navagraha worshipped as deities

Srinivasan Pichumani srini at ENGIN.UMICH.EDU
Tue Apr 14 21:37:16 UTC 1998

        Marianne Kropf asked:

        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?

Hope this reply isn't too late... the following information is from
the detailed sleevenotes written by Robert S.Gottlieb for a recording
of the Carnatic composer MuttusvAmi Dikshitar's "navagraha" kritis.
These sleevenotes are absolutely wonderful and contain tons of useful
information on this subject.

On this recording (Folkways Records Album No.FES 4131, 1981), a
traditional Vedic scholar, Vazhutur Rajagopala Sarma, recites mantras
from the YV Taittiriya Samhita and Brahmana, RV, appropriate to each
graha, before the rendition of the corresponding Dikshitar kriti by
the late Prof.S.Ramanathan.

About these mantras, Robert Gottlieb says that "The mantras occur in
a variety of texts, however only those sources which are most significant
are cited."  He also points out that the combinations of the separate
texts comprise the pUjA mantras for a particular graha.

        Surya - TS
                TB ; RV 1.12.1

        Candra - TS
                 TB; RV 1.23.20; 10.9.6
                 TB; RV 1.164.41

        AngAraka - TS;
                   TA 10.1.10; RV 1.22.15

        Budha - TS

        BRhaspati - TS

        S'ukra - TB; RV 7.4.1

        S'ani - TB 1.2.1;; RV 10.9.4

        rAhu -  TS

        ketu -  TS
                RV 6.6.7

The "literal" connection between many of the mantras given above
and the corresponding graha is not clear... perhaps not surprising...
but that these mantras are used in traditional Navagraha pUja/homa
is very much a fact.

        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.

Gottlieb lists Bloomfield's Vedic Concordance, V.R.Dikshitar's "The
PurAna Index" (3 vols, Madras 1955), Dowson's "A Classical Dictionary
of Hindu Mythology and Religion" (London, 1972), V.Mani's "PurAnic
Encyclopaedia" (Delhi 1975), among other items in his biblio... you
may want to look thru these.

        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.

According to the book "Our Heritage" (authorless ! the blurb on
one of the pages' corner says -  conceptualized/designed/published
by Sri.R.V.Raghavan for Sudakshina Trust, Bombay - 400025)
some other temples where individual grahas are enshrined are
sUrya - Modhera in Gujarat, and S'ani - Naydongri in Maharashtra.

The book gives 9 temples in the Tanjore district as the navagraha
kshetras for the Lord Mahalingeshvara of the famous temple at
TiruviDaimarudUr.  Apart from this, it lists other temples in and
around TN whose deity is considerd as yajamAna for a particular
planet like
                Candra - Tirupati
                angAraka - Pazhani
                budha - Madurai
                bRhaspati - TirucchendUr
                S'ukra - S'rirangam
                rAhu-ketu  - kALahasthI


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