmbanngudi.
>                KEthu: ThirukkEthIswaram(Ceylon), SempAmbanngudi.

                All these temples have their own ThEvAram hymns.
                Usually the hymns would contain some reference to the
        worship done by a paricular planet, or the grace bestowed
        upon that particular planet by Siva. Which means that, the
        association of that planet was already in existennce when
        the hymn was sung. Which puts the legend earlier than the hymns.
        So it can be safely surmised that the planetary association with
        all these Siva temples are at least one thousand four
        hundred years of antiquity.
                So in all these temples, it became customary to
        build special shrines to the planet concerned.
                There is also another custom among the Saivites.
        If a person is affected by a particular planet, he has to
        recite the ThEvAram hymn dedicated to that temple associated
        with that particular planet.
                Eg., For AngkAraka DhOsha, one has to recite the
        hymns of VaidhIswaran KOyil alias Thiru PuL irukku vELUr.
        Because that place has the Mars-connection.
                The hymns are recited repeatedly.
                Actually this is a form of PrayOga.
                All these hymns are compiled as the "VENdukOL
        Thirup Padhigam".
                For general coverage, one has to recite KOLaRu
        Thirup Padhigam" or the "Thiruk KOLili Thirup Padhigam".
                There is more on Agamas, Silpa Sastra and
        the Puranas in the next posting as you have asked.


>>Thank your for your time and cooperation

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