Reflections on Rahu

Rahu - North Node of Moon

Rahu - Dragon's Head and North Node of Moon

Om nakadwajaaya vidmahe
padma hastaaya dheemahi
tanno rahu prachodayat

Aspects of Rahu as Shadow Planet (Chhaya Graha)

The myth behind the shadow planet Rahu speaks of the Asura Swarbhanu, who was a dragon. He was sundered during the churning of the Ocean of Milk, wherein the last gift was amrita, the nectar of immortality.

The demons and the gods had agreed to co-operate and churn the ocean of milk in order to receive the precious gifts it had. They would take the gifts - but the demons engaged in subterfuge and obtained the last gift - the pot containing the nectar of immortality. The gods, outraged, called to Lord Vishnu for aid.

Lord Vishnu took the disguise of an enchantress, Mohini. This enchantress prevented the demons from drinking the pot of amrita, and made arrangements to divide the pot between the gods and the demons. The enchantress fooled the demons with her beauty and sweet endearments, whilst feeding the contents of the pot to the gods. Swarbhanu was not fooled; he had clearer perception, took a disguise and sat among the gods and was given a taste of the nectar. The Sun and the Moon, saw the deception and informed Vishnu, who promptly took off Swarbhanu's head with his discus. The body fell down dead (and was later revived as Ketu); the head had tasted immortality and continued to live. It is said that Rahu seeks revenge by "swallowing" the Sun and Moon from time to time - this is the explanation for occurrence of eclipses.

So we may understand that Rahu has derring-do; he took a risk, donned a disguise and tasted the nectar of immortality. Rahu has clear perception of what is possible and is not deceived. He will pay the price of karma, and accept the outcome. Rahu sees what is possible and pushes the boundaries of existence and experience further.

Understanding Rahu as Influence on the Mind

Rahu is said to reside in the forest, undertake night journeys and influences the mind; Rahu has a psychological impact on mental activities. Rahu indicates confinement on the mental level, causes mental confusion, mental troubles, and sometimes, illusions and hallucinations. Manteswara indicates that Rahu gives intense minds.

There are two sides to Rahu as disposer of affects on the mind. One the one hand, mental confusion is present; on the other hand, there is logic, wisdom, deep thinking and spiritual advance. It is said that Rahu produces spiritual warriors. It is also proposed by some authors that Rahu disposes present-life skills, and Ketu disposes past-life skills. Nonetheless, the key issue is tense minds, and the outflow from tense minds.

The ego is outward-going in nature and seeks to control its environment and preserve itself at any cost. If a person is prey to their ego and driven by ahamkara, the possessive circle of ego which proclaims "I, Me, Mine", then they are not living with their full capacity. Man is not the body, not the senses, not the mind. A standard of life - purported by money, possessions, doo-dads and knick-knacks, is not true humanness. It is simply acquisition of possessions. The more we have, the less happiness we may have, the more anxiety we may have, the more worry. Satisfying material needs is only ⅓ of human needs. How do we satisfy the other ⅔ of human needs?

There is the antithesis of a standard of life which is a standard of living. A standard of living emerges from the inner life, for man is a union of mind, body and spirit. Happiness is a function of the standard of life that the individual is living. This is done by living with values, which materialism and the ahamkara—the tyranny of the ego—cannot give.

It is said by some modern authorities that Rahu directs the instruments of the mind - the internal senses of perception and knowledge. In the human body, Agni, the fire element became the sensory organs or the internal senses of perception or knowledge which produce Jnana (wisdom). Agni, the fire element, produced the perception and knowing we derive from the ear, the eye, the nose, the skin, the tongue. These are the five internal senses of perception.

A key to understanding the planets - and the shadow planets (chhaya graha) Rahu and Ketu - is that they have the capacity to both raise us up and pull us down. It all depends on how we understand them and use their energies.

One means of understanding and utilising the energies, influences and impact of Rahu is through the practice of the five human values. Here we consider aspects of Rahu on the mind, and the related human values -- which we may use to move beyond the standard of life, the ⅓ of human needs, moving beyond materialism, beyond into the other ⅔ capacity of the human, from body to mind to spirit. Human values are the highest essences, emotions, actions, thoughts, choices, feelings and motivations of the human person, guided by the intellect. The intellect is nearest to the soul and derives nearly 90% of its illumination and power from the soul.

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